Like the rest of us, Kale Pick’s curiosity made him curious to find out more about Turner Gill after Gill was named new Kansas University football coach. So Pick went to YouTube and watched Gill’s 40-yard run against Oklahoma. He quizzed his father about what he remembered. And he arranged a one-on-one meeting with the new coach.
“Great guy,” he said. “He really cares about his players, just treats them like a family. I was really surprised at how you could tell how much he cares about his players.”
How could he tell?
“He wants to keep in contact with the players,” Pick said. “He said if one of the moms calls up and says, ‘Hey, where’s my son?’ then he’ll know exactly where we are, which I think is pretty neat.”
It sounds as if Gill will be keeping close tabs on the players off the field.
“He’s strict,” Pick said. “He’s a football coach. He wants to keep us in line.”
Pick emerged from the one-on-one meeting with a clear picture of what sort of quarterback the new coach wants heading the offense.
“He wants leadership,” Pick said. “He’s big on leadership and hard work. Pretty much what every coach wants, but I do know he really wants leadership. He wants players who are going to get after it. He wants them to be go-getters, have an attitude, have some swagger to them.”
Pick liked hearing that, which figures. He has a most-confident attitude, has some swagger to him. If there is a favorite to land the starting quarterback job, Pick is it. During his redshirt freshman season, he was Todd Reesing’s backup in 2009.
Now Pick has to impress an entirely new coaching staff. He sounds excited about that challenge.
“I love to compete,” he said. “I compete in every workout we have. I think that’s going to make our team a lot better. Everybody is fighting for spots. I think we’ll compete against each other more than we have in the past. In the past we had a depth chart. Now everyone’s competing from scratch. Everybody’s got to compete that much harder, push each other that much harder.”
Pick came to Kansas from Dodge City, where his father, Mark, is the team chiropractor at the high school. Leadership is in Pick’s genes. His father was instrumental in establishing a football league for second- through sixth-graders.
“My first year in second grade football he was like, ‘We’ve got to do something about this flag football,’” a smiling Pick said. “He and the old high school coach got a bunch of parents together and started a tackling football league.”
Kale Pick has been outrunning the competition ever since. The fastest of the KU quarterback candidates, Pick showed last season he can run. He completed four of five passes for 22 yards.
“I wish I would have thrown more, but in the cleanup job you don’t see guys come in and throw the ball all over the field,” Pick said.
The quality of Pick’s passing and decision-making will determine whether he wins the job.