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Moving on without Chris Martin: Where KU football goes from here

It's still too early in the process to make a definitive call about what the Chris Martin arrest means for Martin, Kansas University football or the 2013 season, but assuming that the talented defensive end's run-in with the law will at the very least land him on the sideline for a good portion of the upcoming season, it seems logical to take a quick look at just what a blow not having him might be.

Before we go any farther, I'll start by saying that based on everything I've heard from a handful of people I've talked to about this situation, all kinds of outcomes remain on the table regarding Martin. He could be kicked off the team immediately, he could be cleared, he could wind up with a severe slap on the wrist and, even if he is cleared in some way, he could still miss half the season or more as a statement from KU coach Charlie Weis. Remember, Weis, just last year, handed out three-game suspensions for DUI arrests and this, we surely can all agree, is a much more serious charge than those.

I have no idea how any of this is going to end, but I think the only thing Weis and company can do is let things play out in the legal system, gather as much information as they can in the process and then, when all is said and done, decide on the appropriate punishment. Regardless of what that is, don't think for a second that Martin won't be punished.

It's a bad deal for KU football either way you slice it, both from a PR standpoint and a competitive standpoint. And it's a bad deal for the fans, too. Martin is a very likable dude, quirky in a way but gifted with great energy and an enjoyable sense of humor. You never knew exactly what he was going to say or how he was going to say it, but you did know two things: 1. Whatever he said would be the straight truth as he saw it and 2. He would likely deliver it in a very entertaining fashion.

For the purpose of this blog, let's assume the worst here and examine the landscape of the defensive line with Martin not being a part of it.

His absence puts immediate pressure on fellow newcomer Andrew Bolton, 6-3, 280, who, like Martin, comes to KU with the reputation as a legitimate pass rusher off the edge. Because Bolton could not make it to campus early like Martin did, hopes for his immediate impact must be tempered, but, if Martin is finished, the Jayhawks need Bolton to be everything he's been advertised and maybe more.

The spring depth chart listed sophomore Ben Goodman, 6-3, 255, as the immediate back-up to Martin at the Buck position — defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid — and that should bring at least a little smile to the faces of KU fans. Goodman is a great talent who has gotten better every day he's been in town and appears to have a very bright future. He doesn't own exactly the same build as Martin nor does he come with the same nasty mentality, but the guy can play and he should get every opportunity in the world to prove that now. I know the coaches were very high on him after spring ball and, as he enters his third season in the program, it's time for Goodman to show why.

Junior Michael Reynolds, 6-1, 240, is another player listed behind Martin at the Buck spot on the spring depth chart. Although Reynolds did not follow up his spectacular 2012 spring game with much of a season, he has some legit ability and could help replace Martin in a committee scenario as, at the very least, a situational pass rusher.

Senior Jordan Tavai, 6-3, 295, is sort of the forgotten man in all of this mess. Tavai, you'll remember, was one of the highlight signees from last year's recruiting class and, although he reported to campus a little overweight and out of shape, he made plays throughout the season from his spot at defensive tackle. From the time he arrived, Tavai was billed as a guy who could play both inside and out, and if Martin is done, it seems like a safe bet that Tavai will stay exclusively on the edge to pick up the slack, especially when you consider that Keon Stowers, Marquel Combs and Ty McKinney all represent great options on the interior of the defensive line.

One guy you'd have to consider a sleeper here is juco transfer Tedarian Johnson, 6-2, 288.. Johnson's huge and raw and doesn't exactly look like the kind of guy who could explode off the edge the way Martin or better-known NFL pass rushers like Von Miller or Dwight Freeney can, but he's well-liked by the coaches and one of the obstacles he was going to have to overcome — getting an opportunity to play — may have just cleared up a little. Again, he's not going to be Chris Martin, but he could help fill the void.

And don't forget senior Keba Agostinho, 6-2, 277,. He may not be on the same plane as a lot of these guys in terms of talent and ability, but he has more actual game experience than all of them and has made plays at defensive end.

