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Latest KU football injury news as unfair as it gets

Kansas University running back Brandon Bourbon (25) rushes against South Dakota State on Sept. 1, 2012, at Memorial Stadium. Bourbon, a fourth-year junior, says he feels better than ever after an injury-riddled start to his KU career.

Kansas University running back Brandon Bourbon (25) rushes against South Dakota State on Sept. 1, 2012, at Memorial Stadium. Bourbon, a fourth-year junior, says he feels better than ever after an injury-riddled start to his KU career. by Richard Gwin

My heart breaks for Brandon Bourbon.

There's no other way to put it. Few players on this Kansas University football team have been through as much adversity during their KU careers, fought through it all with determination and a smile, and still found tough break after tough break at seemingly every turn.

The most recent of those surfaced Tuesday, when it was learned that Bourbon would miss the entire 2014 season after suffering a knee injury in Sunday's team scrimmage at Memorial Stadium.

News of a season-ending injury for fellow-senior running back Taylor Cox also emerged Tuesday. Cox tore his Achilles' tendon during Monday's practice. It's not that I don't feel bad for Cox. I do. He's a great guy and an incredible teammate. It's just this deal with Bourbon is a little different because he's been with the program for so much longer.

It wasn't supposed to go this way. This was supposed to be Bourbon's year. Finally.

He fought through injuries for four seasons, kept a fantastic attitude through it all and was rewarded by spending the spring and the summer atop the team's depth chart at tailback. That's how it was supposed to go. And it was supposed to be followed by his best season as a Jayhawk and a strong finish to a tough career.

Sunday's injury had no place in the script. But it came anyway. And now Bourbon must not only rehab himself back to health again, but he also must decide if pursuing a sixth year of eligibility via a medical hardship is worth it.

I can't blame him, whatever he decides. It sounds like he's planning to persevere one more time and come back for another year if the NCAA will allow it. Let's hope they get that one right. Either way, I wish him a ton of luck with his rehab and future. He's a great dude and deserves for things to start falling his way sooner rather than later.

This is not the time to spend your days feeling sorry for the Jayhawks. Injuries are a big part of the game and a possibility for every player who steps out there. Because of that, coaches do their best to build depth and stack talent at every position. Running back is the best example of this at KU and has been for the past several seasons.

That makes the loss of Bourbon and Cox a little easier for the Jayhawks to take from a purely football perspective. All of a sudden, though, that depth that once looked excessive has been reduced to three promising newcomers (two of them freshmen) and a running-back-turned-receiver who might still be able to tote the rock a few times a game if needed.

Isn't it strange how a couple of players who, on signing day last February, looked like little more than luxuries now might be counted on big-time right away.

Juco transfer De'Andre Mann was called crazy for coming to KU with its already loaded backfield. Now he almost certainly will receive a significant workload.

Dallas freshman Corey Avery was one of the last in the Class of 2014 to pick Kansas and, when he did, Kansas looked to be so loaded at the position that many wondered if Avery would spend some time as a slot receiver. That wasn't the plan anyway, but it definitely won't be now.

The KU press release said that freshman Joe Dineen would move to running back to add depth to the position and Dineen certainly has the skills to play there. Like Avery and Mann, though, he just has no experience at this level.

For better or worse, though, those three are your KU running backs for 2014, with senior wide receiver Tony Pierson sprinkled in there if need be and, forgotten senior Ed Fink all of a sudden potentially staring at a possible goal line/short yardage role, as well. Other role players or situational-type backs also could emerge.

Those mentioned above are more than capable. And any one or two of them could be in for big seasons. But with Bourbon and Cox out now, their ability to deliver just became even more critical.

Hard to believe that KU now has lost more running backs (Bourbon, Cox, Darrian Miller and Traevohn Wrench) than it has.

