Posts tagged with Ku Football
I didn't catch it, but more than a few people brought to my attention the fact that former Kansas University offensive lineman Anthony Collins, now a starter for the Cincinnati Bengals, introduced himself with his high school (Central High in Beaumont, Texas) instead of his college during the Bengals' loss to Pittsburgh last Sunday night.
This has become a bit of a trend for former KU players lately and one that has been met by disappointment from KU fans.
In a world in which every other player on these introductions is from USC, Alabama or “The Ohio State University,” hearing Kansas represented surely would be not only a nice treat for Jayhawk fans but also a huge lift for KU's recruiting.
One of the biggest culprits is New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib, who, for years, has been saying “North Dallas, Texas,” in place of the school he became an All-American. But evidently Collins has joined in on the fun now, too.
It should be noted that, until recently, not many former Jayhawks were in the position of announcing anything during Sunday or Monday night football intros because very few had become starters, so it's not like the list of guys snubbing KU is all that long. In a sense, though, that may be why it stings the fan base in the first place.
Denver defensive back Chris Harris is one former Jayhawk who has been a fixture in these pre-game introductions during the past couple of years and he has continued to say “Kansas University” each time.
I caught up with Harris quickly the other night for a little insight into why the other guys might be choosing to leave out KU and his answer was nothing short of hilarious. “You never know with those cats,” he said of Talib and Collins, his former Orange Bowl teammates.
Short of asking Talib or Collins themselves, I can't really pick out a good answer. But there are a few options.
They truly might just love their high schools. Many guys, especially athletes, are proud of where they come from and enjoy the opportunity to give the school that got them started a little shout-out. Nothing wrong with that.
It's possible they're just trying to be funny. I can't remember who started it, but a few years ago, guys started repping their preschools or their kindergarten teachers. Nothing wrong with that either.
The last thing I can think of may very well be the reason here and it's something that current KU coach Charlie Weis has talked a lot about since he arrived in town a couple of years ago. When reaching out to former KU football players, Weis found that many guys identified themselves with the coaches for whom they played. They were Glen Mason guys, Mark Mangino guys or Terry Allen guys instead of being Jayhawks. Weis has taken steps to eliminate the division and has hopes of getting all former Jayhawks to view themselves as exactly that. It'll take time, though. And maybe, since they don't know Weis or any of the coaches who came after Mark Mangino, those two are doing it as a way of showing their support for the man who was forced out after one of the most successful stints in KU football history. I know there were a lot of guys who played for Mangino who were upset about how his whole departure went down, so that could very easily be a factor, too.
Regardless of the reason, it's definitely nothing to get worked up about, but it is worth pointing out that them changing their tune certainly would not hurt KU in recruiting and would give KU football fans a reason to smile.
Former Kansas University football player and current Steven Spielberg in the making, Micah Brown, was at it again recently on behalf of his alma mater.
Brown, whose video production company, Second Wind Creative, has created some incredible documentary-type projects at schools such as Kansas, Michigan State and Notre Dame, recently released an updated recruiting video for the Jayhawks.
The 5-minute video directly targets KU's recruits, but it also offers a nice inside look at the program and the direction KU coach Charlie Weis and his coaching staff plan to take the task of mining for talent in the coming years.
It's definitely worth a look for KU fans and, production-wise, is probably worth watching for non-KU fans, as well. Micah does great work and he and his company are only going to get bigger.
Here's the video:
With a week remaining until the mid-year transfer signing day (Dec. 18) and the Kansas University football coaches, including new offensive coordinator John Reagan, still out on the road in search of talent, the clock is ticking on KU's 2014 recruiting class.
Unlike a year ago, when KU coach Charlie Weis signed nine junior college players in December, the next couple of weeks figure to be a little more quiet — no top-ranked players, no Dream Team talk, no unusually large haul.
In fact, it's entirely possible that just a couple of mid-year transfers will sign with KU next week, with the rest of the class waiting until national signing day in February to make it official.
