Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kansas offensive tackle Spikes sidelined for season

Spikes moved from left tackle to right tackle last season.

Spikes moved from left tackle to right tackle last season.


Cram Session: KU offensive line preview online editor Jesse Newell and Lawrence Journal-World KU football beat writer Matt Tait take a look at what to expect from the Jayhawk football team's offensive line this season.

Kansas University’s football program has suffered another injury to its offensive line, the second in the past two weeks.

The Journal-World has learned that junior tackle Jeff Spikes injured his Achilles tendon during a recent non-contact, non-football accident, and on Monday KU officials confirmed that Spikes “has a lower leg injury and will miss the 2010 season.”

The news comes just a week after it was learned that senior lineman Brad Thorson broke his foot. However, Thorson is expected to be ready in time for the start of fall camp, which opens Aug. 3.

With Thorson slowed by injury, the loss of Spikes is a big blow for the KU offensive line. Returning starters Sal Capra, Jeremiah Hatch and Tanner Hawkinson are proven commodities at the position, and part-time starter Trevor Marrongelli also seems to be a reliable option.

Beyond that, the Jayhawks are young but packed with potential up front. With Spikes sidelined, sophomore Duane Zlatnik and red-shirt freshmen Riley Spencer and Gavin Howard likely will take on increased roles and compete for his reps.

Spikes, a junior from Painesville, Ohio, red-shirted in 2007, started 13 games as a red-shirt freshman in 2008 and started 10 of 12 games last season. He appeared in all 12 games in 2009, starting the first eight at right tackle, and moved to right guard against Nebraska and Texas.

Spikes is likely to apply for a medical hardship, which, if granted, would give him two years of eligibility remaining should he come back from the injury. In the past, most athletes who faced similar situations have been granted the medical red-shirt.


TopCityHawk 12 years, 4 months ago

Not cool. Hopefully he has a speedy recovery, and will be able knock some serious academic work out in the upcoming semesters while on IR. Achilles injuries are tough to come back from, especially for a bloke his size. Get better soon Jeff.

That being said, I will be excited to see what lies in the cupboard. I like what I hear about Zlatnik and Spencer knowing they will get their shot. One door closes and another opens. Unfortunate reality of football...

Lets hope we can get rid of the injury bug soon!!

Mark Lindrud 12 years, 4 months ago

Hope no one else gets seriously hurt. The offensive line was supposed to be our one strength on offense and we can't have that become another issue. I do like that others guys get a chance now to prove themselves, which maybe knowing they have an opportunity one of them may rise to the occasion and challenge for playing time. We can only hope this becomes a blessing in disguise.

Ben Kane 12 years, 4 months ago

this is horrible news indeed. Oddly, I seem more perturbed that this isn't the lead story on your webpage. Instead, you bury this like five stories down and lead with Cole's fashion statement. LJW, this is why no one takes our program seriously on a national level.

Andy Hess 12 years, 4 months ago

it's not good news, but let's be honest. Spikes has been a huge liability since he started here. His footwork is subpar at best. it's too bad that he's injured, but really i'm excited to let someone else get a shot at his position.

jakzhumans 12 years, 4 months ago

"Liability" seems a bit extreme, and "huge liability" is even worse. While he's been a disappointment compared to the hype the last coaching staff gave him, he's shown signs of improvement, particularly at guard last year. And despite his problems no one else has been able to beat him out as a starter even after a couple of position changes and a fresh set of coaching eyes evaluating him. I wouldn't call that a liability.

Have a speedy and complete recovery, Jeff.

Andy Hess 12 years, 4 months ago

i should have been more specific. at guard he was solid. at tackle, he is a huge liability. the guy was a swinging door for the last two seasons. there's a reason they moved a center into the right tackle spot. i hope he recovers quickly, but i'm not exactly losing sleep over this loss.

Rivethead 12 years, 4 months ago

It's not like no one has ever had a shot at Spikes' position. This spring was an open battle for ALL positions. Spikes, subpar footwork and all (I agree) rose to the top of what we have. This injury hurts.

