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What caught my eye from Day 12 of spring drills

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Kansas head coach Turner Gill jokes with his team as they stretch during practice on Monday, April 25, 2011 at the practice fields near Memorial Stadium.

Kansas head coach Turner Gill jokes with his team as they stretch during practice on Monday, April 25, 2011 at the practice fields near Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

With just two practices and Saturday’s spring game remaining on the schedule before the Kansas University football team hangs up the equipment until August, things are starting to become a little clearer in terms of who fits in where on the Jayhawks’ two-deep depth chart.

Of course, with more than 20 incoming freshmen set to arrive for preaseason camp, things could change quite a bit in the months leading up to the start of the regular season.

For now, here’s what we know based on the small portion of the handful of practices we’ve been able to observe this spring:

Patterson Back in Pads — After sitting out the last several practices, Daymond Patterson was back on the field Monday, participating at less than full speed. Patterson wore a helmet and pads but was in shorts instead of pants. After taking the field with a little extra adrenaline, Patterson quickly received treatment from the trainers and then joined his teammates. He seemed to be in good spirits and, clearly, was thrilled to be back out there. But he’s still not at 100 percent and I don’t expect to see too much from him Saturday. The important thing here is that Patterson’s leg injury heels in time for the start of the season. Right now, he’s the only proven wide receiver on the roster and there’s no way the coaches are going to jeopardize his season by asking him to do too much during spring ball.

• New Name at Nickel — Sophomore cornerback Dexter Linton was running with the first team defense as the nickel back on Monday. Linton, 5-foot-11, 200 pounds from Arlington, Texas, brings the kind of size and corner skills to the position that former KU defensive back Chris Harris (5-10, 190) did in 2010.

• Bourbon Out 6-8 Weeks — KU running back Brandon Bourbon, a red-shirt freshman from Potosi, Mo., suffered a lower leg injury last week and will be out the next couple of months. Gill said on Monday that he was encouraged by the nature of Bourbon’s injury and that he expected the 6-foot-1, 210-pound back to be ready to go by the time preseason camp opens in August. “He’ll definitely be ready to go in the fall,” Gill said. “It’s an unfortunate situation, but he will be fine and ready to go (this) summer, and, no doubt, he’ll be ready to go in the fall.”

• D-Line Still A Question Mark — The defensive line appears to have undergone another overhaul, as only defensive end Toben Opurum remained in his first-string position from what we saw the last time we were out at practice. Joining Opurum on the D-Line on Monday were tackles Pat Lewandowski and John Williams along with the outside-then-inside-then-back-out defensive end Keba Agostinho. Patrick Dorsey, Richard Johnson and Julius Green all ran with the second unit on Monday.

• Safeties Seem Set — No position is more concrete in terms of first-string talent than safety. Junior Bradley McDougald and sophomore Keeston Terry are your starters there and nobody is even remotely close to pushing them out of those spots.

• O-Line Looking Fine — KU coach Turner Gill has talked a lot about wanting to find seven or eight offensive linemen he feels good about in a rotation. I believe he’s close. The first team is set with Jeremiah Hatch at center, Duane Zlatnik and Trevor Marrongelli at the guards and Jeff Spikes and Tanner Hawkinson at tackle. Beyond them, freshman Dylan Admire has looked good as the second-string center and Randall Dent, Michael Martinovich, Gavin Howard and Tom Mabry have solidified themselves as second-stringers. Those last five were working with the second unit throughout practice Monday. Add to them, the expected return of Riley Spencer and the addition of four or five freshmen and this group has a chance to be deep and talented.

• Thank You, Ms. Lonergan — Lastly, a note of thanks from our staff to KU sports information director Katy Lonergan, who saved KUsports.com online editor Jesse Newell from a total meltdown when she showed him how to reboot his iPhone at the start of Monday's practice. With his phone — which brings you the great videos from practice you've seen this spring — looking dead, Newell had tried everything. He tried to turn it off and then on again, tried to charge it, even searched for a battery to take out and put back in. Nothing worked. But then Katy told him to hold down the button on the top and the "home" button at the same time and within seconds the phone kicked back on and order was restored. Newell quickly went to work on a video of KU's tight ends in action, which should be up shortly. Thanks, Katy!

Comments

rockchalknation 10 years, 9 months ago

Matt, thanks for the update. My areas of concern on defense are the defensive tackles and LB's. On offense, sounds like the line will have experience and depth, TE is solid, running back looks talented, and I think WR will be OK if those guys can learn to block better than they did last year. So on offense my real area of concern is QB. Any more insight that you can provide on the DT, LB, and QB positions would be appreciated. RCJH

milehighhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Matt - what's coverage of the Spring game looking like - is it possible to get a live stream?

Mark Lindrud 10 years, 9 months ago

I would love to find a way to watch the spring game. It sounds like we are getting depth on the team. I am excited to see how things play out, but we are definitely getting a better feel of how this team will come together this year compared to last year.

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 9 months ago

How's bourbon (sp)?

Gawd! Keeping the reporters away from practice is killing my spring football buzz!!!

Matt Tait 10 years, 9 months ago

Just got back from the end of practice and I added a note about Bourbon. Gill said he'll be out 6-8 weeks but that he should be ready to go when camp opens in August.

He obviously won't be 100 percent, but this is really good news for a player who has the potential to help in a lot of different ways.