High school prospects are not allowed to sign until February so, with eight of the 11 players currently committed to KU coming from the prep ranks, the Jayhawks would have to pick up commitments from the juco ranks in a hurry in order for too many of them to sign on Dec. 18.
Although getting guys on campus in time for spring practice is always a good thing, it's not uncommon to have a small crop of signees during December.
With 11 spots full in a class that theoretically could bring in 14 more players, the Jayhawks are out in full force scouring the country for talent.
Here's a quick look at some of the Jayhawks' top known targets, many of whom have taken or set up visits recently. Not surprisingly, many of them are offensive linemen:
• A.J. Allen, OL, Grossmont C.C. — 6-7, 315
The offensive tackle from El Cajon, Calif., has both Kansas and Kansas State on his long list of finalists and the Jayhawks have thrown California recruiting guru Jeff Blasko at the huge lineman. Some have said that Kansas State is the favorite for Allen, who was scheduled to visit Kansas during Sunflower Showdown weekend. He is a likely December graduate with offers from more than a dozen schools, so he's entering the nitty gritty of decision-making time.
• Matthew Boatang, CB, IMG Academy — 6-0, 180
The native Canadian, who moved to Bradenton, Fla., to get better exposure, has offers from Bowling Green, Indiana, Marshall, Nevada and Villanova. He made an official visit to KU during the weekend in which the Jayhawks snapped their 27-game Big 12 losing streak with a victory over West Virginia, and all indications are that he loved every second of the visit. Other schools, including Baylor, Florida State and Mississippi, are showing interest in the high school senior, but Boateng told JayhawkSlant.com's Jon Kirby that KU would remain near the top of his list.
• Jimmie Gipson, DE, East Mississippi C.C. — 6-0, 255
Gipson, a two-star prospect who fits the mold of KU's Buck position, recently received a visit from Weis and is in the process of wading through two dozen offers, mostly from mid-major programs.
• Craig James, CB, Edwardsville (Ill.) High — 5-11, 170
The coaching staff has been busy with James during the past several days. He had an in-home visit with Reggie Mitchell and Dave Campo late last week and followed it up with an official visit to Lawrence. James currently has scholarship offers from: Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Missouri and Syracuse.
• Kelby Johnson, OL, ASA College — 6-8, 315
The Jayhawks also have jumped in on this offensive lineman who has aspirations of playing after college, something that could favor KU's NFL-experienced coaching staff. Johnson played tackle in junior college and is expected to graduate in May. Rob Ianello is the lead recruiter for Johnson, who also has offers from East Carolina, South Florida and UAB and is receiving interest from several others.
• Dontae Levingston, OL, Santa Monica C.C. — 6-5, 285
The Jayhawks are making a late push for the offensive tackle from Santa Monica, Calif., who visited Lawrence last week for the first time. As expected, the push from KU was playing time and Levingston told Kirby that the opportunity to make an immediate impact was intriguing. He also noted that most of the programs recruiting him are small college towns and, being from Los Angeles, he was just trying to pinpoint which one had the best feel. Levingston is an expected mid-year transfer, who is expected to choose a school before next Wednesday. His list of offers include Kansas State, Memphis, Texas Tech and several others.
• Anthony Olobia, DE, Arizona Western C.C. — 6-5, 230
Olobia, another one of those hybrid, D-End/linebacker types, is headed to Lawrence for an official visit this weekend. The Jayhawks have landed a couple of players from Arizona Western during recent years so their familiarity with the program could help here. The three-star recruit also has offers from Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Utah and he is receiving interest from more than a dozen others.
