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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

John Mueller 1 year, 2 months 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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fearthephog512 1 year, 2 months 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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Mark Lindrud 1 year, 2 months ago

I dont see it as a bib blow because if he's gone, sometimes you sacrifice talent for character. In the Air Force, one of our sayings is integrity first and if you're not a man with integrity, then I don't want you. I understand making minor mistakes because of being young and immature, but when it's a second chance and you still don't get it, well there's only so much one can tolerate until enough is enough.

If he's kicked off or highly disciplined, hope the rest of the team sees this and steps up not just as players, but as men.

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KGphoto 1 year, 2 months 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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KGphoto 1 year, 2 months ago

Doh! My bad. The King of Swing, Benny Goodman is also listed as BUCK.

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Matt Tait 1 year, 2 months ago

No worries. I was just going off the depth chart, though, and Page isn't on there. He might be now.

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hawk316 1 year, 2 months 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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Ludwig Supraphonic 1 year, 2 months ago

ESPN indicates Joe Dineen has has committed to KU.

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Matt Tait 1 year, 2 months ago

So did we in this morning's paper... And I'm working on a bigger story for tonight. Great news for the program.

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Matt Tait 1 year, 2 months ago

Haha! You'd have to ask someone else... Sometimes I'm not even aware I'm doing it. Just trying to stay on top of things, though.

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CrystalJones 1 year, 2 months 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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Clarence Haynes 1 year, 2 months ago

There is not a correlation between juco recruiting and "eventualities".
Juco players are often times individuals who need more time to develop and they tend not to be what one would characterize as a problem child.

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orbiter 1 year, 2 months ago

"When I criticized Martin for using terms like "violent to describe his style of play..."

--If you don't want violence don't watch football. It's a violent game. The only way to play is with as much violence as you can muster, unless you are a QB or speed RB/R.

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JayHawkFanToo 1 year, 2 months 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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Joe Ross 1 year, 2 months ago

No upside in the situation? How about ridding yourself of a cancer (if these allegations prove to be true) so that the rest of your team isn't influenced to engage in similar behavior and you end up losing others? How about making an example so that other young men considering crimes choose differently? How about teaching a kid that when you do things in life, there are consequences and repercussions to your behavior, with the HOPE that this lesson sticks with him so he will make better choices in the future? There is your upside.

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JayHawkFanToo 1 year, 2 months ago

Are you saying that there are other players in the team inclined to engage in similar behavior or considering crimes, and hence, this event has an upside because, if the player in question is punished, it will deter these players from going though with those plans? This is ridiculous.
Are you are saying that programs "need" to have an event like this in order to teach kids right from wrong and have an "upside"? I don't agree. If the program needs something like this to let the players know that it is not acceptable, then the program is in worse shape than any one imagined.
All the items you mentioned should be Standard Operating Procedure for any program and you should not need an event like this to teach student athletes right from wrong.
In any case, my point referred only to the decision of keeping him and be labeled as tolerant (assuming he is found to be involved), or let him go and lose a player that, according the article, was going to be an integral part of the team. It was meant as an sports related comment and not a statement on criminal tendencies or societal values at large.

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Dirk Medema 1 year, 2 months ago

Do you think other players thought twice about drinking after Sims' suspension? Do you think other players smoke? Do you think other players will be confronted with jerks trying to ... ? Do you think other players are ever going to need to make a tough decision to have quality actions?

It's not about needing a bad situation to learn good, but is about using a bad situation to reinforce good. It's not about whether someone else would pull a gun, or duplicate whatever bad behavior you want to mention. It is about learning from the situation so that each player is more inclined to make better choices regardless of the situation or circumstances.

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Joe Ross 1 year, 2 months ago

RE: "Are you saying that there are other players in the team inclined to engage in similar behavior or considering crimes, and hence, this event has an upside because, if the player in question is punished, it will deter these players from going though with those plans?"

Yes. "Almost."

If the player in question is punished, it MAY deter other players from deviant behavior. In any event, players will certainly behave differently in a system which demands NO accountability versus one that does.

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Joe Ross 1 year, 2 months ago

RE: "Are you saying that there are other players in the team inclined to engage in similar behavior or considering crimes, and hence, this event has an upside because, if the player in question is punished, it will deter these players from going though with those plans?"

Yes. "Almost."

If the player in question is punished, it MAY deter other players from deviant behavior. In any event, players will certainly behave differently in a system which demands NO accountability versus one that does.

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JayHawkFanToo 1 year, 2 months ago

So, you are saying that the football teams is a bunch of latent criminal waiting for an opportunity to go off. WOW!
I find it hard to believe that there are players thinking that they can break the law with no consequences. I cannot think of single instance where a KU athlete broke the law and there were no consequence, so, what makes you think that they need yet another reminder when this has been the law of the land?
Maybe you think of athletes as potential criminals (and there have been a few); however, they have been the exception and not the rule. The vast majority of athletes are dedicated individuals with no propensity for crime.
Frankly, I am disappointed you hold KU athletes in such low regard; I certainly do not.

