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Archive for Wednesday, April 5, 2006

KU football notebook

April 5, 2006

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Jayhawks to play under Friday night lights

Kansas University will get a taste of Friday night football this fall.

Its third-week matchup at Toledo has been moved up a day to accommodate television. The Jayhawks will play the Rockets at 7 p.m. Sept. 15, and ESPN2 will broadcast it live.

The move had been discussed but wasn't finalized until recently. It officially was announced Tuesday.

"We were OK with it," KU associate athletic director Larry Keating said. "I think the (Toledo) head coach was a little concerned with the whole Friday night issue and high school football."

Toledo plays several weeknight football games a year to get TV exposure, but rarely are they on a Friday. Last season, the Rockets played two Wednesday games, two Tuesday games, a Friday game and a Thursday game, and all but one was televised by ESPN or ESPN2.

Kansas, meanwhile, will have a slight routine change. The Jayhawks never have played a weeknight regular-season game in four seasons under Mark Mangino. The 2003 Tangerine Bowl and 2005 Fort Worth Bowl were midweek affairs, however, and both were televised by ESPN.

Toledo is the third of four nonconference games on the 2006 slate. The change of schedule means KU will have an extra day to prepare for perhaps its most challenging out-of-conference game this year, a Sept. 23 home game against Big East foe South Florida.

Kansas played several weeknight games in the 1990s, including a '92 matchup with California, a 1994 game at Houston and the 1996 season opener against Ball State. Often, season-opening games were moved up to Thursday to free up Labor Day weekend for fans.

Is running back Cornish another draft prospect?

Former Jayhawks Charles Gordon, Charlton Keith and Nick Reid all are facing draft day, and all three have a shot to get picked up.

But what about Jon Cornish?

KU's Canadian-born running back actually is eligible for the Canadian Football League Draft on April 20, even though he made no declaration. And, despite having a year of eligibility left at Kansas, one expert expects Cornish to get picked.

According to the CFL web site, Cornish was invited to attend the CFL Evaluation Camp but declined, partly because of his NCAA eligibility.

CFL Draft analyst Mike Hogan called Cornish a lock to get taken - even if he isn't interested.

"Some CFL teams don't seem to pay any attention to a player's NFL aspirations and simply want to stake their claim," Hogan wrote. "A team like that may take a chance on Cornish in the first round. He will certainly be no worse than a second-round pick."

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