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Ranking Reesing’s successors from No. 1 to No. 9

If Kansas head football coach David Beaty rides the wave Carter Stanely created with an encouraging second-half performance in Morgantown, W.V., and hands him the football Saturday for the 11 p.m. kickoff against Iowa State, Stanley will become the 10th quarterback to start a game for Kansas since Todd Reesing took his skills to the business world.

If Stanley can lead the Jayhawks to an upset of Iowa State, which opened as an 11.5-point favorite, he will move into a four-way tie for first in victories against Big 12 competition during the post-Mark Mangino years.

Here’s how I would rank the post-Reesing starting quarterbacks at Kansas, keeping in mind that the three statistical categories are numbers compiled in games played for the Jayhawks:

Blue Team starting quarterback Michael Cummings his helped off of the field by trainers during the Spring Game on Saturday, April 25, 2015 at Memorial Stadium.

Blue Team starting quarterback Michael Cummings his helped off of the field by trainers during the Spring Game on Saturday, April 25, 2015 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

1 - Michael Cummings: Short and not a very fast runner, Cummings compensated for his shortcomings with smarts, toughness, decisiveness and leadership ability. In his first game in place of fired Charlie Weis, interim head coach Clint Bowen turned to Cummings at halftime in Morgantown, W.V., and kept him in place for the rest of the season. Cummings didn’t always make the right decision, but his lack of hesitation injected the offense with missing peppiness. He led KU to a 34-14 victory against Iowa State, throwing for 278 yards and a touchdown. His career ended in the spring exhibition of 2016 when in the heat of battle, a teammate tackled him, a no-no for a QB wearing a red jersey, and blew out his ACL. The one chance at a happy Kansas QB story for this decade ended sadly.
Yards per attempt: 6.5.
Touchdowns: 13.
Interceptions: 10.

Missouri's Kenji Jackson sacks Kansas quarterback Jordan Webb in the fourth quarter of the Border War on  Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium.

Missouri's Kenji Jackson sacks Kansas quarterback Jordan Webb in the fourth quarter of the Border War on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium. by Kevin Anderson

2 - Jordan Webb: He wasn’t big or fast or exceptionally accurate, but he was extremely tough. Took so many punishing hits and kept getting back on his feet. Including 38 times in his one season at Colorado, Webb was sacked 90 times during his three seasons as a college quarterback.
Yards per attempt: 6.2.
Touchdowns: 20.
Interceptions: 20.

Kansas quarterback Quinn Mecham is driven to the turf on a sack by Oklahoma State defensive end Jamie Blatnick (50) during the third quarter, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010 at Kivisto Field. Also assisting on the stop is OSU safety Markelle Martin.

Kansas quarterback Quinn Mecham is driven to the turf on a sack by Oklahoma State defensive end Jamie Blatnick (50) during the third quarter, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010 at Kivisto Field. Also assisting on the stop is OSU safety Markelle Martin. by Nick Krug

3 - Quinn Mecham: The most accurate passer on this list, but also had the weakest arm. It didn’t take defenses long to figure that out and once they did, he returned to the bench. Also lacked mobility. Still, he is only one of three post-Reesing field generals to lead Jayhawks to victory in a Big 12 game. Completed 23 of 28 passes for 252 yards in 52-45 comeback triumph vs. Colorado.
Yards per attempt: 5.6.
Touchdowns: 6.
Interceptions: 5.

Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps is sacked by Oklahoma defenders Charles Tapper (91) and Geneo Grissom on the Jayhawks' last drive of the game, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps is sacked by Oklahoma defenders Charles Tapper (91) and Geneo Grissom on the Jayhawks' last drive of the game, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

4 - Jake Heaps: Bad fit. It got to where it almost appeared as if Heaps began ducking for cover the instant he finished the snap count. Performed so well in practice, but didn’t have the ability to make something out of nothing. Beat out at BYU, he transferred to Kansas. Beat out at Kansas, he transferred to Miami, where he was unable to secure the starting job.
Yards per attempt: 5.4.
Touchdowns: 8.
Interceptions: 10.

