Thursday, August 16, 2007

A.C.” right for wrong sport

Basketball player at heart finds home on O-line

Despite entering just his fifth season of organized football, Kansas University junior offensive lineman Anthony Collins has aspirations of playing in the NFL, and many think he has the skills to get there.

Despite entering just his fifth season of organized football, Kansas University junior offensive lineman Anthony Collins has aspirations of playing in the NFL, and many think he has the skills to get there.


Anthony Collins generally is regarded as one of the Kansas University football team's top NFL prospects.

Not bad for a guy who played a different position a year ago, on the other side of the ball three years ago and with a different kind of ball altogether just over five years ago.

"A.C. came to us having only played one year of football," said KU offensive-line coach John Reagan. "What people don't realize is that even though he's a junior right now, this is only his fifth year of playing football. He was a basketball player. So the strides that he has made are very good. He's pushed himself and had some hard roads, but he's come through those."

Now there's an understatement.

Collins, a 6-foot-5, 310-pound junior from Beaumont, Texas, started all 12 games last season at right tackle and earned honorable mention to the All-Big 12 Conference team.

He moved to left tackle in the spring and was named preseason All-Big 12 this summer.

No non-conference road games for the 'Hawks

The good news for KU is that for the second time in three years, the Jayhawks won't play a road game until conference play.

"That's nothing to me. Preseason, that's nothing to me," Collins said. "I'm waiting for after the season when the real polls come out to see what I did, to see what everybody thinks about me, to see how many wins we got, what bowl we going to and all that. I don't actually think it's an accomplishment until I actually make it, where my name is getting said on a Sunday and I'm getting paid for it and everything."

Looking ahead to the league is a recurring theme with Collins.

For instance, told his name would be uttered often during broadcasts this fall, despite the fact Collins plays on the offensive line, Collins cackled. "That's good. My momma needs to eat. My momma needs a new house."

Asked why he agreed to switch from right to left tackle, Collins shrugged.


Despite entering just his fifth season of organized football, Kansas University junior offensive lineman Anthony Collins has aspirations of playing in the NFL, and many think he has the skills to get there.

"Coach Reagan keeps telling me it's better," he said. "I don't see no difference. They say in the league they make more money, so I like that better."

It wasn't a painless transition.

It's not uncommon for a team's biggest and best linemen to play left tackle. In theory, it provides more protection for a right-handed quarterback's blind side.

"As long as I'm protecting them, I'm fine," Collins said. "Ain't nobody hitting my quarterback."

The switch took some getting used to, though the degree is debatable.

"It was very hard," Collins insisted. "It was so hard, I didn't want to play. I told coach Reagan to keep me on the other side, but he said, 'No, keep working at it, keep working at it and you'll get better.'"

Reader poll

Which true freshman would you most like to see playing come Sept. 1?

  • WR Dezmon Briscoe 44% 336 votes
  • WR Johnathan Wilson 21% 162 votes
  • CB Chris Harris 12% 96 votes
  • DE Jake Laptad 4% 35 votes
  • RB Carmon Boyd-Anderson 14% 109 votes
  • Other 1% 14 votes

752 total votes.

Told that version of events, Reagan chuckles.

"He just about quit? I think he's just having fun with you," Reagan said. "There's no technical difference. There's no mental difference. There's only a physical difference. Obviously, you're playing with a different foot back, and you're seeing things from a different aspect. But technically, you're still doing the same things. You're kick-sliding or power-stepping. The techniques are the same. You're just doing them with opposite feet, so it's more of an athletic difference."

Whether Collins seriously thought about giving up is in question, but there's no doubt he has settled into his new position.

"Spring and summer I had to learn, but by spring it was easy to me," he said. "It's real easy to me now. It's second nature. Once you put two or three months into it, everything's second nature. I was just used to doing the right-side plays - plays that go to the right - to the left side and left-side plays to the right. I was just backwards. But I got used to it and it's all good."

It's not the first time Collins was asked to move for the good of the team.

The first move - from defensive line, the position to which he was recruited and from which he once earned defensive scout-team player of the week during his red-shirt year - was more drastic.

"Every day everybody was telling me it's better for you on the offensive line because later on after you graduate from college, you can probably make some money for your family on the offensive line," he said. "Everybody was telling me I was too slow for the D-line, but I don't think I was too slow. I wasn't too slow. I miss hitting, but, whatever, it's been three years on the offensive line, and it's all good."

Collins is convinced the Jayhawks' offensive line is all good, too, despite the graduation loss of all three interior linemen. Tackles Collins and Cesar Rodriguez, with whom Collins is swapping spots, are the returning starters.

"We lost three good guards and centers last year. They were very, very smart," Collins said. "This year, we're way more athletic. We're hitting harder, we're faster. We're going to be better."

It's an assessment Collins said holds true of the whole team. No wonder he predicts nothing short of a double-digit win total.

