2007 Kansas Preview - Offense

Posted Jul 18, 2007

Preview 2007 Kansas Jayhawk Offense

Kansas Jayhawks

Preview 2007 - Offense

- 2007 Kansas Preview | 2007 Kansas Defense Preview
2007 Kansas Depth Chart | 2006 CFN Kansas Preview 

What you need to know:
After spending last year running the ball, new offensive coordinator Ed Warinner will try to stretch the field more with a big, experienced group of receivers. The big question will be who the quarterback will be throwing to them. Sophomores Kerry Meier and Todd Reesing are talented, mobile passers who can do a little of everything well, but they'll be in a battle for the starting job up until the opener. The other big question mark is at running back, where Jon Cornish and his 1,457 yards and eight scores will be replaced by Jake Sharp (fast) and Brandon McAnderson (powerful). The line is nothing special, but the tackles are experienced and solid.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Kerry Meier
104-184, 1,193 yds, 13 TD, 10 INT
Rushing: Kerry Meier
99 carries, 346 yds, 5 TD
Receiving: Dexton Fields
45 catches, 455 yds, 5 TD

Star of the offense: Sophomore QB QBs Kerry Meier and Todd Reesing
Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore RB Jake Sharp
Unsung star on the rise: Junior WR Marcus Herford
Best pro prospect: Senior TE Derek Fine
Top three all-star candidates: 1) OT Anthony Collins, 2) Fine, 3) Meier
Strength of the offense: Quarterbacks, big receivers
Weakness of the offense:
Proven running backs, offensive line interior


Projected Starter
6-3, 215-pound sophomore Kerry Meier is the likely starter going into the season, but he'll have a fight on his hands to get the job. He has the size, the arm, and the running skills to do everything Mark Mangino wants in a quarterback, but he made plenty of mistakes in his rookie year with ten interceptions to go with 13 touchdown passes and and a 56.5 completion percentage. He also finished second on the team in rushing with 346 yards and five touchdowns in just eight games. To be the main man, he has to be more consistent.

Projected Top Reserve: True sophomore Todd Reesing stepped in when needed and was terrific at times completing 14 of 24 passes for 204 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions. Like Meier, he's mobile with 106 rushing yards and two scores, but at 5-11 and 190 pounds, he's not as big. Even so, he's a bomber with the high school résumé to prove it,
throwing for 3,340 yards and 41 touchdowns last year for Lake Travis High in Texas.
Watch Out For ... a quarterback battle all season long. Mangino is never afraid to change his quarterbacks at the drop of a hat. Considering how close Meier and Reesing are in the race, it'll be too easy to go with the second option if the first struggles for any stretch of time.
Strength: Both of them can play. KU can win with either quarterback, it can get positive rushing yards, and it can get a few deep passes to open things up a little more. There isn't a bad option.
Weakness: Comfort. When the starter is named, will he get a chance to make the team his? Every bad pass will cause to look back at the sideline to see if the backup is getting warmed up.
Outlook: Meier will likely be the main man as long as he can stay healthy. He took some big shots last year and wasn't quite at 100% at the end. Reesing is more than good enough to step in and win. It'll be one of the nation's most hotly contested quarterback battles this fall.
Rating: 7

Running Backs

Projected Starter
Sophomore Jake Sharp has some huge shoes to fill trying to replace Jon Cornish and his 1,457 yards and eight touchdowns. While he won't have to do it alone, he has to show early on that he can make the running game effective. Almost exclusively a special teamer so far, he ran the ball 21 times for 131 yards and caught six more for 42 yards. He has good speed and has the skills to crank out more big runs than Cornish, but it's asking a lot for the 5-10, 190-pounder to be a 5.6-yard-per-carry back.

Projected Top Reserves: Bringing more thunder than Sharp will be 6-0, 235-pound senior Brandon McAnderson, who carried the ball 31 times for 122 yards and five touchdowns. He has the ability to be a tailback and crank out tough yards, and he'll also serve as the starting fullback to open things up for Sharp.

When McAnderson is at tailback, 6-1, 220-pound sophomore Sam Archer will step in at fullback. While he's not all that huge, he's a decent blocker who could get a few carries here and there to give the top two options a break.
Watch Out For ... McAnderson to get a ton of work. He showed at times throughout the spring that he could be a physical runner who can handle the ball as a possible workhorse.
Strength: The combination. McAnderson will loosen things up on the inside, while Sharp will tear off big plays on the outside. At least, that's the idea. If you put the two together, you'd have an all-star back.
Weakness: Experience. Sharp and McAnderson haven't done it yet on a regular basis, and there are no other viable options at the immediate moment. Considering Cornish and his 250 carries were everything to the offense, everyone's crossing their fingers that the overall production won't slip too far.
Outlook: KU won't finish 19th in the nation in rushing offense again, but Sharp isn't some walk-on pulled from out of a psych class to get some carries. He can play, and so can McAnderson. A number three back, possibly true freshman
Carmon Boyd-Anderson, would be a major boost.
Rating: 6


Projected Starters
Three starters are back, led by 6-0, 200-pound junior Dexton Fields, who led the team with 45 catches for 455 yards and five touchdowns. A big, reliable target with nice hands and the ability to make things happen in the red-zone, Fields is a nice number one to work around, even if he's not exactly going to scare anyone with his wheels.