Here's a quick glance at what happened to all that depth:

OFF THE DEEP END

A look at KU’s projected running back depth entering the summer and what happened to each back

Sr. Brandon Bourbon — Torn ACL, out for season
Sr. Taylor Cox — Torn Achilles’ tendon, out for season
Jr. De’Andre Mann — Competing for No. 1 spot on depth chart
Jr. Darrian Miller — Left team for personal reasons, later transferred to Northern Iowa
Fr. Corey Avery — Competing for No. 1 spot on depth chart
Fr. Traevohn Wrench — Failed to qualify academically, enrolled at Butler Community College

Kansas running back Taylor Cox warms up prior to kickoff against Rice on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas running back Taylor Cox warms up prior to kickoff against Rice on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

Kansas running back Brandon Bourbon catches a pass during warmups prior to kickoff against Oklahoma on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas running back Brandon Bourbon catches a pass during warmups prior to kickoff against Oklahoma on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

Reply 17 comments from Jmfitz85 RXDOC Texashawk10_2 Baldjedi Jay Beakum Rockn_chalkn_ku Jason Gooch Table_rock_jayhawk Matt Tait Eric Mitchell and 4 others

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge makes its way to KU

Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis, on Friday, answered the call in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that has taken the world by storm in the past few weeks.

The challenge, which has helped raise a boat load of money and brought greater awareness to ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, started simply enough with a few people dumping buckets of ice water on their head, pledging to donate some money to fight the disease and either quickly filming it or taking a photograph of it before sending the challenge on to someone else.

It now has reached epic proportions, with people producing full-on skits and videos to show their turn at the ice-bucket plunge.

Weis didn't go quite that far, but there is a nice video detailing how Weis was called out, how he went about doing the challenge and who he challenged in return.

Check it out...

Reply 5 comments from Matt Tait Dale Rogers Dirk Medema Eric Dawson

KU football unveils “Crimson Chrome” uniforms

A closer look at KU football's new "Crimson Chrome" uniform courtesy of freshman wideout Darious Crawley's Twitter account @DariousCrawley2

A closer look at KU football's new "Crimson Chrome" uniform courtesy of freshman wideout Darious Crawley's Twitter account @DariousCrawley2 by Matt Tait

The Kansas University football program late Tuesday night released yet another new-look uniform which will be worn during the upcoming season.

The uniform, dubbed Crimson Chrome features red pants, red jerseys, a red helmet (complete with a chrome face mask) with a huge Jayhawk head on the top and side and chrome numbers, letters and Jayhawks dotting the look.

The new uniform comes on the heels of last year's uniform explosion which allowed the Jayhawks to mix and match tops, pants and helmets for triple-digit uniform options.

This video, which shows the new red uniforms, uses the demo model. A KU spokesperson said the names would be on the backs of the Crimson Chrome uniforms when they're worn this fall.

As you can see, the players seem to like them a lot and have not missed any of the little details that make them unique.

Red uniforms have been popular with the KU fan base for a number of years, dating back to the success the Jayhawks had while wearing them in their Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech in 2007.

In this photo from Jan. 3, 2008, Kansas University’s Darrell Stuckey, left, trails teammate Justin Thornton as Thornton brings an interception upfield against Virginia Tech during KU’s Orange Bowl victory.

In this photo from Jan. 3, 2008, Kansas University’s Darrell Stuckey, left, trails teammate Justin Thornton as Thornton brings an interception upfield against Virginia Tech during KU’s Orange Bowl victory. by Nick Krug

While the newest uniforms most certainly are red, they're more of a modern spin on the old classic, which begs the question.... What do the fans think?

Like 'em or hate 'em, love 'em or loathe 'em, score another one for KU's creativity. There are plenty of players and plenty of programs out there that would do just about anything to have this kind of flare to their gameday gear and so many options at that.

Reply 23 comments from Leslie Swearingen Chandleraccipiter Texashawk10_2 Jay Beakum John Myers Oklahomajayhawk Bob Bailey Jmfitz85 Dan Spurgin Hornhawk and 11 others

Tracking the progress at Memorial Stadium, Part III

With fall camp set to open at the end of the week, construction on the new turf going down in place of the old track at Memorial Stadium is nearing its completion.

Construction crews began installing the turf on Thursday morning and are expected to tie together the final touches this week. .

There's still some work to be done, with regard to stitching in the lines and markings off of the playing field and adding the new Big 12 logo to the turf and the new black, decorative fence that will surround the south end, but the bulk of what's going to be there on Saturdays this fall is in place and you can really start to see what it will look like.

It's important to remember that, what it looks like today and what it will look like on game days is completely different. On game day, there will be benches out there, equipment out there, players out there and all of the other things that make up a Saturday college football atmosphere.

Finishing off the turf is an involved process that includes both hot glue, adding the rubber that gives the surface its softer feel and sewing together the pieces that measure five yards wide and anywhere from 30 to 50 yards long.