The bottom line is this: If Martin's done, be it for good or for a significant chunk of the season, it's a huge blow to KU. He was the kind of guy who could be a difference maker for a defense, a guy Weis said would command constant double teams, which would make life better and easier for everyone else on KU's defense.

So, with him out of the picture, things change. But there still seems to be enough talent elsewhere on KU's defense, as well as enough depth on the defensive line, to think that KU could overcome this loss. Things might not be the same or nearly as good as they could've been, but this is a team sport and, beyond that, KU has created a fantastic team environment, and I can't imagine that any of these guys — players or coaches — letting one man's mistake bring down the entire unit.

Time will tell.

;

Comments

mahkmood 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Sometimes young men make really stupid decisions, but I don't see how removing Martin from the team is in any way going to help him. He obviously needs discipline and structure in his life and KU's football program can and will provide that. If he's sentenced to jail, then obviously he's gone, but otherwise I think the coaches at KU can be a very positive influence in his life. Coach Weis will make the correct decision, I'm confident of that.

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BABBOY 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Wow Tait. For you to even imply that it if the charges are true that this guy could still be on the team smells of desperation.

First off, just cause the kid has four stars from an internet geek at rivals.com does not mean guy is going to play. Examples from my favorite team KSU, Bryce Brown had five stars never broke Coach Snyder's third stream because younger brother Brown was moron. This Martin guy is giving the moron red flag so thinking he is a sure in because rivals gave him four stars is stupid (but common amongst fans and some reporters).

Secondly, if these charges are true, Weis without debate should kick him off team. These charges are more than a DUI or suspended license.

The problem is Weis may be feeling kind of desperate as well. Red Flags: getting QB transfers that didn't make it at prior teams, getting 19 juco transfers (very Ron Prince like by the way), and now possibly considering keeping this criminal on the team.....

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havecents 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I predict Charlie is going to be questioned heavily on his approach. 19 jucos which destroys program balance and allowing "Dream Team" advertisement before they played a down. If I'm wrong, ill eat crow, but doesn't smell right to me. Prove it on the field. 7-9 jucos out of twenty some is understandable, but 19 is a big risk, especially when at least a few wont pan out. One that would have looks to be gone. He has set himself up for high risk of failure by this approach. Dream Team better produce immediately or his will go downhill in a hurry.

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JHWKDW 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Ive said before innocent till proven guilty, but when and if the conviction comes down do not walk away from him, RUN FROM HIM. Better think about this especially with the recruit from Ohio.

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eric poncharello 10 months, 4 weeks ago

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

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Clickker 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Anyone think for a minute that he may be innocent? After all, these are drug dealers that are accusing him of armed robbery. Maybe they were playing on his status of an athlete and were trying to shake him down....maybe they just wanted more $ than the agreed upon price....who knows. Let Charlie and co work this out, and lets not crucify the young man.

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Theonlythingthatexceedsyourbad 10 months, 4 weeks ago

"Martin is a very likable dude, quirky in a way but gifted with great energy and an enjoyable sense of humor"

Have to disagree about the likable part. He's not - he's a thug and a loudmouth who robs people with painted wooden guns. Screw him, he better be kicked off the team (he's guilty as sin).

I saw him the first week on campus illegally riding in the bed of a pickup truck, then he knocked around his girlfriend (she's pregnant) and now he robs and sequesters people (kidnapping). He's going to jail and deserves it.

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Bryce Landon 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Some people just don't know what they're throwing away. He hasn't played a down of FBS football, and if he's going to act like this, he shouldn't be allowed to ever play a down of FBS football. Or FCS football. Or even D2 or D3 football.

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Jason Keller 10 months, 4 weeks ago

The one positive of this is that the other kids can see what happens when you don't toe the line.

