Not a ton of news from today’s practice, but since KU is in the middle of figure out its quarterback situation, I spent most of the day watching the way things unfolded at that position.
I didn’t get to watch them run any live offense or anything like that, so this will not be a breakdown of what Michael Cummings can do or did versus what Dayne Crist can do or did. Besides, don’t we know that by this point?
It will, however, be a breakdown of how these two are handling what KU coach Charlie Weis dubbed earlier today “a distraction.”
In a word — well.
There did not appear to be any animosity or anything different between Crist and Cummings today. They went through drills the same way, worked together, laughed at times and even seemed to help each other out whenever possible. We’ve heard all year that this is a close team and that these guys are genuinely interested in how they can help the team, regardless of what specific role they play. Crist and Cummings are proof that those words are not just lip service.
By now, I’m sure you’ve all heard or read that Weis plans to play both QBs this weekend at Oklahoma. He did not divulge who the starter would be and kept a tight lid on how the snaps would be divided. But, reading between the lines, I have to believe that Weis has a doozy of a gameplan in store for the Sooners this weekend, one with all kinds of new looks and wrinkles.
For most of the week, I had been leaning toward the vibe that Cummings would get the start, but now that I know — or at least have been led to believe — that both WILL play, I’m leaning more to Crist.
If he starts Crist, he knows what he’s getting. So do the rest of us. I’m sure the thinking is, ‘Why not see if he’s hot and can move the ball in the first and second quarter the way he did against Kansas State or even, at times, Oklahoma State. If he doesn’t, then you go to Cummings, who already has shown what kind of spark he can provide off the bench.
If Weis starts Cummings and he struggles, I’m not so sure going back to Crist would provide the same lift.
So, as of 5:37 p.m. CST Tuesday, put me down for Crist starts but Cummings plays more. I’m sure I’ll be updating this position throughout the week.
Now, as for what else caught my eye at Tuesday’s practice, here’s a quick look:
• As expected, senior wide receiver Daymond Patterson was nowhere to be found. Weis said earlier in the day that DP would not practice today and that he was questionable for Saturday because of a head injury. Senior wideout D.J. Beshears also was absent. Beshears is out for an extended period of time because of a shoulder injury that required some type of medical procedure Monday.
• Good news on the injury front came from sophomore running back Tony Pierson, who looked closer to full-speed and went through drills with a much smaller brace on his left elbow. Pierson remains a question mark for Saturday, but it looks like he’s closer to playing than he was a week ago at this time. The “brace” that he wore today was merely a small flap that covered the joint and some type of small wrap above and below it.
• As for how Crist and Cummings handled reps, I was not allowed to stay for that, but Weis said earlier in the day that Cummings would lead off one drill and Crist would lead the next and that both would get equal work in each. Not the grandest detail, but interesting nonetheless. One other thing that’s interesting is that it sounds as if the team knows what the gameplan will be with these guys. As expected, Weis has been very clear in explaining to them that they are not to discuss it with the media this week, so don’t expect anything to leak that way. I’m not.
• Finally, the Coach Weis song of the day was “Dancin’ in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen.
One of the most interesting things about coming home from an event like Big 12 Media Days is logging onto the Internet the following day and doing a simple search for all of the stories about Kansas.
Although there are times and places built into the media days schedule for reporters to gather a little exclusive information, the majority of the week is spent with the same several hundred reporters hearing the same soundbites from the same coaches.
Depending on your angle — and your agenda — different things stand out to different people and what’s written typically falls in line with that concept.
Take this week’s KU team, for example. While many wanted to chronicle their first encounter with new KU coach Charlie Weis, others focused on quarterback Dayne Crist and still others on the low times that have plagued the Jayhawks in recent years.
Many of the topics the local media has written about for months is fresh meat for the rest of the reporters who cover the Big 12, so, with nearly five hours of interview opportunities packed into a single day for each team, there’s plenty to go around.
During the past couple of years, because of the way the things have played out on the field, the rest of the working press generally regarded KU as a joke. Sure, they listened and, yeah, they were courteous, but the Jayhawks did not make the top of anyone’s priority list.
That wasn’t the case this year, a likely sign of what’s to come as the fall arrives and the wins and losses start mounting.
With that in mind, here’s a quick look around the web at some of the initial reactions to the new-look Jayhawks.
Here’s the Associated Press’ KU story from Tuesday’s Big 12 media days:
Here’s ESPN.com blogger David Ubben’s quick-hit wrap up of Day 2 of Media Days in Dallas, which includes a couple of KU mentions:
KU grad Mac Engel, who blogs for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, had this reaction:
John Hoover, columnist for the Tulsa World, was disturbed by Weis linking KU and Notre Dame:
Hoover’s colleague, Guerin Emig, appreciated Weis’ forthcoming nature:
Those are just a few of the stories that were out there, and, again, since the Jayhawks are picked to finish last in the league this season, it’s not as if every reporter there was racing to file his or her story on Kansas.
There surely will be some more that come out during the next couple of weeks, but, by then, we’ll have moved on and will be tracking the changes to the depth chart and the daily happenings around Memorial Stadium.
Ready or not, it’s football season, folks!