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My post-camp KU football depth chart projection

Kansas running back Darrian Miller (6) weaves through some pads as he works out with the running backs and fullbacks during the first day of football practice on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

Kansas running back Darrian Miller (6) weaves through some pads as he works out with the running backs and fullbacks during the first day of football practice on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo by Nick Krug

As hard as it is to believe it's already here, the Kansas University football program's fall camp wrapped up Friday and the Jayhawks are now headed into full preparation mode for the 2013 season.

What that entails are two different weeks of preparation for Week 1, Sept. 7 vs. South Dakota at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.

The first week, Sunday through Friday, will be what KU coach Charlie Weis called “a dress rehearsal.” The Jayhawks will go through the entire week as if they were playing a game on Saturday. That way, the newcomers will get a feel for what it's like and the veterans will get a quick refresher. The goal is that both will dial up their focus that little bit extra.

After that it will actually be game week. Most of the college football world opens next weekend, but the Jayhawks have an opening-week bye this year. Their other bye is in late September between the non-conference and Big 12 portions of their schedule, but, if you ask me, they got lucky having the first week off. It gives Weis and his staff just a little more time to get all of these new faces ready for what's ahead.

With that in mind, I figured now was as good a time as any to throw up my best guess at the post-camp, two-deep depth chart for this year's Jayhawks. I was out at practice whenever they allowed us to be this month, which proved to be a very helpful tool in predicting the depth chart. In addition to seeing the players live and up close, I also saw two full practices, which gave me a better look at who was competing where, who was playing hardest and how the reps were divided up.

I'm sure some of this is incorrect, but, based on what I've seen and been able to gather from talking with the players and coaches, here's how I see things shaping up two weeks away from the season opener.

Weis will release the real version on Sept. 3, which, if how fast August flew by is any indication, will be here before we know it.

– OFFENSE –

X (wr)
Justin McCay
Josh Ford

LT
Aslam Sterling
Riley Spencer

LG
Ngalu Fusimalohi
Randall Dent

C
Pat Lewandwoski
Dylan Admire

RG
Mike Smithburg
Bryan Peters

RT
Zach Fondal
Brian Beckmann

TE
Jimmay Mundine
Trent Smiley

H
James Sims
Darrian Miller/Taylor Cox

QB
Jake Heaps
Michael Cummings

F
Tony Pierson
Brandon Bourbon

Z (wr)
Christian Matthews
Rodriguez Coleman

- DEFENSE –

LC
Kevin Short
JaCorey Shepherd

NB
Cassius Sendish
Victor Simmons

LE/T
Kevin Young
Ty McKinney

N
Keon Stowers
Marquel Combs

RE/T
Keba Agostinho
Jordan Tavai

BUCK
Ben Goodman
Michael Reynolds

RC
Dexter McDonald
Brandon Hollomon

SS
Isaiah Johnson
Alex Matlock

MLB
Ben Heeney
Schyler Miles

WLB
Samson Faifili
Jake Love

FS
Dexter Linton
Tevin Shaw

– SPECIAL TEAMS –

KO
Trevor Pardula
Eric Kahn

PK
Matthew Wyman
Michael Mesh

P
Trevor Pardula
Ron Doherty

LS
Reilly Jeffers
John Wirtel

HOLD
Blake Jablonski
Tre' Parmalee

KOR
Brandon Bourbon
Taylor Cox

PR
Kevin Short
Tre' Parmalee

Just a couple of quick notes explaining some of my thinking:

• Weis said on Friday that Combs was not yet a starter, that's why I put him second team on the inside.

• I didn't see a ton of kick return drills during the past few weeks and Weis said they're still looking over things there, so those guesses may be way off.

• Sendish at nickel is the preferred position for him, but if they needed to I don't think the staff would hesitate to slide him in at safety.

• Assistant DBs coach Scott Vestal told me recently that Brandon Hollomon was gonna play a lot and that he's one of the top flat-out competitors on the roster.

• Cummings gets the nod over Cozart behind Heaps because we heard he had a solid camp and he has the experience edge. But Weis raved about Cozart during his press conference on Friday so he may still be in the mix in some way, shape or form.

