Offensive line remains soft spot for Kansas football


Kansas offensive lineman Andru Tovi, right, Antoine Frazier and Beau Lawrence shuffle through a line of pads during practice on Tuesday, April 10, 2018.

Kansas offensive lineman Andru Tovi, right, Antoine Frazier and Beau Lawrence shuffle through a line of pads during practice on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. by Nick Krug

The Kansas football team has improved its depth through personnel additions and experience at running back, quarterback, the secondary, linebacker and on the defensive line. But the offensive line remains the shallowest, least talented unit on the roster.

New offensive line coach A.J. Ricker has a steep challenge on his hands.

Center Mesa Ribordy's retirement, forced by concussions, set back the team, but Ricker likes what he sees so far from Andru Tovi, who started at left guard last season.

"I think he’s where he needs to be center-wise," Ricker said. "Obviously with his length, he’s got some natural leverage to him. He’s got some grit. Right now we don’t have enough of that. It’s something we’re trying to instill in guys. We’re really concentrating on things that take no talent, like your mindset, your demeanor. But I think he’s at the true position he needs to be for us to be successful.”

Malik Clark worked with the first team at left guard during the spring.

“He’s made some huge strides, still has a long way to go and he knows it," Ricker said. "He’s shown flashes of what Malik can be. It’s just we’re looking for consistency.”

Hakeem Adeniji returns at left tackle but was limited during the spring because he was coming off of shoulder surgeries.

“Hakeem is so athletic," Ricker said. "Is he a prototypical tackle? Probably not, but at the end of the day if he’s our best lineman, that’s where we need him.”

Chris Hughes, injured for much of the spring, returns at right guard, and no obvious candidate has emerged at right tackle. Tackle prospect Cam Durley also battled injuries throughout the spring.

"We haven't seen enough of Cam Durley, but from what I've seen in little flashes, I think he has a shot," Ricker said. "Antione Frazier is what (tackles) are supposed to look like and continued to get better, day by day."

It's rare for incoming freshmen to start at O-line, but Jacobi Lott, a 6-foot-5, 308-pound native of Amarillo, Texas, might have a shot to battle his way onto the depth chart with strong summer and fall camps.

Plus, Ricker said he has not finished recruiting.

In recent years, Kansas has recruited players late, counting them toward the next recruiting class. The commitment of such players is non-binding, so they are able to change their minds right up until the first day of school.

Guard Eddie Tatola, one of Miles Kendrick's blockers last season at College of San Mateo, has told friends he plans to attend Kansas to play football. He passes the grit test.


[''] 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Soft starts at the top. PS -- Is that really the only OL photo y'all have? It pops up pretty often in articles. ; ) Maybe those are the only 3 OL players KU has? Hahaha!

Kevin Robert Fest 9 months, 3 weeks ago

News Flash.....water is wet. We already know this!!!! They cancelled the Spring game due to lack of enough linemen. Why have another article on this?

Chris Condren 9 months, 3 weeks ago

It has only been 10 years since the program had an even average Offensive Line. KU Football is stuck and who knows when things will get any better. Just do not ask our head coach because he will only talk in circles.

Marius Rowlanski 9 months, 3 weeks ago

It will happen. Kansas will eventually turn it around or maybe this year's team puts it all together but I'm not the RAH RAH type. I tape every KU football game just in case they actually win a game.

If you want to watch a winning program that needs more support than check out our women's volleyball team.

Chris DeWeese 9 months, 3 weeks ago

A doomed season might be a foregone conclusion, but if our line is still this thin then there is no way we can win even one game (unless the football gods shine a little light on us and there is some fluke that occurs). Our QBs and RBs just aren't good enough to compensate for the lack of a big, seasoned O line. I hope hope hope everybody gets healthy come September.

Sam Allen 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Learn/research how to clear out the opposing defense, by making room for your team’s offense.

  1. Learn: Rewatch the KU vs. Oklahoma State 2007 Game

KU had four receivers (2 on each side of the O-Line) 3 receivers were decoys and 1 actually getting the ball) on each side of the O-line and an extra man.

Four receivers = one actual receiver gets the ball on this play, 3 decoys to distract. Five receivers = four decoy receivers and the fifth (actual ball carrier) will run and hide QUICKLY till the decoy receivers clear the defense out and then preceding, the fifth (actual) ball carrier will-MUST QUICKLY be alert and run the ball.

Kevin Robert Fest 9 months, 3 weeks ago

The o line will obviously be the Achilles heel this year but at least we get to hear that the team competed until the final whistle in yet another blowout.

How many games does anyone give Beaty. Loss to CMich Rutgers first blowout in Big 12? Or not showing any progress in the games.

Marius Rowlanski 9 months, 3 weeks ago

If the offensive line is as bad as advertised then how is this team supposed to finally show some progress. Maybe we can run the triple option all season: interception, fumble, punt...

Maybe hiring A.J. Ricker as the new offense of line coach will somehow get this line together as a team. He will need his players to buy into what he envisions but I can see the motivational challenges that the last three seasons still hanging over the team.

John Brazelton 9 months, 3 weeks ago

We will add 8 offensive lineman by fall camp. Four return from surgeries and four more can join on June 1st. The Alabama guy was a bust and Mesa had to retire for health reasons. If Riker can find and develop 8 Big 12 caliber players, we will be okay as we now have mostly upper classmen. Additional running plays should help our offensive schemes.

Robert Brock 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Chancellor. Soft spot. Athletics Director. Soft spot.

Mike Bennett 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Ribordy's injury moves us from 15 furlongs behind to 16. Not much difference. No talent. No ability for the coaching staff to find talent. I tried to get KU to recruit an O-lineman here in central Texas. He signed with OK State. KU never even gave him a whiff.

John Fitzgerald 9 months, 3 weeks ago

The OL should have been figured out a long time ago. The fact that it's still an ongoing concern is baffling to me.

Dirk Medema 9 months, 2 weeks ago

A year or so ago there was a stockpile of young OL players on the roster. It is disappointing that it hasn't been developed though that and QB are the only position groups where it hasn't happened to date. Hopefully, Ricker can make a difference both with the current players and recruiting. Maybe that's the key to the QB position as well.

Edward Daub 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I am still hopping mad at WVU for stealing the Massive Brown Brothers from KU!

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