Class of 2014 Commitments (as of Dec. 11, 2013)
• Jacob Bragg, 6-4, 308, OL, Nacogdoches (Texas) High -- 3-star
• Joe Dineen, 6-2, 197, DB, Free State High -- 3-star
• Bobby Hartzog, 5-11, 182, WR, Westside (Houston) High -- 2-star
• Keyon Haughton, 6-2, 295, OL, Georgia Military
• Damani Mosby, 6-3, 235, DE, Mesa C.C. -- 3-star
• Tyler Patrick, 5-11, 171, WR, The Woodlands (Texas) High -- 2-star
• Austin Stevens, 6-4, 245, DE, Montclair (N.J.) High -- 2-star
• Apa Visinia, 6-5, 380, OL, Grandview (Mo.) High -- 2-star
• Kyron Watson, 6-0, 226, LB, East St. Louis (Ill.) High -- 3-star
• Devon Williams, 6-5, 335, OL, Georgia Military
• Traevohn Wrench, 6-0, 180, RB, Gardner-Edgerton High -- 4-star
• All bio information courtesy Rivals.com.
In the coming days, various media organizations that cover college football will be releasing their all-conference teams and a year's worth of hard work, sweat and sacrifice will pay off for a whole bunch of college athletes.
For some, landing on this all-conference team or that one will represent just another accolade in a long list that has been growing since they first started playing the game as teenagers.
For others, the honor will go down as the highlight of their career, the one memory they'll keep talking about until they're old and gray.
Often times, the teams that turn in the best seasons also produce the most all-conference players and that seems logical given the fact that the best players typically produce the best teams. But it's not always the case. And it's a shame when top-tier talent gets overlooked because it plays for a team that struggled to win games.
That's the story with Kansas football, which finished 2013 with a 3-8 record, 1-8 in Big 12 Conference play. Despite those low win totals, the Jayhawks had at least a handful of guys worthy of being placed on the all-Big 12 teams, be it the first, second, third team or honorable mention.
Here's a quick look at the most worthy candidates in order of most likely to least.
• Junior punter Trevor Pardula •
For much of the 2013 season, the first-year punter from De Anza College in California was among the best in the country. His net averages soared well into the 42-44-yard range and his ability to flip the field and pin opponents deep was a bona fide weapon. While Pardula was penalized by the national awards committees because he did not land enough punts inside the 20, it's worth pointing out that the struggles of the KU offense often forced Pardula to punt from deep in his own end, making the task of dropping kicks inside the 20 next to impossible even for NFL punters. By season's end, Pardula finished with a 43.7-yard average. He has a strong case for first-team all-Big 12 honors.
• Sophomore safety Isaiah Johnson •
It's entirely possible that I'm overlooking someone on another Big 12 team, but I think Johnson has as good a case as anyone for the Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year award. The former Iowa Western safety started all 12 games during his first season of Div. I football and finished second in the Big 12 in interceptions (5), 21st in tackles (73) and also added three tackles for loss. Johnson was definitely one of the bright spots for the Jayhawks' defense this season, a game-changer, who still has two years of eligibility remaining and should become one of those guys that opponents can't quite believe is "still around."
• Senior running back James Sims •
Although he did not rattle off 100-yard game after 100-yard game during his final season as a Jayhawk, James Sims was every bit as productive as he had ever been, despite running behind an offensive line that experienced its share of growing pains and in an offense that struggled to throw the ball. Sims' 1,110 yards ranked first in the Big 12 and represented a career-high for the fourth consecutive season. In topping the 1,000-yard mark in 2012 and 2013, he became the first running back in KU history to rush for quadruple-digit rushing yards in back-to-back seasons and came within a couple hundred yards of eclipsing June Henley for the top spot on KU's career rushing list. As was the case throughout his career, Sims gained most of his yards against defenses that knew what was coming. The fact that he still was able to churn out productive games and finish with 7 touchdowns and a 4.8 yards-per-carry average speaks to his skill and desire. A strong case could be made for Sims to land on the all-Big 12 first team. I know I'd put him there, but because of KU's win total he could be a second-teamer.
• Junior linebacker Ben Heeney •
If not for a midseason injury that forced him to miss two games, Heeney no doubt would've racked up triple-digit tackles for the second year in a row and kept his spot near the top of the Big 12 tackle list. As it turned out, Heeney still enjoyed a monster season, finishing with 87 tackles in 10 games and 11.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and three interceptions. But it's more than Heeney's stats that make him a virtual lock for inclusion on one of the all-Big 12 teams. Anyone who watches him play, whether it's opposing coaches, media members or even his own teammates, easily can recognize that Heeney is one of the top players in the Big 12 and plays harder than nearly everybody.