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Joe Ross 1 year, 2 months ago

No I never said that. You attempt to potray my comment as ludicrous because the error of your own is glaring. No. The football team is not "full" of would-be criminals. But there are some. You avoid the reality that if a team has disciplinary rules in place, the behavior of the players is modified over time versus if it doesn't. You can try to dress your position with ketchup, but it still tastes bad. I don't care if you're disappointed, to be very frank. Sociological studies back me up, and Id rather have truth on my side than you. I'd be happy to cite them for you...

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Joe Ross 1 year, 2 months ago

There is another way of understanding this intuitively that may be easier for you to grasp. Ill use the case of Darrian Miller since it lends itself to easy comparison. I imagine you would argue that Charlie Weis' dismissal of him from the team had NO upside (your standard, as above is that we either A. lose a starter--which we DID--or B. be seen as a program that tolerates bad behavior). Yet Charlie Weis and Darrian Miller both would argue that Miller's banishment and subsequent return have yielded dividends both for Miller and for Kansas. Argue this one...

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Joe Ross 1 year, 2 months ago

RE: "I find it hard to believe that there are players thinking that they can break the law with no consequences."

I suppose you think they want to be caught. LOL. That's as funny a thing as I've ever seen posted on this site. EVER!

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Jason Keller 1 year, 2 months 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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Bob Forer 1 year, 2 months ago

His alleged behavior is a little more serious than not "toeing the line." Hell, he spat on the line as he was soaring past it, shattering his old record by two meters." . The kid has already had his second chance, but even if he was a first offender, he should be gone.

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Bryce Landon 1 year, 2 months 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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Theonlythingthatexceedsyourbad 1 year, 2 months 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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orbiter 1 year, 2 months ago

"...saw him the first week on campus illegally riding in the bed of a pickup truck" What a thug.

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Theonlythingthatexceedsyourbad 1 year, 2 months ago

I agree it's not the biggest offense but it was literally his first week here. He was already breaking the law and doing so in a way that anyone on campus could see it.

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Dirk Medema 1 year, 2 months ago

We use to stick 2 dozen guys in the back end of a pick-up truck and drive out into the country for training. One guy even flashed a co-ed at a stop sign. (He was wearing Timmy's trench coat over his running shorts. She broke out laughing 'cause she knew she was busted for trying to be inconspicuous about checking out the truckload of guys.)

Villains and ruffians.

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John Mueller 1 year, 2 months ago

Now, that right there is just plain laugh out loud funny. thx!

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Clickker 1 year, 2 months 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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Joe Ross 1 year, 2 months ago

Certain memes get repeated until they have a life of their own. We have a presumption of innocence, yes. But in an objective sense, he is either guilty or innocent...RIGHT NOW. Either he did this or he didn't.

We don't have all the facts of the case, it's true. But three things taken together (and not individually) lead one to think he is in fact guilty. Police evidence led to his arrest, he has a history of trouble with the law over drugs which is a common denominator in this case as well, and neither he nor his alleged cohorts have thus far denied the claims. All three of these do not rise to the level of "proof", but there is no mitigating evidence thus far to suggest anything to the contrary. Time will tell, but in the meantime you can't fault the public for being very highly suspicious.

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Bob Forer 1 year, 2 months ago

Why would drugs dealers blow their cover to shake down a college athlete from an apparently impoverished background?

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Joe Ross 1 year, 2 months ago

Well for starters, maybe theyre actually interested in not being killed.

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Mark Lindrud 1 year, 2 months ago

Clicker, my first thought was possible innocence because I believe in gathering all the facts first, but my trepidation here is he already had a marijuana charge. When you've already had a run in with the law, typically you try to be smarter with your actions and avoid trouble. Even if he is innocent, he isn't learning from his mistakes.

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mommajayhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

Chris never had marijuana in the car. He was never arrested and hand cuff in Florida.....When you get pulled over for a headlight are you arrested or just pulled over and detained right in your car for questioning???????? I'm ok with people saying that Chris is immature, but a bad person, well, just ask me...I'll tell you...

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eric poncharello 1 year, 2 months ago

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

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truecrimsonandblue 1 year, 2 months ago

Many lulz from that pic, ironhawk.

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mahkmood 1 year, 2 months 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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mommajayhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

Thank you for your support...Chris is very remorseful for helping whom he thought were friends. Chris loves everyone and loves KU. The family is fighting to show that Chris is just a stupid person that should have never been hanging out with the other three people and should of kept his focus on his goal!!!! School......

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