"We can win 10 or 11," he said. "It's ridiculous how good we can be this year."


Eliott Reeder 15 years, 3 months ago

Let's suit him up in November and have Anthony "Big Baby" Collins rumbling down the court of Allen Fieldhouse alongside the rest of the boys. 6-5, 310. I wonder what his vertical is?

Dyrk Dugan 15 years, 3 months ago

I think our o-line will be as athletic and good as it ever has been recently.....and AC is a big part of it. If he has a good year.....the team could have a VERY good year. Go Jayhawks!

Kevin Long 15 years, 3 months ago

It would be nice to see one article where basketball isn't brought up by some fan. I know, I know we all love the basketball team, but its FOOTBALL season! I agree mvjayhawk, they can move and they are pretty big. I think more than the QB's that Jake Sharp will be a big part of how many games we win. Last year he had no patience, I hope he developed some in practice. I have no doubt he does have the talent though.

Ray Winger 15 years, 3 months ago

It's about time!! When a running back was busting records last year ....what did we hear about his O-Line?? We had a Good O-Line last year. It is the position that requires Intelligent Play, Team Play and is beautiful to watch in itself. I would like to see more press on the O-Line play. Maybe A C will bring more public awareness/press to their play, and we could continue to recruit great O-Line candidates, i.e. Joe Vaughn. Great Article...!! Bring um on!!

troutsee 15 years, 3 months ago

I agree. It's FOOTBALL season.

I also agree with Collins. A 10 or 11win season is a real possibility. The football will have to bounce in our favor but a 10 win season is certainly in reach. I like the confidence of the players, and I don't want to be asked what kind of dope I'm taking. You pessimists will come around. If our QBs and defensive ends excel, look out!

justanotherfan 15 years, 3 months ago

Sharp and Quigley, the one-two punch in the backfield! I just hope the interior guys can hold their own and clear space for these guys. There is a lot of pressure on both lines (offensive and defensive) to produce to take the heat off of the d-backs and open lanes for our runners. Collins sounds confident, but I'd interested to see what happens in a couple weeks against Cent. Mich. That's when the true story will be told.

quigley 15 years, 3 months ago

I'm ready to bust out this season man.

Dirk Medema 15 years, 3 months ago

It is good to hear that you have healed Angus. Looking forward to lots of strong running from you.

overseashawk 15 years, 3 months ago

I love football but in Kansas it's never NOT basketball season :-)

FlaHawk 15 years, 3 months ago

Speaking of Vanoy ... now ther is a BB player that made an impact on the FB field!

quigley 15 years, 3 months ago

I wish I were really QUIGLEY from KU's team, but I do expect him to have a big year.

bmcmich1 15 years, 3 months ago

I'll pretend I didn't just read that...

greatabu 15 years, 3 months ago

overseashawk, I'm in Kansas right now and let me tell you...IT'S NOT BASKETBALL SEASON. Carry on.

Alan Halvorsen 15 years, 3 months ago

lol...I love basketball--but for me--it's always football season!

When bball is over I don't give it a second thought. (don't shead any tears) From the moment I knew KU wasn't going to beat us in basketball it was "O well, now when does Sept. 1st get here!"

prairie_dog 15 years, 3 months ago

When I started at KU my freshman year, we were #3 in football (Douglass, Riggins, Shanklin, Vanoy, Zook, Hicks etc, etc). KU was a football school. We were good in 2 sports.

This is the year we become a TWO sport school again.

16 days and counting!!

Where will YOU be on game day? (Or was that last year?)

bmcmich1 15 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, that was last year, but that's okay I think it's better than the current slogan--this year it's "this is what Saturdays were made for." My jury's still out on that one...

I love the enthusiasm prairie dog, and there is NO reason why KU can't be a two sport school--Ohio St, Florida, and to some extent Texas have proved it can happen, but I would say that KU finding great success in both would be even more of an accomplishment because we will do it with CONSIDERABLY less $$$ than OSU, UF, and UT have


sevenyearhawk 15 years, 3 months ago

I'm afraid overseashawk is right ... it's ALWAYS basketball season in Kansas!

just like it's ALWAYS football season in Florida & Texas ...

I am SO PUMPED about KU football, I'm ready to roll ...

bmc, we're tailgating and partying before the home opener, right?

Beak 'em, Hawks!

/Here's the intro video to REALLY get everyone on this board pumped up:

CasperCorps 15 years, 3 months ago

We are running back deep this year, people need to quit sleeping on B. Mac... Dude probably had seven yards a carry last year.

bmcmich1 15 years, 3 months ago

Absolutely sevenyear! One of my best girlfriends from HS had the audacity to have her wedding on gameday, so a bunch of us guys are planning on ducking out early and heading to memorial--you bet your a$$ I'll be there I may not even change out of my suit!! As it comes nearer we'll coordinate more...

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