Sunday, September 2, 2012


Recruits will fill the gaps


Spotting the Kansas University defensive lineman who came out of high school advertised as an outstanding prospect was an easy task in Saturday night’s 31-17, season-opening victory against South Dakota State. Too easy.

Josh Williams, the fifth-year transfer who graduated from Nebraska, has that long and lean look of a quarterback hunter. He has quicker, more agile movements than the rest of KU’s D-linemen. Charlie Weis won’t feel as if he’s upgraded recruiting enough until he has athletes who look and move that way and don’t stand out so much from teammates.

Kansas called so many of its running plays to go left because from center moving left on the line, three fifth-year returning starters line up, two of whom have all-conference ability. Weis is trying to build a program that gives him five experienced, reliable linemen so that one side won’t be significantly better than the other.

Upgrading recruiting won’t be easy, but Weis’ big name gives him a shot at doing so. The depth of talent still isn’t where it needs to be, but newcomers brought in by Weis already made an impact in the season opener.

Williams knocked a ball loose and recovered a fumble on the same play. Junior-college transfer Taylor Cox, his night tainted by a red-zone fumble, rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown. Freshman receiver Josh Ford blocked a punt. For a guy who wasn’t in town for spring conditioning and arrived late to camp in order to finish his junior-college academic responsibilities and isn’t close to being in good game shape, defensive tackle Jordan Tavai did some good things.

In the half-time-adjustment department, the offensive line that looked so disjointed at times in the first half appeared more cohesive in the second.

The first half showed how far the program must progress to compete in the Big 12, and the second half indicated how much the Jayhawks have moved forward from a year ago.

So often the past two seasons, poor third-quarter play was attributed to a failure to make half-time adjustments, and fourth-quarter bumblings were traced to an inadequate strength-and-conditioning program. Special-teams disasters didn’t favor any particular period.

The players sprinted to the finish line better Saturday than in the recent past, and special teams performed more reliably.

Clint Bowen doesn’t qualify as a newcomer, rather a home-comer, but the impact of his return shouldn’t be overlooked. A defensive coordinator at KU, Western Kentucky and North Texas, Bowen was special-teams coordinator at KU from 2001-2005. Weis’ convincing Bowen to coach the special teams and defensive backs counts as a solid recruiting job in itself. Now if Weis, Bowen and the rest can score big in recruiting, nervous openers will become rare.


Doug Cramer 9 years, 10 months ago

Completely agree Tom. We don't have the talent on the defensive side of the line to compete in the Big 12 yet...and it's gonna take some stud recruits to get to that point.

Been saying this all along...that Weis and Campo need to score a couple of 4 star d-linemen in this next class to build into the future. It's got to be a focus for this next class.

3 wins this year...and hopefully we can get this talent issue on the d-line resolved come next season.

Doug Cramer 9 years, 10 months ago

Another thing that's a little concerning. Looking at next years class...compared to other schools...we're lagging behind nearly all big 12 schools...and not even ranked in the top 50.

I know it's early...but it's still bothersome.

rockchalk_dpu 9 years, 10 months ago

While its worrisome to be lagging behind in recruiting at this point, I think a lot of players are taking a "wait and see" approach to KU. They have seen just how bad this team can be the last 2 years, and don't want to invest their time into a school and program unless there is some improvement in the wins column and an increase in the close games they lose. If KU plays their opponents tough, even in a loss, the players will come because they will see the ability to step in right away and play, while also contributing to a potential winner. This year will have a huge impact on the next 4 seasons, we just have to show players and the nation that this is a different team than the Turner Gill years.

sdoyel 9 years, 10 months ago

Is this really a sentence?

"Kansas called so many of its running plays to go left because from center moving left on the line, three fifth-year returning starters line up, two of whom have all-conference ability."

s6u6r6f 9 years, 10 months ago

Yes, it really is. Subject, predicate, complete thought. Rich in detail and convolution? You bet. In the tradition of the masters: Dickens, Joyce, Pynchon, Keegan. Rock chalk.

Steve Reigle 9 years, 10 months ago

"line" as in "line up" is the verb you're likely missing. A comma before "because" might make it more clear, too.

BayPark 9 years, 10 months ago

There is nothing grammatically wrong with the sentence.

tical523 9 years, 10 months ago

How much instant impact will McKinney make? Either way I hope that he has been doing Holsopple's workouts and pushing himself as hard as he can but still far away from where he could be, so pissed about his late arrival (not his fault).

Steve Reigle 9 years, 10 months ago

McKinney won't be on campus until this Friday, 9/7.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 10 months ago

Table - Do you really expect recruits with other quality offers to commit to KU before we show some sort of improvement? After listening to CW a few times, I expect that his recruiting pitch at this point is "Wait and give us a chance."

After what he brought in with 1 month of work, I won't be worried til Feb.

Fototherapist 9 years, 10 months ago

I have a feeling Weis will raid the juco coffers for the next couple of years until he can score some more highly touted recruits. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Snyder has been doing that for years, and look at where he's at.

Robert Brown 9 years, 10 months ago

There definitely is a talent gap which had been apparent every time KU plays a conference opponent. That was beginning at the end of the Mangino era. After the 2007 season the defense was terrible and only the offensive holdover kept the team competitive during Mangino's last two years. It will take time to upgrade talent. It appears that Weis will be able to recruit.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 10 months ago

Obviously picking up a big upset against a top25 team would be a huge boost to HCCW's recruiting efforts in the future. I'm circling Texas in Memorial as the big opportunity Weis has this year to make it happen. Don't know that TCU would carry as much clout even though they might have a better team than UT. I think the defense is shaping up to be more talented this season than last and would guess that it will also be better coached. Unfortunately nobody in the Big12 seems to be losing a step, OSU dropping 84, BU rolling, UT most likely improving, TCU ranked in the top20, WVU possibly a top10 team (both new schools likely upgrades from the 2 exiting), KSU,'s just a stacked conference. UofL might play in a BCS this year out of the BigEasy, but if they were playing in the Big12 in KU's place I doubt they'd make a bowl game.

vd 9 years, 10 months ago

Like when we beat a top 20 team Ga. Tech, and TG had the recruits rolling in.

texashawk10 9 years, 10 months ago

KU's recruiting class was ranked 34th by Rivals that season, just saying.

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