Andy Hess 12 years, 4 months ago

Thorson was the starter at RT coming out of spring ball.

Dyrk Dugan 12 years, 4 months ago

bad injury for depth, but i don't believe the quality of the line will be hurt that bad. As speedy a recovery, as you can have Mr. Spikes.

KGphoto 12 years, 4 months ago

Non-contact, non-football? So informative, yet so secretive. A "lower leg injury" that outs a player for the season. What's the secret? I'm dying to know. It's pretty hard to get a season-ending, lower-leg injury without contact, or football. Was it a Yoga disaster? Perhaps a downward dog mishap? Some of those positions can be pretty taxing for a 325 pound man. Maybe he was playing Madden, and got all twisted trying to put a move on. You know how that goes. You hold the controller over your head and to the side, contorting wildly as if the body english was helping. Ah, but that would be a football-related injury. Hmmm.

Another 6-year Hawk.

Look at it this way. During his final campaign, he'll be playing alongside the best of the 2011 recruits, in their second season. And likely still with Tanner Hawkinson. That's gonna be a real good offensive line.

rolo2383 12 years, 4 months ago

I've heard he was at the rec center when this happened and that it was a freak accident. He wasn't doing anything at the time when someone plowed into him or something. I don't have any details other than it wasn't his fault.

Andy Hess 12 years, 4 months ago

he was at the rec playing a pickup game of basketball when he was hurt.

PJ Karasek 12 years, 4 months ago

I had a class with Spikes this past semester and he seemed like a really great guy, here's to a speedy recovery!

justanotherfan 12 years, 4 months ago

Non-contact = not a full pads workout.

Non-football = not running plays, blocking sleds, other football drills.

What that probably means is that it was some sort of conditioning drill (i.e. running stairs, sprints or hills, or lifting.

Either way its a tough break. While Spikes didn't have the lateral quickness to be an effective tackle, he did have the leverage to be a solid guard.

On another note, this is why o-line depth is absolutely critical.

DevilHawk 12 years, 4 months ago

Any time a player is injured its a setback to some degree or another.

Meanwhile, can one of you provide a summary a Rivals article? "Miller gets a new view of Kansas"

Dirk Medema 12 years, 4 months ago

Not sure about the Rivals article, but guessing it refers to his last visit. He was up with Thomas, Nubine and Ford the same weekend that Phil commited. There is quite a bit more discussion at rockchalktalk, especially dester30's "recruiting summit headed to Lawrence tomorrow" 5 days ago. Find it on the right side down a ways.

DevilHawk 12 years, 4 months ago

Actually, that is a new article, based on comments after the visit.

okiedave 12 years, 4 months ago

Jeff should recover from this injury. He also will make a good addition as a student mentor/coach to the O line newcomers. He has spent two years improving and another year in the weight room and maturing will help him be a huge asset in his last two years.

TrueBlue92 12 years, 4 months ago

So how to approach this season? Is it a chance to see what we have and don't have in the run up to the Big12(-2)? Do we expect to get to a minor bowl?

Is it better to see the youth in replacement of Spikes (get well soon big guy!), or does this unhinge the expectations?

I truly have no solid expectations for this season. I'd like them to do well, but I will not be crushed if we are unexpectedly not-as-good-as-expected.

I think I've moved all my expectations to next year.

Or I'm just tired.

DevilHawk 12 years, 4 months ago

My guess is that we will go 6 - 6 on the season, 4-4 in conference play.

I could see us having upwards of a 10-win season, but there are too many unknowns in the equation - including a new QB, a new head coach and coaching staff, and injuries.

Also, the scheduling plays a major factor. Week 2/3: Georgia Tech & Southern Miss. Week 6/7: K-State & A&M. Week 10/11: Nebraska & Oklahoma State.

If we lose any of those back-to-back games, there is a good chance that it will set off or solidify a losing season.

I think that (second to winning games) the focus is going to be on developing the players for 2011, showing glimpses of what is possible with the current staff, and recruiting.

SportingNews has KU as second in the North and fifth in the conference. However, that is according to their preseason ranking - and does not necessarily represent the expected record. (

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