Monday, September 7, 2020

Les Miles: KU could use 2 QBs instead of picking 1 starter after all

Kansas quarterback Thomas MacVittie throws during football practice on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 within the new indoor practice facility.

Kansas quarterback Thomas MacVittie throws during football practice on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 within the new indoor practice facility.


The Kansas football team’s quarterback competition could carry over into actual games instead of reaching a conclusion during this week’s practices.

Backtracking from what he said less than a week ago on the matter, head coach Les Miles stated during his Monday video press conference that “there’s a good possibility” both of KU’s top two QBs could play in the Jayhawks’ season opener Saturday versus Coastal Carolina.

Just five days earlier, when asked about the likelihood of KU using more than one quarterback, Miles said, “I think the advantage would be with the guy that we put on the field and kind of stay that way.”

Whether Miles’ new stance on the battle between senior Thomas MacVittie and junior Miles Kendrick — both were listed as a possible starter on the team’s first published depth chart Monday — is gamesmanship or reality remains to be seen.


Nick Krug

Blue team quarterback Miles Kendrick throws during Late Night Under the Lights on Saturday, April, 13, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.

If KU really does play both Kendrick and MacVittie in the team’s debut, Miles said the decision on how to rotate them in and out would probably come possession by possession.

“If we substitute it’s not necessarily representative of quality of play or lack of quality of play,” the coach said, remaining intentionally vague on the strategy. “It’s always been smart not to just talk off the cuff.”

As the QB competition possibly extends past its expected target date for completion and continues into the regular season, Miles thinks both MacVittie and Kendrick are “in position to play and play well.”

Neither of the top two QBs on the roster have ever started an FBS game.

“Let’s see how they perform before we judge them,” Miles said.

MacVittie didn’t take in-game snaps at QB for KU in 2019, rather lining up at receiver on a couple of occasions. His one pass attempt, on a failed trick play at Oklahoma State, got intercepted.

Kendrick didn’t play in any games for the Jayhawks in 2019, after making four appearances as a backup in 2018, when he completed 11 of 19 passes for 100 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions.


Dale Rogers 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Benton, any idea when the schedule on kusports will be updated? It still shows last season. Thanks.

Dirk Medema 2 weeks, 1 day ago

It’s interesting that an identical situation in the past was a basis for criticizing the coach.

Wasn’t criticizing the coach then or now.

Len Shaffer 2 weeks, 1 day ago

That's because in the past we had a coach who didn't have a clue what he was doing. With Les Miles' track record, we can obviously give him the benefit of the doubt.

Mike Hart 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Les Miles' track record was never one of offensive diversity or QB play. They ran the football at LSU and had studs upfront. He was fired from LSU for his antiquated approach to the offense. At KU, He hired Chip Lindsay (short-time offensive coordinator)... who then commented on MacVittie's signing: "We just got better". So MacVittie... who red-shirted at Pitt.. then played in 3 games on punt return team the next year... transferred to Juco, where he completed 53% of his passes and threw 16 TD's with 8 INT's. Then he comes to KU and can't sniff the field last year, as Stanley beat him out. He did throw one pass last year (intercepted). So now it is a competition between two juco signees... Kendrick (Beaty's guy).. and MacVittie (Lindsay/Miles' guy). Two full years of recruiting and Miles has yet to sign a QB who can take the field out of high school. Remember how important this was to everyone? We need HS recruits.. not juco. So in addition to people razzing Beaty for failing to make a decision.. Miles has done the same and has nothing new to show for us at QB. I'm not criticizing.. just comparing and contrasting what Miles has done in getting us solid QB play. The answer is nothing so far. MacVittie was such a gem of a sign.. that as a senior .. he will have yet to land a starting job as a Div 1 football player, if he can't beat out Beaty's juco transfer in Kendrick. Miles' track record is a great excuse to cut him slack ... I guess... but if Kendrick wins the job, he has yet to provide us a starting QB in 2 seasons... or even a potential starting QB being groomed in the program beyond 2020.

Brett McCabe 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Dirk, I think there are still some dudes running around in the Ozarks in Butternut and Grey. You might want to follow them on Twitter.

Dane Pratt 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Who said, if you have two quarterbacks you have none?

Dale Rogers 2 weeks, 1 day ago

So what's the big deal? If both are doing equally well, then the next step is to see which performs best under game pressure. Once one of them rises to the top, that one is the QB from that point forward. This group gets so critical without knowing the reasoning behind decisions. There's a reason they are on the sideline and we are writing comments.

Plus, I'm betting the QB decision will be Dearmon's call. The comments about Miles' difficulties at LSU are known but if you followed him from the time he first signed with KU you know he spent that two years off studying the various offenses around the country to see what works best. When Koenning went with the old style, like Miles used to use, he failed and was fired. Miles is on record that the offense is Dearmon's. Any coach will have input sometimes but it's Dearmon's show to run.

Dale Rogers 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Also, if I recall, the criticism of Beaty's handling of QB's had to do with his substitution pattern in games, not that he used two different QB's. Remember how Beaty would swap quarterbacks within a single drive? Sometimes between downs. Miles prefers to have one QB throughout the season but until he knows for sure which of those two will be best...

Armen Kurdian 2 weeks ago

Gonna be hard this year for me to catch the games, my Saturdays are pretty full. My hope is that all the teams get to play their full schedule. Gonna be a season like no other ever was, and hopefully ever will be.

Micky Baker 2 weeks ago

Here's the thing about this. Kendrick would likely be the dual threat type of the two, but you need to run the same plays with him as you would with the other guy so that there isn't predictability. If Kendrick is able to make plays with his legs, he needs to make the decision to bring the ball down if there is a wide open gap for an easy 6 or 8 yards or more. Just take it, make the defense cover the whole field. MacVittle has the better size and would likely be able to see the whole field better and have fewer balls batted down, but he has to make quick decisions unlike some of the guys in the past that simply decided before the play where he was going to throw it, open or not. First of the progressions that is open, throw it to the open man. It doesn't matter if it's 6 yards vs 25 yards. If you complete the easy passes short, it forces the defense to stay up closer, opening up the longer pass opportunities. These are the things that will likely decide who is going to start, but you can still use both even if one of them is the starter for certain situations. Kendrick with Pookah in the backfield with the option to run, hand it off, or throw it is one example of where that skill set would be beneficial. But when one is the starter, he should be the starter with the other one coming in for certain situations. My bet is MacVittle will be the starter, but we'll see in about 4 days.

Dirk Medema 2 weeks ago

Dale - I personally agree it’s not a big deal now just as it wasn’t previously. Some people here just seem to be more Jekyl-Hyde than sane as is evident by their comments. I think it’s important to differentiate from the Abby Normal commenters so that it doesn’t creep into somehow being acceptable.

I would also suggest that the criticism you mentioned was a criticism not the criticism. It seemed that for some there is only bi-polar thinking, so that everything that was done previously was wrong. No good or shades of grey, regardless of questionably coherent comments about the ozarks.

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