Here's a quick look at some of the most recent photos of what's going on over at Memorial Stadium:

This one from late Sunday evening offers a good look at all the green that now surrounds the playing surface at Memorial Stadium:

The latest look at the turf installation project at Memorial Stadium.

The latest look at the turf installation project at Memorial Stadium. by Matt Tait

Here are a few from Richard Gwin from late last week as the project began:

Jim Kaltmayer rolls out turf in an area previously covered by running track, Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Memorial Stadium. Installation of the turf — one of the final steps in a six-week stadium upgrade — began early Thursday and is expected to be finalized over the weekend.

Jim Kaltmayer rolls out turf in an area previously covered by running track, Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Memorial Stadium. Installation of the turf — one of the final steps in a six-week stadium upgrade — began early Thursday and is expected to be finalized over the weekend. by Richard Gwin

Workers lay down new turf in areas previously covered by running track, Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Memorial Stadium. Installation of the turf — one of the final steps in a six-week project that began with the removal of the track — began early Thursday and is expected to be finalized over the weekend.

Workers lay down new turf in areas previously covered by running track, Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Memorial Stadium. Installation of the turf — one of the final steps in a six-week project that began with the removal of the track — began early Thursday and is expected to be finalized over the weekend. by Richard Gwin

Workers roll out turf in areas previously covered by running track, Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Memorial Stadium. Installation of the turf — one of the final steps in a six-week stadium upgrade — began early Thursday and is expected to be finalized over the weekend.

Workers roll out turf in areas previously covered by running track, Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Memorial Stadium. Installation of the turf — one of the final steps in a six-week stadium upgrade — began early Thursday and is expected to be finalized over the weekend. by Richard Gwin

And a couple more from me during a trip up there last week:

A shot from the top of the west side of Memorial Stadium during the early stages of the turf installation project.

A shot from the top of the west side of Memorial Stadium during the early stages of the turf installation project. by Matt Tait

A closer look at the extra layers of turf at the back of the south end zone at Memorial Stadium.

A closer look at the extra layers of turf at the back of the south end zone at Memorial Stadium. by Matt Tait

Reply 1 comment from Jay Beakum

Most Crucial Jayhawks: No. 2 - WR Tony Pierson

Here's the second-to-last installment of our series that examines the Jayhawks who stand to have the biggest impact for KU football this fall:

Kansas receiver Tony Pierson leaps into the endzone as he leaves Texas linebacker Steve Edmond on the turf during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas receiver Tony Pierson leaps into the endzone as he leaves Texas linebacker Steve Edmond on the turf during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

No. 2: Tony Pierson, Senior WR

We know what Pierson is all about and we know how good he can be. The same was true for some of the defensive backs who landed on this list yet they ranked much lower.

The reason is simple: Because of the head injury that plagued him throughout 2013, we have firsthand knowledge of what this team looks like with Pierson and what it looks like without him. The team with No. 3 in uniform has a chance. The team without him, at least in the past, looked lost.

Although KU's struggling offense upgraded in half a dozen different ways during the offseason — new coordinator, more dynamic quarterback, new top receiving option, new-look offensive line, etc. — many of the new pieces in place remain unknowns.

Pierson is not.

We've seen the impact he can have on a game, even when he's been considered one of the few weapons in the KU huddle. We've seen the respect that opposing defensive coordinators have for him and, in turn, to what lengths they've gone to take him out of the game. And we've seen what a game-changing weapon Pierson's straight-line speed can be for the Jayhawks.

The key for Pierson this season will be to stay healthy and to utilize all of that. If he can, he makes everyone else on the field more dangerous and gives the KU offense a chance to not only get creative and crafty but also to succeed.

Whether he's catching balls down the field, over the middle, in the slot or out of the backfield, Pierson could become one heck of a security blanket for sophomore QB Montell Cozart, who will be asked to make a few plays on his own, but, more importantly, will be charged with getting the ball to KU's playmakers as quickly as possible.

Weis said recently that Pierson, like No. 3 choice on this list Nick Harwell, would be a guy that KU's offensive coaches build their gameplan around each week. That's good news for KU and KU fans and all the more reason Pierson staying healthy remains one of the bigger keys to this season.

If there's any justice, Pierson will stay healthy and will have the kind of season he's been building toward since he arrived. There haven't been many Jayhawks, past or present, who have the kind of skill set Pierson possesses. It would be a shame if he were here for four seasons and never got to unleash his full potential.

