Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Column: Kansas seems cursed at QB

Kansas quarterback Montell Cozart reacts after a turnover on downs by the Jayhawks against Duke during the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2013 at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina.

Kansas quarterback Montell Cozart reacts after a turnover on downs by the Jayhawks against Duke during the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2013 at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina.


Todd Reesing, Kale Pick, Jordan Webb, Dayne Crist, Jake Heaps and Montell Cozart. Six starting quarterbacks in six season-openers for Kansas University football.

Based on how raw Cozart looked Saturday in a 41-3 loss to Duke, next season’s opener against South Dakota State could mean the seventh season in a row with a new starting quarterback.

Cozart locked in on the intended target, leaving Tony Pierson open in space all day long. He missed open receivers and bypassed wide-open running opportunities. It was a rough enough performance to wonder how many more starts he’ll make and how far away he is from having ample polish.

If not Cozart next season, then whom? Michael Cummings, T.J. Millweard, current running back Joe Dineen and Bishop Miege senior Ryan Willis all could be considered legitimate candidates, but an as-yet-recruited quarterback remains a possibility.

Since taking over for Turner Gill, Charlie Weis has brought six quarterbacks into the program, excluding Willis.

When the coach landed Crist, Heaps and Turner Baty in the same recruiting class, he speculated he had the best QB haul in the country, but it didn’t work out that way. Crist lost his starting job in midseason, as did Heaps, who then transferred to Miami (Fla.), where he is a reserve. Baty transferred back to junior college and now is at UC Davis.

High school recruit Jordan Darling is fourth on the depth chart, with nobody projecting him moving any higher during his career. UCLA transfer Millweard ranks third, behind Cummings, who was recruited by Gill.

It appears as if the best quarterback recruited to Kansas since Mark Mangino signed Reesing was lured by Gill’s staff, and his name was not Brock Berglund.

Seth Russell from Garland, Texas, made an oral commitment to KU in 2012, the year of the Crist, Heaps, Baty haul. After KU changed coaches, Russell signed with Baylor.

In his first college start, Russell, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound, third-year sophomore, threw five touchdown passes in the first half of a 70-6 victory against Football Championship Subdivision school Northwestern State, or one more than Crist threw during his Kansas career, three fewer than Heaps threw for KU.

Cozart also riddled an FCS defense, completing 11 of his first 14 passes against Southeast Missouri State. He completed just one of 10 the rest of the way in that game and 11 for 27 against Duke, which means he has completed 12 of 37 after cooling off from his hot start. The KU QB curse lives.


Eliott Reeder 5 years, 9 months ago

It's gotta be considered "The Curse of Mark Mangino", because the downfall of KUs quarterbacks, including Reesing's final half-year, coincides perfectly with the beginning of Lew Perkin's witch hunt of the old Bear. But the depressing part of this article is this interesting question it poses: Would Seth Russel have ever thrown five touchdowns in the first half if he's a third-year sophomore starter at Kansas? That's the real question. We can talk about recruiting and talent and lament the curse of KU's quarterbacks all day, but the problems here run much deeper than that.

Austin Lopez 5 years, 9 months ago

I don't think its fair to already label this guy a bust and we aren't even half way through the season. Let the guy finish his season before you start talking about who will be behind center next year for Kansas. Wonder what you going say if he come out next week and throw for 400 something yards, so let him finish his season before judging and he is just a sophomore, so let him grow and get better, football isn't a easy sport if it was easy everyone would do it.

Micky Baker 5 years, 9 months ago

It isn't likely that Cozart is going to throw for 400 yards, and that isn't what is expected of him. Decision making is expected. Don't lock onto one guy. If the opponent leaves a guy wide open, take it. If they aren't going to cover the QB at all in the stretch-option, run it.

