Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Column: Wide receivers aren’t problem for KU

A somber bench of Kansas receivers including Nick Harwell (8) lament the 41-3 loss to Duke with minutes remaining during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2013 at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina.

A somber bench of Kansas receivers including Nick Harwell (8) lament the 41-3 loss to Duke with minutes remaining during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2013 at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina.


When he putts, he can’t drive the ball straight. When he has a solid ball-striking day, he can’t find the hole. Why? Because he’s a bad golfer.

When they hit, they can’t pitch. When they’re mowing them down, they couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat. Why? Because it’s a bad baseball team.

When the quarterback has time to throw, the receivers can’t get open. When the receivers break free, the QB doesn’t see them. Why? Because it’s a bad football team.

It doesn’t really matter why things keep going awry, just that they do. And when bad things keep happening to the same team, year after year, the problem isn’t what happens, it’s why it keeps happening.

In college athletics, where the coach also wears the general manager’s cap, the answer always leads to his desk. That’s why Charlie Weis is on the ropes, needing a victory Saturday at home against Central Michigan as desperately as Bruce Jenner needs to stop seeing his plastic surgeon.

And if the Chippewas prevail, the KU wide receivers won’t likely be at fault.

Local golfer Ed Oblon, a solid player whose glaring flaw is that he finishes his swing about as well as Kansas finished its game against Southeast Missouri State, asked the smartest question that I heard on a golf course all summer. And no, it wasn’t, “Which way does this putt break?” That would be the dumbest question.

“Will the offense be better?” Oblon asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“Why?” Ed asked.

“For one thing,” I said, “the receivers will be a lot better.”

Game, set, match to Oblon with this follow-up: “Do they have anyone who can get them the ball?”

I still maintain the receivers are much better and so, too, it seems, do the coaches.

Tony Pierson caught two passes for 17 yards, Nick Harwell two passes for nine yards and Justin McCay two for eight yards in Saturday’s 41-3 loss at Duke.

“Montell (Cozart) shut down Harwell,” Weis said in response to what Duke did defensively. “Duke’s defense didn’t shut down Harwell.”


Cozart repeatedly didn’t see Harwell and Pierson open.

“It’s not a question of whether they were open. He’s now seen them open,” Weis said, meaning on video. “You were at the game. You saw ... Tony is standing there in the flat without anyone within 15 yards of him. I mean, Tony can’t get any more open than that.”

True again.

Weis said he would grade receivers and tight ends “incomplete” for Saturday’s game.

“It would be tough for me to be critical of those guys because there wasn’t enough action going their way,” Weis said. “... Justin McCay, he had a really good game. Now, you don’t always see it by production, OK, but he had a really good game.”

Said offensive coordinator John Reagan: “I think our receivers have done a good job. I really do. It’s not necessarily the greatest thing in the world when the best thing you’re saying about them is that they had a great day blocking, but at the same time, I think they have done a very good job.

“I wouldn’t limit it to just Nick and Tony. I think there are other guys out there. Justin McCay had a great game. For the most part, I think guys were where we expected them to be. And I think I’ve got to put us in better situations to have Montell get them the ball.”

Noble attempt, but the fact is the right plays were called to result in open receivers.

The ball just didn’t get there.


Danny Hernandez 7 years, 4 months ago

Cozart has to know the plays well enough to know where his wide receivers are on the field and where to look. Call it nerves or lack of confidence or lack of experience or all three but if Cozart doesn't overcome these, Kansas can't win.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 4 months ago

Column: Make or break — CMU game could seal Weis’ fate

Why should it? He is a hard working coach .

Let Charlie Weis finish out his contract. If he is dissatisfied perhaps he will resign.

All of this BS talk of firing the coach will do nothing for the team sprit. It is my assertion that this kind of conversation is more worthless than a 3 dollar bill.

Golden parachutes are a perfect example of reckless and irresponsible spending. In the future hire coaches on two year contracts minus golden parachutes. Then get irresponsible.

Perhaps none of this is the fault of Charlie Weis…..

As one LJW commenter has stated we in Lawrence have watched the local big spenders accomplish nothing for KU football through the flaunting of their wealth. While at the same time removing themselves from the fans by way of "Skybox Seating".

Local arrogance is getting KU football nowhere.

Had KU basketball development been left to the local elite it too would be in the tank !!!

Don't blame the coaches. It goes deeper obviously. Instead go to watch a football game and enjoy yourselves . Life will go on.

Clarence Haynes 7 years, 4 months ago

We've heard enough about Cozart's transgressions! Let the young man play against CMU and the result will speak for itself! Piling on IMO just doesn't help anyone's psyche at this juncture.

Chandler Accipiter 7 years, 4 months ago

Wasn't it McCay who missed downing that punt at the one? Did that factor in his "great" evaluation?

Micky Baker 7 years, 4 months ago

It wasn't McKay. McKay is the guy that kept the ball in play so it could be downed.

