KU depth chart doesn’t reveal No. 1 QB

Kale Pick runs drills in spring practice on March 28. Pick is in a quarterback battle with Jordan Webb.

Kale Pick runs drills in spring practice on March 28. Pick is in a quarterback battle with Jordan Webb.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The first official Kansas University football depth chart of the Turner Gill era is out and, as expected, it provides no definitive answer to the question of who will start under center for the Jayhawks this fall.

Red-shirt sophomore Kale Pick and red-shirt freshman Jordan Webb essentially are listed as co-No. 1’s, with Pick’s name appearing first and Webb coming next with the word, “OR,” stashed in front of his name.

Pick, who played sparingly last season as the backup to Todd Reesing, was the most productive player in this year’s spring game, hitting on 14-of-22 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns. That performance may have led to him being listed first but does not necessarily indicate that he is the current leader.

Following the spring game, Gill said the competition for the starting quarterback job would continue into August and was down to Pick and Webb. In the days since the game, the first-year KU coach has maintained that position.

“I wouldn’t say there’s a leader,” Gill said. “But I can say Webb and Pick are the two guys. And they’re going to continue to battle it out as we go on.”

Another position worth noting is running back, where sixth-year senior Angus Quigley currently is listed as first string with red-shirt freshman Deshaun Sands listed as his backup. The team’s top returning rusher, Toben Opurum, who ran for 554 yards and nine touchdowns in 2009, missed the end of last season and admitted this spring that he was not yet completely healthy.

“I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent. I’m not going to lie to you about that,” he said. “But I’m out here, I’m moving around with everybody. We say it every year, but this year I really feel like we have a chance to have great depth with our running backs. We all bring a different style to how we run.”

The rest of the depth chart featured few surprises, especially when taking into account the fact that several potential starters were injured for most, if not all, of spring drills.

The offensive line shapes up with sophomore Tanner Hawkinson at left tackle, senior Sal Capra at left guard, junior Jeremiah Hatch at center, sophomore Trevor Marrongelli at right guard and senior Brad Thorson at right tackle. Junior Jeff Spikes is listed as a second-stringer behind Thorson.

At the crowded wide receiver position, senior Johnathan Wilson, junior Daymond Patterson and sophomore Bradley McDougald were listed as starters. Patterson also is listed as the first option at both punt returner and kickoff returner.

On the defensive side of the ball, seniors Calvin Rubles and Chris Harris emerged from a group of eight candidates at the cornerback position while sophomore Lubbock Smith and senior Phillip Strozier were listed as first-team safeties.

Up front, the D-line includes junior Jake Laptad, an honorable mention all-Big 12 selection in 2009, and red-shirt freshman Kevin Young at defensive end with juniors Patrick Dorsey and Richard Johnson listed as first-team defensive tackles. Senior Jamal Greene, who often was praised by Gill for his play during spring drills, is listed behind Dorsey.

In the middle, Huldon Tharp and Steven Johnson are listed as first-team outside linebackers with senior Justin Springer starting at middle linebacker. Senior Drew Dudley, the team’s leading returning tackler from 2009, was injured this spring and held out of most contact drills.

Though the depth chart makes for good fodder for fans to debate and dissect, Gill has said time and again that the final version won’t be set until practice picks back up in August.

“There’ll be competition at every position,” Gill said. “Obviously, quarterback’s going to get all of the attention; I understand that. But we’re going to make it where there’s competition at every position.”