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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Transfer Millweard ready for KU QB battle

Kansas University quarterback transfer T.J. Millweard speaks to the media on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, at the Anderson Family Football Complex.

Kansas University quarterback transfer T.J. Millweard speaks to the media on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, at the Anderson Family Football Complex.

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Kansas University quarterback transfer T.J. Millweard speaks to the media on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, at the Anderson Family Football Complex.

Sophomore transfer T.J. Millweard fired the first shot in the Kansas University quarterback race on Wednesday, and it had surprisingly little to do with football.

Speaking with the media for the first time since transferring from UCLA to KU last August, Millweard was asked about any advantages he might see himself having over senior Jake Heaps and sophomore Montell Cozart, the other legs of what promises to be an exciting three-man race for the Jayhawks’ starting job.

Millweard — pronounced Mill-word — deflected all of the attention from the upcoming QB competition by talking about the group as a whole. Each time, he went beyond the three-man list and made sure to include red-shirt freshman Jordan Darling and junior Michael Cummings.

“Yes, we have Jordan tied for first, myself, Jake, Mike and Montell,” he said. “We’re a great group of guys in that room, and we’re working hard every day to get a little bit better.”

A few minutes later, after being asked to dive a little deeper into the upcoming showdown, Millweard cracked and identified one area he thinks he has a clear advantage over the rest of KU’s quarterbacks.

“I think I got ‘em in the beard area,” said the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Millweard, who currently sports a mean patch of sandy blonde, Andrew Luck-esque facial hair.

Millweard said he first started experimenting with the beard as a junior in high school after spending his sophomore year at a school that did not allow facial hair. After that, it kind of became his thing and he’s been wearing some form of it ever since. The beard has no bearing on how he plays quarterback and certainly won’t be a factor in the competition to become KU’s starter. But in the early stages of a battle between three humble guys with different strengths and weaknesses, it’s the only area of clear separation at this point.

A week ago, after announcing this year’s recruiting class, KU coach Charlie Weis said emphatically that Millweard would be in the thick of the competition this spring. From the sound of things, that competition began the day these guys reported to campus following winter break.

“We’re all trying to learn from each other, get a little bit better, push each other in the weight room,” Millweard said. “In the running drills, who’s the quarterback who wins, who’s the quarterback that loses and all that. I’d say the competition’s good right now.”

As for what he views as his best assets at the position, Millweard pointed to his arm and his legs.

“I really like the way I throw the ball,” he said. “I’m not saying I’m perfect. I have a lot to work on in that area, of course. But I like the way I throw the ball and I like my mobility.”

Asked if that mobility was more elude-and-extend or attack-and-assault, Millweard said the notion that he’s a pro style quarterback was off base.

“I have no problem running,” he said. “I like it. I really think it gets a team going when a quarterback breaks it. ... Don’t get me wrong, I’m never gonna be as fast as Montell. I like to tell him I think I can be, but I can’t.”

What he believes he can be is efficient.

“Something I take pride in as a quarterback is just getting first downs,” he said. “That’s your job as an offense. Keep moving the ball, get those first downs, get in the red zone and then cash in and get some points.”

The first chance to do that is 205 days away, and right now there’s no guarantee that Millweard will be given that opportunity. Doesn’t matter. He’s focused on the start of spring practice (March 4) and has been for some time.

“I’ve been counting down for as long as I can (remember),” Millweard said. “UCLA was great, but you never really got the feel of, ‘Hey, this is the year.’ (Here), it’s an open competition and that’s all you can really ask for. Unfortunately only one’s on the field at a time and we have five great quarterbacks in that room that all want to be on the field, so I think it’s going to be a great spring.”

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Comments

Michael Sillman 2 months ago

If Cummings does have a shot at QB, is there another spot on the field where he can help us?

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Mark Lindrud 2 months ago

"The first chance to do that is 205 days away, and right now there’s no guarantee that Millweard will be given that opportunity."

This seems like a contradiction to the rest of the article that he won't get a chance to compete for the starting job, unless I am over thinking it. I don't know much about his skill set so I can't say much and I am glad Reagan comes in with a fresh look so he can be unbiased and pick the best man for the job.

Since the offense will be new everyone will be on a level playing field and hopefully we see more of the style we had under Mangino's offense because it had success. Even though I think it was said the offense will be a mix of the stuff they are running and some from before. We shall see.

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Brandon Mahon 2 months ago

Not sure if Millweard could RS because of his transfer sit out might count as a RS... But I think if Montell is 3rd you absolutely redshirt him. I am very happy that Reagan had nothing to do with bringing any of these guys in and will be able to choose who is the best for the job with a clear head and only seeing production on the field.

Like Reagan said in his press conference. The quarterback will depend on how the offensive line comes together and even how the offense looks. This will be a very interesting offense, and as bad as we were last year in the passing and receiving corp I think that we may see a young line up of players (Avery, Hartzog, Hyman, maybe even Patrick (if he runs a 4.3/4.4) or Neal) But hopefully Turzilli, and Coleman show some improvement. But this will be interesting to see what Reagan does with the new and current guys.

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Tony Bandle 2 months ago

He needs to change the pronunciation of his last name from "word' to "weird" and he has his Heisman catch name...T. J. "The Beard" Millweard!!!

Matt, not being critical, but it may be helpful to let everyone know how much eligibilty he has, although I'm sure it's been mentioned often before...there's always people reading about something for the first time....just a thought.

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Will Bixenman 2 months ago

Let's say that Heaps wins the competition and Cozart and Millweard are 2nd and 3rd string, either way. Do they redshirt the 3rd stringer whether it be Cozart or Millweard and give him another year to progress and let Cummings or Darling be 3rd string?

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Terry N Tom Denner 2 months ago

The QB can only move the chains as long as the O-Line can open holes and protect him. Until that is accomplished it will be a long year with a 3-9 season again.

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Jim Stauffer 2 months ago

I believe the difference this year is we do have 5 guys to choose from. To believe some of those guys should not be closer to game ready than others is wrong, but to believe that any one of those guys could not emerge as the eventual starter is just as wrong.

New OC has no dog in the race. He will choose the guy who can move the chains.

We also have more experience for Montell and all those who have written him off because of his stats for last year are being completely unfair. No one had good stats last year. The passing game was a debacle for a variety of reasons. That is the reason John Reagan is on the scene.

Who is willing to stand firm in his conviction that the OL, WR and QB play will not all improve this year? Not me.

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Jason Keller 2 months ago

"I'm not saying that I'm perfect"

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Dirk Medema 2 months ago

"we have five great quarterbacks in that room that all want to be on the field" is the diplomatic thing to say, but it certainly doesn't appear accurate and we're in a world of trouble if there isn't a significant improvement in that position. We'll need improvement at the other positions for the QB, any QB, to be effective, but we're not going anywhere without better QB play.

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Craig Carr 2 months ago

Please let me be wrong, sounds like the same thing we have been lead to believe every year since Reesing.

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