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What didn't catch my eye from last Saturday's spring game

Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo.Kansas head coach Turner Gill watches the action from the endzone during the Kansas Spring Game on Saturday, April 30, 2011 at Kivisto Field.

Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo.Kansas head coach Turner Gill watches the action from the endzone during the Kansas Spring Game on Saturday, April 30, 2011 at Kivisto Field. by Nick Krug

Because the spring game marked the end of spring drills and there won’t be much football activity for the next few months, I thought I’d stretch my reaction to the game throughout the rest of the week.

Yesterday, I wrote up a blog about a handful of things that caught my eye from the spring game, which was won by the Blue squad, 17-6, in front of 6,000 or so fans on a gorgeous day at Memorial Stadium.

In case you missed it, take a look.

After the blog went live, I found myself looking over it, making sure that I included everything. As I did that, a few other thoughts popped into my head. These were things we did not see at the spring game and just about all of them caught me by surprise — at least a little bit.

So here they are for you to see, in case you, too, missed them last Saturday.

Where Was Tim Biere? — I know he didn’t play a ton of snaps, but any time 11 different players catch a pass, you’d sure expect your No. 1 tight end and returning senior starter to be one of them. My guess here is that Biere’s absence from the stat sheet was the result of the coaching staff not feeling like it needed to see what Biere can do. They’ve seen that. Last year, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound tight end caught 19 passes for 228 yards and led the team with four TD receptions. A year earlier, he finished with 14 catches for 183 yards in five starts. That included at least one reception in eight of the 10 games he played in.

While those aren’t incredible stats, they’re good enough for the coaching staff to know what they’ve got. Biere will be a big part of the offense again in 2011. Last week’s spring game was more about seeing how big of a role Jimmay Mundine can/will have.

Mecham About the Same — The word from KU camp is that both returning quarterbacks with starting experience got a lot better in the offseason. I saw that from Jordan Webb, who had a nice spring game. I didn’t really see it from Quinn Mecham, though.

This is not a knock on Mecham. I’ve always been a fan of his game, appreciated his cerebral approach and, most of last season, I even championed him as the right choice for the Jayhawks QB job for the second half of the 2010 season. I’d be doing the same thing today if I thought Mecham had improved a lot, but I just didn’t see it on Saturday. Maybe that’s not fair. After all, that’s just one scrimmage, too small of a sample size to judge a guy’s entire offseason. But, to me, Mecham still looked to be lacking athleticism, slow with his decisions and a little bit stuck in the mud in the pocket.

Consider this, if not for a great play by Christian Matthews, Mecham’s final numbers would’ve read 5-of-11 for 49 yards, 4 sacks and 1 interception. Instead, he finished 6-of-11 for 102 yards, 4 sacks and 1 TD. If the Jayhawks need him to play, Mecham is capable of running the offense. But, again, if the Jayhawks need him to play, they’re probably not going to win very many games.

A Bummer About Bourbon — As I watched Ryan Burton rack up carry after carry during the game’s second half — the Colorado Springs, Colo., sophomore finished with 23 yards and a game-high 12 carries — I couldn’t help but lament the fact that we were all missing out on something. Had red-shirt freshman Brandon Bourbon not been injured earlier this spring, a lot of those carries would’ve been his and the player many of us have been waiting to watch for more than a year now finally would’ve had our chance. Instead, Bourbon was on crutches on the sideline while Burton and Deshaun Sands tallied 18 carries (and just 38 yards) between them.

The good news here is that Bourbon is expected to be back this summer and ready to go by the time the season rolls around. Guess he’ll have to remain a mystery for a little while longer.

No Wildcat — I know these spring games aren’t about running everything in the playbook, but with as much as we’d seen the Wildhawk and Jayhawk offenses during the 14 practices leading up to the spring game, I sure thought we’d see the Wildcat set run at least once during the spring game. If for no other reason than to give the crowd — which was much larger than I expected — something to ooh and ahh about. But again, these games aren’t really about the fans either.

Offensive coordinator Chuck Long and the Jayhawks did dial up a little trickery on the first play from scrimmage. A fake hand-off to Sims inside turned out to be a pitch to D.J. Beshears on the reverse and Beshears rumbled for nine yards. One interesting note: While the reverse was going down to the left side of the formation, QB-turned-WR, Kale Pick, was sprinting to across the grain and behind Beshears to the right. I know they didn’t show a ton of unusual stuff last Saturday, but expect these types of misdirection plays to be a staple of the KU offense this season.

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Comments

ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 4 months ago

anyone see the new pac12 tv deal? told you to not believe the hype from sheahon, but nooooooooooooobody would listen!

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jhox 3 years, 4 months ago

I didn't see a lot of speed Saturday, but then most of the freshmen haven't arrived yet. I would have liked to have seen more of Miller. I think he only carried twice. I thought Opurum looked good on defense...either that, or our left tackle he was going against is really, really slow.

The third string QB looked better than either of the first 2 guys. The field goal kickers looked pretty good. Other than that, I saw a lot of mediocre football being played. Of course, it was clear they were not wanting to show much of the starters or get anyone hurt.

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jhox 3 years, 4 months ago

I probably should have added that Pick looked good at receiver. He ran nice routes and showed good hands. There were nice catches by some of the other receivers as well, but I really liked the routes Pick was running. He probably doesn't have Meier's speed, but it looks like we may have another successful QB to receiver switch.

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Chris Bailey 3 years, 4 months ago

Now wait I was pretty sure Pick was much faster than Meier?? I thought Pick was one of the fastest players on the team?? Did I miss something?

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jhox 3 years, 4 months ago

He doesn't look at fast to me as Meier, but then Meier was supposed to be the fastest player on the team or second fastest his Freshman year. We upgraded our speed in his later years.

