Sunday, October 14, 2012

Questions, no answers, for Kansas at QB

Who will start at quarterback for Kansas University on Saturday at Oklahoma, Michael Cummings, left, or Dayne Crist? Only coach Charlie Weis knows, and he’s not saying.

Who will start at quarterback for Kansas University on Saturday at Oklahoma, Michael Cummings, left, or Dayne Crist? Only coach Charlie Weis knows, and he’s not saying.


The question will be asked at least a thousand times this week, and Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis has no plans to share the answer.

In fact, the first time anyone will learn whether senior Dayne Crist or red-shirt freshman Michael Cummings will be the starting quarterback for this weekend’s game at Oklahoma likely will come when the KU offense trots onto the field for its first drive at 6 p.m. Saturday in Norman, Okla.

There is, however, enough evidence to suggest that Weis will give Cummings a serious look as the starter during practice this week. Don’t be surprised for a second if Crist and Cummings are listed atop the team’s depth chart together when the updated version is released Tuesday.

“I’m not ignorant now,” Weis said Sunday night. “I saw the juice the team had in the fourth quarter. I can’t be oblivious to that, and I have to factor that in as we’re getting ready to go forward.”

Although Cummings’ final numbers were merely average, the energy and excitement he injected into the struggling KU offense brought a different dimension to the field and nearly propelled the Jayhawks to an improbable come-from-behind victory.

In a little more than a quarter, Cummings completed five of 10 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown. While he wasn’t flawless, he took a team that had gained just 236 yards through three quarters and led it to a grand total of 398 by game’s end, 28 more than Oklahoma State. Beyond that, he impressed his head coach in a couple of key areas.

“There was one timeout when I called him over and said, ‘Now remember on the last play that we ran, this is always a possibility,’” Weis recalled. “And he goes, ‘Yeah, I saw that, but this is what happened.’ That was a very upper-level thought. It showed me he wasn’t just playing the game, he was thinking about the game.”

Although Cummings is a laid-back, down-to-earth dude, Weis said he saw a little extra fire in his young QB during Sunday’s practice.

“Any time you see yourself go from the role of a definite back-up to the maybe starter, you perk up in a hurry,” Weis said.

Of course, Weis said he saw that from a lot of players Sunday.

“They obviously are disappointed in the loss,” he said. “But it’s probably as upbeat as they’ve been since the opening game. They know, with us, the jury’s always still out because people want to see whether or not this is a one-time deal.”

He's back … reported Sunday night that former Kansas University defensive back Dexter McDonald, who signed with KU in 2010 and played the first five games of the 2011 season as a red-shirt freshman, had recommitted to Kansas after visiting campus this weekend with his parents.

McDonald left the team following the 2011 season and enrolled at Butler County Community College, where he has played in five of the Grizzlies’ seven games. A 6-foot-2, 203-pound cornerback from Rockhurst High, McDonald originally committed to Illinois but wound up at Kansas. The report indicated McDonald planned to re-enroll at KU in January.


Todd Simpson 9 years, 8 months ago

is this the same kid who constantly got called for pass interference all the time

milehighhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

He was the 2nd rated corner out of Missouri in HS.

Ben Kliewer 9 years, 8 months ago

Who's the Photoshop wizard that made the cover pic?

okiedave 9 years, 8 months ago

My guess is that the offensive players, way down deep, object to the way Weis gave Crist a blank check on his starting role -- which made former quarterbacks, who were part of the team, seek other opportunites with other teams. Crist is a one season fair haired kid that has not put his dues in at Kansas for his Freshman, Sophmore and Junior years. Weis' claim that Crist is by far the best quarterback on the team, without comparison, did not appear to be accurate on Saturday. Cummings was certainly as good as Crist. Given some playing time, Cummings may develop into an outstanding quarterback. Just my personal view.

Jonathan Briles 9 years, 8 months ago

I completely agree with you about starting Crist and brining Cummings in later. There would be a lot of pressure on Cummings if he started. OU showed they are a top team last week and if Crist comes out and lays an egg and we bring out Cummings it could be a boost, but if Cummings starts and lays an egg then bringing Crist in wont bring any boost of energy it will just be a switch to something familiar. Cummings deserves the chance to start, but I don't think that it would be smart if his first start came on an away game especially against Oklahoma.

RL 9 years, 8 months ago

You and trojan are kidding, right??? I think the focus should be on how fast we can get Crist out of there versus easing Cummings in.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 8 months ago

At OU is definitely not a good place to start things. I think they might be remembering how they let us stay way too close thru 3 qtrs last year, and havea little extra motivation to put things away quickly.

