Preview 2008 - Offense
2008 CFN Kansas Preview |
2008 Kansas Offense
2008 CFN Kansas
2008 Kansas Depth
2007 CFN Kansas Preview |
2006 CFN Kansas
What you need to know: One of the most efficient and
effective attacks in the country, KU did everything right. It
could pound the ball when needed, push the passing game deep to
open things up, and better than almost anyone in America, it was
great at going for the kill and even better at answering when
pushed. It'll be a stretch to get the same overall production,
and the O stunk this spring, but it should be terrific as the
season goes on. Todd Reesing grew into a special quarterback and
a perfect leader who rarely made mistakes, but he'll have to be
even better early on until the tackle situation is settled (even
though it's promising) and until the right running combination
is found. Jake Sharp is a nice back, but JUCO transfer Jocques
Crawford could be the team's newest star. The receivers are
nice, with the return of Dexton Fields and Dezmon Briscoe, but
they're not special.
Passing: Todd Reesing
276-446, 3,486 yds, 33 TD, 7 INT
Rushing: Jake Sharp
147 carries, 821 yds, 7 TD
Receiving: Dexton Fields
63 catches, 834 yds, 6 TD
Star of the defense: Junior QB Todd Reesing
Player who has to step up and become a star:
Unsung star on the rise:
Redshirt freshman OT Jeff Spikes
Best pro prospect:
Top three all-star candidates:
1) Reesing, 2)
WR Dexton Fields, 3) C Ryan Cantrell
Strength of the defense:
Quarterback, overall efficiency,
interior of the line
Weakness of the defense:
Proven deep threat receiver, proven
number one running back
Projected Starter: After showing good promise in a rotation role
as a freshman, junior
Todd Reesing blew up last year with a Heisman-caliber
season completing 62% of his passes for 3,486 yards and 33
touchdowns with seven interceptions. Three of his interceptions
came in the win over Kansas State and two came early in the loss
to Missouri (before he caught fire); he was ultra-efficient.
While he's not that big at a generously-listed 5-11 and 200
pounds, he's at his best when on the move and in a rhythm. Even
though he's not really a runner, he'll take off from time to
time coming up with 84 yards against Colorado and 47 against
FIU, but make no mistake about it; he's a bomber. His quickness
is used best when he's able to by himself a half-second to let a
pass play develop, but he can also hang in the pocket and get
into a groove. This is his team and his offense, and he should
once again be a terrific, tough leader.
Projected Top Reserve: Junior Kerry Meier
appeared to be on his way to becoming a star at quarterback
before Todd Reesing won the job last year. Meier ended up doing
a little of everything to make the team better by lining up at
receiver and catching 26 passes, to serving as the mop-up,
backup quarterback completing a razor-sharp 25 of 29 passes for
275 yards and three touchdowns. He was also the team's top
punter this spring. Bigger than Reesing at 6-3 and 220 pounds,
he's also a better runner. He's not the bomber Reesing is, but
he can step in and keep the offense moving if needed.
Considering Kerry Meier's use elsewhere, the emergence of
another quarterback option is a must. 6-4, 223-pound redshirt
freshman A.J. Steward will likely be the No. 3 after
having a fantastic year as a scout team star. Very fast and very
athletic, to go along with his size, makes him a dangerous
prospect if he can grow into a consistent passer. Also in the
hunt will be true freshman Kale Pick, who came to school
early and got some reps this spring. He's an athletic 6-2 and
200 pounds, but he needs to grow more as a passer before being
anywhere near the No. 2 spot.
Watch Out For ... Reesing to do more dinking and
dunking. The receiving corps will be fine, and the coaching
staff will keep trying to push the ball deep, but Reesing, at
least early on, will reestablish its short to midrange
efficiency and then start putting it up once the rest of the
pieces are in place.
Strength: Reesing and Meier. Reesing will be
in the hunt for the Heisman if he's close to as good as he was
last year, while Meier is a good veteran who can step in at any
time and lead the attack. This will be one of the nation's most
efficient passing games in the nation.
Weakness: The potential for utter disaster. You
can never plan for injuries, but considering Meier will be used
as a receiver, and is an all-out bruiser whenever he gets the
ball, and with the was Reesing runs, and with some of the big
shots he takes, the backups had better be ready at any time.
Getting Steward some mop-up work early on could be a must.
Outlook: Reesing is a special quarterback who
doesn't get the respect he deserves because he's not big and
doesn't look the part of a big-time passer. He can do it all,
makes great decisions, and is ultra-efficient. Meier is an
excellent No. 2, and there are promising options who'll get time
over the next year or two to improve. Overall, this is a
Projected Starter: Junior Jake Sharp was supposed to be
the main back early on last year before turning into a dangerous
No. 2 man behind Brandon McAnderson, but he got almost as much
work running 147 times for 821 yards and seven touchdowns. His
workload diminished as the season went on serving more as a
backup and garbage-time runner, but he was used a bit as a
receiver, catching 21 passes on the year for 163 yards and two
scores. He's a smart, versatile back who's tough enough to run
in between the tackles even at 5-10 and 190 pounds, but is had
his best when he gets on the outside. Even though he'll be the
No. 1 back going into the season, he likely won't get the ball
more than 20 times per game.
Projected Top Reserves: 6-2, 222-pound junior
Angus Quigley only got 17 carries for 98 yards with two
touchdowns last season, but he'll quickly become a bigger part
of the offense. Very big and very quick with good hands out of
the backfield, he can be used in a variety of ways. 100% healthy
after missing all of 2006 with a knee injury, he's ready to add
more power to the rushing mix.