Kansas quarterback Montell Cozart (2) is run out of bounds by Ohio linebacker Chad Moore (38) late in the fourth quarter on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas quarterback Montell Cozart (2) is run out of bounds by Ohio linebacker Chad Moore (38) late in the fourth quarter on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

5 - Montell Cozart: Doesn’t have a natural feel for when to tuck it and run, which is a shame because he's so fast. Has a strong arm, but has struggled with accuracy throughout his career. His lone Big 12 victory, 31-19 against West Virginia came when he threw for 61 yards and rushed for 60 as a freshman.
Yards per attempt: 5.7.
Touchdowns: 14.
Interceptions: 19.

Kansas quarterback Ryan Willis (13) throws his helmet in frustration after throwing his second interception of the game during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas.

Kansas quarterback Ryan Willis (13) throws his helmet in frustration after throwing his second interception of the game during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas. by Nick Krug

6 - Ryan Willis: Too many sacks and too many turnovers in two weeks as starter earlier this season resulted in him bypassing second string on his way down.
Yards per attempt: 5.9.
Touchdowns: 12.
Interceptions: 17.

Dayne Crist (10) is sacked in the second half of KU's 30-23 loss to Northern Illinois Huskies Saturday, September 22, 2012, at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill. At top is left tackle Tanner Hawkinson.

Dayne Crist (10) is sacked in the second half of KU's 30-23 loss to Northern Illinois Huskies Saturday, September 22, 2012, at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill. At top is left tackle Tanner Hawkinson. by Mike Yoder

7 - Dayne Crist: Billed as the second coming by Charlie Weis, who had recruited him to Notre Dame, it turned out Crist couldn’t walk on water, or even pass on chalked grass very well.

Yards per attempt: 6.1.
Touchdowns: 4.
Interceptions: 9.

Kansas quarterback Kale Pick pulls back to pass as he is hit by North Dakota State defensive tackle Matthew Gratzek during the fourth quarter, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010 at Kivisto Field.

Kansas quarterback Kale Pick pulls back to pass as he is hit by North Dakota State defensive tackle Matthew Gratzek during the fourth quarter, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010 at Kivisto Field. by Nick Krug

8 - Kale Pick: "I," as in incomplete, is the only fair grade to give him because he lost his starting job three quarters into the 2010 season-opener, a 6-3 loss to North Dakota State. But this isn’t a letter-grade, rather a number ranking. Had a solid career as a receiver and now is coaching quarterbacks at Fort Scott Community College.
Yards per attempt: 5.2.
Touchdowns: 0.
Interceptions: 1.

Kansas quarterback Deondre Ford (15) is chased by Rutgers linebacker Darnell Davis Jr. (59) during the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey. Ford was the starting quarterback for the Jayhawks.

Kansas quarterback Deondre Ford (15) is chased by Rutgers linebacker Darnell Davis Jr. (59) during the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey. Ford was the starting quarterback for the Jayhawks. by Nick Krug

9 - Deondre Ford: Pressed into starting duty at Rutgers in 2015, Ford was injured, missed the rest of the season, and has not reappeared in a game. He threw more picks than touchdowns at Dodge City Community College.
Yards per attempt: 5.7.
Touchdowns: 0.
Interceptions: 1.

Reply 7 comments from Mo Mosallaei Dirk Medema Michael Lorraine Bsieckman Tom Keegan Humpy Helsel Brett McCabe

Say something nice about Kansas football: Sprinters galore competing

New KU running backs Ke'aun Kinner, left, (#22) and Taylor Martin, (#24) photographed at a KU football media day event Saturday August 8, 2015.

New KU running backs Ke'aun Kinner, left, (#22) and Taylor Martin, (#24) photographed at a KU football media day event Saturday August 8, 2015. by Mike Yoder

Je’Ney Jackson’s non-stop search for how to make Kansas football players faster even takes him elsewhere in the athletic department at times. Jackson said he consults friends Stanley Redwine, KU’s head track and field coach, and sprints and hurdles coach Elisha Brewer.

“I’ll ask coach Brewer, ‘What things are you doing with your indoor sprinters?’ I pick her brain to see what I can steal.’ ... If you have an extremely slow team it’s going to be very hard to compete in this league,” Jackson said.

