Sunday, September 2, 2012


Dayne Crist solid, not spectacular — yet

Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist gives last-minute instructions to his teammates trying to move the Hawks down field on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist gives last-minute instructions to his teammates trying to move the Hawks down field on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Charlie Weis

Kansas coach Charlie Weis talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 31-17 victory over South Dakota State on Sept. 1, 2012.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU players talk following win over SDSU

KU players talk following their 31-17 win over SDSU on Sept. 1, 2012.

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Box score

KU 31, SDSU 17

For so much of Dayne Crist’s debut as Kansas University’s quarterback, Peggy Lee, a late singer from a bygone era, came to mind. You could almost hear her singing, “Is that all there is?”

Landing Crist, the big, bright, thick, strong-armed born leader who spent four years at Notre Dame, sparked so much excitement among a fan base that had been bored stiff the past two years.

One game into his KU career, Crist remains the most compelling figure on the football team, but for a different reason. Now intrigue has entered the picture. Just how good is the quarterback who suffered a pair of serious knee injuries, spent four years at Notre Dame and was benched for good part-way through the first game of his junior season?

Crist, he knows it ain’t easy. He knows how hard it can be. He also knows he’s much better than he showed Saturday night in front of 46,601 spectators in Memorial Stadium.

“I’m very disappointed with how I played, left a ton of throws out on the field,” Crist said. “More than anything, I’m just happy that we got a win, couldn’t be more happy for my teammates, and at the end of the day, that’s the most important thing.”

Showing a symptom common with pitchers too amped up for the big start, Crist missed wild high with a number of throws. He overthrew his targets at other times, most notably when senior receiver Daymond Patterson had broken free in the back of the end zone.

Crist didn’t keep anyone in suspense as to the strength of his arm. He hit Kale Pick with a 43-yard bomb on the game’s first play from scrimmage. By the night’s end, he had completed just 17 of 36 passes for 169 yards with one touchdown, one interception and an average of 4.7 yards per pass attempt.

Crist said he never had been as excited waiting for a game to arrive.

“There is a ton of anxiousness going into any game, but waiting a full calendar year to get back was something that’s exciting, something I couldn’t wait for, but at the end of the day I tried to do too much, was a bit too antsy,” he said. “It’s not characteristic of me or how I want to play, but I’m excited to get the win and come back next week improved.”

Kansas coach Charlie Weis, the man who recruited Crist to Notre Dame and coached him for two years when he was a reserve, didn’t look the least bit worried.

“In the passing game, all the focus goes on the quarterback, but remember, this is a kid who hasn’t played in a year, gets pulled at halftime of the first game and really didn’t play again,” Weis said. “I think this was a good game for him to get out of the way, and he’ll just get better and better.”

So too, Weis said, will the fit between Crist and some of his receivers improve.

“When you look at it, you think it’s all the quarterback’s fault, but you don’t realize it when somebody’s not running the right route,” he said. “We had a screen pass called one time where one of our young men was running the wrong play. He came off the field after the play, and I said, ‘What were you doing?’ He honestly told me he was running a different play because the two plays sound alike.”

Nothing about KU’s off-target passing game dulled the enthusiasm Patterson has for his battery-mate.

“I think it’s just Week 1,” Patterson said. “Everybody’s anxious, hyped up to go. You see that all around the nation. It’s Week 1. You’re not going to connect on every pass that you want to just from being a little hyped up. The ball might get off the quarterback’s hand, the receiver’s trying too hard to run the route and might slip. From Week 1 to Week 2 should be the biggest jump because you’ve got one out of the way.”

Seeing if that’s the case makes the one-year Crist stay in Lawrence can’t-miss theater.


jhox 9 years, 11 months ago

I agree. I dogged Keegan yesterday, but must give him credit today. He's clearly capable. It just comes down to putting in the effort. Nice injection of the (near) Beatles lyrics.

As for Crist, let's hope it was just rust, because he was not very accurate overall. I loved his leadership though, and he did a great job selling the fakes. I'm willing to give him a free pass given the time since he last played in a real game.

The highlight for me had to be Cox. He runs hard, keeps his feet moving, uses his blockers really well, and has some nice moves. I'll be surprised if he doesn't lead the team in carries by seasons end. I'd like to see us use Pearson more like we did last year, using short passes, getting him one on one opportunities. He wasn't very productive up the gut. Sims should be very worried. He may have a hard time getting carries when he returns.

One final observation. I was very disappointed that our corners didn't challenge their receivers more. We allowed way too much cushion. In the spring game our corners played much tighter, and I think they're talented enough to do that. If they don't, Big 12 spread offenses will have their way with us again.

LAJayhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Decent piece. Not sure how much I like the paraphrase of John Lennon, and thereby suggesting Crist might be crucified if things keep going this way.... but solid piece nonetheless.

hawksquawk 9 years, 11 months ago

I actually chuckled at the subtle entendre. It has me chuckling 4 days later. Good one, Keegan, you sly fox.

KansasRedLegger 9 years, 11 months ago

Um, CU lost to Colorado State yesterday. You left that part out.

KGphoto 9 years, 11 months ago

Perhaps you missed the bullet he fired into Pick.

Mark Lindrud 9 years, 11 months ago

Possible it was nerves. Maybe he was trying too hard to show why he was good before getting pulled. For now I'll chalk it up to that. Improvement each week is what I want to see.

riverdrifter 9 years, 11 months ago

"Improvement each week is what I want to see" That's the size of it. If the Jayhawks do NOT improve from today, 2 more wins, max.
That was one BAD football team I watched tonight.

lv_jhwk 9 years, 11 months ago

And three wins would be what I had this roster pegged for, regardless of who is coaching them.

John Kelso 9 years, 11 months ago

I watched 5 games today with top 20 teams and not one top 20 team really played as well as you'd expect. I noticed there was tons of offense and very little defense other than Oklahoma State's shut out of Savannah State ( which I've never heard of ). It's going to take time for Dayne Crist and the KU offense to work as one. Practice is one thing but games expose your weakness and I have no doubt CW and the KU offense will work on routes and continue to fine tune their offensive attack. I'm happy Dayne Crist picked KU to finish his career and I have all the faith in the world he will live up to the hype. This football team just needs believers filling those stands on Saturday.....

Brad Avery 9 years, 11 months ago

I hope Crist and his receivers get better, but yesterday it was the return of Bobby Douglass. Same size, same number and Douglass also had a big arm and no touch. The difference is that Douglass was an option quarterback who could run like Tim Tebow.

minnhawk84 9 years, 11 months ago

Bobby also had a pretty decent NFL career following his days in Lawrence.......

Brad Avery 9 years, 11 months ago

No. And the first pass to Pick was on the money. But I also saw a dozen balls either thrown too hard on short passes or too long on deep passes and behind the receivers or sometimes to the wrong receiver. Mediocre won't cut it in this conference.

Robert Brock 9 years, 11 months ago

The smart play was to forget the pass and just take the snap and hand the ball to Pierson or Cox.

rtwngr 9 years, 11 months ago

You know it ain't easy. You know how hard it can be. The way things are going, they're going to crucify me.

The Beatles

tical523 9 years, 11 months ago

I have not ready any comments since his arrival saying that he is going to lead us to a BIG XII champioship or an Orange Bowl or anything like that, I would say more comments are just being hopeful and positive. . . . .far from any "god" comparisons. Actually most people on these posts predict between 3-4 wins this season, not very "god" like. I still have faith and hope in our new QB!!

99yard_run 9 years, 11 months ago

Will be a long season indeed. Crist threw 3-4 pick sixes if this was TCU et al.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

I'm not sure I agree with the headline - 17/36, 169 and a pick isn't "solid" in my book. It's barely mediocre. If K-State (or just about anyone else) hyped their QB as much as DC has been hyped and came out with numbers like that, we'd all be having some fun.

Actually, I'm glad the game played out the way it did. If he had gone 34/37 for 425 and 6 TD's, we'd be setting ourselves up for some real disappointment down the road. This way, we all know there's some work to be done and some room for improvement.

It's a "W" and that's really all that matters.

KGphoto 9 years, 11 months ago

It's not solid at all. Especially when you pile on the missed TD opportunities and a couple of real dangerous throws to the sidelines. Crist said it himself, so I'm sure It'll get fixed, but you're right on the headline. Keegan himself left Crist off his own ratings. However, I'll give him a lot of credit for adding the - yet.

Andy Tweedy 9 years, 11 months ago

No doubt about the definition of "solid"...those are Adam Barmann numbers, and we were told we would get more. I hope we get more!

Brian Skelly 9 years, 11 months ago

I think after all the hype about Dayne Christ coming in we expected him to be damn near a Heisman candidate. The reality is he isnt, and what we saw yesterday was a Jordan Webb performance.

That said, I think the difference is that Christ will get better. The question is, how much? If he plays like that in Big 12 games we're going to be lucky to win one. Just reality folks. While we're still dishing out 'benefit of the doubt' here Im willing to bank on him being better. My guess is as well that regardless of how things play out, he'll have at least one or two games where his play wins us the game. Lets hope he doesnt have one or two where he loses us the game.

JJHAWK 9 years, 11 months ago

We win by 14 points.

People use terms such as barely mediocre (no offense nuleaf I think you summed things pretty accurately).