That being said, I'd guess that part of what put Dayne ahead in the beginning was just his understanding of the O and experience in general as a D1 QB. Maybe Cummings would have been enough difference earlier that a couple of the games would have ended better, but maybe he was still learning the O enough that he wouldn't have been able to make a difference.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 8 months ago

Weis may have a hard time letting go of "The Crist hypothesis". After all it only makes sense that a player who knows the offense, who has 4 years experience playing and practicing at the high D1 level, and who until recently was a highly sought after pro-prospect QB would be the best thing for this team. But, at this point in the season, it's definitely time to turn over the keys to the offense.

I don't like the thought of putting Cummings out there to start the OU game and then him getting the snot beat out of him for 4 quarters and potentially losing his confidence. But if the staff truly believes that the kid from BYU really is the QB next year, then maybe they should just give Cummings the trial by fire treatment. If he comes up big for us this year then that fuels a QB competition for next year that can only benefit the team. If he crumbles under the pressure of OU, Texas, WVU, et al then at least we know we have the BYU kid next year.

Micky Baker 9 years, 8 months ago

What seems to be happening is that the players realized that they can win in the Big 12 after the total performance of the team on Saturday, particularly on defense. This could be a huge step. OU is a very a good team, but this is the week after the Texas game. If Kansas goes into OU and just scares the crap out of OU, then I believe this team is further along than I expected them to be, but not in win/loss record. I think this team is about ready to break out, but I will retain cautious optimism.

This doesn't mean that they'll run the table this year, but I think that the rest of this season will provide momentum going into next season, particularly for the guys that are returning. The seniors on this team want to go out in style.

Hey, I don't see why KU couldn't win 4 of the remaining 6 games if they do break out though. Maybe 5 because West Virginia is suspect, and Kansas just held the nation's top offense to 20 points and under 400 yards. West Virginia gave up 63 once this year, albeit they scored 70. If Texas Tech can do it, why can't we?

KU has only 2 home games left this season, I get that. KU can win both of them, we saw Texas get completely slaughtered in a neutral spot. This weekend's game could be a major step forward for this program, even if we don't win. I don't think we will win Saturday, but I do think that the game could be close late into the second half, and that is when our running game could put some immense pressure on OU.

milehighhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

"Hey, I don't see why KU couldn't win 4 of the remaining 6 games if they do break out though. Maybe 5 because West Virginia is suspect"

--> I'll have what he's having.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 8 months ago

I wish we were playing UT this week. I like our run game chances better in that matchup. Whatever happened to their D? And they just lost Jeffcoat (DE) as well as some others earlier in the season. It als helps that they pummeled us last year, which adds to our motivation and their complacency.

shelleysue 9 years, 8 months ago

It does absolutely no good to know a playbook if you can't execute. That's the no-brainer.

Micky Baker 9 years, 8 months ago

It isn't that it's the two new guys don't know it. Only one player on the entire offense knows the whole thing. Every other player on offense doesn't know it.

april28 9 years, 8 months ago

So....I'm waiting for the coach, player or tv announcer to really show some courage and admit a simple fact: there ARE moral victories in sports. KU is clearly juiced, the team made strides on both defense and offense and we almost have a fourth-quarter com-from-behind victory.

I'd like more but I'll take this.

kellerman411 9 years, 8 months ago

I'll take anyone who got on the field at Butler County CC. If every year KU could have the 5 best players from Butler, we would probably be contending for the conference in 3 years...

Jayhawker111 9 years, 8 months ago

I agree 100% with this comment - "Crist should see no part of the field on Saturday!"

But I will go a step further and say Crist should not see the field again.

Crist had his chance and did not produce - time to move on.

Also Mundine needs to start and KU needs to throw him the ball.

Mundine is good --get him the ball.

kellerman411 9 years, 8 months ago

This guy ^^^ knows wha the's talking about. Develope a JUCO pipeline between Lawrence and Butler and you will see this team explode and everyone will say how Charlie does such a great job developing his low ranked recruiting classes just as they say about Snyder. Its the JUCO guys! They're studs!

milehighhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

Powlus: "Okay Dayne, everyone says hit the guy in the numbers. Naw. Aim at either his ankles or about four feet over his head. There ya go!"

rob4lb 9 years, 8 months ago

The OU game may not be a good barometer of progress. I know the weather played a factor but the defense played well against a good offense. What is frustrating this year is the offense. I would have thought that under Charlie Weis we would get into some shoot out games.

In the last two years, we have played some close conference games at home against the lesser elite of the league like Baylor and Tech last year, but have gotten pounded on the road. If we get blown out by OU, I won't get too upset because they looked unbeatable last week. They will put pressure on our defense unlike any other team this year and it will be tough for our weak offense to score on their defense.

kellerman411 9 years, 8 months ago

I agree. This a week that you just hold the throttle wide open and close your eyes.