I recall a Mangino quote to that effect. Despite his tall, gangly looks, he was quite fast. That said, I'm not saying Pick is slow. He looked pretty quick running the option.

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Ben Kane 3 years, 4 months ago

i'm with you.

keep in mind though, the further west you are the harder it is. east coast bias is not a myth.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 4 months ago

What dude in his moms basement web site gave you those numbers?!?!?!

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 4 months ago

post a link to your numbers. . .i'll wait. . .i'll wait forever for your source. . .tic. . .tic. . .tic. . .

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 4 months ago

any coincidence that your joined these boards shortly after sheahon was hired? sheahon is that you? did you take a break from you greatest achievement of posting a few jayhawk billboards on a highway in western ks?

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 4 months ago

i just read a story about how you failed at your old job to raise enough money to renovate the football stadium and now some of it has to be torn down because it has been deemed unsafe.

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bad_dog 3 years, 4 months ago

Would this be the story you alluded to?

http://www.pantagraph.com/sports/college/football/article_a856cc60-187f-11e0-86c4-001cc4c002e0.html

It sounds to me like they attribute the "failure" to the economy and donor apathy. But you probably blame that on Zenger too.

BTW, ahp, what's your greatest achievement? Posting a few derogatory comments on an information highway in Kansas?

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 4 months ago

Still waiting for the link to the story that says we will soon be pulling in more tv dollars than Ohio state, Alabama, USC, and the other teams in their conferences.

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Todd Simpson 3 years, 4 months ago

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/football/ncaa/05/03/pac-10-tv.ap/index.html

Here is the link Phog1004 was talking about.

2nd paragraph enjoy

21 million per school isn't much at all

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shimjhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

this article explains how the Big 12 might top the Pac 10 numbers. The contract the Big 12 just signed is part of the package apparently and the biggest part of the package is yet to come up.

http://espn.go.com/blog/big12/post/_/id/28432/did-the-pac-12-upstage-the-big-12s-tv-deal

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 4 months ago

wow! i can see i'm talking to the crowd that thinks turner had a great recruiting class but don't realize more than half of the teams we will play ranked way above us.

first the official numbers and breakdown per school have not been released to the public. remember the we don't do equal splits so when you see a total tv contract around 200mill it doesn't mean each team gets 20. the former south schools will be getting in the mid 20's while the rest (us) will be luck to get 15. you do the math, big 10, pac 10, and south schools getting 5-10 mill more a year over the life of the contract. YIKES! we should of been screaming for the pac12 to take us over utah.

why sheahon why! this is where hiring a little engine for an ad will come back and bite us. first, a big dog might of grabbed us a bigger slice of the current contract pie. second someone that was a go getter might be thinking outside of the box trying to create a tv network. how about partnerning with other big time hoops programs (duke, unc, uk, big east etc) to create some sort of college basketball network. or at least calling ou and trying to piggy back on them and share a network. but nope! our ad is kicking back in his office being scared to put a little pressure on our numerous under preforming coaches dreaming of his billboards on 1-70 just outside of colby.

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shimjhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

Keep in mind that KU actually ranked near the top in conference earnings in the last couple of years. I realize that it all depends on TV appearances which will be diminished if nothing other than our poor season last year, but while we might not get 20 million per year, you estimate of 15 million is just a wild guess too.

http://espn.go.com/blog/big12/post/_/id/2094/how-the-big-12-teams-rank-in-revenue-sharing-funds

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panalytic 3 years, 4 months ago

Good to hear more analysis of the football team. I was wondering about Biere too and I completely forgot about the wildcat until your post. It will be interesting to see if the team actually uses the wildcat much this year.

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waywardJay 3 years, 4 months ago

it would be wise to do so.... Frankly, He shouldn't use his staple sets in a setting like this. Vanilla. Lukewarm Offense sets in this sort of setting can be a good thing. It's spring, and my guess is out of spring ball we have a few questions answered.

Our defense, specifically pass rushing looks improved.

Jordan Webb appears to be our starting Quarterback right now, and seems to be improved.

WE are likely to get the same effort if not the same output from Sims, with potentially more Miller and company ( read as New kids.... )

Not sure how this will merit out, but since we have a winner in the primary... i would like to see a full gallop through Summer and see Webb earn it outright early.... with the QB competition switching to backup. if Berglund makes noise early it brings all three back into the pack and that would be hard to have ironed out by August.

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Dirk Medema 3 years, 4 months ago

Really Matt. You're halfway there. Lose the "wildcat"

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Michael Maris 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm beginning to think that ahpersecoachingexperience is really Good Ole Coach Roy ''Boy'' Williams in disguise. Being how Roy couldn't stand the fact that Kansas had hired a AD that was more interested in improving the Football Program @ Kansas.

Roy accomplished his final goal at KU (in the end), and that was to get rid of Al Bohl.

Well, Roy went home to the ACC thinking that the Goat with Tar on his Heels would be like old times and Basketball would rule at UNC (as well).

So, ahpersecoachingexperience must be Coach Williams trying to down the KU Football Program (again). Even Bill Self is smart enought to know that Kansas has to have a successful Football Program or Kansas will be left out in the Cold with the MAC, WAC, Mountain West, etc........

So, ahpersecoachingexperience why don't you offer your suggestion as to Kansas Athletics SHOULD have hired after replacing Mark Mangino.

And if you can't offer a good solution, then just move on along and get back to the Ole Roy Williams Show that you belong with.

Thanks for Trolling this Kansas Athletic Website. But, your Hate Turner Gill attitude is getting MIGHTY Old and boring.

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treyvanahill 3 years, 4 months ago

Jablonski looked better than Webb and Mecham.

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