• Even though I've got Faifili ahead of Love at Will LB, I think both will play a ton.

• So many of these positions have solid rotations in place, particularly on defense, which is good considering Dave Campo recently said that, when you're facing offenses that play 90-plus snaps in a single game, you can't just play two corners or two linebackers the whole game, you've gotta have depth. And it looks like KU has more of it now than at any point during the past three or four seasons.

;

Comments

Mike Nicco 11 months, 1 week ago

Hi Matt, I thought camp started a week later than everybody else because KU plays a week later. I believe there is a limit to the amount of practices before the first game.

Thanks for feeding my KU football hunger every day. Wish I had your job...

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David Lara 11 months, 1 week ago

You must mean only so many practices before the start of the season. You can't just make the teams that start off on a bye take the whole week off because they haven't played a game yet. The season starts the same weekend for everyone regardless of when they play their first game.

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BayPark 11 months, 1 week ago

Just looking at the depth chart, I think the strategy of signing so many junior college transfers is already a success. At the very least, they're better than what we would have had otherwise. It isn't a stretch to believe that we could be markedly better as a team. My concern, though, and the reason I still think we'll struggle to win in the Big-12 this year, is that there are so many new faces with zero experience playing D-1 football.

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300milestoGoodland 11 months, 1 week ago

when is the next chat session? Schools in session. Get on it TAIT!

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Matt Tait 11 months, 1 week ago

Haven't thought about it. Look for one Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon, though. And then we'll do another during the week leading up to the opener.

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tinytimhawk 11 months, 1 week ago

2 questions:

1) Is there any possibility, in spite of his usual straight-shooting, that Weis mentioned Combs as not a starter as a bit of an attempt to really fire him up? Or does this say more about how much better Keon Stowers has become?

and the real important question:

2) Is there any kind of uniform reveal planned? Or are we just gonna have to see them as they roll them out each game?

Thanks for all you do Matt! Loved hearing about the Hawks all summer long!

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Brett McCabe 11 months, 1 week ago

Both are good questions.

If you were a returning player and you knew that 20-odd juco guys were headed your way, I would hope that you would ratchet up the effort. My hope is that this staff is being effective at developing current players, as well as recruiting new players.

Charlie has a plan - that much is clear. I can't wait to see how it works out.

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Matt Tait 11 months, 1 week ago

(1) Always a possibility. That said, Stowers has been a monster from the spring on and should be ready for a solid season.

(2) Haven't heard about an unveiling but I'll ask around.

Glad you enjoyed the coverage!

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Dirk Medema 11 months, 1 week ago

Holloman is just a soph if I remember correctly. Very encouraging for the future.

Sounds like a strong 2 deep at the corners. Still wondering a little about safeties. Hope those returners have developed.

Just noticing that there are many new guys on the DL. Hmmm.

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Steve Corder 11 months, 1 week ago

Matt, since I admit I don't recall all the juco transfers, could you indicate eligibility year and if they are transfers on your next depth chart?

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jhawkrulz 11 months, 1 week ago

This might be after Weis releases the actual depth chart, but Weis said there would be some jucos redshirting...might be interesting to see who it ends up being.

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Pbbut 11 months, 1 week ago

Interesting to see Peters in your 2-deep, I'm guessing that he's made solid progress or we wouldn't see him in that spot. We've hardly heard a word about him since the day he committed, but I recall he got a lot of praise from his HS coach who had sent quite a few kids to D-I.
I hope I'm wrong, but the unit that causes my greatest concern in looking at your projections is the D- Line. It's been nine months since we've seen them, so we'll see what coaching has done, but the history on this group is they haven't played in the Big 12 at all or they haven't consistently performed at a Big 12 level.

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Dirk Medema 11 months, 1 week ago

And Damon Martin is still quiet. Is he still in the doghouse? Will he even/ever travel?

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Doug Cramer 11 months, 1 week ago

Not a single new dude starting on the D-line...including Quel. This is very dissapointing. Matt - Is Quel not what he was hyped up to be ? ? ? Gonna be another long season watching our D get rolled.

