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Archive for Wednesday, September 7, 2005

All options, even Herford, open at QB

September 7, 2005

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All options are open.

With four words, Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino accurately summed up his confusing quarterback situation. Funny thing is, the question regarded a wide receiver.

During Mangino's news conference Tuesday at Hadl Auditorium, a reporter asked if a team without a healthy third-string QB and haunted by a history of needing a healthy third-string QB could turn to wide receiver Marcus Herford, who was recruited as a quarterback out of a Texas high school.

"All options are open," Mangino said with a nod. "We're considering everything. We're still keeping an eye on (Jason) Swanson's health and seeing how he progresses. He's gotten a little better, but he's still not where he needs to be."

So goes the saga of figuring out who belongs in the driver's seat and who can man the caboose if, once again, it comes to that.

Freshman Kerry Meier is out because of an undisclosed medical setback. Swanson has been hampered by an injury all summer and isn't near game shape. He'd be considered third-string, but only because he may hurt the team the least - not help it the most.

What is known is that KU likely again will use two quarterbacks Saturday against Appalachian State, and, by process of elimination, those have to be Adam Barmann and Brian Luke.

"We'll go through the rest of the practice week, and we'll go with who we feel is best to start the game," Mangino said. "You can be sure that we'll probably use more than one quarterback here for a while."

Both Luke and Barmann, who weren't available for comment Tuesday, played in KU's 30-19 victory Saturday over Florida Atlantic. Luke looked a little sharper, but neither possessed bulls-eye accuracy. To toughen the situation even more, KU's wide receivers often had balls clank off their hands.

Intriguing, though, that Herford didn't play at all. In fact, walk-on Jeff Foster played in front of him, catching two passes for 25 yards, including a touchdown.

It's led to speculation, especially in the wake of Meier's situation, that Herford could be an option at quarterback again if the Jayhawks need it - and, given the rash of injuries plaguing the position the last four years, a No. 3 QB is worth having ready at Kansas.

Herford played scout-team quarterback all of last season during his red-shirt year, and he tried out briefly at the position during spring workouts. Coaches and players alike have raved about his athleticism in the past year. During spring ball, Mangino said, "Marcus Herford is a heck of an athlete. He's going to be on the field."

But Tuesday, Mangino didn't shed much light on when or where that might be, instead resorting to the same thought.

"We keep all of our options open," he said.

¢ Too much depth: Defensive coordinator Bill Young admits he has a good problem on the defensive line - too many quality players.

On Saturday, James McClinton, Tim Allen, Eric Butler and Rodney Allen all played at tackle, with Charlton Keith, Jermial Ashley and Paul Como doing well at defensive end. It left a couple of intriguing players off the field, including junior Wayne Wilder, a heralded recruit out of Garden City Community College.

Young said he wanted Wilder to make his way into the rotation soon.

"Hopefully, depending on him," Young said. "In year's past, he'd be starting. That's the kind of situation we're in."

¢ More fullback?: The use of sophomore Brandon McAnderson at fullback against FAU almost was nonexistent. When asked if Saturday's game was indicative of how the fullback would be utilized this season, Mangino declined to get specific.

"We go game plan to game plan," Mangino said. "It's hard to tell."

¢ Players of the week: The coaching staff named running back Clark Green offensive player of the week, linebacker Nick Reid and defensive end Charlton Keith as defensive players of the week, and kicker Scott Webb special teams player of the week for the FAU game.

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