• Junior cornerback Dexter McDonald •
McDonald was one of the top cover corners in the Big 12, especially early in the season. There were several games where opposing quarterbacks chose not even to test the junior-college transfer who returned to KU for a second go-around this season. And his size, speed and physicality made him a tough match-up for opposing wide receivers. McDonald finished with two interceptions and 10 pass break-ups (7th in the Big 12) and also should be given credit for helping JaCorey Shepherd — KU's starter on the other side of the field — develop his corner skills, both from a perspective of showing him the ropes and also from encouraging opponents to attack Shepherd instead.
• Junior cornerback JaCorey Shepherd •
The former wide receiver's 13 pass break-ups and two interceptions put him third in the Big 12 in passes defended, no small feat for a guy who entered fall camp still adjusting to his new position. Last season, Shepherd showed he had the raw skills to hang in the secondary and this season he showed he could play cornerback. Tested on a weekly basis, Shepherd always seemed to be up for the challenge. He may not land on any of the teams but I think he deserves at least honorable mention. Another area he could make an appearance is at kick returner, where he finished fifth in the conference with an average of 22.8 yards per kick return.
• Junior punt returner Connor Embree •
Three guys finished ahead of him in the Big 12 Conference punt return rankings and he wasn't nearly as good late in the season as he was early on, but the former walk-on at least deserves mention as a possible honorable mention candidate for his 11.4-yard average in 16 attempts.
Before we close this one down, here's a little deeper look at the job McDonald and Shepherd did this season at the cornerback position, which, in my eyes, merits both of them spots on the all-conference teams.
The following is a look at the Big 12's top pass catchers, their season averages and how each performed against Kansas:
Player (Receptions-Per-Game, Yards-Per-Game) — vs. Kansas
• Antwan Goodley, Baylor (5.4, 109.5) — 2 catches for 43 yards
• Tyler Lockett, Kansas State (6.5, 104.2) — 3 catches for 43 yards
• Jace Amaro, Texas Tech (8.2, 103.3) — 9 catches for 96 yards
• Mike Davis, Texas (4.6, 70.1) — 1 catch for 5 yards
• Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma (4.6, 55.9) — 4 catches for 47 yards
• Josh Stewart (4.5, 55.5) — 0 catches (left with injury)
• Eric Ward, Texas Tech (6.7, 75.3) — 7 catches for 122 yards and 1 TD
• Jaxon Shipley, Texas (4.7, 51.8) — 6 catches for 77 yards
• Quenton Bundrage, Iowa State (4.0, 56.3) — 3 catches for 63 yards
• Tevin Reese, Baylor (4.1, 103.0) — 4 catches for 110 yards
• Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech (5.4, 64.3) — 7 catches for 92 yards
We already know that offensive line coach Tim Grunhard is leaving the Kansas University football staff, so that's at least one change that KU coach Charlie Weis will make to his coaching staff.
But will there be any more?
Weis was asked that very question following KU's loss to Kansas State in the season finale and he said nothing would be done — if anything at all — until the end of the December recruiting period, which arrives Dec. 14.
Dec. 18 is mid-year transfer signing day and although the Jayhawks won't have a crazy haul of mid-year juco guys signing this year like they had last year, there figure to be at least a couple of guys who make their commitments official on that day.
Getting back to the coaching staff, Weis likely gave the answer he did for two reasons. 1. Recruiting time is precious and it would be a bad move to make a change during that period because it could cost KU valuable time and resources on the recruiting trail. 2. Even if Weis has no plans to make a change himself, you never know which members of his staff could be looking around for other opportunities or which schools might be interested in some of Weis' guys.
We've already seen a report that wide receivers coach Rob Ianello has thrown his name into the hat for the open head coaching gig at the University of North Dakota. And it seems logical to think that whether Ianello gets that job or not, he could be coaching elsewhere in 2014.
