Archive for Monday, October 29, 2001

Long, hard weekend for Jayhawks

October 29, 2001


Just when it seemed things can't get any worse for Kansas University's football team, the Jayhawks endured a weekend like this one.

After learning on Friday that senior receiver Harrison Hill's recovery wasn't going well, and then suffering a 40-6 defeat at Kansas State on Saturday, KU received word on Sunday that junior quarterback Jonas Weatherbie's father, Charlie, had been fired as Navy's coach.

"He's doing all right," KU coach Terry Allen said of his backup QB. "But as he says, he wants to get in this business and sometimes he doesn't know why."

Charlie Weatherbie, who was 30-45 during six-plus seasons with the Midshipmen, was let go after his squad lost for the 17th time in its last 18 games. Navy fell to 0-7 following a 21-20 loss at Toledo this weekend.

Jonas Weatherbie, who has completed one of two passes for 11 yards in three games for the Jayhawks, often has talked about following in his father's footsteps.

During KU's past two games against Missouri and Kansas State, Weatherbie has been signaling in plays from the sideline along with assistant coach Clint Bowen.

While Weatherbie has an idea what direction his career is going to take him, the same can't be said for Hill. KU's senior co-captain hasn't played a down since he broke his shoulder blade on Sept. 8 against UCLA.

On Friday, Hill underwent his third evaluation since suffering the injury.

"He hasn't gotten clearance yet, so we applied for a sixth year of eligibility," Allen said. "I don't know when we'll find out on that. We'll see if eventually he gets cleared. We want to do what's best for him."

Hill, who received a medical red-shirt as a freshman because of a broken ankle, has stated in the past he would be opposed to a hardship red-shirt. He might be leaning in that direction now.

"Obviously, that's why we applied," Allen said.

Allen also added "there's a chance" Hill still could return this season.

The Jayhawks certainly miss the 5-foot-11, 200-pound wideout, who is just 26 catches short of becoming the school's all-time leading receiver. Senior wide receiver Termaine Fulton has been hurting since suffering a sprain to the acriomioclavicular joint in his right shoulder against Oklahoma, and sophomore Derick Mills (ankle) didn't play against the Wildcats.

"We've got all the guys that are banged up," Allen said. "Hopefully we'll get Derick back, get Santana back, get Leo Bookman back, and Termaine is going to keep fighting."

Freshman defensive backs Santana Lane (ankle) and Bookman (knee) both were injured in the Jayhawks' 38-10 loss to Oklahoma.

Johnny come lately: Earlier this season, freshman kicker Johnny Beck was one of the most consistent players Kansas had. After opening his college career 10-of-11 on field goals, Beck has missed four of his last seven.

The former Kansas City Piper standout connected from 42 and 37 yards against K-State, but missed from 37 and 40.

"You feel bad for him," Allen said. "He came back and kicked some through at the end there, but those (misses) could have been a couple plays that maybe could have gotten some momentum going for us."

Fashion statement: The Jayhawks wore all white against the Wildcats their white road jerseys with their white home pants. Incidentally, Colorado did the same thing when it won in Manhattan earlier this month.

"Because the kids wanted to," was all Allen said about the decision.

Missed opportunities: Many KU fans felt this was the Jayhawks' best chance of upending K-State in several years. The Wildcats, who haven't dropped a game to their intrastate rival since 1992, had been mired in a four-game losing streak leading up to the Sunflower State Showdown.

"I would have felt a little better had we come off a win last week," Allen said, referring to a 38-34 loss to Missouri. "I think we were a little fragile ourselves. Initially some bad things happened for us. This was probably the best opportunity we've had against them since we've been here against them.

"But that's neither here, nor there now."

And the winners are: The Jayhawks weekly award recipients were senior offensive right tackle Justin Hartwig (offense), senior linebacker Algie Atkinson (defense) and junior defensive back Matt Jordan (special teams).

The play of the game was junior defensive end Charlie Dennis' interception, and senior middle linebacker Marcus Rogers had the hit of the game.

KU's scout team players of the week were red-shirt freshman defensive back Ben Griffin, and freshman tight end Justin Henry.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.