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Archive for Thursday, September 11, 1997

ALLEN PLAYS MU PREPARATIONS CLOSE TO VEST

September 11, 1997

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Football coaches who don't worry about spies aren't extinct, but they're an endangered species.

Even first-year Kansas coach Terry Allen, whose unlimited access policy has been a breath of fresh air on Mount Oread, isn't taking any chances ... especially with a geographical rival on tap.

"We have an open-practice policy," Allen said at his weekly media session on Wednesday, "but I make sure everybody there is from Kansas. I'm sure there are a lot of Missouri grads around here who would like to see them come in here and dump us."

Kickoff is 11:37 a.m. at Memorial Stadium. The Big 12 Conference opener for both schools will be televised on channels 4 and 13.

Kansas will go into Saturday's meeting ranked No. 1 in the nation in total defense. The Jayhawks' senior-dominated defense is allowing approximately 150 yards per game. But Missouri, Allen stressed, is no Alabama-Birmingham and no TCU.

Moreover, Missouri's Corby Jones, one of the nation's best running quarterbacks, is more of an offensive threat than his UAB and TCU counterparts.

"We haven't faced a quarterback who is even close to as good as Jones is," Allen said.

Two QB System: Allen affirmed his intention to start senior Matt Johner at quarterback instead of soph Zac Wegner despite Wegner having the better stats. Johner is more mobile; Wegner the better passer.

"It's kind of like having a Sixth Man," Allen said, using a basketball analogy. "You have something to change the pace. If we can't execute and the game is getting away from us we might go to some things Zac does."

McGraw Back: Senior nose guard Brett McGraw will play with a brace on his right knee Saturday after suffering a torn medial collateral ligament in the TCU game.

"If there's one place you can get by with limited mobility, it's nose guard," Allen said.

McGraw, who competed in rodeos while he was in high school, has never missed a game while at Kansas.

"I'm not sure I have a big enough lasso to keep that bull rider on the sidelines if he's physically able," Allen said.

McGraw returned to practice Wednesday.

Vann-Winbush Tandem: Senior Eric Vann may be listed as the Jayhawks' starting tailback, but freshman David Winbush could probably be listed as co-starter.

"Winbush will play a bunch," Allen said. "He's right there with Eric Vann. It's great to have both Vann and Winbush. We're not going to let anyone carry the ball 40 times. We don't have a June Henley who can hammer it at you."

Julius Bruce and Mitch Bowles have also carried the ball in the first two games. Bruce fumbled twice, losing one.

"Julius Bruce isn't bad if he can hold onto the football," Allen said. "Mitch Bowles can do some things, too."

Frequent Flyer: Bob Davis, play-by-play for Kansas football on the radio and Royals baseball on television, has a tight fit this weekend. Davis will do the Royals-Angels game in Anaheim on Friday night, then catch a red-eye flight to Kansas City.

"If everything goes well, I should be here between 9:30 and 10 in the morning," Davis said.

That would put him in the booth about two hours before kickoff. But what if Friday night's Royals-Angels game goes into extra innings and he misses the overnight flight?

"It won't go into extra innings," Davis said, smiling.

After Saturday's KU-MU game, Davis will drive right back to KCI and board another flight back to California where he's also scheduled to work Sunday's KC-Anaheim game.

  • Video and Moore: Former KU tight end Jim Moore, who graduated last May, has joined the KU coaching staff as a graduate assistant for video.

  • Walden visits: Former Iowa State head coach Jim Walden, who now works with a college football television show, dropped by KU's practice Wednesday. He and Allen, late of Northern Iowa, are longtime acquaintances.

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