Friday, April 11, 2014


Column: Five intriguing elements of KU football’s upcoming spring game


We’re now less than 48 hours away from Kansas University’s annual spring football game at Memorial Stadium and thanks to the incredible forecast for kickoff at 1 p.m. Saturday (77 degrees, 10 percent chance for rain) at Memorial Stadium, I’m guessing this year’s event will draw a solid crowd.

The weather is not the only reason to come out though. Far from it.

Saturday’s game will give KU fans a chance to see plenty of elements of Charlie Weis’ third Jayhawk team.

We’ll be there with our usual team to provide all the coverage you could possibly want, but while we wait for kickoff, here’s a quick look at some of the most intriguing story lines.

  1. Quarterbacks will be live — Weis said earlier this week that the only player who would be wearing a red, no-contact jersey in the spring game was senior wide receiver Tony Pierson, who finished 2013 on the bench because of concussion issues. Because of that, the quarterbacks will be in line to take some hits, which should give everyone a terrific indication of which guy looks the most comfortable in KU’s new offense.
  2. Nick Harwell will be playing — After almost an entire year of hearing about what kind of a difference maker the Miami (Ohio) transfer can be, Harwell finally gets a chance to show what he’s got. He’s been the unquestioned leader at this position throughout the offseason and his precise route running, solid experience and great hands make him an easy choice for this team’s go-to receiver.
  3. Reagan told not to hold anything back — Weis said last Tuesday that he and new offensive coordinator John Reagan had a discussion this week about how much of the new offense they should unveil at the spring game. Weis’ instructions to Reagan were simple: Don’t hold anything back. Call the plays as you would normally call them. You won’t see everything, but you’ll get a fair look at what the KU offense, version 2014 looks like.
  4. Fun and exciting format — Weis made a big deal about a new format that should add some competitiveness to this year’s game. The players have not been told what it is yet, therefore neither have we, but if Weis’ excitement level about the new wrinkle is any indication, it sounds like it will be worth sticking around for the entire game.
  5. Life after James Sims? — With four-time leading rusher James Sims now gone, the door is open for KU’s other running backs to step into bigger roles. As of today, senior Brandon Bourbon and junior Darrian Miller appear to be the top two candidates to take the carries that went to Sims. On Saturday, we should get a decent look at whether they’re up for the challenge or if KU will need to seek help from senior Taylor Cox, juco transfer De’Andre Mann or incoming freshmen Traevohn Wrench and Corey Avery.


Jim Stauffer 5 years, 10 months ago

I love Brandon Bourbon, but cannot understand why Taylor Cox was not the heir apparent to James. He has proven to me to be a more consistent RB than Brandon. Now that all may have changed once Brandon received consistent reps. Hope so.

Mark Lindrud 5 years, 10 months ago

I am betting they will be used interchangeably and would not be surprised if the guy with the hot hand gets carries. Also, I can see Miller being the 3rd down back. I am very curious how Mann comes into play though because with his talents it will be hard to keep him off the field. This is the one part of our offense I am excited about.

Brandon Mahon 5 years, 10 months ago

I think Mann comes in and actually takes time away from Cox. Bourbon is a better pass catcher and is bigger. I think in the extended role he saw last year he proved what he can do

Jim Jackson 5 years, 10 months ago

Cox has been a bit banged up this spring.

Layne Pierce 5 years, 10 months ago

Actually Matt

You left out the most important thing. Do we have an offensive line that can protect and make holes. And do we have a defensive line that can pressure or stop anybody.

Ashwin Rao 5 years, 10 months ago

Will this game be streamed? Looking forward to seeing that!

Kevin Robert Fest 5 years, 10 months ago

Well at least there is somethings to get excited about this year. New OC coordinator, new coaches, transfers (Milweard, Harwell) trying to get time and some recruits (Mann) who could possibly start right away. Not just the same old same old as it has been for the last couple of years. I'm actually hopefull for this year. If the team can't win at least a couple of conference games this year it'll be time to start looking for a new coach, which won't help the program because a new coach would most like scrap this system for his own. 1 conference win or God forbid 0 conference wins this year will be a huge disappointment. The coaches and players seems to have a lot of excitement and hope this year so I look forward to seeing what happens.

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