Monday, September 19, 2016


Tom Keegan: Two sets of numbers tell tale of Montell Cozart

Memphis defensive lineman Michael Edwards (95) recovers a Kansas quarterback Montell Cozart (2) fumble during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tenn.

Memphis defensive lineman Michael Edwards (95) recovers a Kansas quarterback Montell Cozart (2) fumble during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tenn.


If limited to three numbers for a statistical evaluation of quarterbacks, I prefer yards per attempt, touchdowns and interceptions. Those three statistics tell two distinctly different stories about Kansas quarterback Montell Cozart, a fourth-year junior.

One is a happy story, the other a sad tale.

First, the uplifting one: In three games vs. Football Championship Subdivision schools, Southeast Missouri State, South Dakota State and Rhode Island, Cozart has averaged 7.9 yards per pass attempt, thrown seven touchdown passes and two interceptions.

In 17 games, some as a starter, some as a reliever, vs. Football Bowl Subdivision competition, Cozart has averaged 5.3 yards per attempt, thrown five touchdown passes and 11 interceptions.

That disparity illustrates that when leading a team that is equal or better than the opponent in terms of speed and size, Cozart generally does a nice job of throwing and securing the ball, although his failure to execute a spike killed KU’s shot at defeating South Dakota State in the 2015 season-opener.

Another way of looking at the numbers shows that Cozart has thrown a touchdown pass every 12.4 attempts vs. FCS schools, one every 56 attempts vs. the FBS. He has thrown an interception every 43.5 passes vs. FCS, one every 25.4 passes vs. FBS competition.

Since Kansas plays 11 times as many FBS schools as FCS, the relevant numbers are five touchdown passes, 11 interceptions and 5.3 yards per attempt.

Obviously, the in-game juggling of quarterbacks hasn’t worked, so look for Beaty to decide on one quarterback throughout the Texas Tech game, barring injury.

We’ll never know if Cozart would have had a better day vs. Memphis had Beaty ridden with him the whole game, but since he didn’t and Cozart had a very rough day, Beaty likely will turn to Ryan Willis in the nationally televised game one week from Thursday. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that if Carter Stanley has more impressive practices between now and then, Beaty could hand the ball to the redshirt freshman from Vero Beach, Fla., to shock Texas Tech, but Willis likely is next in line.

Every quarterback embraces the opportunity to face Texas Tech, which ranks 122nd of 128 FBS schools in pass defense, allowing 324.7 per game, and ranks 120th in scoring defense (43.3). Then again, every defense dreads the Red Raiders, who rank No. 1 in the nation in scoring (61 points per game) and passing yards (547.7).

Time to see how Willis does as a gunslinger.


Edward Daub 3 years, 1 month ago

As Marv Levy once said , "if you listen to the fans, some day you will be sitting next to them"!

However, maybe it is okay to listen to the sports writer(s)? We have another week to prepare for Texas Tech, a true "litmus" test for the Big12 season!

This Game will decide If I want to go Live to Morgantown on Nov. 5!

The short term solutions appear to be :

  1. Promote Rob Likens back to Offensive Coordinator
  2. Establish Ryan Willis as "The" Quarterback
  3. Move Montell Cozart to Slot Receiver

Jim Stauffer 3 years, 1 month ago

Cozart has probably proven he is not the QB for this team. But these conversations of moving him to WR are the most ridiculous I have ever heard. This has been going on for a couple of years now and no one can name a WR who currently plays for us he could supplant.

Keep him in the QB group. Allow him to help in any way he can. His knowledge is valuable for those who will take his place on the field.

Brett McCabe 3 years, 1 month ago

Jim, there is certainly no evidence that Cozart would be an effective WR.

For me, the argument for moving Cozart out of the position group is to remove distraction. I'm amazed how much Beaty has gotten into the head of Willis and, even if he is named the starter, having Cozart-in-waiting may slow down Willis's development.

