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Sorting out KU's QB situation
Monday, reporters had their first chance to chat with the Kansas University quarterbacks vying for the starting job this spring.
Gone is Todd Reesing, the most productive offensive player in KU history, and in to replace him is an assortment of unknowns and an offense that’s new to each of them.
Any time a team has a QB battle on its hands, it can be fun to speculate about who will win the job or who has the better set of skills. But in this case, where there are at least three or four guys with a legitimate shot at the job, it can be tough to keep it all straight.
The following is our quarterback-by-quarterback attempt at putting things in order.
No. 2 JORDAN WEBB
Who he is: 6-foot, 210-pound red-shirt freshman from Union High in Missouri.
What he’s done: Somewhat under the radar entering the spring, the former highly-touted high school star has worked his way toward the top of the leaderboard and into the good graces of KU coach Turner Gill. Probably has the best arm of the bunch and has impressed coaches with his velocity and accuracy thus far. Gill said at Monday’s practice that Webb was one of a few players who stood out on offense during the first week of spring ball. The reason? Command in the huddle, confidence and positive body language and solid football skills.
What it means: After Gill’s vote of confidence you have to think that Webb is in Position A right now in the race to replace Reesing. The job might not be his to lose but he seems to be leading the pack for now.
No. 7 KALE PICK
Who he is: 6-1, 208-pound red-shirt sophomore from Dodge City High.
What he’s done: Known as the running quarterback who played behind Reesing in 2009, Pick entered camp as the favorite simply because he was the guy with the experience. He appeared in seven games in ’09, was 4-for-5 for 22 yards passing and also recorded 167 yards rushing on 14 carries. Even as a red-shirt freshman with no experience, Pick was an extremely confident football player. That’s probably because he’s the most naturally-gifted athlete of the bunch and is the stronger, faster runner.
What it means: With Webb receiving a lot of the early hype, Pick could be in for a dog fight. The good thing here is, there’s nothing about this guy that says he expected the job to be handed to him. While Webb has caught the coach’s eye early, Pick has not been far behind. Expect him to be in the thick of the battle until the very end.
No. 12 CHRISTIAN MATTHEWS
Who he is: 6-1, 186-pound red-shirt freshman from Arlington, Tex.
What he’s done: Undersized and without an opportunity, Matthews sat out 2009 and watched Reesing, Pick and Kerry Meier work ahead of him. That didn’t stop him from getting a grasp on the college game, though. During the week leading up to KU’s victory against Duke, Matthews was named the offensive scout team player of the week. Monday, Matthews was one of three QBs that Gill said would get the most reps. Is it possible a “slash” type player is being crafted here?
What it means: Now that the old offense has been scrapped, Matthews’ scout-team experience could pay dividends. In 2009 he was forced to “learn” a new style from week to week and expected to play it well enough to give the Kansas defense a stout test. Now, he’s learning his own team’s new offense and apparently doing it well enough to be kept in the QB mix.
No. 8 QUINN MECHAM
Who he is: 6-2, 207-pound junior-college transfer from Snow College in Utah.
What he’s done: At the junior college level, Mecham was a star. In 2009, Mecham led Snow to a 10-2 record, a top-five national ranking and threw for 3,091 yards and 40 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. He came to KU with little national fanfare and appears to be struggling to adjust to the Div. I level. Monday, when Gill talked about his quarterbacks, Mecham’s was the only name he did not mention.
What it means: For Mecham himself, there’s no need to panic. It’s still early, he’s only been in a KU uniform for five practices and he still has some physical tools that could serve him well. That said, falling down the depth chart at such a crowded position could be tough to overcome.
No. 16 JACOB MORSE
Who he is: 6-3, 195-pound red-shirt junior from Columbia, Mo.
What he’s done: Like Webb and Matthews, Morse sat out 2009 but still had the luxury of watching and learning from the best QB in school history on a daily basis. Also like Matthews, Morse was named the offensive scout team player of the week when KU prepared to take on Oklahoma. If Morse can pick up Bob Stoops’ offense in a week, couldn’t he have a shot here?
What it means: Morse is the most unknown of the six guys in the battle and it’s probably going to stay that way. At this point, with Webb, Pick and Matthews ahead of him, the reps probably won’t be there for Morse to make an impact.
No. 9 CONNER TEAHAN
Who he is: 6-5, 215-pound KU basketball player who played QB at Rockhurst High in K.C., Mo.
What he’s done: Not a lot in the last three years. The last time Teahan played a meaningful snap was during his senior season at Rockhurst High. Granted, he was a pretty legit high school QB and he received a lot of interest and a Div. I offer to play football (from Tulsa), but it’s hard to imagine that the layoff won’t hurt him in his quest to make the KU roster. Not only has he not played football in three years, he also joined the Jayhawks two days late this spring. Still, Teahan is serious about this endeavor. He wants to make the team and he wants to contribute. He’s not doing this for the headlines.
What it means: In terms of physical tools, Teahan has the best size of the bunch. Peyton Manning stands 6-5, 230 and Teahan is just 15 pounds behind that. In addition, because of his stint with the hoops team, he’s in excellent shape and probably is strong enough to compete. How long will it take for the rust to come off and how quickly will he pick up the offense? Those questions will determine how long he wears a KU helmet.