That’s been part of KU’s problem in recent seasons. Jackson is convinced it’s much less of a problem now and said that 42 players in the program were hand-timed at 4.59 seconds or faster at 40 yards. (He said just three returning players in the spring of 2015 met that standard.)

Asked to name the Jayhawks’ five fastest players, Jackson obliged: “Taylor Martin, LaQuvionte Gonzalez, Brandon Stewart, probably Kyle Mayberry, and I’d say Bobby Hartzog.” A moment later, another image popped into Jackson’s head and he expanded the list by a name.

“And you know who I forgot is Ke’aun Kinner,” Jackson said. “He is definitely in that mix. Ke’aun Kinner. He is definitely in the top five. Here’s what’s nice: I have to think about it. It’s not, ‘OK, we only have five guys who can really run fast.’ ”

Every day during summer conditioning season, Jackson pitted fast runners against each other in races, believing the competition makes them train faster and in turn become faster. Martin had the fastest unofficial 40 time, so I thought I’d ask him for his top 5. First, I asked him to name the toughest guy to beat in a race.

“Me, LaQuvionte Gonzalez, Ke’aun Kinner, (Colin) Spencer and T-Pat, Tyler Patrick,” Martin said.

Jackson and Martin mentioned eight players between them: Three cornerbacks (Stewart, Mayberry and Spencer), two running backs (Martin and Kinner) and three receivers (Gonzalez, Hartzog and Patrick).

Martin said Gonzalez is the toughest one for him to beat in a race.

Kansas definitely is getting faster.

Now it’s your turn to say something nice about Kansas football. Anybody out there?

Reply 8 comments from Pius Waldman Jmfitz85 Rockchalk1990 Matt Schierlman Dirk Medema Table_rock_jayhawk

Women’s basketball coaching search: Iowa Western Community College head coach Jim Turgeon

Iowa Western Community College women's basketball coach Jim Turgeon takes 30-3 record into national juco tournament.

Iowa Western Community College women's basketball coach Jim Turgeon takes 30-3 record into national juco tournament. by Tom Keegan

Former Kansas point guard Mark Turgeon has coached Maryland to a second-place finish in the prestigious Big Ten and his Terps were ranked No. 8 in the nation, one spot ahead of his alma mater, heading into conference tournaments. Even so, he has not yet clinched coach of the year honors in the Turgeon family. That fierce competition is far from over.

Turge's older brother, Jim Turgeon, 52, brings a 30-3 record in his eighth season for Iowa Western Community College into the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament, which takes place today through Saturday at the Bicentennial Center in Salina. Iowa Western, in Council Bluffs, is located just across the river from Omaha. His Reivers play their fist tourney game Wednesday.

Turgeon searches the globe to put together his roster of 13 players. Four countries (Australia, Cyprus, Hungary, United States) and eight states (California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, South Dakota) are represented.

In coaching his international roster, Turgeon pulls from coaches with Kansas ties.

"We play aggressive man-to-man defense and we run my brother's secondary break and then we'll usually go into Bill Self's high-low offense," said Turgeon, a graduate of Washburn University." We like to score in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock or the last 10 seconds."

Meaning?

"We'll try to create turnovers and score when the defense isn't set," he said. "When the defense is set, we try to be patient and break down the defense."

Comparing himself to his more famous, wealthier brother, Jim said, "I'm two years older, much better looking and taught him everything he knows."

The brothers, natives of Topeka, share a down-to-earth, Kansas vibe.

"He is (down-to-earth) and he's brutally honest and sometimes that gets him into trouble," Jim said. "When we talk on the phone, first we talk about family and then we talk about our teams, share frustrations and also talk about the positive things that do work."

Jim Turgeon, 191-64 at Iowa Western, has the school record for victories. He is the second-winningest coach in Dodge City Community College, where he went 123-97. Check out these turn-around numbers: In three seasons before Turgeon took over at Dodge City, the school went 28-63. In his final five seasons before getting the heck out of dodge, his record was 105-55.

The year before going to Dodge, Turgeon was an assistant coach at a men's junior-college program near Dallas.