Beaty had a returning starter at QB. He very publicly and specifically went another direction, even though there was no in-game evidence to support doing it. Now? We've got a mess, so it may take extreme actions to fix it, and one of these actions might be to move Montell to a different position group.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 1 month ago

Cozart was the starter at the beginning of last year until he was injured, and had better stats than Willis, so there was indeed as much in-game evidence that he was a starter. The evidence is some what debatable as shown by TK's analysis (Is that an oxymoron? :-)) I wonder how much the stats change if only considering the last 2 years. Guessing not enough to make a difference, though 3 years should produce a lot of growth. Should.

The conundrum appears to have come from Willis not being the leader Coach Beaty expects from his QB during the offseason. It would be interesting to see who steps up and how much in a leadership void.

I do appreciate your "remove distraction" comment.

Chris Bailey 3 years, 1 month ago

How many times are we gonna have this conversation? Cozart wasn't, isn't and never has been a starting quarterback at this level. I've said it the entire time he's been here. He's terrible! Let's stop having this debate!

Dirk Medema 3 years, 1 month ago

"no one can name a WR who currently plays for us he could supplant" because no one has seen him play WR or any other position. He's athletic and deserves a chance to play somewhere - other than QB.

Kevin Robert Fest 3 years, 1 month ago

TThethumbers don't tell another story how many dropped passes are receivers are having every game. Somehow our receivers can make the one-handed twisting acrobatic catch but have such a hard time catching the ball that's thrown right to them and hit them in the hands. How many times do we need 6 yards on third down in our receivers run a four-yard route only to be tackled as soon as they catch the ball. Too many dropped balls at the untimely moment killing a drive somehow these players need to learn how to catch something that's thrown right to them they have speed for days sometimes tey need to learn how to use their hands

David Kemp 3 years, 1 month ago

One thing is for certain the defensive backs have no trouble catching cozaart S passes

Robert Brock 3 years, 1 month ago

Cozart should be the starting quarterback...for the Washburn Ichabods.

Pius Waldman 3 years, 1 month ago

Seems like you have to be enrolled to even be eligible. So maybe your suggestion isn't worthy. Lets hope Cozart learns from his mistakes and he helps the team become better.

Kerry Davis 3 years, 1 month ago

Based on lots of evidence, the only thing that Cozart seems to learn from his mistakes is how to do it again and more often. No thanks.

Andy Tweedy 3 years, 1 month ago

When I read this article about how well he performs against mediocre to bad competition, I couldn't help but think that's what the coaches are seeing at practice. And I'm not even really saying our own defense is mediocre to bad, but we all know he's not seeing the type of pressure, etc in practice that he's seeing in real games against quality competition. So it seems to me the coaches are putting way to much emphasis on practice and should have, by now, seen the results in games that matter...and the results aren't good.

Bruce Bertsch 3 years, 1 month ago

With Beaty's "Earn it" mantra what you get are great practice players who may or may not cut it in a game situation, see Cozart, Montell. The idea should be to look at the tape and put the best 11 on the field. There is more than enough tape of both QB's to make a choice. A team that has two QB's has no QB.

John Fitzgerald 3 years, 1 month ago

I don't think either QB has looked very good, but I have Willis with a slight edge and a lot more potential. I remember thinking when Michael Cummings started that our program was at an all time low. He was hardly talked about as a great practice guy or the lead guy for the starting job. Then bam, the dude killed it. I mean, he wasn't perfect, and we still didn't win, but he's been the best QB we've had since Reesing. It actually looked like we had an offense that could move the ball. I haven't seen that with Cozart or Willis. Is Stanley that guy? Who knows, but we need an answer ASAP. And that answer needs to stay the QB throughout the rest of the year.

Glen Miller 3 years, 1 month ago

Cozart is a hell of an athlete, but not a Division 1 starting QB. I can't believe that every year, nobody on our roster can unseat him as the starter to begin the season. This tells more about our lack of depth at QB than anything else you can write about.... I am glad he doesn't give up and strives to be our starter, but let's be honest..... it's time to move away from the 3 year experiment of Cozart at QB. He shows out against Division 2 teams and gets devoured by the FBS teams, even the ones that aren't all that great. I'd like to see what Stanley can do, or at least let Willis play without the worry of being yanked.

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