Lacking depth to begin with, the Kansas University linebacking corps became a little thinner last week, as sophomore Huldon Tharp was lost for the season because of a foot injury.
KU coach Turner Gill confirmed the injury Monday at KU’s annual media day.
Tharp, 6-foot, 220 pounds, from Mulvane, started seven games last season and recorded 59 tackles. Gill said the latest setback was not the same injury that kept Tharp out of the end of spring drills.
“It’s a little bit different area but it’s definitely a foot injury,” Gill said. “We’re obviously going to miss Tharp. He was definitely a guy who was going to play.”
The loss of Tharp leaves KU with just two linebackers — seniors Drew Dudley and Justin Springer — who have significant experience. Junior Steven Johnson, who played in 10 games a year ago, currently is listed as a starter. Defensive coordinator Carl Torbush said Monday that junior Chea Peterman and red-shirt freshman Steve Mestan have looked good in backup roles.
“Our whole situation right now is we’ve got to make sure guys can play all three positions because we’re going to have to manufacture depth,” Torbush said.
Asked if the coaching staff would consider moving someone from a different position to add more depth, Torbush said, “No, not right now. We’re going to go with what we’ve got.”
QB question close to an answer?
Gill said Monday he plans to give the quarterback battle between sophomore Kale Pick and red-shirt freshman Jordan Webb at least one more week to play out.
“I am not saying we are going to make announcement in a week,” Gill said. “But I want to go through at least two weeks of practice and then see where we stand. I like where we are at and I can see that they have improved.”
As for the QBs themselves, Pick and Webb continue to say all the right things while vying for the starting spot.
“I’m a competitor, I love to compete and I’m excited for the challenge,” Pick said.
Asked if he’d be OK with being named the starter today, Pick responded with, “Yeah, I’ll take that also.”
Who were those mustachioed men?
Perhaps relishing the opportunity to step away from the anonymity that typically follows offensive linemen, seniors Brad Thorson and Sal Capra and sophomore Tanner Hawkinson flashed a Fu Manchu mustache look for the cameras at media day.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have some guys who can grow facial hair but we’re encouraging them,” Thorson said. “Maybe we can coax it to grow. (Jeremiah) Hatch’s got a little something, it’s kind of pencil thin, but, unfortunately Trevor (Marrongelli) has that baby face still. It’ll come around, though. A little character for the offensive line.”
Hawkinson, who seemed more uncomfortable with the ’stache, said his would be gone today. Thorson, no stranger to matters of the hair, said he’d like to keep his but wasn’t counting on it.
“Coach Gill’s probably going to have a word or two for us,” Thorson said. “And I imagine we’ll all have to shave them pretty quickly.”
O Captain! My captain!
Though the captains for the 2010 season have yet to be named, Gill explained his process for picking them.
“We are going to have a vote,” Gill said. “But I am not going to have the freshmen vote. There will be seniors on the ballot unless there are issues that have come up. In that case, I will personally take their names off the ballot. As far as underclassmen, we are going to discuss that as a staff. There might be one or two guys that we believe are deserving of it. However, we are going to let the football team decide. The only way an underclassman will be on the ballot will be by me putting him on there and believing that he has a chance.”
Old Man Quigley
Sixth-year senior running back Angus Quigley continues to take jokes from the rest of the KU squad for being the oldest player on the roster.
“Oh, man. I’ve got it all from I played with Gale Sayers to I was here in coach Mitchell’s first term (1988-96) and I’m an assistant coach,” Quigley said. “I’ve got it all, but it’s all good. It’s fun and games. I enjoy it.”
Quigley, of Cleburne, Texas, was granted a sixth year of eligibility in the offseason because of two seasons lost to injury. He exited spring drills as the No. 1 running back on the KU depth chart.