Column: Enough football negativity already

Blue Team defensive lineman Keon Stowers (98) leads the singing of the Alma Mater following the Kansas Spring Game on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at Memorial Stadium. The Blue Team came back from a  first-half deficit to win 20-10. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

Blue Team defensive lineman Keon Stowers (98) leads the singing of the Alma Mater following the Kansas Spring Game on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at Memorial Stadium. The Blue Team came back from a first-half deficit to win 20-10. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I’m sick and tired of naysayers who are sick and tired of anything nice written or said about any aspect of the Kansas University football program.

Sure, it has been a rough four years, but how would raising the white flag more than three weeks away from the season-opening kickoff make anything better for anyone?

Seven things I’m already tired of hearing and don’t want to hear again or I might get sick.

1. “I’m sick of the Kansas football team getting hyped again.”

Who’s hyping the Jayhawks? I haven’t seen a single prediction of more than four victories for them for their 12-game schedule.

Talented, raw newcomers, improving returning lettermen and additions to the coaching staff all make for interesting conversation fodder, but to discuss or write about them does not equate to “hyping” them.

2. “All this Montell Cozart talk is just a repeat of Dayne Crist and Jake Heaps.”

Actually, Cozart’s situation could not be any different from those of Crist and Heaps, who, as it turned out, had similar one-season experiences at KU.

The transfers were advertised loudly by head coach Charlie Weis, based largely on their five-star high school careers and the potential he saw in them. They lit up quarterback camps. Cozart didn’t start a varsity game at quarterback until his junior year in high school.

Crist, a transfer from Notre Dame, and Heaps, an ex-BYU QB now playing at Miami, had extensive experience at the position, but were ill-suited for playing in front of a shaky offensive line. They didn’t have the legs to bail them out of jams.

Cozart, not as polished a thrower, is far from a finished product. He’s a work in progress, and there isn’t enough to make anything but guesses as to how he will do.

Crist and Heaps were recruited and developed by their first schools, Cozart by his only school.

3. “If Heaps succeeds at Miami, a lot of people will be eating crow, and it will prove KU should have started him.”

Wrong. If he succeeds at Miami, it will mean he gets far more pass protection from the Hurricanes’ line than KU’s blockers gave him. Heaps might be able to finish unbroken plays, but he can’t fix broken ones. KU faces so many rock-star defensive linemen that its quarterback will be required to create on the fly. Cozart has a better chance of making things happen under those circumstances.

4. “No way Kansas beats Mark Mangino.”

Mangino did a terrific job at KU, moving the saw back and forth, back and forth, back and forth and popping out of a pile of sawdust to win three bowl games in a four-year span. But he’s not playing in the Nov. 8 game at Memorial Stadium, and he’s not giving the pregame pep talk. He’s Iowa State’s offensive coordinator, and it doesn’t look as if he has a great deal of talent with which to work.

5. “Kansas can’t win more than two games, Southeast Missouri State and Central Michigan. They’ll get owned in the Big 12.”

Four exceptional quarterbacks play in the Big 12, instead of the usual dose of six or eight.

Baylor’s Bryce Petty, Oklahoma’s Trevor Knight, Kansas State’s Jake Waters and Texas Tech’s Davis Webb all are primed for big seasons, but KU is far from the only program with fingers crossed at QB.

6. “Let’s see, KU plays six road games, so that’s six losses right off the bat.”

The last 27 times KU has ventured off its campus to play a football game, it has lost. The last victory came in the West Texas town of El Paso. The road losing streak can’t possibly last forever. So why can’t it, at least in theory, end at Duke, West Virginia or Texas Tech this season?

7. “Forget football. How many more days until Late Night?”

It’s on the eve of KU’s sixth football game, so regardless of whether you sit in your room and slash the days off your calendar, Kansas will play five football games that count before it opens the doors for an intrasquad game and a well-scripted recruiting show. You can’t watch football and Late Night? I don’t get it. It’s OK to find both Sofia Vergara and Eric Stonestreet hilarious on Modern Family, right? So how does football in any way get in the way of basketball? Or is it just that cool points are not awarded for showing an interest in the football team?