Heading into preparations for last week’s Oklahoma game, Kansas University quarterback Michael Cummings knew he would play, had heard he might start but also knew that senior Dayne Crist also would play several snaps.
This week, as Cummings and the Jayhawks (1-6 overall, 0-4 Big 12) prepared for today’s 11 a.m. meeting with Texas (5-2, 2-2), no such uncertainty clouded his mind.
“Being named the starter definitely helps you prepare mentally,” Cummings said. “I’m just gonna prepare like I know how, take the coaching from the coaches and go into (the game) confident and ready.”
KU quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus, a former college QB, agreed that Cummings’ clear-cut status as KU’s quarterback should help his young signal-caller this week.
“I think knowing it and preparing that way helps you focus,” Powlus said. “It helps you stay dialed in. It helps you know where things are gonna go, but it’s still quite a challenge.”
Although Cummings is excited about the opportunity — and he gives that away by smiling nearly every time he talks about it — Cummings said he realized playing quarterback was about more than just him.
“It’s not my show,” he said. “It’s our show. But I’m prepared for it. I’m prepared to lead the team.”
Reesing to return
Former KU quarterback Todd Reesing is expected to be in attendance today. The record-setting QB is back in town as part of KU’s homecoming festivities.
Cummings, like Reesing, often has been overlooked because of his size, and he lit up when he heard earlier this week that Reesing would be back.
“I’ve never spoken to him or had one-on-one time with him,” Cummings said. “I hope I get the chance to speak to him, get some knowledge from him.”
Today marks the 100th homecoming at KU, but just the 99th football game associated with it. The game was not played in 1918 because of a flu epidemic that swept across Lawrence and the Midwest. KU owns a 42-51-5 record in homecoming games.
Ford to play more?
Junior-college transfer Josh Ford has made a name for himself on special teams so far this season, blocking a punt, forcing a fumble and being in on several other solid plays with both KU’s return and coverage units.
This week, Ford said his coaches told him to expect to play more on offense and, although he has been appreciative of his key role on special teams, the KU junior said he was looking forward to more offensive snaps.
“I’m not sure how heavy the pass packages will be,” Ford said. “But if I’ve gotta block every play, then I’m gonna put 100 percent effort into that, and hopefully they’ll see that I really want to be out there. That’s just my mind-set with everything. If they put me at offensive line, I’d do my best to try to block that kid (Alex) Okafor (defensive end) from Texas.”
Texas enters today’s game as a 19-point favorite, but UT coach Mack Brown said earlier this week that he believed his team respected the Jayhawks.
“(Our players) saw how Oklahoma State moved the ball against us, and they didn’t against (Kansas),” Brown said. “They know that TCU scored 53 points (last) weekend against Texas Tech, and they scored 20 in Lawrence. So they’re not stupid. They can see. It’s a different Kansas team at home than it is on the road, and one that will play very well with a bunch of older kids.”
What’s more, Brown said his squad had enough to focus on without worrying about the opponent.
“We’re not good enough right now to beat anybody unless we’re playing with intensity and playing at our highest level,” Brown said.