A great college quarterback who after three years of spectacular performances suddenly becomes a substandard one, can’t make the throws he used to make while yawning, loses his uncanny knack for avoiding sacks, loses his ability to concentrate well enough to take care of the football, and this all happens in the span of two weeks.
How can this happen? The only answer is that the nagging groin injury Todd Reesing hesitantly mentioned when asked about his health is more a factor in his performance than anyone is willing to say.
Coaches and players don’t like to blame things on injuries because it makes them sound like excuse-makers, but the reality is, if Reesing’s body doesn’t enable him to perform any better than he has the past two weeks, it’s time to consider handing the reins of this pivotal game against Kansas State to someone else.
Reesing has been cleared to play by doctors, but the issue here isn’t whether it’s risky for him to play. It’s not, or doctors wouldn’t have cleared him. The issue is whether it’s risky for the team to have him play if the limitations of his groin injury keep him from doing the thing he does best, which is to extend plays with sudden dashes and darts this way and that, just the sort of moves a groin injury inhibits, as opposed to the predictable movement required on set plays such as a quarterback draw.
It’s on Reesing to be completely honest with the coaching staff about exactly how it feels, how it impairs his ability, how it’s the same or different from the previous week. And it’s on the coaching staff to evaluate Reesing’s performance during practice to determine whether starting him gives the team the best chance to win.
If he doesn’t show enough in practice to prove he’s back, then the right choice for QB, obviously, is senior receiver Kerry Meier.
He’s rightly revered for the mature, classy way he reacted when he lost to Reesing the job he figured would be his for four years. Teammates would rally around him the way they rally around a healthy Reesing. It would emotionally jack the team, similar to how the team would be charged up for Reesing’s return down the road.
Sure, that would be subtracting a great receiver from the offense, but on many running plays it would be adding another blocker. When Reesing hands off, there is one less man blocking than when Meier runs it himself.
Don’t think turn-over-every-rock Kansas State coach Bill Snyder won’t have minions dig up old film of Meier at quarterback for Kansas during the 2006 season, just in case. With a different offensive coordinator on hand for KU, even that would have limited benefits.
Obviously, KU’s best chance of winning the Sunflower Showdown is with a healthy Reesing at quarterback and Meier at receiver. Just as clearly, Meier could give the Jayhawks a good shot at winning.
Since moving primarily to receiver, Meier has completed 30 of 35 passes for 419 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Some of those came on trick plays, the others when the game was out of reach. Even so, it’s ample evidence to know he’s more than just a runner when used at quarterback.