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JayHawkFanToo 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Unfortunate situation with zero upside for KU. Either you lose a projected starter or risk being labeled as a school that tolerates bad behavior.
On separate note, interesting article:
http://msn.foxsports.com/collegefootball/story/ohio-state-president-e-gordon-gee-jabs-notre-dame-catholics-big-ten-expansion-053013
Once you get past his moronic comments particularly against Notre Dame and Catholics, there are a couple of interesting comments, such as this one about KU:
"During the meeting, Gee also said he thought it was a mistake not to include Missouri and Kansas in earlier Big Ten expansion plans. Missouri has since joined the SEC."
So much for those who thought there was no interest in KU by the Big 10.
and these ones:
"The top goal of Big Ten presidents is to "make certain that we have institutions of like-minded academic integrity," Gee said. "So you won't see us adding Louisville," a member of the Big East conference that is also joining the ACC.
After a pause followed by laughter from the audience, Gee added that the Big Ten wouldn't add the University of Kentucky, either.
"You tell the SEC when they can learn to read and write, then they can figure out what we're doing," Gee said, when asked by a questioner how to respond to SEC fans who say the Big Ten can't count because it now has 14 members."
I guess we know now how Gee really feels about the SEC...and Catholics.

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CrystalJones 10 months, 4 weeks ago

When I criticized Martin for using terms like "violent" to describe his style of play a few weeks ago, some people said I was overreacting and that it didn't suggest any character issues. Well, maybe not, but I was uncomfortable with the way he expressed himself, and now it is clear that he does have character issues.

Heavy juco recruiting has been shown to result in these kinds of eventualities. That's not to say that all juco kids are problematic. But turning those guys into D-1 players in short order isn't easy, and this coaching staff has no experience in doing so.

In any event, this makes improving a bottom-of-the-barrel football program even harder.

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Ludwig Supraphonic 10 months, 4 weeks ago

ESPN indicates Joe Dineen has has committed to KU.

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hawk316 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Matt, thanks for the prompt, reasoned and informative analysis.

I hate to see talented kids throw away great opportunities, especially when they come in the form of a second chance. Let's hope for the best, but it doesn't look good for the young man.

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KGphoto 10 months, 4 weeks ago

"You never knew exactly what he was going to say or how he was going to say it, but you did know two things: 1. Whatever he said would be the straight truth as he saw it and 2. He would likely deliver it in a very entertaining fashion.”

The entire segment is past tense, as if he were already gone. LOL, I think you’re thinkin’ what we’re thinkin’.

And hey, you forgot Neal Page from the shower curtain ring division. He’s 6’4” and 240. One of only 3 guys on the roster listed as BUCK. (Martin, Reynolds, Page)

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fearthephog512 10 months, 4 weeks ago

It's a big blow — but we'll be OK. I trust Weis to take appropriate action regarding Martin, and Campo should be able to fill the void with other talent. Just incredibly disappointing...

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Randy Maxwell 10 months, 4 weeks ago

OJ is serving about a million years for something similar and he didnt even have one of the guns on him

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PwopellewCap 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Second arrest -- he doesn't deserve another chance. See ya!

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John Mueller 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Disclaimer: Innocent until proven guilty.

However, this is terrible news for KU football but even worse news for this kid.

He appears to have been blessed with tremendous athletic ability, but he already had a past, and then to kind of blow this second chance is sad indeed.

But, if he was there, regardless of whether he had the gun or not or took anything or not, he needs to go.

No disiplinary action other that terminating his relationship with the University is appropriate.

If I were a KU player, I don't want to be teamates with this guy. And, as a loyal KU alum, I don't want him to have 1 more minute of ability to tarnish the brand.

Again, innocent until proven guilty, but unfortunately his past choices and current charges make it unlikely that there isn't some merit.

Best case is likely that he is perhaps innocent, but guilty of keeping incredibly poor company.

Just no place for this kind of character at Kansas.

Fisticuffs at a local beer joint, boys will be boys, especially big boys who are still maturing.

But, Armed robbery? First, if guilty, he will be in jail not on campus. But, regardless of sentencing, you gotta go. Period, full stop.

Prayers for this young man that he turns his life around, but not in a KU uniform.

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