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Archive for Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pick the pick: Sophomore from Dodge City will be KU starting QB

Kale Pick runs drills in spring practice on March 28. Pick is in a quarterback battle with Jordan Webb.

Kale Pick runs drills in spring practice on March 28. Pick is in a quarterback battle with Jordan Webb.

August 19, 2010, 3:22 p.m. Updated August 20, 2010, 12:00 a.m.

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Kale Pick named as starting KU quarterback

Pick got the coveted spot, and Toben Opurum will be switching from running back to linebacker. Enlarge video

KU coach Turner Gill announces Kale Pick as the starter

KU coach Turner Gill announces Kale Pick as the starter before practice on Aug. 19, 2010.

Toben Opurum on Tuesday, Aug. 17, discussed whether he'd be interested in switching to linebacker. On Thursday, Aug. 19, KU coach Turner Gill announced Opurum would be switching to linebacker this season.

On Tuesday, Aug. 17, Journal-World sports editor Tom Keegan asked running back Toben Opurum in an interview if he'd be interested in switching to linebacker. On Thursday, Aug. 19, KU coach Turner Gill announced Opurum would be switching to linebacker this season.

The quarterback on the roster who spent the most time with Todd Reesing will get the first crack at replacing him.

Kansas University football coach Turner Gill announced Thursday that Kale Pick would be the Jayhawks’ starting quarterback when they take the field this fall.

Pick, a third-year sophomore from Dodge City, beat out red-shirt freshman Jordan Webb to earn the starting job, ultimately by being the more polished of the two.

“He separated himself in a couple of different aspects,” Gill said. “Ball security was huge. He didn’t really turn the ball over. That was a big separation between the two. And then also the intangibles; I love his demeanor. Kale Pick’s been a little bit better in the huddle, outside the huddle, when plays are going well, when plays are not going well. I like how he’s handled himself in that aspect of things.”

The decision to go with Pick, 6-foot-1, 208 pounds, came after nearly 30 practices of evaluation that went through spring drills and into the first two weeks of fall camp. Gill informed his quarterbacks of the decision as a group on Thursday. He then met with each one individually. It was at that point that Pick allowed himself to celebrate.

“I definitely had a smile when I received the news,” he said. “It’s definitely exciting. I’m glad that they made that decision, and I’m definitely looking forward to our season. I think we can do some pretty big things if we stay on the grind and keep working hard every day.”

Although Webb will begin the season as the backup, Gill stressed the importance of both QBs.

“I feel very good about our two quarterbacks,” Gill said. “Webb and Pick are very good football players. We’re going to need them both.”

Asked if he had spoken to Webb much in the hours following the announcement, Pick said he had but that he was trying to give his friend and teammate space to deal with the decision.

“I talked to him. He’s obviously not happy,” Pick said. “But I wouldn’t be either. It’s tough.”

Everything about Pick drips college quarterback. The son of a former college football player — dad, Mark, played at Iowa State — Pick was a standout two-way player at Dodge City High, setting 12 passing records before heading to KU. An injury during the first game of his senior year cost him his final season, but he has more than made up for that missed experience in his two years at Kansas.

During his red-shirt season in 2008, Pick was named the Jayhawks’ offensive scout team player of the year. Last year, as the immediate backup to Reesing, Pick appeared in seven games, completed four-of-five passes for 22 yards and rushed 14 times for 167 yards. Though he has some experience, Gill is a lot more interested in seeing how he performs in his new role, with all eyes on him.

“The next thing is Kale has to prove it on gameday,” Gill said. “He has to prove it in a game.”

Gill continued: “Until (he’s) the guy and (he’s) underneath that center and it all revolves around (him), you don’t know how he’s going to respond. But all the things are set there that he will be able to handle that in a very good way and he will be able to lift the play of all of our players.”

Pick’s teammates agree.

Said senior center and team captain Sal Capra, “Kale’s a great guy. He’s a great player. I think he can lead our team to great things this year.”

Added senior Justin Springer: “Kale’s got good confidence out there, he’s out there running the show. Your quarterback’s a leader out there on the field, too, and I think he’ll be a good leader for us. On and off the field, he’s just a great guy. He’s a great friend to all of us. Out there on the field, he carries himself really well and he can throw the ball really well, too. I think it’s a great fit.”