Cozart would be a huge lift for this team if he threw for 200 to 250 yards on 30 attempts with two TD passes, 1 INT per game by simply taking what the defense gives him. Of course, if he takes what the defense gives, then the defense can't put 8 in the box any more and spreading out the offense actually works. I don't know what they're working on right now, and I hope it's working on just taking what the defense gives. Duke defense didn't stay at home at all on Saturday. I think Reagan needs to be up in the booth so he can see these opportunities, or someone needs to be up there telling Reagan about them.

It doesn't help when they run the classic option to the short side of the field. Run it to the wide side of the field and run the defense from side to side a lot to wear them down. Fake the option from time to time and give it to a 2nd back field on a misdirection type play because the defenses we've played so far haven't covered the back side. There is so much potential that isn't being unlocked for some reason. Weis needs to take a week off from being involved in the offensive game plane.

Micky Baker 5 years, 9 months ago

It doesn't even have to be two TD passes a game, but one rushing TD a game and one passing TD per game, even if there is one INT per game. Cozart has opportunities that he didn't take. He needs to go through his progressions. If Cozart made the right decisions, it would slow the defenses down and we wouldn't be in 3rd and long situations nearly as often. If we have a 3rd and 2, and the defense loads the box, then guess what? Or fake the option, and then jump pass to the TE sneaking out or a running back leaking out 3 yards past the line of scrimmage. These plays in are in the playbook. They need to be unlocked.

Aaron Paisley 5 years, 9 months ago

Decision making and instincts are not learned skills, you either have them or you don't. Cozart does not have them as a QB.

Jonathan Allison 5 years, 9 months ago

Decision making is all about learning. Not just in sports but in all aspects of life. Nobody is born wise. Wisdom comes from experience. And a person can learn from their own experiences or the quicker study can learn from others' experiences.

Cozart should with the right attitude and proper coaching improve his decision making as he gains experience. He should learn from mistakes and opportunities lost if he is studying his play and if he is receiving good coaching.

Insticts obviously, by definition, are not learned. But I think don't think that we've seen enough of Cozart to say that he lacks instinct. He has shown flashes last year and in the first two games this year of good instincts. He is able to avoid pressure, keep his eyes downfield, and seems to know when to throw the ball away to avoid the sack, even if the player is coming at his blind side.

He needs to improve his decision making as it regards to making his reads and targeting the right receiver. He needs to improve his decision making as it regards when to tuck the football and scramble for yards, and he needs to improve his accuracy which has nothing to do with decision making or instinct and is absolutely a skill that can be developed.

He didn't look good on Saturday for certain, but the jury is still out in my opinion.

Doug Cramer 5 years, 9 months ago

Hey Aaron - are you still predicting 25 TDs for Cozart ??? maybe it was 20 ? and how many yards total by the end of the season ? :)

I gotta give you some crap man for all the discussions we've had about our QB and D-line situation.

Micky Baker 5 years, 9 months ago

Of course decision making is learned, at least wise decision making is learned.

Walter Bridges 5 years, 9 months ago

Not sure I agree Aaron. Instincts are one thing but decision making must come from experience. It's not about making decisions quickly but making them correctly.

Mark Lindrud 5 years, 9 months ago

I would agree let's see how Cozart does this season because he still needs to grow, but Cummings should not be the 2nd QB. He couldn't hit the Pacific Ocean while standing on the California beach. I would like to see what TJ can do if we really need a QB change this season.

Savion Havon 5 years, 9 months ago

Now what games have you watched to support that statement. Even at duke if Avery would have ran the wheel route he had a walk in touch down

Mark Lindrud 5 years, 9 months ago

I am not sure which part of my statement you are referring to, but Cozart being the starter will get more time, and maybe he will show us something down the road this season, but the jury is still out, and I would be very happy if next week he learned from his mistakes and looked under control, followed his reads and was more sure of himself more than anything. If you are referring to my comment about Cummings, his accuracy is just plain awful.

Kevin Kelly 5 years, 9 months ago

Man all this negativity is really getting to me, Tom. I have to ask, do you think its necessary? Couldn't you write a column about the power of positive thinking?