Matt Tait 10 years, 9 months ago

Got a story in the works on him. Should run sometime this week or next.

They've moved him from Safety to Linebacker and, although he's a bit under-sized at his new position, he's found a way to utilize his quickness and speed to hang in there.

He's a work in progress, but he seems content.

Keep an eye out for the story....

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 9 months ago

Glad it wasn't something worse.

And seriously! How cool is it that we can get immediate information from the guy covering our school almost every day. You go above and beyond, good sir. Thanks!

Chris Bailey 10 years, 9 months ago

Wow! So happy to hear this news! Great news for our team and for Brandon Bourbon and family! So glad to hear he isn't hurt like originally thought. Good luck with rehad Brandon! Can't wait to see you in uniform this fall! Thanks for the great news Matt!

Chris Bailey 10 years, 9 months ago

Wow! So happy to hear this news! Great news for our team and for Brandon Bourbon and family! So glad to hear he isn't hurt like originally thought. Good luck with rehad Brandon! Can't wait to see you in uniform this fall! Thanks for the great news Matt!

Bob Schutz 10 years, 9 months ago

I don't know much about football. I read an article in the St Louis paper that the Rams head coach (Steve Spagnuolo) likes to use a lot of different players on the D-Line. He's a defense-oriented coach. Maybe Coach Gill is doing the same?

Chris Bailey 10 years, 9 months ago

Matt,

I remember last summer hearing how good our O-line would be only to see 2010 be a very down year for them. I am very hopefull they will be much improved over last year but am I able to put my faith in the word good or solid with this group? I truly hope they will be good. I realize we had some injury last year so I hope that was our biggest problem. I'm hopefull for this years team. I also know that progress may not mean we get to a bowl game it may mean we keep the scores close. I truly hope we can do that! I look forward to watching the spring game Saturday! BTW what is the cost to watch??

Kyle Reed 10 years, 9 months ago

Spring game is free! Hope to see a lot of fans out there supporting the team.

Chris Bailey 10 years, 9 months ago

Thanks man! I will be there! Can't wait! It will be my first time in Memorial Stadium. I'm finally able to afford tickets and have the time to watch this fall! Can't wait!

KGphoto 10 years, 9 months ago

"Some" injuries? Our best lineman, Spikes, out for the year. Hatch battled an injury, then re-injured early on. Thorson had a fracture. Second stringers and freshmen were playing musical chairs up and down the line. For a team with no real depth at the position, it was a total disaster. Pair that with a freshmen QB, freshmen RB and no WRs? It can't get any worse.

Chris Bailey 10 years, 9 months ago

I guess I didn't realize we were so depleted just saw the end result. Thanks for the info though! Hopefully this year will be better! RCJH!

BleedingCrimsonAndBlue 10 years, 9 months ago

I'm going to be out of town for the spring game. Anybody know if it is going to be on TV so I can set my DVR?

Kman_blue 10 years, 9 months ago

Metro Sports KC (a Time Warner only channel on channel 30 and 1030 in HD(sometimes)) will be airing coverage of the spring game from 1pm to 3pm on Saturday, but I'd encourage everyone who can to go. It's always a great time to be there in person and rub shoulders with other KU football fans, soak in Lawrence, get up close and personal views of the players/coaches, buy some KU stuff, etc.!

Chris Bailey 10 years, 9 months ago

Matt,

Any news on Josh Smith?? I know he was unranked out of high school but I saw the kid play for 3 years at Hutchinson and he was a stud! Do you think he makes the field this year? If not does he have a chance to in the future? I just can't believe a kid that had his talent level is a nobody in college. He was an absolute stud for us! I realize that new KU linebacker and Hutch grad Ben Heeney broke his rushing record but Heeney didn't have anyone else competing for carries with him. Smith shared the backfield with another DI player to be Devion Dinwiddie who is at HCC but was placed there by KSU. Smith was a complete hoss in high school his nickname the MOOSE was so true! He made yards out of nothing frequently! What's your take on him and his future as a Jayhawk? I did see they moved him to FB. I'd be interested to hear any news you have about him! As I'm sure a lot of people from the state would as he was a great player for 3 seasons in Kansas.

Matt Tait 10 years, 9 months ago

I haven't asked around about Smith too much but I do think the move to fullback should give you some indication about his future as a Jayhawk.

With his intelligence and tough running, I think he could become a decent fullback as long as he keeps bulking up. I doubt he'll ever get the chance to be anything more than that — at the running back position — because he doesn't have the kind of speed the coaches are looking for at that position.

But he could find a home at FB and I'd also say he's a prime candidate to be a factor on special teams.

Chris Bailey 10 years, 9 months ago

Thanks Matt! Man I sure hope he does. He had a heck of a nose for the game when he was here! I'd sure think he'd make a good fullback and may get to ball some and break some decent runs. I guess time will tell! Thanks again for the update! Can't wait for Saturday!

Kman_blue 10 years, 9 months ago

I definitely agree here. Mr. Tait has provided the best coverage of the football team on KUsports.com since day 1 of him covering the team IMHO. Thanks for all the great work!

Stan Unruh 10 years, 9 months ago

Totally agree. Thanks Matt. Can't wait 'til Saturday.

welonerg 10 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Chad Waetzig 10 years, 9 months ago

Scary when the online editor doesn't know how to hard reboot an iPhone! ;)

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