Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Notebook: WR Steven Sims hopes to return at Ohio

Kansas wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. (11) tears up the sideline on a touchdown run during the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. (11) tears up the sideline on a touchdown run during the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.


The most experienced skill player on the Kansas football roster, Steven Sims Jr. knew his hobbled right ankle would limit his effectiveness this past Saturday, but he wanted to give it a shot and see if he could overcome the pain enough to play.

The junior receiver knew his coaches already had determined he wasn’t healthy enough to start on offense, so he pleaded for a chance to test his ankle on special teams, in his typical punt returner role. But after a couple of reps there and a cameo on offense, Sims had to shut it down in what evolved into a 45-27 Central Michigan victory in his absence.

However, both Sims and his head coach felt optimistic Tuesday about the team’s leading receiver getting back on the field for KU’s road opener at Ohio.

“We think that Steven is going to be available this week, which is good,” Beaty said. “He seems to be doing a lot better. I think that he'll be fine. I'll know a lot more today after we go through practice.”

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On this episode of the KU Sports Hour, hosted by KU football beat writer Benton Smith, the staff discusses KU football's 45-27 loss to Central Michigan. Topics include: Is KU better than last year? (0:55-17:30), are lineup changes coming? (17:30-27:40), the football mailbag — coaches on the hot ...

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Sims, who led KU with 72 receptions, 859 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in 2016, got his junior year off to a quick start versus Southeast Missouri State, with four catches, 142 yards and two touchdowns.

The speedy, 5-foot-10 Air Raid target from Houston felt emotionally wounded, too, watching the CMU loss from the sideline.

“It hurt. It hurt not to be able to go out there and fight with my teammates, but I can only do what I can do,” Sims said. “I’ve got to get healthy for them in the long run, because we have a long season. It’s going to be a hard week for me. I’ve got to get back out there.”

In the unnatural capacity of observer, Sims locked in on outside receivers Jeremiah Booker and Chase Harrell, running the routes he couldn’t.

“So I was just watching those guys battle and those guys fight,” Sims said. “It just hurt that I couldn’t get out there and help those guys, and I hope I’m out there this week.”

Four days ahead of KU’s non-conference finale (11 a.m. Saturday, ESPNU), Sims felt confident about resuming his spot in the starting lineup and giving the offense a boost.

“I’ve got to leave it in God’s hands and I’ve got to continue to just get treatment and hopefully my ankle’s ready to go,” Sims said. “I feel like I’ll be ready, because I feel like I could’ve done a little bit on Saturday (against CMU).”

The ankle injury ended Sims’ streak of 24 consecutive games with a reception.

Holani also hurt

Beaty revealed at his weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon senior defensive tackle Isi Holani suffered an unspecified injury during KU’s loss to Central Michigan.

“I’m not sure yet,” Beaty said of the 6-3, 325-pound lineman’s status for Ohio. “We're still waiting on a solid prognosis on him. But I don't know that he'll be able to go this week. He may be unavailable. Based on just my talking with him today and seeing him, I don't know if he'll be available or not.

“But I didn’t think Dom (Williams, freshman running back) was going to be available last Wednesday,” the coach revealed, “and he played a bunch (18 carries, 64 yards, two touchdowns). We’ll see. Hopefully (Holani and Sims) make big jumps, because we need everybody. We need them all.”

Baldwin’s disappearance from depth chart

Asked whether the absence of junior right tackle Charles Baldwin on KU’s published depth chart this week was punishment- or incentive-based, Beaty stated it had more to do with Baldwin losing the position battle to starter Antione Frazier and new backup Zach Hannon.

“Zach Hannon’s come on playing really good for us. I would be shocked if Zach doesn't get some playing time, a little bit more playing time this week. He's a veteran guy. Started several games for Nebraska throughout his career,” Beaty said of Hannon, a graduate transfer who redshirted for the Cornhuskers in 2013, and played all 13 games on the punt team in his second year with the program.

Hannon didn’t play in a game during his redshirt sophomore year, then only appeared in two as a reserve in 2016, before graduating.

“He's a local dude from Kansas City,” Beaty added of the former Rockhurst High standout. “The story there is Zach. It's Zach. It's not Charles. That's not the story.”

Baldwin sat out 2016 at KU, as a transfer from Alabama, where he was dismissed after joining the national powerhouse program for only spring football.

“One of these days we'll get off the fact that Charles came from Alabama. I mean, c'mon,” Beaty said. “That lasts for about two minutes, and then it's about what you do, right? Nothing against Charles, but Zach has done a terrific job, you know. He's prepared himself. He's got himself in position.”

Frazier, a 6-4, 285-pound sophomore, Beaty went on, “flat took” the starting job at right tackle.

“We can count on those guys. That's one of the biggest things when it comes to your quarterbacks, is making sure they got guys on the bookends they can count on,” Beaty said. “Does that make sense?”


Dirk Medema 5 years, 2 months ago

It makes sense until you're not able to count on them.

It also isn't just where he went but that he was the top JC recruit that year. While typing that I also realize there was another top JC recruit that famously flamed out both here and some directional school down south.

Mike Bennett 5 years, 2 months ago

If as Beaty says Frazier "Flat took" the starting job at right tackle then we have a real problem because the guy has feet of lead. He was flat out awful against CMU. I've watched a lot of bad line play the last few years at KU, his performance was one of the worst.

Danny Delgadillo 5 years, 2 months ago

Since this an injury related article it reminds me of one more thing I noticed last week that was really irritating. Did anyone else notice that every time we got burned last week someone "came up limp." Were they really hurt or was their pride banged up? This happened on several occasions.

Titus Canby 5 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, we used to call that "loser's limp."

Austin Lopez 5 years, 2 months ago

So how many points will Ohio drop on the struggling Kansas defense this game? How many interceptions will Peyton Bender throw vs Ohio? How many reads will Peyton Bender miss next game vs Ohio? Will Kansas lose any other recruits after next's week game? Will Clint Bowen do what is right for Kansas football program and step down as defensive coordinator? Will the Kansas OL allow under or over 5 sacks next game vs OHIO? Who will get burned the most Kansas DB'S our safeties? Will Stanley Carter make his season appearance this game? How bad will David Beaty get out coached this game vs Ohio? Find out on the next episode of dragon ball z....

Len Shaffer 5 years, 2 months ago

As I posted elsewhere:

The offense is inconsistent, the defense is nonexistent, as fans we're increasingly resistant, to reporters who are optimistically insistent.

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