As for the rest of the staff, I don't anticipate anyone else leaving. It's difficult, because after a losing season you always assume that at least a couple of guys could be in jeopardy of losing their jobs, but with Grunhard already out and Ianello potentially on the move, those departures would represent change at KU's two weakest positions last season.
Here's a quick look at a few other coaching staff items of business that are worth keeping an eye on:
• If Ianello leaves, by his choosing or otherwise, not only would KU have to find a wide receivers coach, but it also would need to find a recruiting coordinator since Ianello handles both roles. Running backs coach Reggie Mitchell has done that job before and he would be a likely candidate to inherit that role again, provided he wanted it. If not, Weis could always find a receivers coach who could handle both roles like Ianello, who has been recruiting on KU's behalf during the past several days. The recruiting coordinator role is serious business, though, so if there's a need to fill that position, it won't be taken lightly.
• We learned this season that linebackers coach Clint Bowen had transitioned into the role of acting defensive coordinator, with Dave Campo focusing on his job of coaching the defensive backs. Campo and defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt worked closely with Bowen to put together the game plan each week and the move seemed to work well. The title never changed hands, though, so it'll be interesting to see if that is addressed in the offseason.
• Finally, by now you've probably read our report from last week about Rice offensive coordinator John Reagan being Weis' target to come in to replace Grunhard and become KU's offensive coordinator. The move likely would have already taken place had Rice lost to Tulane last week. But since the Owls won and advanced to the Conference USA title game, Reagan stuck around to coach in that game agaisnt Marshall, which will be played at 11 a.m. Saturday. Reagan to KU could become official any time Saturday after the game or Sunday, so keep an ear out for the confirmation.
Like Kansas, Keegan and I laid an egg last week. Maybe it's because we both picked the Jayhawks.
So here we head into the final week of the 2013 season, all tied up with five — yep, a season-high FIVE — games different between us.
Can't build the drama any more than that. Here's a look.
Tait: 4-6 in Week 11; 79-31 overall
Keegan: 4-6 in Week 11; 79-31 overall
WEEK 12 GAMES
Kansas State at Kansas
Iowa State at West Viriginia
Baylor at TCU
Notre Dame at Stanford
Ohio State at Michigan
Duke at North Carolina
Alabama at Auburn
Clemson at South Carolina
Texas A&M at Missouri
UCLA at USC
Question: What, when and where was the first concert you attended and do you remember the warm-up act?
Kansas State 31, Kansas 21
Iowa State 23, West Virginia 20
Baylor 61, TCU 17
Stanford 34, Notre Dame 23
Ohio State 34, Michigan 23
Duke 33, North Carolina 20
Auburn 28, Alabama 27
Clemson 30, South Carolina 28
Missouri 31, Texas A&M 21
USC 35, UCLA 33
Answer: If you don't count the hundreds of times I had a front row seat to see my dad's band play throughout the Rocky Mountain region during my childhood, my first official concert was a doozy. Pink Floyd at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado, during the summer of 1994. My dad, sister and stepmom were on the floor, about 20 rows back, and me and a buddy were two rows from the top of Mile High. Even though the set list was the same and the chords, lyrics and harmonies all identical, we saw two completely different shows. At age 16, I was just a newbie Floyd fan, and I remember thinking that the beginning of about half of the songs was the beginning of “Money.” I've learned a lot more about the band since then and realize more and more each day what a wild treat it was for that to have been my first true concert. I don't remember an opening act and, if I recall correctly, that's because there wasn't one.
Kansas State 31, Kansas 17
West Virginia 24, Iowa State 14
Baylor 42, TCU 21
Stanford 31, Notre Dame 21
Ohio State 27, Michigan 21
Duke 28, North Carolina 24
Alabama 31, Auburn 21
South Carolina 31, Clemson 28
Texas A&M 31, Missouri 28
UCLA 34, USC 31
Answer: I saw Neil Young and Stephen Stills July 5, 1976, one day after bicentennial celebration. It was the Stills and Young "Long May You Run" tour. Aztec Two Step was the warm-up act. I had been to the War Memorial many times, to see the Rochester Amerks, the Bruins' top farm club, many, many times, and St. Bonaventure once or twice. I had seen the Harlem Globetrotters, the Rochester Zeniths of what now is known as the D-League, I even had seen my brother play in the Sectionals for our high school, Bishop Kearney. But never had the War Memorial smelled the way it did that night. We stopped for pizza on the way home.