Also returning is 6-4, 200-pound senior Marcus Henry, a big, physical veteran who caught 25 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns. While he made a few big plays here and there, he was mostly a steady three-catch-a-game target who disappeared at times late in the year. He'll have to do even more at the outside X.

New to the overall starting mix will be 6-3, 210-pound junior Marcus Herford, who was a superstar kickoff returner averaging over 26 yards per try. He saw a little time at receiver with a start and appearances in 11 games making eight catches for 137 yards and a score. The former quarterback has the best combination of speed, size, and upside in the corps, but he has to put it all together and be steady, with an occasional home run thrown in here and there.

Back at tight end is 6-3, 245-pound senior Derek Fine after finishing third on the team with 28 catches for 355 yards and five scores. A fantastic blocker, he turned into a more dangerous receiver with better hands and the ability to stretch the field a little bit. He'll be the team's most consistent safety valve.

Projected Top Reserves: Looking to add more live bodies to the receiving corps, 6-3, 200-pound junior Raymond Brown will work behind Herford after making 11 tackles in the KU secondary. A big, physical target, he'll have to work his way into a role and must show consistent hands early on.

6-2, 210-pound Angus Quigley is a former running back who appeared ready to grow into a home-run hitter in the backfield before getting knocked out for the year before the season even started. With more speed than most in the receiving corps, he should be a dangerous option behind Fields.

Working behind Fine at tight end will be 6-4, 241-pound senior Marc Jones. He didn't catch a pass last year being used exclusively as a blocker. The former JUCO transfer has the hands to catch a few passes here and there, but the receiving job work will be left to Fine.
Watch Out For ... Herford to play a big role. The receiving corps was effective, but it didn't show much in the way of pop. Herford has the potential to change all that and become the dynamic playmaker who can change games around.
Strength: Size. This is a huge corps with just about everyone checking in at around 6-2 and 200 pounds. It's a physical group that's good at downfield blocking.
Weakness: Speed. No one's staying awake at night worrying about Henry or Fields getting deep. Herford and Quigley need to be effective deep threats, or else everyone will cheat up and stop the run.
Outlook: It's sort of a slap to use the word serviceable, but that's what the KU receivers are, and it's not necessarily a bad thing. It's a good group for what the offense tried to do in the past, but offensive coordinator Ed Warinner is going to want to push the ball deep on a regular basis. The weapons might not be there to do that.
Rating: 7

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters
The offensive line will need some retooling, but both tackles, junior Anthony Collins and senior Cesar Rodriguez, are back. They're just going to switch sides. The 6-7, 286-pound Rodriguez has started the last 24 games at left tackle, and will now move over to the right side, where he started six times as a freshman. He's a long, lean blocker who's solid in pass protection. The 6-6, 300-pound Collins is more of a bulldozer. The former defensive lineman was a mainstay on the right side last year, and now he'll move to the left.

And then things get interesting. 6-4, 315-pound JUCO transfer Chet Hartley will take over at right guard and be the biggest blocker on the line. He's a physical hitter who should be great for the running game over the next two seasons.

Taking over on the left side will be 6-3, 300-pound junior Adrian Mayes, a former walk-on who emerged from spring ball as the starter, but will have to keep pushing to hold on to the job. He's physical, but not all that athletic.

Starting at center for David Ochoa will be 6-3, 285-pound junior Ryan Cantrell after seeing a little time in three games. He played a bigger role as a redshirt freshman with five starts at guard, and while he appeared to have a good 2006 spring, he was never really part of the mix.

Projected Top Reserves: Pushing Mayes for the starting left guard job will be 6-6, 305-pound junior Matt Darton. More athletic than Mayes, and a little bigger, he's sure to see time in the rotation if he doesn't end up winning the gig outright.

Able to play tackle or guard, 6-4, 295-pound junior guard Rameses Arceo will be a much-needed backup. The former JUCO transfer played tackle before coming to KU, but is better suited for the inside, where he'll play behind Hartley on the right side.
Watch Out For ... the interior to not quite be in place until early in the season. The combination seemed to work in spring ball with Mayes, Cantrell and Hartley doing a decent job, but Mark Magino is never afraid to tinker.
Strength: Tackles. While they're not all-stars, Collins and Rodriguez are solid veterans to count on all year long. They're good in all areas and should be great even after switching sides.
Weakness: Proven depth. There isn't any. A slew of new, untested players will have to play big roles right off the bat.
Outlook: The line was fantastic for the ground game and only allowed 26 sacks. With the starting tackles back, everything else will fall into place. With no depth, there will be major problems if injuries strike.
Rating: 6.5


Related Stories
2007 Kansas Preview
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 18, 2007
2007 Kansas Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 18, 2007
2007 Kansas Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 18, 2007

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