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Friday, July 25, 2014

Keegan

Column: Weis’ claims of his deepest KU roster up for debate

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Kansas head coach Charlie Weis smiles during during the NCAA college Big 12 Conference Football Media Days in Dallas, Monday, July 21, 2014. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Charlie Weis gave those who cringe their way through his press conferences a break this time at the annual Big 12 media days, a year after his steamy remarks put him at the bottom of a pile of criticism.

Weis did, however, make two statements off-podium in Dallas that merit scrutiny.

Weis statement No. 1: “I think the depth on our team is as good as it’s been (during his Kansas tenure). I don’t know if there’s a position on our team that the depth isn’t as good (as it’s been during his time).”

Can’t argue that point at wide receiver, in the secondary or at linebacker. It’s debatable elsewhere.

Quarterback always seems to be the best place to start. Jake Heaps subtracted himself from the mix by transferring to Miami and has been replaced on the depth chart by third-string UCLA transfer T.J. Millweard. Michael Cummings, third-string a year ago, moves up to No. 2. For KU to make significant improvement, Cozart will need to have the best season of any quarterback in the post-Todd Reesing era. If Cozart does so, KU will be better at QB, but not necessarily deeper.

Running back? Weis understandably is excited by the talent here, thanks to Taylor Cox, Brandon Bourbon and junior-college recruit De’Andre Mann, but the depth can’t match that of Weis’ first KU team: James Sims, Tony Pierson, Cox and Bourbon.

Recruit Traevohn Wrench is not participating in summer conditioning, so counting on him might not be very realistic.

At offensive line, Weis inherited woeful depth, but did have three fifth-year returning starters in Tanner Hawkinson, Duane Zlatnik and Trevor Marongelli for one season. Beyond reserves Gavin Howard and Damon Martin, there weren’t any Big 12-ready blockers, so it’s possible the depth is as good or better this year, when the O-line again qualifies as a question mark.

The defensive line has a more athletic look to it this year with Ben Goodman moving to the inside to join Keon Stowers and newcomer Andrew Bolton, but better depth? Keba Agostinho, Kevin Young and Jordan Tavai weren’t big playmakers, but were experienced enough to strengthen the rotation. Not nearly as much experienced depth is on hand this season.

Weis statement No. 2: “I think we’re better (than last year) at every single position (than last year).”

This one is tougher to dispute, although there is a reason Sims started and led the team in rushing four seasons in a row. He was the team’s best all-around back.

Offensive line? As long as late junior-college recruit Larry Mazyck, a massive man, upgrades the left tackle position significantly, the line should have more stability than a year ago.

Nick Harwell, KU’s best wide receiver since Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier moved on, upgrades wide receiver, and Rodriguez Coleman appears headed for improvement. If Pierson can remain healthy, he too could become a big-play threat.

The secondary is loaded and the key players return at linebacker.

Toss in the upgrade at offensive coordinator, with modern-day college tactician John Reagan replacing Weis, and nine returning starters on defense and it’s easy to project improvement from the Jayhawks. That’s a good thing, considering the eight losses in nine Big 12 games came by an average 27.625 points. Rounding up, that’s a four-touchdown advantage per game, one touchdown per quarter.

Comments

Dirk Medema 4 months, 3 weeks ago

The guys that got lost the QB job are gone, but the 2 guys that won it remain, but you don't think we're deeper?

Someone is still star struck.

You are on the nose when you mention Maczyk, and could be echoed across most positions. It is most definitely a matter of who steps on stage to perform, and who transfers or schlupps around in the shadows.

RB is definitely the spot where it will be tough to be deeper.

David Lara 4 months, 3 weeks ago

What's going on with Wrench? Not taking part in conditioning? Has he arrived yet?

Brett McCabe 4 months, 3 weeks ago

All signs point to this being over. We have to recruit players that can actually show up.

Jim Stauffer 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Both Crist and Heaps are very fine gentlemen, but they do not represent a setback for this team by going elsewhere. For whatever reasons they were unsuccessful here.

Doug Cramer 4 months, 3 weeks ago

"For what ever reasons" ? ? ?

Uhhhh....they didn't have an O-line that protected them...and...they didn't have a receiver that could catch the ball.

Crist also had some accuracy issues.

Heaps WAS accurate...but had no time in the pocket...and had no hands at receiver.

Aaron Paisley 4 months, 3 weeks ago

KU may not be as deep at certain positions this season as the last two, but I do believe the overall team depth is better this season.

As for being better at every position, I don't think the RB position will be quite as good this year. I think a solid argument could be made for every other position though as a lot players return and are typically better with more experience and training or a better player is taking over the spot.

Doug Cramer 4 months, 3 weeks ago

"a lot of players return "

We lost quite a few on the D front.

Aaron Paisley 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Notice how Doug does not quote the whole sentence, only the part that suits his view point. Using quotes out of context is a dangerous thing to do.

John Fitzgerald 4 months, 3 weeks ago

I predict we go undefeated and beat FSU for the championship. Cozart throws for 3000 yards, rushes for 1000, and gets 20 tds. Harwell wins the heisman with 1700 yards receiving and 15 tds, along with 3 kickoff return tds.

....patiently waiting for Doug "genius" Cramer's "OH NO YOU DI-UNT!!' response....

Jason Keller 4 months, 3 weeks ago

What would the vegas line be on this happening? Put me in for one dollar. If I win, I could end world hunger.

Chris Bailey 4 months, 3 weeks ago

You meant to add an H in there right? FHSU? If we are competing for D2 I'm with you otherwise you are HIGH AS EAGLE POO!

John Fitzgerald 4 months, 3 weeks ago

You obviously missed the part where I was joking ... You must be Doug Cramers daughter ... ?

Chris Bailey 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Actually his sister. And I didn't read your odds of winning comment until i posted. Figured I'd get a reply. Glad we're on the same page about the odds of this season being good. The LJW has sold us and we bought hook, line and sinker that the team would be great the last 2-3 seasons. Sometimes I wonder what they're watching at practice that gives them such optimism. Maybe they served punch to all media upon entrance and failed to mention it was kool aid. But yeah I caught your sarcasm late. My bad.

Mark Lindrud 4 months, 3 weeks ago

This is some darn good kool aid, tastes kind of funny, but this team is going to win the big 12 this year, I just know it!

Mark Lindrud 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Overall we are deeper. Yes, certain areas need improvement, but talent is improving. We've also had changes to the coaching staff that hopefully will provide the coaching x and o that will lead to wins this year.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 months, 3 weeks ago

"What's going on with Wrench? Not taking part in conditioning? Has he arrived yet?"

He's gone.

Read up further in this column.

Brandon Mahon 4 months, 3 weeks ago

If you think this guy won't compete you should just stop talking football all together

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toGZEWHTuuA

Dirk Medema 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Mann had a great season last year, and there seems to be nice vision and cutting, but it is very important to realize that Hartnell is CA JC B league. I don't know much about football, and even less about CA JC's, but the article in the Salinas Californian earlier this spring was written by people who cover the sport and leagues for a living.

It is like comparing recruiting video of a KS HS recruit straight up with a TX kid. It's just not the same level of competition, so it is easier to look better against a lesser opponent. Hopefully, he does produce for us in a big way.

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