With just one game remaining in his college career — 11 a.m. Saturday vs. Kansas State at Memorial Stadium — senior running back James Sims needs 332 yards rushing to pass June Henley and take over first place on KU's all-time rushing list.
It's a long shot. At best. But given the way Sims has played throughout his incredible KU career, I'm not going to count the guy out until he's played his final snap.
There is precedent for a magical final day by a guy at the top of KU's all-time rushing list. It came in 1991, when senior Tony Sands ran all over Missouri in the season finale and set KU's single game rushing record with 396 yards on a whopping 58 carries.
Sands' monster day established an NCAA record that stood until LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 406 yards for TCU in 1999.
At the time, Sands already had claimed the top spot on KU's rushing list — earlier that season he passed Laverne Smith, who had held the top spot with 3,074 career yards — so while his big day did not vault him into the top spot, it did make it harder for Henley to track down a handful of years later. Sands finished his career with 3,788 rushing yards. Henley passed him in 1996 with 3,841.
Think about it. Back then, who in their wildest dreams would have given Sands a chance to run for nearly 400 yards against a hated rival?
Sims is no Sands in terms of running style, but he's every bit as prolific and he, too, will be facing a hated rival in his swan song.
Don't mistake this blog for me predicting that Sims is going to get the yards he needs. I wouldn't bet a dollar on it. But I thought the way his career is ending juxtaposed against the way Sands' career did 22 years ago was at least interesting enough to say Sims has a chance.
James Sims, though quiet and never flashy, has been one of my favorite athletes to cover at all levels and in any sport. He's one of those rock steady running backs who has simply shown up every day ready to get the most out of his body and give the most to his team.
If we've learned anything throughout his impressive four-year KU career, it seems that the most likely scenario is that Sims will not reach the 332 yards he needs, KU will not beat K-State and one of the greatest running backs the program has ever produced will slip away quietly and live on only in a name in tiny black print on a rushing list that, one day, someone else will try to climb.
For me, though, Sims will be a guy I'll never forget. I wish him nothing but the best in the future and hope he gets the chance he deserves in the NFL, be it with the Denver Broncos or any other team.
Heck, I'm such a big fan of James Sims the person, I'd probably still root for him if he wound up playing for the Raiders, Chargers or Chiefs.
Here's to a heck of a career. And one more for the road.
Late Wednesday evening, Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis and offensive line coach Tim Grunhard released a joint statement confirming what we reported earlier in the day.
Grunhard is stepping down after Saturday's game against Kansas State following two seasons in Lawrence as the O-Line coach. Below are the statements from Weis and Grunhard, whom sources told the Journal-World will be replaced by Rice offensive coordinator John Reagan in the near future.
According to the source, Reagan will join the Jayhawks as the O-Line coach and offensive coordinator. Read the link above for more, if you haven't already.
Just wanted to make sure you didn't miss these statements.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
“Tim Grunhard and I had prepared a joint statement concerning his future that we intended to release on Sunday after the Kansas State game. We were trying to avoid being any distraction. Tonight we are releasing the statement.”
“Sunday, Tim Grunhard is stepping down as offensive line coach so he can spend more quality time with his family. We began talking about this a month ago. Next year, all four of his kids will be in the same high school at the same time. Tim and his wife, Sarah, are great parents, but Tim felt it wasn’t fair to put that all on her. We started as friends and that friendship has only grown stronger. I wish Tim and the entire Grunhard family happiness and success.”
