Friday, October 3, 2014


Column: Pierson, RBs give Kansas a chance

Kansas wasted no time getting on the board as senior Tony Pierson takes the ball 74 yards for a touchdown on the opening play from scrimmage during Kansas' game against Central Michigan on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas wasted no time getting on the board as senior Tony Pierson takes the ball 74 yards for a touchdown on the opening play from scrimmage during Kansas' game against Central Michigan on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.


Adrian Peterson once rewarded his Minnesota Vikings offensive linemen with snowmobiles. Reggie Bush gave his blockers Segways. O.J. Simpson’s linemen gained immortality with the nickname “The Electric Company.”

In keeping with that tradition, Kansas University junior De’Andre Mann started nearly every answer to postgame questions by sending thanks to the offensive line after he ran for 121 yards in his first college game, against Southeast Missouri State.

It’s a symbiotic relationship running backs and blockers have, but it’s really not a chicken-and-egg question. The running backs don’t earn more money in the NFL by accident.

“I say it all the time,” said KU offensive coordinator/O-line coach John Reagan, a center during his playing career at Syracuse. “Running backs can make an offensive line a lot better. Very seldom does an offensive line make running backs better.”

Mann averages 5.7 yards per carry and is on pace to rush for 885 yards. Freshman Corey Avery averages 4.7 yards and projects to a 756-yard total.

“They are a lot of the reason the offensive line has gotten better,” Reagan said of the dynamic tandem. “For two guys who have never stepped on a Div. I football field to have done what they’ve done so far this year, I’m very pleased with what they’ve been able to do.”

What Mann (5-foot-9, 198 pounds) and Avery (5-10, 195) lack in bulk, they compensate for with explosiveness.

“They’re both very quick, have the ability to stop and go, whatever term people want to use for making people miss, or not allowing people to just run through them very often,” Reagan said. “They do a good job.”

Avery and Mann bring excitement to KU’s rushing attack, but nobody the team has puts a scare into a defense the way senior Tony Pierson does. A receiver, Pierson has rushed the ball seven times, averaging 17.7 yards per carry. He leads the team with 155 receiving yards in four games. Naturally, Reagan is happy with his performance.

“I think the reality is, we’d like to be happier with him not because of him, but because of putting the ball in his hands more,” Reagan said. “That’s always going to be a big part of us game-planning, and it’s always going to be a big part of what we’re looking at: Has he touched it? Not just him, but have our play-makers in general touched it?”

West Virginia ranks 11th in the nation with 551.5 yards per game. In order to keep pace, Kansas will need to get the ball to play-makers, who will need to make the most of their chances.


Gerry Butler 7 years, 2 months ago

that's great Doug. the hawks need MORE fans just like you. not sure why you feel like need to instill your support of the football team like It obviously took you so much time and thought to come up with your comment support for the team. BRILLANT. I'm sure the team thanks you for the backing and support. its fans like yourself that helps inspire the team. great job. BAND WAGON fans like yourself is really sad. now don't try and come back and feed me all about AH band wagon I can just hear it now something along the lines of I'VE been a supporter of KU for X amount of years cause IF this is the type of support you show for a program I know I speak for ALOT others we not only don't nor do we need your type of support. if you feel the need to put your inspiring comments about a different team different sport then take that crap somewhere else. when this team turns it around and THEY WILL turn things around don't come on here with your RAH RAH how loyal HAWK FAN you ar and have been. real classy Doug great job. GO HAWKS

Marc Frey 7 years, 2 months ago

Rock Chalk, Go Royals! How is that? I am hoping for wins for both teams.

Bill Kackley 7 years, 2 months ago

Jerry, I couldn't agree more. Who needs Dougs constant line of crap. I bet 3 years ago he was saying the same negative garbage about the Royals. He is even lower than a fair weather fan.

Michael Maris 7 years, 2 months ago

I would still like to know what ever became of ManginoHoltz character (prior to the changes of actually having to reveal our names? Once the changes set in, he just disappeared. Just Curious is all.

Go Hawks. I hope that this weekend's game will give the fan base the much desired positive results that we are pining for.

Bryce Landon 7 years, 2 months ago

I'd like to know what happened to "ahpersecoachingexperience" who had a dolphin or a Fail Whale as his/her avatar.

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, seem to recall that guy's screenname was ManginoRhoolz ("mangino rules"), yet he used the green logo crest of Tulane University as his avatar... You wonder if he was some relative of Mangino, and clearly was not a KU fan nor alumni.

ahpersecoachingexperience was kind of funny, but his anti-Gill schtick simply caused him to lose his reason for existence once Gill was gone. Weis had legit coaching experience, but we see Weis' clear successes were at the NFL level, as an offensive coordinator, and when he had reliable execution by top talent (which Weis certainly had in the personnel he had on offense with the Patriots, and with his 1 season at KC, when he put Cassel in the ProBowl as a top3 passer.) It is also interesting that with the same offense personnel, Todd Haley could not duplicate Weis' success, and actually Haley got himself fired after he tried calling the plays the next season.
Weis did not have the personnel to execute his offense at KU, period. And when you fire yourself as the OC, which is your forte, then the first nail in the coffin was by Weis own hand, sad to say. I wish him well (maybe he finds an Ocoord NFL position, where he can be up in the press box?), just as I wish success on Bowen & Reagan.


Matt Spitzli 7 years, 2 months ago

When it's more likely than not that the jayhawks win exactly zero more games this year, any attention paid to the program is positive, even when it comes in the form of disparaging jokes.

Jim Stauffer 7 years, 2 months ago

Hey Brett, Reagan is plenty innovative. He has a QB who can't get out of his own way. His head is in a whirl and he cannot react instinctively on the field. If he could Harwell, Pierson and King would have plenty of touches. The only touches Reagan can control is calling handoffs to the RB's.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 2 months ago

I'm recalling WVU being weak against the run, so it will be a good week to find out how far we can ride the duo (trio?). Hopefully, that opens things up all the more for the WR's.

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