Sunday, May 1, 2011

KU football notebook: Edge to Jordan Webb in QB race


For the second straight spring, KU coach Turner Gill said the competition for the starting quarterback job would continue into the fall.

At that time, incoming freshmen Brock Berglund and Michael Cummings will be in camp, attempting to make it a four-way race. For now, however, the battle is between sophomore Jordan Webb and senior Quinn Mecham. Saturday, Gill gave a hint about the leader.

“Both guys have done some good things,” Gill said. “But if I had to give an edge right now, I would give it to Jordan Webb.”

3rd-string QB impresses

The KU quarterback with the funny last name very well might have been Saturday’s biggest surprise.

Red-shirt freshman Blake Jablonski, a 6-foot-3, 198-pound right-hander out of Wichita Collegiate High, showed good zip on his passes, good awareness in the pocket and the ability to handle his first opportunity on the big stage. But not everyone in Memorial Stadium was caught off guard.

“I wouldn’t say (we were) surprised,” said fellow QB Webb of Jablonski, who completed eight of 13 passes for 76 yards. “I was surprised how he handled himself more than anything. But he’s got good tools, he’s smart, and he works his butt off. He’s going to be a good player for us.”

Jablonski’s day caught the eye of more than just the other quarterbacks on the roster.

“It was very, very impressive what he did today,” Gill said. “That’s a good sign. I don’t think he’s really at the point (where) he’s competing with Webb and Mecham as a (starter) at this time. But it was good to see him produce and go out and do some things when he was called upon.”

Running back reps deceiving

Don’t read too much into sophomore Ryan Burton leading KU’s running backs in both carries (12) and yards (23) on Saturday. Burton receive the lion’s share of the workload because Gill and company already know what they have in last year’s leading rusher James Sims (5 carries for 11 yards) and freshman phenom Darrian Miller (4 carries for 23 yards). Both players played sparingly during Saturday’s scrimmage.

Gill summed up Miller’s spring with quite a compliment.

“Of the 15 practices he had, I thought he was a person who got more yards than what was blocked,” Gill said. “And I think that’s a little bit of how you define a good running back.”

“James and Darrian are those two guys that we feel very good about,” Gill said. “We’ve got good depth, we’ve got good people. Brandon Bourbon was definitely a guy who was coming on strong before he got hurt, but I anticipate he’s going to be ready to go in the fall and we’re going to have a very, very solid group of running backs.”

Special teams oddity

The Jayhawks kicked off Saturday’s scrimmage with a special teams exhibition unfamiliar to most Kansas fans. With the players standing side-by-side on both 35-yard lines, the Jayhawks ran through a six-on-six kickoff drill that ran horizontally across the field, from sideline to sideline.

Gill said after the game that the Jayhawks use the drill because it allows coaches to evaluate those players receiving the kick and those players covering the kick at the same time in a quicker manner. In addition, playing on a short field keeps the contact from being too damaging.

“Our players, they love it,” Gill said. “And we’ve been doing that since we’ve been here and we just thought it would be good to get it out here in our spring scrimmage.”

This and that...

After Saturday’s scrimmage, Gill confirmed that Berglund, a three-star, dual-threat quarterback from Highlands Ranch, Colo., who graduated early but returned home earlier this year, was, in fact, present at Saturday’s spring game.... Eleven different Jayhawks caught passes on Saturday, with wideout Kale Pick (4-38), tight end Jimmay Mundine (3-31) and walk-on receiver Connor Embree (3-19) leading the team in catches.... Saturday’s scrimmage was played under sunny skies and with temperatures hovering around 70 degrees.... There was no kickoff, but the first play was run just after 1:30 p.m. The game ended a little more than an hour later, after KU had run 80-85 plays.


Dan Pawlowski 11 years, 7 months ago

Funny last name? Maybe in Kansas. In Chicago it would be like Smith.

ozzzy 11 years, 7 months ago

If we have the same issues at QB as last year with Webb/Mecham, I hope the coaches give Jablonski a shot. Instead of hearing Rudy chants from the stands, we could hear...Jabo, Jabo, Jabo.

Jeremy LeMaster 11 years, 7 months ago

I watched Blake play his junior and senior years of high school. Man was his senior year state champ team fun to watch! They were unlike any HS team i had ever watched. Explosive to say the least. I like to see the Kansas kids doing well!

ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years, 7 months ago

If you have two qb's you have none. . . And we have 5 plus a "wildhawk" option.

Ben Fletcher 11 years, 7 months ago

i think the saying is actually: 'if you have two qb's you don't have one'. meaning you don't have a starter...

Michael Leiker 11 years, 7 months ago

All I read was the title...I am dreading football season.

waywardJay 11 years, 7 months ago

He seemed to be playing with Poise. His Numbers weren't great and the Interception was telegraphed, but there is no reason not to give him a chance.

Dan Pawlowski 11 years, 7 months ago

I read the headline , started to panic and then read about Jablonski and that the two freshman are not in camp yet. Yes they are freshman but if Bergland can back up his swagger than perhaps we will have something and I always root for the Polish guy , especially at Quarterback. Jaworski , Bartkowski, Marino (yes he has Polish blood). Besides I had a childhood friend named Jablonski (RIP).

Jim Stauffer 11 years, 7 months ago

I don't see why Jablonski is not in competition with at least Mecham. He appears to me to be just plain better than Mecham.

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