"I wanted to get back to Kansas," he said of the move to Dodge. "I never dreamed I'd be a woman's basketball coach, but it turned out to be my niche. My dad worked with girls most of the time (as assistant at Topeka Hayden High) and it's become my niche. I love it. I'll never go back to coaching men, unless Mark wants to pay me a half-a-million dollars a year to be his assistant. I don't see that happening. I don't know if any university could take two Turgeons at the same time."

Asked if he would be interested in becoming Kansas women's basketball head coach, Jim Turgeon said, "I guess the best way to answer that is that I grew up wanting to be the head coach at Kansas on the men's side, but now I'm on the woman's side. Of course, I'd be interested."

Turgeon isn't campaigning for the job. He merely picked up a phone call and started answering questions honestly.

"I'm in a really good situation," he said. "I have an opportunity to win every year and my family's happy here. That's coach-speak, I know, but it also happens to be true."

Dodge City's a tough place to build a winner, as proven by the program's performance before and after Turgeon. The guy knows how to recruit, coach and develop talent and he does it while maintaining an enjoyable atmosphere for his players.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Szr5m9wXmqI&feature=youtu.be

Reply 9 comments from John Boyle Dirk Medema RXDOC Tom Keegan Cody Riedy Rockchalk1990 Table_rock_jayhawk

One voter’s Hall of Fame ballot

Hall of Fame pitcher Walter “The Big Train” Johnson was born in Humboldt, roughly 90 miles south of Lawrence and that’s about as close as the Kansas University baseball program has come to Cooperstown.

One day, a KU baseball player will get drafted, work his way swiftly through the minor leagues, develop into a perennial All-Star and thousands of Kansans will sit on the lawn in Cooperstown and take in his induction ceremony.

That day could be a long way off, so for now we’ll look at the candidates to gain induction today at 1 p.m. Below is my ballot, No. 608. But first consider how I weigh steroids.

It strikes me as silly to ignore that Barry Bonds was a Hall of Fame ballplayer before his muscles swelled to the size of his ego. He had Hall of Fame written all over him before he started to break rules that weren’t enforced when he was breaking him. The rules were in the books starting in 1991, but testing didn’t take root until 2003. Bonds gets my vote every year.

It strikes me as equally silly to ignore that Sammy Sosa didn’t perform like a Hall of Famer before and after he looked like a body builder. When he looked like a baseball player he was a good one, but not a great one. Sosa never will get my vote.

Keeping a cheater out of Cooperstown, even if he was worthy of induction before cheating isn’t fair to a ballplayer who was doing what more than half of his competitors did. Allowing a cheater into Cooperstown, even though he wouldn’t have reached there without cheating, isn’t fair to the guys who got there based on credentials, not chemistry.

How do I know who cheated? I don’t, in most cases, so I guess, based on off-the-record conversations I had with players, managers, coaches, front-office officials whose opinions I trusted. A Hall of Fame election is a court of public opinion, not a court of law, so “proof” of ballplayers using performance enhancing drugs is not the issue.
I vote with my conscience at the moment I’m voting, same as any election in which I participate.
I voted for the maxium 10 this year. Five players — Bonds, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez and Mike Piazza — required no thought. John Smoltz, Mike Mussina, Mark McGwire, Don Mattingly and Craig Biggio, in that order, rounded out my ballot, which didn’t quite have room for Tim Raines.

My guess as to which players will gain the required 75 percent of the votes to gain induction, from highest to lowest: Big Unit, Pedro, Smoltz and Biggio. Piazza inches closer but falls just short.

Reply 6 comments from Navyhawk Plasticjhawk Stan Unruh John Boyle Kyle Rohde

Kansas stays at No. 11 in Associated Press college basketball poll

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander (2) rejects a shot from Michigan State forward Marvin Clark Jr. (0) during the first half on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014 at the HP Field House in Kissimmee, Florida.

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander (2) rejects a shot from Michigan State forward Marvin Clark Jr. (0) during the first half on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014 at the HP Field House in Kissimmee, Florida. by Nick Krug

Kansas University won the eight-team Orlando Classic with three victories, but remained No. 11 in the weekly Associated Press college basketball poll.