Marcia Parsons 9 years, 8 months ago

And hope half the team doesn't end up with an injury.

kellerman411 9 years, 8 months ago


We should bring in nothing but JUCO guys for 2 years and then if we can go out and win a bowl game, maybe we will have the credibility to start going after talented HS players. Weis has become a student of Bill Snyder and studied his history at KSU. He knows how Snyder did it, JUCO baby. I'm so excited that we finally have a coach who realizes this. KU football will be rolling in 2 years, mark it on the calendar.

Danny Hernandez 9 years, 8 months ago

The announcers mentioned at least 4 times Saturday that the receivers aren't getting separation! Our number 1 problem imho

troutsee 9 years, 8 months ago

Our number one problem is an immobile, inaccurate, slow QB. He has more than had his chance to produce and has not been able to do it. Even if it is OU at OU, Cummings needs to start. His presence means that the defense cannot lock down on our running backs. He has also proven to me that, for a little guy, he has a gun for an arm. If he starts Crist, it will be samo samo and we will fall behind early and have no chance.

notjustbread 9 years, 8 months ago

Hopefully the sooners will still be drunk from celebrating the TX thrashing and we will get the first score.

Jeff Suther 9 years, 8 months ago

There should not be a question in anyones mind. Crist lost to rice. I repeat crist lost to RICE. Honestly I have lost a ton of faith in weis through this whole ordeal. He obviously to this point has cared more about keeping crist in rather than winning games. KU has a min. Also chuck when you put cummings in change the offense to play around him. Pro style offense is great if you have the right qb and o line which ku has neither. We need to SPREAD it out. As a side note KU should have atleast 10 juco guys coming in a season until we win 2 consecutive bowl games.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 8 months ago

Interesting talk about Cummings vs Crist. however, don't you all think we'll be facing the same situation next year when Cummings must go neck and neck with Jake Heaps, our next "star transfer QB" when he comes off redshirt??

Jake has two seasons of eligibility left...Cummings will be collecting social secutiy by the time he could be a starter.

Don't get me wrong, I say, start Cummings the rest of the season to set up a true starting QB showdown next year, rather than just handing the keys to the Kansas kingdom [such as it is] to Jake.


Reuben_J_Cogburn 9 years, 8 months ago

No argument here.

Bottom line is Crist may get one more shot, but the odds are not in his favor.

Robert Brown 9 years, 8 months ago

I agree. Competition is good. Reesing competed with Meier for the job and before Reesing there was always competition.

To draw an analogy, after you have been in the workforce for several years, your college GPA and where you went to school become less and less important as you have a resume of accomplishment and experience. The same should be said for someone's STAR rating coming out of high school.

DocBean 9 years, 8 months ago

Q: Who should be the starting QB for the Kansas Jayhawks?

A: Michael Cummings.

Ron Prichard 9 years, 8 months ago

I probably fall into the camp of let Crist start but make the leash very, very short. If KU doesn't score at least once in the first two series, bring in Cummings. If KU does score (not just field goals) then let Crist keep going, but if KU falls behind by 2 scores, bring in Cummings. This isn't as much an endorsement of Crist as it is not wanting to just throw Cummings to the wolves and have his confidence destroyed against one of the top teams in the country on the road. If that happens, things could get ugly in a hurry.

I do want to state my overall excitement at how this team continues to improve. To hold OSU to 20 points is really impressive. Our defense looked great. Tight coverage by the corners and a dominant performance at stopping the run. When our corners can play man coverage, that lets our D do so much more. This weekend may be a bit tougher with Landry Jones and OU's big receivers, but its clear we are getting better each week. Give us solid kicking and QB play in the first half of the season and you are looking at a team that is 3-3 or 4-2.

One other thought on the game. When KU lined up to go for it but switched into a quick kick by putting Crist in motion and snapping directly to Pick, it was clear they had practiced it multiple times. Even though it didn't work as planned and the kick went into the endzone, the play was ran correctly. I have to say, the thought that went through my head was that last year's team wouldn't even have practiced a quick kick, much less have been able to execute it. In a nutshell, that is the difference between last year and this year. Preparation & Practice, Preparation & Practice, Preparation & Practice.

Brandon Pope 9 years, 8 months ago

"Although Cummings’ final numbers were merely average, the energy and excitement he injected into the struggling KU offense brought a different dimension to the field and nearly propelled the Jayhawks to an improbable come-from-behind victory."

I will take that over decidedly below average.

Terry N Tom Denner 9 years, 8 months ago

That is some great news with Dexter McDonald coming back to the Jay Hawks. Need some help in the defensive back field. I was really impressed with how the Jay Hawks gathered up some steam and scored 14 to make it a close game. To bad for the roughing the kicker call. The defense is playing much better and I feel they could of stop OSU and would had a shot to win the game. Great PROGRESS both sides of the ball KU. Very Proud of the team.

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