In other news Thursday, Gill announced a pair of position changes for the upcoming season.

Sophomore running back Toben Opurum, the team’s leading returning rusher, was unable to play his way onto the depth chart at running back and has been moved to linebacker. When asked if the move was because of the Jayhawks’ need at linebacker — KU has lost three linebackers from its roster since camp opened — or because of Opurum’s performance as a runner, Gill was direct with his answer.

“All of the above. All of the above,” he said. “There’s a need at that position and then playing time at the running back position will be very limited if we had to play today, therefore we sat down and chatted with him about it and tried to put a scenario out there where he could get onto the football field and maybe help our team this year.”

As for the other move, Keeston Terry, a four-star receiver from Blue Springs (Mo.) High, is moving from wideout to safety. Gill said the move was made to find Terry some playing time.

“We looked at him as a safety or wide receiver when we recruited him, so this is not totally out of whack for us,” Gill said. “We just thought that he would give us a little bit more speed (at safety) and that he was somebody that would want to take a chance to have a chance to play. And this gives him an opportunity to play and go from there.”

Gill said both Opurum and Terry would have to prove that they could play 15-20 snaps per game at their new positions in order for him to put them on the field. If they can’t, red-shirting is a possibility for both.

In notable depth chart news, sixth-year senior Angus Quigley was listed as the No. 1 running back, with red-shirt freshman Deshaun Sands and junior Rell Lewis behind him; the offensive line was listed, from left to right, as Tanner Hawkinson, Duane Zlatnik, Sal Capra, Trevor Marrongelli and Brad Thorson. Junior Jeremiah Hatch, a former starter on the O-line, appeared as Capra’s backup; Johnathan Wilson, Daymond Patterson and Bradley McDougald were listed as the top three receivers; Chris Harris and Isiah Barfield were the starting cornerbacks, with Olaitan Oguntodu and Lubbock Smith as the top two safeties; Tyrone Sellers was the top name at defensive end opposite Jake Laptad and Richard Johnson and Patrick Dorsey were slated as the top defensive tackles.

Gill said evaluations still were ongoing at several positions.

Comments

Edward Daub 3 years, 8 months ago

Here's hoping the gun slinger can shoot straight. Pick must avoid throwing picks.

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Rickyonealku 3 years, 8 months ago

U stands for Universal....plays running back WR, Slot Receiver....."U" Universal Back.

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BigAl 3 years, 8 months ago

500 something yards for a season is NOT "awesome" or a "beast with the ball". Apparently other running backs outperformed Opurum during this early practice period or he would still be a running back. I could be wrong but I am guessing that the coaches, Gill and Long, know just a bit more about the running backs than some LJW posters.

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Jay Hawk 3 years, 8 months ago

That's insane! Opurum was awesome lat year and without even being comfortable in the offense. Quigley can't hold onto the ball. If anyone should be LB it's Quigley. He has had a year to learn the position. So now we have two people starting over. Gill has put himself in a tenuous situation where he will be second guessed in a big way if Quigley doesn't do big things.

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msmimi 3 years, 8 months ago

As if we didn't already know who the QB would be.... Pick was the relief QB and since we have no QB to speak of....what a relief it is !!

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Kent Fisher 3 years, 8 months ago

No surprise here. Pick was the clear leader all along.

The real story is Opurum's switch to LB.

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monkeyspunk 3 years, 8 months ago

Uh...Opurum at LB? Seriously? Quigly and Co. had better show up, because Opurum looked as good as any RB at KU since McAnderson.

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jhawkrulz 3 years, 8 months ago

Congrats Kale...3 Years of excellent KU football ahead of you!!!

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jhawkrulz 3 years, 8 months ago

All those people that talked about Mangino switching people from offense to defense or from one position to another, please note that even a "players' coach" does this type of switching. It usually is best for the team and for the individual.

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jfcm77 3 years, 8 months ago

I may love football, but I've never seen the letter U in a depth chart before. Anyone out there know what it means?

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MitchumMan 3 years, 8 months ago

Rumor has it that Opurum and Keeston have switched over to defense!

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Practicality 3 years, 8 months ago

I know we are short at LB, but Opurum is a beast with the ball. This better work out for Gill.

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