Perhaps this is the season.

Top 25 Most Crucial Jayhawks for 2014:

No. 25 - LB Jake Love

No. 24 - DB Greg Allen

No. 23 - DB Cassius Sendish

No. 22 - OL Zach Fondal

No. 21 - WR Justin McCay

No. 20 - DL Ben Goodman

No. 19 - K John Duvic

No. 18 - DB JaCorey Shepherd

No. 17 - DB Isaiah Johnson

No. 16 - TE Jimmay Mundine

No. 15 - DB Dexter McDonald

No. 14 - RB Brandon Bourbon

No. 13 - OL Keyon Haughton

No. 12 - OL Damon Martin

No. 11 - DL Keon Stowers

No. 10 - RB De'Andre Mann

No. 9 - WR Rodriguez Coleman

No. 8 - DL Andrew Bolton

No. 7 - DB Kevin Short

No. 6 - OL Larry Mazyck

No. 5 - Ben Heeney

No. 4 - Michael Reynolds

No. 3 - Nick Harwell

Reply 10 comments from Kingfisher Jim Stauffer Dirk Medema Catsandwich Texashawk10_2 Nebraskanjayhawk8

Jayhawks set as 100-1 long shots to win Big 12 football title

What do Kansas, NC State, Boston College, Wake Forest, Iowa State, Indiana, Maryland, Purdue and Illinois all have in common?

Sure, they're colleges whose basketball programs have carried the torch for the entire athletic department during recent years. But that's not it. All of those programs — and a few others — are facing triple-digit odds to win their conferences during the upcoming football season.

Kansas, which has won just three Big 12 Conference games in the past five seasons, is tied with Iowa State at 100-to-1 to win the Big 12.

Those other programs are 100-to-1, 200-to-1 or even 300-to-1 depending on the overall strength of the teams at the top of their conferences.

Obviously, this is not news. Everyone knows that the Jayhawks are in the middle of a rebuilding process with the football program, one that puts its priority on finding a way to win A COUPLE of conference games before worrying about winning the whole thing.

Still, in case there are some of you out there who buy into the phrase "misery loves company," I figured it wouldn't hurt you to see that there are other college football programs facing the same uphill climb as Kansas.

Here's a look at the rest of the odds — from Bovada.lv — for the power conferences heading into the 2014 college football season.

NCAA Football 2014-2015 Season - Odds to win the ACC Championship
Florida State 4/11
Clemson 10/1
Louisville 10/1
North Carolina 10/1
Miami 12/1
Virginia Tech 12/1
Duke 20/1
Georgia Tech 25/1
Pittsburgh 40/1
Syracuse 66/1
Virginia 66/1
NC State 100/1
Boston College 200/1
Wake Forest 200/1

NCAA Football 2014-2015 Season - Odds to win the ACC Atlantic Division

Florida State 1/6
Clemson 13/2
Louisville 13/2
Boston College 33/1
Syracuse 33/1
NC State 40/1
Wake Forest 100/1

NCAA Football 2014-2015 Season - Odds to win the ACC Coastal Division

North Carolina 8/5
Miami 3/1
Virginia Tech 3/1
Duke 7/1
Georgia Tech 8/1
Pittsburgh 25/1
Virginia 25/1

NCAA Football 2014-2015 Season - Odds to win the Big 12 Championship

Oklahoma 2/3
Baylor 11/4
Texas 7/1
Kansas State 10/1
Oklahoma State 10/1
TCU 14/1
Texas Tech 28/1
West Virginia 66/1
Iowa State 100/1
Kansas 100/1

NCAA Football 2014-2015 Season - Odds to win the Big Ten Championship

Ohio State 10/11
Michigan State 15/4
Wisconsin 9/2
Nebraska 11/2
Michigan 9/1
Iowa 14/1
Northwestern 40/1
Minnesota 66/1
Indiana 100/1
Maryland 100/1
Illinois 200/1
Rutgers 200/1
Purdue 300/1

NCAA Football 2014-2015 Season - Odds to win the Big Ten East Division

Ohio State 2/5
Michigan State 13/5
Michigan 5/1
Indiana 33/1
Maryland 50/1
Rutgers 100/1