The AP top 25, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Nov. 30, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week's ranking:

        Record Pts Prv
  1. Kentucky (62) 7-0 1,622 1
  2. Wisconsin (3) 7-0 1,511 2
  3. Arizona 6-0 1,488 3
  4. Duke 7-0 1,475 4
  5. Louisville 5-0 1,260 6
  6. Texas 6-0 1,254 7
  7. Virginia 7-0 1,196 8
  8. Wichita St. 4-0 1,165 9
  9. Gonzaga 6-0 1,133 10
  10. Villanova 6-0 1,075 12
  11. Kansas 5-1 1,063 11
  12. North Carolina 5-1 864 5
  13. San Diego St. 5-1 784 15
  14. Ohio St. 5-0 759 16
  15. Miami 7-0 697 17
  16. West Virginia 7-0 601 21
  17. Michigan 5-1 454 19
  18. Arkansas 6-0 438 25
  19. Michigan St. 5-2 423 20
  20. Iowa St. 3-1 330 13
  21. Maryland 7-0 306 _
  22. Oklahoma 4-2 254 _
  23. Butler 5-1 222 _
  24. Illinois 6-0 104 _
  25. Utah 5-1 88 _
    Others receiving votes: N. Iowa 83, UConn 76, Oklahoma St. 69, Providence 56, VCU 52, Syracuse 49, Florida 40, Georgetown 30, Creighton 29, Washington 17, NC State 12, Wyoming 10, California 8, Seton Hall 5, St. John's 5, Nebraska 4, Baylor 3, UCLA 3, Mississippi 2, Old Dominion 2, TCU 2, Notre Dame 1, Saint Mary's (Cal) 1.

My AP top 25 ballot:

1 - Kentucky: Points scored by last three opponents: 28, 44, 38. Next up is Texas on Friday in Lexington.

2 - Duke: Blue Devils shoot .601 from inside the arc, .387 from outside it and turn it over on just 13.6 percent of their possessions, fourth best in the country, per kenpom.com. They also rebound 41.2 percent of their misses. Crazy efficient.

3 - Wisconsin: Duke visits Wednesday night in a possible preview of Final Four teams. Must-watch game in a week packed with many.

4 - Arizona: The Wildcats made 20 of 24 foul shots, compared to 13 of 24 from San Diego State in a two-point game. Practice your free throws.

5 - Virginia: Held Rutgers to 26 points, making it four times in eight games that the Cavaliers have held the other team to 42 or fewer points.

6 - Louisville: Cards shoot just .586 from the line and .240 from three, yet would be a No. 2 seed if brackets came out today. How does that compute? They play incredible defense. Three-point defense (.194) best in nation, two-point defense and turnover rate eighth-best. Opponents are so exhausted trying to figure out how to score on Rick Pitino’s relentless competitors that they can’t even shoot free throws (.533). Maybe that last stat has a little to do with a weak schedule so far.

7 - Texas: If the Longhorns can’t give Kentucky a game Friday, what does that say about their chances of winning the Big 12? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

8 - Gonzaga: A Saturday trip to Arizona represents chance for Zags to show they belong in the Top 10.

9 - Wichita State: Shockers have nation-best 35-game winning streak in games played in the regular season. Last loss was March 2, 2013 at Creighton.

10 - Kansas: Freshman Cliff Alexander’s averages per 40 minutes played: 20.7 points, 12.9 rebounds, 3.2 blocks, 4.6 personal fouls. He and Perry Ellis playing well together. If Alexander can play with same aggression and curb fouls a little the dynamic duo will be able to team up more often.

11 - Villanova:Defense elevates this team. ‘Nova does such a good job of challenging shots in the paint that opponents make just 38 percent of their two-point attempts.

12 - San Diego State: A check of weather.com shows that temperatures will fluctuate more than usual in san Diego this week. Tuesday’s forecast calls for a high of 68, followed by 69 on Wednesday, 68 on Thursday and back to 69 on Friday.

13 - Ohio State: Freshman D’Angelo Russell leads team in scoring (18.0), ranks second to Shannon Scott in assists (5.4) and steals (1.8) and is second to Marc Loving in three-point percentage (.483). If Russell can score Tuesday night on Louisville, he can score on anybody. Well, maybe not Kentucky.

