No substitutes: Once Miles picks a KU QB, the plan is to stick with him

photo by: Chelsea Grobelny

Kansas quarterback Miles Kendrick (8) runs down the field while playing against Central Michigan University at Kelly/Shorts Stadium in Mount Pleasant, Mich. on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018.

Apparently the Kansas football team’s ongoing quarterback competition remains too close to call, a little more than a week before the Jayhawks’ 2020 debut.

That doesn’t mean KU will try to play both Thomas MacVittie and Miles Kendrick when the season arrives, though.

Head coach Les Miles indicated this week he would stick with whomever is No. 1 on the depth chart when KU kicks off versus Coastal Carolina on Sept. 12, instead of rotating QBs in and out.

“I think the advantage would be with the guy that we put on the field and kind of stay that way,” Miles said, when asked during a video press conference about the possibility of playing both QBs.

That replicates Miles’ approach in his first year at KU. Although Miles didn’t announce Carter Stanley as the starter until the team’s opener against Indiana State, Miles stuck with Stanley and never revisited the preseason competition that seemed to go down to the wire between the redshirt senior and MacVittie.

Blue team quarterback Thomas MacVittie throws against White team safety Bryce Torneden during Late Night Under the Lights on Saturday, April, 13, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.

Now it’s MacVittie, a 6-foot-5 QB from Cincinnati, Ohio, who is the senior, battling 5-10 junior Kendrick.

Miles said the competition most likely will last into next week, the first game week on the calendar.

“I don’t think there’s any real hurry to that,” Miles said of reaching a verdict, reiterating his stance on the matter throughout the preseason. “We’ll kind of wait.”

Neither QB has been made available for interviews the past couple of weeks, after both fielded questions on Aug. 20.

Some of their teammates who have watched the two contenders at KU’s closed practices and scrimmages attest that it’s a close race, but not a contentious one.

Senior center Api Mane said Kendrick and MacVittie remain tight as they vie for the job.

“It’s still (up) in the air and they’re gonna compete all the way until next Saturday,” Mane said.

Sophomore defensive back Kenny Logan Jr., a possible starter as a safety or Hawk, also maintained both MacVittie and Kendrick are near equals.

“Both of those guys are doing well actually,” Logan said, “so I can’t really differentiate between the two. I try to play both of them even and well, because they’re both great quarterbacks.”

According to Miles, of late he has witnessed leadership out of both MacVittie and Kendrick, and he said both have demonstrated the ability to run Brent Dearmon’s offense.

“So I think it’s probably as much as anything a compliment to how hard both of those men have worked,” Miles said of Kendrick and MacVittie.

Though neither has ever started at QB in an FBS game, Miles predicted that KU will have “two real quality quarterbacks” from which to choose.

Once the time is right.

“We know where we’re at and we like where we’re at,” Miles said, “but we’re going to kind of pause and allow competition to fully express itself as we go into the (game) week.”


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