NCAA Football 2014-2015 Season - Odds to win the Big Ten West Division

Wisconsin 6/5
Nebraska 3/2
Iowa 5/1
Minnesota 12/1
Northwestern 18/1
Illinois 33/1
Purdue 100/1

NCAA Football 2014-2015 Season - Odds to win the Pac 12 Championship

Oregon 11/10
UCLA 11/4
USC 5/1
Stanford 6/1
Arizona State 12/1
Washington 14/1
Arizona 25/1
Oregon State 33/1
Washington State 50/1
Utah 66/1
California 200/1
Colorado 200/1

NCAA Football 2014-2015 Season - Odds to win the Pac 12 North Division

Oregon 1/2
Stanford 13/4
Washington 6/1
Washington State 12/1
Oregon State 14/1
California 50/1

NCAA Football 2014-2015 Season - Odds to win the Pac 12 South Division

UCLA 5/4
USC 7/4
Arizona State 3/1
Arizona 10/1
Utah 33/1
Colorado 50/1

NCAA Football 2014-2015 Season - Odds to win the SEC Championship
Alabama 7/5
Auburn 5/1
South Carolina 5/1
Georgia 6/1
LSU 13/2
Florida 12/1
Ole Miss 14/1
Texas A&M 25/1
Mississippi State 40/1
Missouri 40/1
Tennessee 50/1
Arkansas 100/1
Kentucky 200/1
Vanderbilt 200/1

NCAA Football 2014-2015 Season - Odds to win the SEC East Division
Georgia 8/5
South Carolina 8/5
Florida 13/4
Missouri 10/1
Tennessee 14/1
Kentucky 50/1
Vanderbilt 50/1

NCAA Football 2014-2015 Season - Odds to win the SEC West Division

Alabama 5/7
Auburn 4/1
LSU 5/1
Ole Miss 9/1
Texas A&M 14/1
Mississippi State 16/1
Arkansas 33/1

Reply 24 comments from Micky Baker Joe Ross Thomas Smith Dirk Medema Marc Frey Nebraskanjayhawk8 Correb Matt Tait Jim Jackson Christopher Kaberline and 1 others

Most Crucial Jayhawks: No. 4 - DL Michael Reynolds

Here's the latest installment in our series that examines the Jayhawks who stand to have the biggest impact for KU football this fall:

Kansas junior Michael Reynolds eyes TCU's quarterback  Trevone Boykin (2) on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, during the teams' game in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kansas junior Michael Reynolds eyes TCU's quarterback Trevone Boykin (2) on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, during the teams' game in Fort Worth, Texas. by Richard Gwin

No. 4: Michael Reynolds, Senior Buck

You can't help but get the feeling, when thinking about senior defensive lineman Michael Reynolds, that the past four years have all been building toward this one potentially masterful moment.

Reynolds, a Wichita native who arrived on campus with a ton of promise and potential but very little else, has taken baby steps forward as a football player and made major strides as a man. No longer the immature, goof-around-and-have-a-good-time talent, Reynolds now is determined to be a factor on a defense that stands to be pretty good. If he is — and if, in turn, the defense is — the Jayhawks will have many more chances to win games than they would have otherwise.

Reynolds is so crucial to this team because of the position he plays and the role that success there can have. KU coach Charlie Weis has said for a couple of years now that the 6-foot-1, 240-pound Reynolds has natural pass-rush skills. He showed that better than ever last season, when he finished with 37 tackles (10 for loss) and a team-best 6.5 sacks. More important than those numbers, however, Reynolds showed he was able to stay on the field for more than just obvious pass-rush situations and that helped shape him into a more complete player.

Add to that positive step the fact that he's being driven by senior urgency and has taken on more of a leadership role and it's easy to predict that this could be Reynolds' best season yet.

There are so many things to like about the way Reynolds plays the game. He's explosive. He's passionate. He has good hands and a great motor. And he carries himself with a ton of pride.

If he turns in his best statistical season and those other things continue to rub off on teammates, particularly along the D-Line, Reynolds could have as big of an impact on this team as just about any player in crimson and blue.