John Myers 7 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, it was Tevin Shaw making some stupid sliding dive at the ball that was just pretty much sitting there - actually I think it may have actually been moving further into the field of play. Any one of the guys could have just walked up to it and downed it. Completely boneheaded move.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 4 months ago

The ball was moving very fast and the players were also moving very fast in the opposite direction. The players instict was to fall on the loose ball, but the speed with which the play unfolded left him with not enough reaction time to secure the ball and it bounced off him back into the end zone. Had he missed it it likely would have been stopped between the 5 and 10 yard line (probably closer to the 10) which is still a good special teams play. I can't fault anyone for that play, it was almost an excellent special teams play, but it likely wouldn't have turned the tide in KU's favor.

Micky Baker 7 years, 4 months ago

The ball wasn't moving very fast until after Shaw made it move very fast, right into the endzone.

John Myers 7 years, 4 months ago

I just went back and watched the replay on ESPN3. McCay made a great play to knock the ball back and keep it in play. Jake Love was approaching at a very manageable speed and you could even see him starting to reach for the ball, and Shaw came flying in from the side like a maniac and knocked it into the endzone. You can even see Love after the play holding his arms out like "What the &%??" - his reaction is actually kind of funny.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 4 months ago

even Spiderman would have had a hard time controlling that ball at the 1 or 2 yard line.

Doug Roberts 7 years, 4 months ago

If Spiderman was playing for K-State he would have controlled that ball. They value and coach special teams.

Chandler Accipiter 7 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for all the clarification. That's what I get for being so negative. To McCay's credit I thought it was him because he is always around the ball on special teams. I guess even if it would have been downed it probably would have just been 19 more yards for Wilson's rushing total.

John Myers 7 years, 4 months ago

Chandler - you're exactly right, and McCay is actually the one that saved it from going into the endzone originally, before Shaw dorked up the play. Check my post above.

Robert Brock 7 years, 4 months ago

This is a bad football team. We may beat Central Michigan but go oh-fer in the Big 12. If that happens, Zenger will have to make a tough decision. He should also consider his own resignation for the good of the university.

Micky Baker 7 years, 4 months ago

Zenger should be all over Weis right now, and he may be behind the scenes. We'll see if Zenger has that kind of moxie. Weis needs to get out of game planning the offense altogether and let Reagan make these decisions. If Reagan is the OC, then Reagan needs to be allowed to get into Powlus' grill and tell him that this is a different offense and this is how it's going to be ran.

Micky Baker 7 years, 4 months ago

If they were wide open and Cozart didn't see them, it's because Cozart didn't look their way and locked onto a target. He didn't go through his progressions, and if they bring a D-back on pressure, that's where you throw it. You throw it right over the top of head to the guy that D-back is supposed to cover.

The camera angles in the game didn't really show these wide receivers wide open, but I have to think that it's true. Take what the defense gives. If they're going to let Pierson wide open, GET HIM THE DAMN BALL! It should be an immediate decision to throw to him if his defender comes in. Not only that, if they bring that pressure and the play is a stretch option and that is Cozart's direction, then RUN IT THAT DIRECTION. Don't lock onto one guy. There has to be some coaching on calling a hot read. You don't need any time for that play to be made. In a hot read, you drop back and just throw it to the hot read wideout. The other receiver on that side doesn't even go out on his route, he blocks his defender and keeps contact throughout it and the ball carrier reads that block. These are things that every other team does. You gotta be able to stand in the pocket for half a second and throw the ball. You burn the defense a few times doing that for big plays or long scores, the whole thing becomes easier. They have to stay at home, the linebackers don't automatically crowd the line, and the running game is set up. It can happen in reverse too. If the running game is beating them and they start to bring guys from the edge, check off the play to a hot read just with eye contact with a receiver before the snap. The QB is in a position to see these guys coming. In many cases, if they start coming right at the snap and you're in the shot gun, you don't even need to drop back. Just take the snap, throw it to the hot read, and boom, you got Pierson or Harwell in open space scoring a TD. You have to make them defend everybody on the field.

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 4 months ago

Man, I like these WRs...Having their competence (Harwell, King) on the team elevates the joe-average WRs, too. But we cant get these guys the ball. And why didnt we even let Cummings attempt a pass? I recall Cummings fit a pass into Mundine in tight coverage last year, and also threw a TD to a WR for a then-meaningless TD in a losing effort, but still he had touch on the ball.

Not necessarily bagging on Cozart, as he showed a nice touch on the endzone-fade-route TD in the season opener--so I know he has this touch. Just keep putting in time with the WRs. Get on the same page. In a spread offense, the whole system depends on it.

Finally: FIX the option-read QB-to-RB handoff...taking too long, giving the opposing D an extra half second to get closer to the ball, regardless of who keeps the ball (RB or QB). Got a chance to beat CMU, and a possibility to beat Texas at home, but we have to get better. The game vs Duke played out NO differently than all of last season. The "new" weapons are the WRs (&Cozart...), and dear Montell needs to realize how important he is. Gotta tighten up his deep accuracy!!

Bob Bailey 7 years, 4 months ago

There are 2 other QB's. Why give Cozart another chance?? Milweard had some training elsewhere. Maybe Powlus hasn't goofed him up yet.

John Myers 7 years, 4 months ago

Because he's played in what, 5 college games EVER? You can't quit on a kid that fast.

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 4 months ago

Pierson + Harwell + King + RBs, and possibly add Mundine...and we have some true, legit weapons. Montell and his Oline simply have to allow the weapons to shine.

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