“As of Sunday I will be leaving my position as offensive line coach at the University of Kansas. With the time commitment and challenges of major college football, I felt I was being delinquent in my responsibilities to my family. With three kids at Bishop Miege and one more attending next year, the burden was too great for my wife, Sarah, to handle on her own. I would like to thank Coach Weis and the rest of the Kansas football staff for teaching me the valuable lessons of loyalty and due diligence. I plan on continuing my relationship with the KU community that I have grown to love and respect.”
“We have already hired a replacement for Tim. When that coach becomes available we will provide more details.”
KU football coach just wrapped up his final Tuesday press conference of the 2013 season and, as expected, he spent a lot of time hyping up the fact that "It's K-State week!"
Beyond this week's match-up and what he's learned about the rivalry, Weis talked a little about the immediate future beyond Saturday, which, to no one's surprise, will include a heavy dose of time on the road recruiting reinforcements for the returning roster.
Here's a quick look at most of the topics he discussed:
• The updated depth chart lists Montell Cozart as this week's starting quarterback. Weis said it would've been easy to put Jake Heaps on top but he didn't want to risk Cozart going into the tank heading into the offseason and still likes the different dynamic the freshman brings to the field.
• Weis says Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday because of the significance it holds for being a holiday that allows you to reflect on all of the things you're thankful for and all of the blessings you have in your life. He'll encourage his players to really think about that and is doing that himself, too. Even took time to thank the media for doing jobs and covering the team. Genuine moment.
• Weis said this game — 11 a.m. Saturday vs. K-State — is all that matters right now because it gives KU a chance to end the season with a bang and some momentum heading into the offseason. There is no bowl game. This is it for KU. And that's how they're treating this week.
• Big reason K-State is so important: You're not playing just for football team and football program. Playing for fan base and Kansans and would love nothing more than to give fans a chance to go into work or grocery store on Monday in the position to get the last jba.
• Weis says he was never a part of Mizzou rivalry so he doesn't get that one. All his focus goes toward KSU. Says Notre Dame wanted to treat every game like it was the biggest but there it was always USC.
• Weis on K-State taking in walk-ons: I think that's always a mentality that can work and one he likes to do. He's always liked it and he's trying to get it going here at KU, too. Says the approach works well in Kansas... Having guys in state wanting to go to the state university is a great thing.
• As he's said in the past many times, Weis reiterates that he's tried to emulate, not steal, things from what Bill Snyder has done at Kansas State. Looking at how K-State had done it was one of first things he did and one of the biggest things he noticed was the heavy juco influence on Snyder's rosters. Snyder's been able to fill out his roster/lineup with juco guys — sort of picking his spots — as well as anyone in college football.
• Weis says Snyder does not get enough credit for being a brilliant offensive mind. One of best things he does is mess with O-Line splits. One play it'll be a few inches, the next it could be a few feet. Makes it hard on the defensive linemen and also on coaches to find tendencies in K-State offense. Also says Snyder is as good as anyone at power running game with quarterbacks. Not just zone read type guys who try to get to the edge, more like true running backs.
• With a young guy like Montell Cozart, you love 'em up at the end of a bad game, then you hammer 'em in the next day or two and then you love 'em up again. Weis said they're at the start of the second round of loving him up. Weis says Cozart's bad game at Iowa State would be a learning experience but he'd never
• Weis said Tedarian Johnson has been a pleasant surprise and added that Johnson juco teammate Andrew Bolton, who has red-shirted this year to rehab a knee injury also has made great progress academically. Both are equally important and Weis is encouraged by both.
• When asked about previous teams' success running the ball against K-State, Weis said: I just know we're gonna have to play a heck of a lot better than we have recently to have a chance to win the game. Weis also said the loss of safety Ty Zimmerman is significant for KSU. Said KSU has given up fewer points with Zimmerman in there and more points when he's sat out.
• Weis said he'll head out on the road to recruit first thing Sunday following K-State game and he'll be out there until Friday hitting it hard for Class of 2014 commitments.
• Weis said he'll go after some high profile guys and highly ranked guys (mostly juco) at positions of greatest need. Said that should be obvious, which, most likely, puts wide receiver at the top of the list.