14 - North Carolina: Lost to Butler, but bounced back with victories against UCLA and Florida to take fifth place in the Bahamas tourney. Kennedy Meeks, the 6-foot-9, 280-pound sophomore, produced 18 points, 13 rebounds against Florida.

15 - Maryland: Coach Mark Turgeon, in the wake of five transfers, said he would reassess his coaching style to stem the trend. Maybe he did, or maybe it’s easier to win without disgruntled players weighing themselves down with selfish motives. Terps are undefeated with victories against Arizona State and Iowa State. Freshman Melo Trimble has played so well that nobody’s crying about the departure of starting point guard Seth Allen.

16 - Michigan: Next up for Wolverines, Syracuse, in Tuesday night game in Ann Arbor. Three-point shooters can burn many zones, but not Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 variety that gets out on shooters. Syracuse almost as good at defending the three (.266) as it is poor at shooting threes (.198).

17 - Iowa State: It doesn’t pay to foul Georges Niang. He’s made 23 of 25 free throws. Maryland kept him off the line (1 for 2) and won by nine points.

18 - Michigan State: Spartans coach Tom Izzo delivered the quote of the week when asked about whether Branden Dawson’s flu could have been a factor in his poor shooting game (4 for 15) against Kansas: “A dead man can make a layup.”

19 - Miami, Fla.: Big 12 transfer update: Sheldon McClellan (Texas) and Angel Rodriguez (Kansas State) combining for 31.6 points, .456 three-point shooting.

20 - West Virginia: Turgeon and Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins won’t be holding mutual pity party over rash of offseason transfers. They rather like the players they’re coaching. Huggins, a 100-percent genuine article, is one of the easier guys for whom to root in the coaching business. Ditto for Turgeon.

21 - Arkansas: Thursday night game at Iowa State a must-watch between contrasting styles. Outcome could say plenty about both teams’ worthiness in top 25.

22 - Utah: Deadly from three (.446), Utes do a great job of drawing fouls. Wichita State pays Wednesday night visit to Huntsman Center to play Utes. Winner of this one will be rewarded for it on Selection Sunday.

23 - Oklahoma State: Cowboys not getting national love yet, in part because of soft schedule, but also because the nation hasn’t caught on to the big impact from 5-11 LSU transfer Anthony Hicks.

24 - UConn: Huskies led Texas until Jonathan Holmes hit a three-pointer from the left baseline with two seconds left for a one-point victory.

25 - Illinois: Rayvonte Rice, a native of Champaign, was not offered a scholarship by his hometown school when Bruce Weber coached there. John Groce, Weber’s replacement at Illinois, had tried to get him to commit to Ohio. Instead, he started for two seasons at Drake and then said yes to Groce the second time. In his second season with the Illini, Rice leads the team with 17.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.8 steals and a .571 three-point shooting percentage. He produced 17 points, seven rebounds and three steals in eight-point victory against Baylor. Big game coming up Tuesday at Miami.

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Gary Woodland starts strong in Masters

Gary Woodland, Kansas University’s only two-time PGA tour winner, came out of the blocks in impressive fashion Thursday at Augusta National, where he’s playing in his third Masters. Woodland carded 14 pars, three birdies and one bogey for a two-under 70.

At 5 p.m., with 24 of the 97 golfers in the field still on the course, Woodland was tied for fifth with seven other golfers, two strokes behind Bill Haas, the leader in the clubhouse, and one stroke behind defending Masters champion Adam Scott, 2012 Masters champ Bubba Watson and 2010 British Open champ Louis Oosthuizen.

Woodland played with Ian Poulter, who shot a 76, and 2009 Masters champion Angel Cabrera, who carded a 78.

Woodland birdied No. 2, a par 5, made bogey on No. 4, a par 3, for a 36 on the front and birdied both par 5 holes on the back side, Nos. 13 and 15.

Talk about avoiding big numbers. Woodland had one 5 and every other hole was a 3 or a 4. He has so much talent all he needs to do to stay near the top of the leader board for four days in any tournament is to remain solid, steady, consistent and he was all that for openers Thursday.