Bryce Landon 5 years, 9 months ago

How many games did positive thinking win us under Turner "Word-of-the-Week" Gill?

John Thomas 5 years, 9 months ago

It's working at Liberty...2 straight conference co-championships...and currently top 25 national ranking.....somebody BELIEVED

Chandler Accipiter 5 years, 9 months ago

Read Tait and the last two years (up until last Saturday of course) of everything football related on this site!

Mark Lindrud 5 years, 9 months ago


Kevin Kelly 5 years, 9 months ago

Gentlemen that was sarcasm because up to the kickoff of the season Keegan was acting like he didn't understand where all the negativity came from. He wrote a ridiculous column that needs to be called out throughout the year. Things are the way they are because of the actions of those in the department. My feelings have no effect on the field. My comments do not cause things to be worse.

Cameron Cederlind 5 years, 9 months ago

Could also be that we have an extremely weak offensive line and lost our top 2 running backs who would have been blocking for him as well. Lets not put it all on the QB, even though it is an issue.

Mark Lindrud 5 years, 9 months ago

It is possible that Reagan needs to focus on plays in the playbook to provide Cozart more confidence in himself, and now with 2 games he can see what plays work best for Cozart and maybe simplify the playbook for him. I know this does not sound great or like I mean to dumb down the offense, but right now giving Cozart success is key. Reagan may need to pull back a little and then once success is consistent move ahead.

Micky Baker 5 years, 9 months ago

"Keep it simple stupid." Vince Lombardi

Walter Bridges 5 years, 9 months ago

Vince must have picked that up from the Navy...

Gerry Butler 5 years, 9 months ago

have to say, have to agree Eliott ALOT and Austin you can try sugar coating the QB situation all you want, but bottom line the kid is in no way a D-1 major college quarterback. for us to try and cover it up, make excuses hell you can continue to make excuses all year for one reason or another bottom line we DO NOT have a QB. and like another post stated I along with several others lets see what TJ could do. hell WHY NOT TJ? can't make it any worse then it all ready is, Cummings is definitely not the answer so why not? but like Eliott said the problem goes much deeper then the QB. it runs through the entire team, the system. offense, defense, everything think the blame can be spread evenly throughout entire program coaches and players. I don't EVER remember this program being this low, I'm a 60 yr ol guy seen some bad yrs, some bad teams but really bad now. like some others that have talked with me said not sure where our next win will come from this yr, IF we do. you know people say Weis needs to go, and to a lot of that I say yes he should, BUT the only thing is how are we ever going to get any kind of continuity if we keep changing coaches every 3 or 4 yrs? loaded question I know, but hell MAYBE we need to make a clean sweep ALL coaching staff, EVERYONE total someone give support, some defense to why not you tell me our defense is better? REALLY? SERIOUSLY? if southeast mo scores 28 duke 41, can't imagine what Baylor, K-State ,Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas will do. and a lot of this demise has to do with the hiring of Turner Gill OMG what a huge mistake any ways just got to try and stay positive as much as possible GO HAWKS

Layne Pierce 5 years, 9 months ago

One thing we don't want to do is buy into the QB is the problem. QB is a problem, but not the problem. The things I have a right as a fan to expect are: 1. An overall strategy for how we are going to win games, and tactics that reflect our strengths and our opponents weaknesses. I am not seeing that. If pro-plays don't work, then you go to something we can do, if we can do anything. Secondly, we have a right to expect all out effort from anybody who steps onto the field with a KU uniform on. If we had those things, more fans would come and stay, and wins would come, and most importantly we would not be ashamed of what we call our football program.

When Glen Mason came, KU was perhaps even worse than it is now, but the one thing you noticed right off the bat was attention to details, a no-buts accountability, and even inferior players busting their butts on every play.

Right now we give the impression of inattention to detail, and lackadaisical effort.
And that I think we can all agree is unacceptable.