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KGphoto 11 months ago

It sounds to me like Young and Keba have really stepped it up, and I think there may be a couple redshirts in that new group of DLs too. Bolton is likely, and I wouldn’t rule out a guy like Tyler Holmes either.

Also, I think we’ll see Combs starting before long. Seems like Weis is hanging a carrot for him.

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jayhawk5125 11 months, 1 week ago

Man I really wish Cox would redshirt. I understand he wants to play this year, (no doubt he can.) But he could be the guy next year with Miller, Pierson and Bourbon.

Holloman I like to see in the lineup. He has four year to play three. Just like Johnson is. It's nice quite a few of these JUCO guys will be here beyond 2014. (MJM, Holloman, Bolton, Johnson)

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Jim Jackson 11 months, 1 week ago

Cox will eventually, probably RS this year. I too, am very disappointed that there are no new faces on the DL. That really could spell trouble for us.

i understand Bolton may be favoring knee but it will be interesting to see if he gets on the field this year.

Hope he does.

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Rivethead 11 months ago

Of the six DL rotation spots, two people: Combs and McKinney are new faces. That's 1/3 of the DL. An additional year of Holsopple and Wyatt and I don't think it's unreasonable to expect Stowers, Tavai, Young, and Keba to be much better than last year. And on the DL, experience goes a LONG way.

2

Chris Bailey 11 months ago

Don't forget Stowers. He's only a Junior. So he'll be here two more seasons as well. Him making a huge stride from sophomore to Junior year not a stretch at all.

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jayhawk5125 11 months, 1 week ago

Honestly, if Bolton isn't full go, I would rather him go through some rehab and get his body right from the S&C staff. He didn't get the best rehab down at CC in Mississippi you can bet on that.

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ottomark 11 months, 1 week ago

Matt, Thanks for this. I'm a little concerned by your seeming optimism that we'll escape position 12 in the Big 12. Is my concern unfounded?

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Matt Tait 11 months ago

I think KU fans have to be concerned and open to the fact that KU may finish in the Big 12 basement again.... this kind of rebuilding doesn't happen in a year or two.

That said, I expect the Jayhawks to be much better and much more competitive this year and I think that means they'll win a Big 12 game or two. Whether that's enough to escape the cellar is anyone's guess.

I've said it all offseason, but I really could see this team finishing anywhere in the 2-6 win range and none of those totals would surprise me in the least.

Looking forward to seeing it all unfold...

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Chad Dexter 11 months ago

I would say there is zero percent chance that KU finishes 12th in the Big 12 this year.

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pizzashuttle 11 months ago

Matt, at the press conference the other day Weis asked one of the reporters who the starting kicker was going to be. Did Weis ask you that question? If so it's a nice back handled compliment about how well you know the team.

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Matt Tait 11 months ago

Yep. That was me. I'm just glad I got it right!!!

2

Brad Farha 11 months ago

@Matt -- if you had gotten it wrong, what would have been your punishment?

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chickensandwich 11 months ago

Hey Matt, Any word on Pearce Slater?

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Doug Cramer 11 months ago

Matt - I think you're right about keeping our expectations in CHECK. My prediction is 3-9...based on the fact that our defense will once again struggle to pressure opposing QBs. A decent improvement on offense could get us a couple more victories than we had last year. If for some reason we end up with the best offense in the Big 12...that would be a bonus...and we could possibly outscore some teams. But thats asking a lot from your offense to be nearly flawless.

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Adam McEwen 11 months ago

Seeing a lot of posts showing concerns about the lack of fresh faces on the D-Line, but with the reported gains in the weight room that may not be as big a concern as one might think. Strength makes a huge difference on the lines, and let's face it, the Gill administration didn't do much in that department to prepare these guys for last season. I think we've got a team that is going to surprise some people a win some ball games.

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Jim Stauffer 10 months, 4 weeks ago

I really think the D-Line will be improved on two fronts. Better conditioning for all involved and having a true two deep to keep fresh bodies on the field.

I really think the key to keeping up with the Big 12 offenses is just hurrying the QB anyway, since most of them throw in under 3 secs. Then the most important part of our pass defense will be the LB's and secondary staying in touch with the receivers so they are not able to throw immediately to some guy who is 5 yards clear of a defender.

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