Top 25 Most Crucial Jayhawks for 2014:

No. 25 - LB Jake Love

No. 24 - DB Greg Allen

No. 23 - DB Cassius Sendish

No. 22 - OL Zach Fondal

No. 21 - WR Justin McCay

No. 20 - DL Ben Goodman

No. 19 - K John Duvic

No. 18 - DB JaCorey Shepherd

No. 17 - DB Isaiah Johnson

No. 16 - TE Jimmay Mundine

No. 15 - DB Dexter McDonald

No. 14 - RB Brandon Bourbon

No. 13 - OL Keyon Haughton

No. 12 - OL Damon Martin

No. 11 - DL Keon Stowers

No. 10 - RB De'Andre Mann

No. 9 - WR Rodriguez Coleman

No. 8 - DL Andrew Bolton

No. 7 - DB Kevin Short

No. 6 - OL Larry Mazyck

No. 5 - Ben Heeney

Reply 10 comments from Jay Beakum Dirk Medema Micky Baker Matt Tait Charleslogan Catsandwich Texashawk10_2

Most Crucial Jayhawks: No. 6 - OL Larry Mazyck

Here's this week's final installment in our summer series that examines the Jayhawks who stand to have the biggest impact for KU football this fall. Check back beginning Monday for Nos. 5-1...

No. 6: Larry Mazyck, Junior OL

Until a couple of months ago, I had never heard of Larry Mazyck. But today, we've got him as one of the most crucial players on KU's roster for the upcoming season. The reason? His position.

Nothing has been announced or set in stone yet, but there's a strong sense that Mazyck will get a great shot to be the starting left tackle for the Jayhawks this fall. If he can, with all 6-foot-8, 340 pounds of him, life will be a heck of a lot easier for quarterback Montell Cozart than it might have been before Mazyck's arrival.

The Iowa Western lineman comes to Kansas after plans to attend Maryland fell through. He earned juco All-American honors last season and, although he'll be a little behind the rest of the linemen in camp when it gets going, I'm guessing first-year offensive line coach/offensive coordinator John Reagan will do his best to bring him up to speed quickly. You just don't look at a man that big — some reports have suggested that he might even be closer to 375 or 380 pounds — and tell yourself, 'Huh, how nice. Sure would be good if he could play.' Instead, you walk over to him, shake his hand, welcome him to the team and then start working like crazy to get him ready.

Mazyck has competition. Before his arrival, senior Zach Fondal and junior Pat Lewandowski were battling for the starting left tackle job. Both will still be in the mix, and, just as we saw last season with guys like Keba Agostinho and Kevin Young not being all that willing to give up their hard-earned spots to the hot-shot newcomer, you can bet everyone competing with Mazyck will be bringing it.

But if the light comes on quickly for Mazyck and he settles into KU's scheme and works well with the rest of the starting O-Line, you can call it a safe bet that Mazyck will be the left tackle out there on Sept. 6, when KU welcomes Southeast Missouri to town for the season opener. If that's the case, the prospects for this new-look O-Line will be a lot better.

Top 25 Most Crucial Jayhawks for 2014:

No. 25 - LB Jake Love

No. 24 - DB Greg Allen

No. 23 - DB Cassius Sendish

No. 22 - OL Zach Fondal

No. 21 - WR Justin McCay

No. 20 - DL Ben Goodman

No. 19 - K John Duvic

No. 18 - DB JaCorey Shepherd

No. 17 - DB Isaiah Johnson

No. 16 - TE Jimmay Mundine

No. 15 - DB Dexter McDonald

No. 14 - RB Brandon Bourbon

No. 13 - OL Keyon Haughton

No. 12 - OL Damon Martin

No. 11 - DL Keon Stowers

No. 10 - RB De'Andre Mann

No. 9 - WR Rodriguez Coleman

No. 8 - DL Andrew Bolton

No. 7 - DB Kevin Short

Reply 6 comments from Dirk Medema Texashawk10_2 Kingfisher Jay Beakum Charleslogan

Fox Sports conducts anonymous player poll at Big 12 Media Days

The guys and gals at Fox Sports Southwest conducted an anonymous player poll of all Big 12 football players in attendance at Big 12 media days earlier this week in Dallas.

The results, which they published Tuesday, had a little more KU football flavor than I expected.

Here's a quick look at the questions and the noteworthy KU answers. Check out the link for the rest of the answers.

1. Who is the Big 12's best team?

Not surprisingly, KU received no votes.

2. Who is the Big 12's most overrated team entering 2014?

Somewhat surprisingly, KU received 3 percent of the votes here, which means exactly one of the 39 players polled mentioned KU. If there's one thing I would think Kansas would avoid being called it's overrated. But, hey, to each his own. No explanation was given.