Gary Denning 5 years, 9 months ago

I agree with the comments above that the biggest issue is coaching. Our recruiting, year by year, is about as good as KSU's, but our results are far different.

Robert Brock 5 years, 9 months ago

I don't believe that KU's recruiting is anywhere near as good as K-State's. And it shows...

Micky Baker 5 years, 9 months ago

Actually, KU's recruiting beats K-State's by miles. We have way more talent than K-State has, but what we don't have is a head coach capable of tapping it. It's not to say Weis can't do it, but it's a matter if he has the will to do it.

Adam Tyler 5 years, 9 months ago

How are we more talented? That is an unbelievably outrageous statement.

Because our guys had more imaginary stars next to their names thanks to a few recruiting sites?

Its definitely not on-field results, which is what really matters.

Walter Bridges 5 years, 9 months ago

Can you back that up with a source or is that just an opinion?

Lucas Town 5 years, 9 months ago

2009 KSU 17-10, 2010 KSU 59-7, 2011 KSU 59-21, 2012 KSU 56-16, 2013 KSU 31-10, I only see one game here where we might have been more talented. I suppose all KU fans can take comfort in knowing the more talented team rarely wins in this rivalry. I stopped reading into the recruiting rankings long ago. It is nice to get to know some of the incoming players early, but we are splitting hairs with all the 2 and 3 star guys each school recruits. It's all about coaching players up. Snyder can make a 2 star guy play like a 5 star guy by the time he is a senior. Just my opinion.

Bob Bailey 5 years, 9 months ago

Not cursed at QB, cursed at QB coaching.

Seems the QB coach has been here 2+ yrs, about the same as the problem. Change Zenger, DC, and QB coach now. You'll see improvement this year.

Doug Roberts 5 years, 9 months ago

What do underperforming Crist, Heaps, Cummings, and Cozart have in common?

Ron Powlus.

Micky Baker 5 years, 9 months ago

Yes, that is true, but so many want to get on the bandwagon that "he isn't Reesing". Nobody thought Reesing was that great including these fans until he started in 2007. Not very many people predicted that season, and they wouldn't if they had to do it all over again. They're arm chair QBs playing, "I told you so". When they do that, it's usually a revelation of what their agenda is.

Doug Cramer 5 years, 9 months ago

The Perkin's Dagger. When will we get past it ? It won't be with Weis.

The key is to build the trenches, both offensively and defensively. We can have all the skill position studs in the world. But if we can't win in the trenches, we won't win games...period !

Lets get a coach that will get some lineman talent into the program...and develop it season upon season. No JUCO bandaids...because we know that doesn't work.

Chandler Accipiter 5 years, 9 months ago

If only there was some kind of way you could ask Weis all these questions surrounding the program. I mean those Tuesday press conferences are for jokes, laughing, and for reporters to ask about Tom Brady. Aren't they, or am I just listening to them wrong?

Doug Cramer 5 years, 9 months ago

I've said the same thing Chandler. He spends more time jacking around with the media...then focusing on the details that will give his team the best chances at winning.

Weis loves the spot light...which is why he loves the 2 months leading up to the season. It's all media attention, with a 0-0 record.

Thats what I loved about guys like Mangino and Snyder...they don't give a flip about showing off in front of the media. Their focus is HIGHLY concentrated on completing tasks that allowed his team to succeed as best as they could.

Steven Swaggerty 5 years, 9 months ago

Couldn't have ANYTHING to do with the Athletes that are being RECRUITED at the QB position, COULD it?

Micky Baker 5 years, 9 months ago

Here's another idea.

Watch film of the opponents. You don't have to go very far from the barracks to the film room. I do realize that there is homework from class and practice, but let's add up the time. Let's say they're taking 12 credit hours, which is 4 classes for the semester. Those classes may all be on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday and the classes are probably at most 90 minutes each.