• Weis said Nick Harwell has been as good as could be, both as a wide receiver and also as a teammate and member of the community. Even went as far as to say that he's reached the point where he's stopped worrying about him. Seems very pleased about the maturity Harwell has shown.
Despite having four picks different last week, Keegan and I wound up tied after missing two different games each.
Seeing how I correctly picked the KU game and he did not, I lobbied with the ethics board for a bonus game, but to no avail.
So that brings us to our second-to-last week of picks, still all knotted up. If things remain that way after Week 12 (or maybe even if they don't) we may have to break the tie via bowl-game picks, but, for now, we'll move forward as is.
Both of us are feeling a KU victory this week in Ames, Iowa, where the 3-7 Jayhawks take on the 1-9 Cyclones in an environment that figures to seem more fitting of two bowl teams than the ninth and 10th place squads in the Big 12 Conference.
Should be interesting to see what happens. While we wait for kickoff – 7 p.m. tonight at Jack Trice Stadium — here's a look at all of our picks.
Tait: 7-3 in Week 10; 75-25 overall
Keegan: 7-3 in Week 10; 75-25 overall
WEEK 11 GAMES
Kansas at Iowa State
Baylor at Oklahoma State
Oklahoma at Kansas State
Missouri at Mississippi
Texas A&M at LSU
Nebraska at Penn State
Arizona State at UCLA
Wisconsin at Minnesota
Michigan at Iowa
Vanderbilt at Tennessee
Question: Now that Montell Cozart has taken over as KU's starting QB, it seems like a good time to ask which mobile, dual-threat-type quarterback is your favorite of all-time?
Kansas 24, Iowa State 16
Baylor 55, Oklahoma State 35
Oklahoma 31, Kansas State 27
Missouri 27, Mississippi 24
Texas A&M 41, LSU 31
Nebraska 28, Penn State 21
UCLA 33, Arizona State 26
Wisconsin 28, Minnesota 20
Iowa 26, Michigan 24
Tennessee 31, Vanderbilt 20
Answer: Because of the very nature of the position, I pretty much love all of these guys. From Michael Vick and Kordell Stewart to Vince Young and Robert Griffin III, I've always been fascinated by these guys' abilities to get something out of nothing, make throws that no one expects or thinks they can make and fill up highlight reels with mind-blowing runs and big-time plays. But of them all, one guy stands out above all others and it's a name I'd bet none of you are thinking of: Bradlee Van Pelt, Colorado State. During his days at CSU from 2001-03, Van Pelt was so talented, so dynamic and, best yet, so confident. Never one to shy away from sticking his head into trouble, Van Pelt always was the first guy to come up barking whether he had just had his bell rung or not. Those CSU teams were pretty good and Van Pelt was a big reason for it. His senior season, he came within a couple hundred yards of becoming the first college player to throw for 3,000 yards and run for 1,000 yards in the same season. In 2005, Texas' Vince Young achieved the feat, rushing for 1,050 and throwing for 3,036.
Kansas 21, Iowa State 17
Baylor 41, Oklahoma State 28
Oklahoma 28, Kansas State 24
Missouri 31, Mississippi 28
Texas A&M 35, LSU 31
Nebraska 24, Penn State 21
UCLA 31, Arizona State 28
Wisconsin 28, Minnesota 20
Iowa 24, Michigan 21
Tennessee 28, Vanderbilt 24
Answer: Built like a tight end, he ran like a wide receiver and it was so cold at his home games that you could see his breath every fast step of the way. As a minor league pitcher, he was wild but threw nearly 100 mph. After his minor-league manager was promoted to the majors, guy by the name of Tony LaRussa, the big lefty said nobody else believed in his baseball potential as much as LaRussa did. So Bobby Douglass stuck to football and stiff-armed his way to big runs. He threw the long ball well, but didn't know how to take anything off it, which led to some drops on short passes. I don't remember watching Douglass during his KU days, but he was one entertaining guy to watch playing for the Bears.