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In defense of Kansas football

Spring football starts next week, which explains why everything I’m seeing today has a reddish hue. Could it be the rose-colored glasses I wear about this time every year? Could be, but what joy lies in squashing hope?

I think a lot about Kansas football and how Kansas elevated itself to win three bowl games last decade. I spoke with Todd Reesing about that and much more recently and will share his thoughts in coming days. For now, let’s take a position-by-position look at the 2014 defense, an easier side of the ball on which to feel solid optimism.

Defensive line: KU ranked eighth among 10 Big 12 teams in 2013 with 21 sacks and had to send the house frequently to get that many. KU has not had truly disruptive D-linemen since James McClinton (last season was 2007) pushed the pocket and before that Charlton Keith (2005) flew off the edge.

Ben Goodman has moved inside from the buck position, which creates more downs for Michael Reynolds. At times, Reynolds has looked like a star on the cusp of emerging, but those moments haven’t been consistent enough. The urgency so many seniors play with could bring out the best in the talented pass-rusher from Wichita. He led the team with 6.5 sacks a year ago. Can he double that total? If Reynolds doesn’t make a big leap, maybe juco transfer Anthony Olobia, a 6-5, 240-pound recruit who drew an offer from Oklahoma, could push him for time. Victor Simmons has moved to buck, a new view for him in teeing off on quarterbacks.

Keon Stowers was the most consistent performer in the middle of the defensive line and will receive help from underrated Tedarian Johnson and Ty McKinney. Andrew Bolton, who looks most like an NFL player in terms of body type of anyone on the roster, has a high ceiling. Before he injured his knee at junior college, which led to him red-shirting a year ago for KU, LSU was on his trail. That's L-S-U. Forgive me if that three-letter combination makes me optimistic that KU’s D-line might not need as much help in getting to the quarterback as it needed a year ago.

Linebackers: I hear complaints about middle linebacker Ben Heeney running wildly out of his assignment area at times. Maybe some of those are legitimate. Maybe some of those making the complaints aren’t in on where he’s supposed to be? This much I can see with my own eyes: When healthy, he’s really fast, really physical and really tough. Those all are great qualities for a middle linebacker.

But where is the help for Heeney? Undersized Jake Love performed well in place of an injured Heeney in the middle and was solid on the outside before that.

Kyron Watson of East St. Louis, Ill., certainly is an exciting prospect, but at 6-1, 210, he ideally could use a year in the weight room before starting his college eligibility clock. Samson Faifili, injured most of last season, returns on the outside and Schyler Miles adds depth on the inside.

Come to think of it, the Jayhawks might not have the luxury of red-shirting Watson. His speed could come in handy right away. Incoming freshman Josh Ehambe from Arlington, Texas will fight to get on the field as well. Marcus Jenkins-Moore, a juco transfer who missed last season with a serious knee injury, still is on the mend.

Concerns over the lack of depth at linebacker are eased by the reality that the base defense has a buck and a nickel back on the field, which leaves room for just two linebackers.

Secondary: Strongest, deepest unit on the roster.
Cornerbacks Dexter McDonald and JaCorey Shepherd, both seniors, upgraded the position with solid junior seasons and there is no reason to believe they’ll do anything but improve. Junior safety Isaiah Johnson tied (with TCU’s Sam Carter, behind only Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert) with five interceptions and earned Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year honors.

Johnson definitely has a knack for picks and is a nice complement to assignment-sound Cassius Sendish, a coach’s dream of a safety in that he brings such smarts onto the field. Courtney Arnick performed well late in the season at nickel back and will be bigger and better.

Kevin Short, the highly regarded juco transfer forced to sit out last season because he was not cleared academically by the NCAA, will push all five returning starters and if he doesn’t beat out anyone will give KU excellent depth. Junior Brandon Holloman and juco recruits Anthony “Fish” Smithson and Ronnie Davis add to the depth.

I’ll be shocked if the 2014 defense isn’t KU’s best in the post-Mark Mangino era.

For more thoughts on impending spring football, check out the transcript of Matt Tait's chat.

Reply 6 comments from Joe Ross Matt Glassman Kellerman411 Jim Jackson Doug Merrill