In a seven day week, there are 168 hours. The team can have organized practice for only 20 hours per week which can be mandated by the coaching staff. That may include on the field work-outs, weight room, film room, etc. Now you have 148 hours. You can sleep for another 56 hours. That leaves 92 hours left. Classes take up 13.5 hours leaving 78.5 hours. You can have 30 hours of study time per week which leaves 48.5 hours. They each need between 30 minutes and an hour to go to the cafeteria to eat (1 hour for this exercise). It's those 33.5 hours where the players can go into the film room voluntarily and study the opponents and themselves to see the opportunities that they missed. The probably only need 5 or 6 hours in the film-room for the whole week which still leaves 27.5 hours for themselves, their girl friends, their friends, and to just enjoy themselves.

Time management is like economics, and time is one of the limited resources. You can't get it back if you waste it. Priorities are important. This is a test of the character of this team. We'll see what happens. If Weis isn't a good enough leader to get the players to do some of these things voluntarily, then the cord needs to be cut no later than the end of this season.

Mark Lindrud 5 years, 9 months ago

They do watch film of the opponents. Every school does. You have a separate film room to do just that. It is called, the film room. It is possible that their films have French subtitles though.

Micky Baker 5 years, 9 months ago

Mark, I know they do, but how much film are they watching? If you would have read the post you would know that I know that. They can do more of it than what is required by the coaching staff on a volunteer basis if they want to. How hard are they going to work this and every week the rest of the season?

Mark Lindrud 5 years, 9 months ago

Well, the Captain America Blu Ray just came out, that is about 2 hours right there!

Danny Hernandez 5 years, 9 months ago

There are many posters that love Mangino and I've said this before, how much of a difference did Todd Reesing make? How would Mangino have looked in the eyes of the Kansas posters that seem to slob the knob of Mangino if Todd hadn't been the QB? If Kansas had a qb equal to Todd right now, Weiss would look like a savior to us. QB's make or break coaches....take if for what it's worth but Mangino isn't what some posters make him out to be.

Richard Duran 5 years, 9 months ago

If Glen Mason could win 10 games with lightly regarded Chip Hileary and Mangino can win a BCS bowl with Reesing, why can't a brilliant offensive mind like Charlie Tuna win with a gifted athlete like Cozart? If mason can get All-Pros and a PACKERS hall of famer like Stubblefield and Gilbert Brown why can't Charlie Tuna? Mason's program wasn't much better than we are now and he got superior talent, witness June Henley, LT Levine, why can't Charlie Tuna recruit? The facilities in those days were awful. Remember when we had to rent lights to play night games? Charlie Tuna was a mistake. We should have pursued an up an comer like AL Golden or Larry Fedora. We'll be paying for Gil and Weiss for a looooooong time.

Brian Wilson 5 years, 9 months ago

Sometimes I believe we don't win from arrogance. From what little coaching I have done, most coaches are arrogant about their system, their plays, the way they evaluate talent. And, in the end their inability to recognize what's working and what's not. Last week 1st qtr, we rammed the ball up the middle consecutively for 6 yards and 7 yards, but failed to recognize our success and decided to start passing instead. Then when we run screen passes we float the ball instead of zipping and either risk interception, get it batted away, or we complete it for 1 yard. And instead of going back to the run we continue to run unsuccessful screens. If you can't zip the ball over to the receiver fast enough to turn up field and be successful stop running the play. If Cowart can't be decisive and put some speed on it then find a QB that can. BUT.....My guess is, if you tell him to put some zip on it and to just go for it he'd do it. I think he is young and scared of making mistakes. He needs to just play. Also, when you get 20 yards on a quarterback draw you should run that play again! Why didn't we try that play again! Wwhat I can say is that from watching the last game, why can't they just stick to what seems to be working and go with the players that seem to be somehow getting the job done. Stop trying to force square pegs in round holes.

Kevin Kelly 5 years, 9 months ago

"Sometimes I believe we don't win from arrogance." Oh yeah???? Well.....Tom Brady.

Dan Spurgin 5 years, 9 months ago




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