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What caught my eye from last Saturday's annual Spring Game

Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo.Kansas quarterback Jordan Webb throws as he is pressured by defensive tackle Keba Agostinho (96) during the Kansas Spring Game on Saturday, April 30, 2011 at Kivisto Field.

Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo.Kansas quarterback Jordan Webb throws as he is pressured by defensive tackle Keba Agostinho (96) during the Kansas Spring Game on Saturday, April 30, 2011 at Kivisto Field. by Nick Krug

By now, you've read all about Saturday's spring game at Kansas University.

You've heard who looked good, who needs work and how the second version of Turner Gill's Jayhawks looked compared to what we saw last year.

In case you're dying to squeeze a little more juice out of the orange, here are a few final thoughts about Saturday's scrimmage from my vantage point.

Enjoy!

It's Definitely Miller Time — Want another reason to get excited about freshman running back Darrian Miller? Look no further than the second possession of Saturday’s spring game. Miller, who came in to spell starting tailback James Sims, showed why he might be more than just a hot-shot freshman with serious wheels when he stepped up to cut down defensive end Julius Green on a 33-yard pass from Jordan Webb to Chris Omigie. Green, 6-7, 275 pounds, came across unblocked when tight end Ted McNulty went out on a route and right tackle Tanner Hawkinson engaged with the tackle. That tells me that leaving Green alone was designed, which says an awful lot about what the coaching staff thinks about Miller’s abilities. Not only can the kid carry the rock, but he’s smart enough to understand pass protection and man enough to stand in there and make it happen.

Webb 2.0 Clearly A Better Version — The more and more I thought about it (I’ll be honest, I watched a tape of the game again this weekend), the more I was impressed with the game Jordan Webb turned in on Saturday. Here’s the deal, you gotta take Webb’s performance with a grain of salt because most of it came against the Jayhawks’ second-string defense. But it wasn’t who Webb was facing that was important. It was how he played. He looked much more decisive and confident all afternoon, threw well on the run, tucked and ran when he needed to and made sure he stepped into most of his throws. That allowed him to put for zip on the ball and that led to him being more accurate with most of his passes. Beyond that, Webb looked pretty good on the zone read play, at least good enough to make defenses respect it this fall.

Mundine Is Money — Tight end Jimmay Mundine looked good during his unofficial first official game at Memorial Stadium. Although the 6-2, 226-pound red-shirt freshman is known to possess blazing speed for a man his size, Mundine showed on Saturday that he’s as much a reliable target as he is a big-time speedster. He caught three balls for 31 yards during the game and two of the three came in heavy traffic. He would’ve had a fourth completion had it not been for a sandwich smack laid on him by KU’s linebackers Darius Willis and Steven Johnson. The coaching staff loves Mundine and it won’t be long before you’re loving him, too. He’s already become a favorite of mine to interview.

Interesting Idea for Embree — No, Daymond Patterson did not play during Saturday’s spring game. Last year’s leading receiver sat out because of an injury. DP’s expected to be fine this fall, but one of the guys who looked just fine filling in for him on Saturday was freshman walk-on Connor Embree. Embree, the son of Colorado coach Jon Embree, caught three balls for 19 yards and nearly came up with another when Webb gave him a shot in the end zone, late in the second quarter. With Patterson and D.J. Beshears ahead of him on the depth chart, it’s not likely that Embree — he originally chose to play football at UNLV but later came to Kansas — will get much of a chance to play this fall. He’s a natural candidate to red-shirt, though, and, doing so, could put him in position to take the reins from Beshears after the 2012 season.

Pick A Weapon, Any Weapon — Less than a year into his transition from quarterback to wide receiver, it’s already easy to see that KU junior Kale Pick is going to help the offense. Such a naturally gifted athlete, Pick can get the ball in a variety of places and make something happen. That was on display Saturday, when Pick caught a team-high four passes for 38 yards. It wasn’t just Pick’s ability to catch the balls thrown to him that stood out, though. It was how the KU offense used him. Remember, what we saw on Saturday was probably less than 40 percent of what’s in the KU playbook. Even still, I saw the KU offense run Pick in motion, line him up wide, line him up in the slot and fake reverses to him. A guy with his skillset — not to mention experience at QB — is sure to attract a lot of attention from opposing defenses this fall and that’s a good thing for the KU offense as a whole.

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Comments

Dustin Engelken 3 years, 2 months ago

Anyone have a link to tape of the spring game?

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nuleafjhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

Unless you have a lot of spare time on your hands, don't bother. I tried to watch it on TV ( I live out of town) and it seemed as though about 80% of the time the camera was fixed on the two announcers. Plus the fact that they apparently interviewed everyone who happened to be in Lawrence on Saturday didn't help any. I got frustrated and turned it off after about an hour.

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Jayhawker111 3 years, 2 months ago

Webb was operating against the #2 defense.... The #1 offense should be able to move the ball against #2 defense.

Much more impressive was the Freshman (Jablonsky) who lead the #2 offense against the #1 defense on numerous drives. Mounted a 15 play drive and another long drive. That is imposing for #2 offense to move against the #1 defense.....

I was there and the freshman looks like the best of the three QBs'.

Also Pick and Mundine --- they look like the real deal! Get them the ball!

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truefan 3 years, 2 months ago

Jablonsky did look very good, but remember, you only saw 1 of many practices. There is no telling how he plays on a day-to-day basis in practice, and judging by the staff not mentioning him, ever, I'm betting he hasn't been playing like that the entire spring.

The pressure is all on Webb and Mecham at this point and they both played a little tight on a few possessions with Webb looking a bit more comfortable. Mecham's TD to Matthews should have been an interception had it not been for Matthews making a terrific play on the ball.

Jablonsky was a great high school QB and he may be a very good college QB as well, but he had no pressure to perform in the game because he is not expected to win the starting spot, at least not this season. I agree he was accurate and impressive, but he has to beat out Webb and Mecham on a daily basis to earn the spot, not just one decent performance in a spring game which is just one glorified practice.

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justinryman 3 years, 2 months ago

Thanks at for the great insight of the game and of your professional opinions. It's hard to get good info up here in Nebraska where football is the center of the Universe.

I come on here to get all my KU information about my favorite team. Again thanks Matt.

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Jayhawker111 3 years, 2 months ago

To Truefan:

I must disagree with you when you say there was no pressure on the freshman (Jablonsky)

I am sure that snaps on offense are very hard to come by when you are the third or fourth team QB.... At the big schools only the top two Qbs' get any action with 1st and 2nd units.

Saturday they gave the third team freshman a chance and he delivered...I do not think the coaches even knew what to expect because the freshman probably had not even got a chance to play much at all... There are only so many snaps to go around.

All three QBs were given an opportunity Saturday --all had pressure as it was a game atmosphere in front of a big crowd and not just some ordinary practice.

In life we all get a window of opportunity and we either deliver or we get sent to the back of the line. In this case the freshman was given an opportunity and he delivered.

I am sure that Jablonsky wants to win the starting QB job just as bad as the other two guys --so please do not dismiss the performance as saying Jablonsky had no pressure. The freshman went against the top defensive unit with the 2nd team offense and produced with numerous nice drives, that is a fact!

I suggest now the freshman QB deserves as much of a shot to start as the other two --he earned it Saturday. After that performance, I do not think the coaches will just dismiss the freshman to the back of the line. The kid played like a winner.

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KU_Alumn_2000 3 years, 2 months ago

I'm not excited about Webb taking over our starting qb slot. I really hope the coaches look at all options and go with the best option...even if it's an unexpected freshman that comes out on top.

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