Even our team emotes frustration at their performance.

Wow - things have changed with KU football! RCJH

Benjamin Piehler 9 years, 11 months ago

That'd be sweet!

I'm gonna hold of betting the house/farm though.

Andy Tweedy 9 years, 11 months ago

I don't understand why multiple posts have talked about the importance of Sims coming back. I like Sims, but we had two guys bust 100 yards, and a third looked effective when he was in the game. Running back was not the problem last night. Sims can't hurt, but I don't see that as making much difference.

LAJayhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Sims is an excellent blocker, has good hands, and is just as strong and faster (IMO) than Cox. Our RBs looked great yesterday (albeit against FCS-level talent), but Sims coming back will do nothing but help this team. I agree, having Sims yesterday wouldn't have changed that much, but in the long run, it's definitely going to be for the better.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 11 months ago

Bottom line for me is he's got the tools to be a good QB. Sounds like he threw the deep ball fairly well, needs to work on shorter passes, needs to keep working with his receivers, tough to get great chemistry with them over 1 offseason. If the running game is nearly as good as the numbers suggest Weis has some options and weapons to work with on offense, and he's a good enough coach to make that a dangerous combination. Chances are even with an improved defense KU will need some great offensive efforts to stay in Big12 games. Have to perform against Rice, but I expect the home game against TCU will set the tone for the season. I think it's safe to say fans are going to be excited about this staff, even with a rough season this year. But get off to a 3-1 start with a good showing against TCU and fans should get excited about this season.

yates33333 9 years, 11 months ago

Just as one robin doesn't make a spring, one game doesn't make or break a QB. Crist will do all right.

Fototherapist 9 years, 11 months ago

It was interesting to see how Weis kept switching out the right side of the line. I imagine Sterling got pretty winded several times, so Dent came in. I also saw the left side block much more consistently than the right. I hope Sterling can continue to get in better shape.

Sparko 9 years, 11 months ago

There were three or four bad decisions on passes that Crist simply cannot afford to repeat after last night. He was late on his check-downs a few times and telegraphed his target. There were two possible pick-sixes. That much said, Kansas also dropped some pick-sixes, and should have shut the door to an easy win if that one ridiculous pass interference call had not been made. Officiating was not great last night, it was very uneven and the spots of the ball were wrong many times.

danmoore 9 years, 11 months ago

I'm oppossed to scheduling D2 schools but yesterdays game makes a good argument for playing cupcakes.

troutsee 9 years, 11 months ago

I was very happy to see Gill go. But a Gill coached team, Liberty, came within whisker of upsetting Wake Forest yesterday. It will be interesting to follow Liberty throughout the season.

troutsee 9 years, 11 months ago

I have never liked playing D2 schools. It is hard to get up emotionally for the game as a fan and probably is just as hard for a player. I fail to see the advantage of playing D2 schools.

Ted White 9 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Keegan, Have you really been saving the John and Yoko reference since "Crist" came to Lawrence?

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

ralster, that's really not a fair statement to say that TG wouldn't have known what to do with DC.

He would have turned him into a wide receiver. And put Cox in at linebacker.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

ralster, not sure what you said that got "nuked", but i hope you know that my comments were in jest.....

REHawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Hey, ralster, the usage gestapo has been mighty rough on your posts, both here and in the hoops section this weekend....

Dale Stringer 9 years, 11 months ago

I managed to make it to the game and proud our football team Won. Did it win convincingly... Yes, but over SDSU. Did it play bad like the last two years... No.

And Yes - Crist was off some, the recievers dropped a few, and 80% (it seems) of our running plays go to the left. These do not worry me yet. The players will get better.

There are two things that do cause me a great deal of concern: Cornerback play and the kicking game. For CB, I have to say that I only really paid attention to Brown. He started play usually 7 yards of the reciever and started running backward as soon as the play started. The 5 yard hook pattern was open on nearly every play until they did it 3 times in a row and Brown caught on before regressing back to normal. If SDSU ran it every other play, I think they could have scored a lot more. Brown did play good when he was in close man-to-man and did knock down the pass at the goal line.

For the kicking game, Doherty did great in the punting and field goal game. I blame the miss on first attempt of the year jitters. What hurts us is inabilty to kick it into the endzone on kickoffs. He can barely get it to the ten and our coverage just couldn't get down field until the returner was passed the 25. The SDSU kicker, if he didn't kick it out of the endzone, always put it 5 yards deep. We took a touch back every time which hurt our starting field position. It also didn't help that our coverage looked sub par. It seemed that our guys all took the wrong intercept angle and got to their tackling point a second after the returner did.

Overall, I'm happy for the team and the way we played. We were ahead at the half... Oklahoma can't say that.

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