3. Which Big 12 coach would you most like to play for?

Players were not allowed to say their own coach here and KU coach Charlie Weis received 3 percent of the votes, with one player saying: "The first game we played KU, he was the first coach who ever found his way through the crowd and found me. He shook my hand and told me I did a good job and it was just shocking."

4. Which coach would you least like to play for?

Weis tied with TCU coach Gary Patterson for the top honor here, with each receiving 18 percent of the votes, or the nod from seven different players. The lone explanation here was brief: "He just hasn't been that successful."

5. Which Big 12 school has the best fans?

As you might have guessed, KU received no votes.

6. Which Big 12 school has the worst fans?

This one might sting a little for some of you, as 40 percent (16 players) voted Kansas in a runaway. It doesn't sound like KU's reputation for having the Big 12's worst football fans came from their vulgar behavior or nasty ways. Quite the opposite, in fact. Said one player: "Their fans don't show up. They're a basketball school." ... "They're too into basketball." ... "The stands were like half full."

Check out the full results for more on which programs the players themselves think have the best, and worst, players, coaches and fans in the Big 12.

Reply 26 comments from RXDOC Terran Woolley Catsandwich Atljaybird Baldjedi Texashawk10_2 Table_rock_jayhawk Doug Roberts Chandleraccipiter Joe Ross and 8 others

Most Crucial Jayhawks: No. 8 - DL Andrew Bolton

Here's the latest installment in our series that examines the Jayhawks who stand to have the biggest impact for KU football this fall:

White Team quarterback Michael Cummings pitches the ball to a teammate as Blue Team defensive lineman Andrew Bolton closes in during the second half of the Kansas Spring Game on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at Memorial Stadium. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

White Team quarterback Michael Cummings pitches the ball to a teammate as Blue Team defensive lineman Andrew Bolton closes in during the second half of the Kansas Spring Game on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at Memorial Stadium. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo by Nick Krug

No. 8: Andrew Bolton, Junior DL

There was a lot of hype surrounding Bolton last summer because, at 6-foot-3, 285 pounds and with a penchant for getting to the quarterback, Bolton represented the kind of player KU had not seen in a while.

Big, strong, explosive and focused on nothing more than chewing up QBs, Bolton would have been a big addition for the defensive line. An early injury kept him off the field during his first season in Lawrence, but the year off might have been a blessing in disguise for the Hinds (Mississippi) Community College transfer.

See, instead of being rushed out there at less than 100 percent, the time off gave Bolton a chance to heal. While he was healing, he also took full advantage of the opportunity to work on his body, absorb the playbook and watch and learn what life is like at the Division I level.

With such knowledge now his, the expectations are again high for Bolton, who figures to hold down the left side of KU's D-Line while defensive coordinator Clint Bowen and D-Line coach Buddy Wyatt play around with the flexibility the other guys up front provide.

We talked to Bolton briefly during fall camp last year and the only thing I remember is that he was a quiet guy. He seemed a little shy when dealing with the media and it would have been a shame if any kind of uncertainty about his place at this level or this school showed up on the field in 2013.

He's been here a year now. He knows the coaches, he knows the scheme and he's at least seen what big-time college football looks like. It's now his turn to be a part of it. And if he's ready and able, KU's defense has a chance to be a heck of a lot better immediately.

KU coach Charlie Weis had this to say about Bolton at Big 12 media days in Dallas earlier this week:

"Bolton came in banged up and really wasn't ready to go. And he's a big, physical, bruising type of guy that I would have liked to have played last year. I'm glad we didn't."

Top 25 Most Crucial Jayhawks for 2014:

No. 25 - LB Jake Love

No. 24 - DB Greg Allen

No. 23 - DB Cassius Sendish

No. 22 - OL Zach Fondal

No. 21 - WR Justin McCay

No. 20 - DL Ben Goodman

No. 19 - K John Duvic

No. 18 - DB JaCorey Shepherd

No. 17 - DB Isaiah Johnson

No. 16 - TE Jimmay Mundine

No. 15 - DB Dexter McDonald

No. 14 - RB Brandon Bourbon

No. 13 - OL Keyon Haughton

No. 12 - OL Damon Martin

No. 11 - DL Keon Stowers

No. 10 - RB De'Andre Mann

No. 9 - WR Rodriguez Coleman

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