Looking to be part of the rotation right away is JUCO transfer
Jocques Crawford, the junior college offensive player of
the year after leading the nation with 1,935 yards and 19
touchdowns for Cisco JC. At 6-1 and 230 pounds with speed, he's
a dangerous prospect who should perfectly fit into the Kansas
mold of backs.
6-1, 200-pound sophomore Carmon Boyd-Anderson got a
little bit of work over the first four games and then didn't see
the light of day for the rest of the season. One of the team's
top recruits two years ago, he has a good mix of talents and can
run inside and out, but he needs more work and he'll need to
fight through the logjam of players looking for carries.
Watch Out For ... Crawford. He was too
productive at the JUCO level to not get a long look as the No. 1
back. He's the workhorse the offense can go to 25 times a game.
Strength: The rotation. There's the pounding of
Quigley and Crawford, and there's the speed and experience
of Sharp. While there might not be any all-star talents,
the three should combine for well over 2,000 yards.
Weakness: Experience other than Sharp. The hope is
for the system to work and Boyd-Anderson, Quigley and Crawford
all can crank out over five yards per carry. While they should
be good, they haven't done it yet.
Outlook: Lose Jon Cornish, replace him with
Brandon McAnderson. Lose McAnderson, replace him with ... ? It
might not exactly be a running back by committee approach, but
there will be several backs in a rotation until one emerges.
Sharp is a good veteran who can carry the offense for short
stretches, but for the KU running game to work like normal, it
needs Quigley or Crawford to be the
blaster the team has had for the last few years. The results
will be better than the talent.
Projected Starters: While Marcus Henry was the team's most
dangerous receiver, 6-0, 204-pound senior Dexton Fields
was the leading pass catcher for the second season in a row
making 63 catches for 834 yards and six touchdowns. A nice,
steady target for most of the year, he blew up late starting out
with an 11-catch, 109-yard, two touchdown performance against
Iowa State and finished with 26 grabs for 327 yards and three
scores over the final three games. While he's not going to scare
anyone deep, he's reliable and has nice hands. He's a good No. 1
to rely on.
Looking to replace the explosive Henry is 6-3, 187-pound
sophomore Johnathan Wilson, who was mostly a special
teamer last season and made three catches for 187 yards. A big,
athletic home run hitter, he'll see plenty of single coverage
and will get plenty of chances to make some big plays. His
emergence as a field-stretcher will be vital.
In a rotation at the third receiver spot will be 6-3, 200-pound
sophomore Dezmon Briscoe after finishing fourth on the
team with 43 catches for 496 yards and seven touchdowns. While
he disappeared at times, he was tremendous against Nebraska
scoring three times. He didn't get into the end zone over the
final four games, but he was still a big part of the passing
game. An emerging star, he'll see more and more passes come his
Kansas likes to use four receivers, and it'll allow for
jack-of-all-trades Kerry Meier to get on the field on a
regular basis. The team's No. 2 quarterback and one of the
better punters, he's also a 6-3, 220-pound athlete who caught 26
passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns. A big, physical target
who'll be used like a tight end, he'll make a key play or two a
game to keep the chains moving.
One of the big losses is tight end Derek Fine, who caught 46
passes for 394 yards and four touchdowns. 6-3, 249-pound
sophomore Bradley Dedeaux will try to take over after
making just one grab for 11 yards. A top talent coming out of
high school and a nice get for the program, he has good
potential as a big receiver, but he has to prove he can be
Fine-like as a blocker.
Projected Top Reserves: Can 6-3, 208-pound senior
Marcus Herford finally get involved in the offense? He
only made three catches for 35 yards, and will start out behind
Dezmon Briscoe, but he's a special kickoff returner averaging a
whopping 28.6 yards per try with two touchdowns. He has the
wheels and he has the size, but he has to find a role in the
How quickly will Rod Harris be involved? The 6-2,
200-pound star JUCO transfer caught 23 passes for 317 yards and
two touchdowns for Blinn JC, and with his phenomenal
athleticism, could battle Johnathan Harris for the job as the
team's top home run hitter.
Moving over from the defensive side is senior Gary
Green, a 5-9, 175-pound speedster who'll play behind Kerry
Meier. He's a good special teamer who also made six tackles and
an interception for the D, and now he'll try to be a big-play
weapon when he gets the ball on the move.
It'll be up to 6-6, 228-pound true freshman Nick Plato to
backup Bradley Dedeaux at tight end. After graduating from high
school early, Plato secured the backup spot with good hands and
surprising route running ability for such a young player. He's
not an outstanding blocker quite yet, but he's physical.
Watch Out For ... Wilson. He has the size
and the speed to make several big plays, and while he likely
won't be a consistent performer, he should change a few games
around with the home run. Anything to replace Henry would
be a plus.
Strength: Fields. While he's not a special
receiver and he's not going to be a game-changer, he's the type
of No. 1 target a developing receiving corps needs.
Weakness: Tight end. For now. True freshman Nick
Plato should develop into a good one, and Meier sort of serves
like a tight end at times, but if Dedeaux
isn't ready for primetime, Todd Reesing will be missing a major
option that was so key to the attack last season.
Outlook: The KU coaching staff wanted to push the
ball deeper last year, and the results were tremendous averaging
12.5 yards per catch with 36 touchdowns. The system is better
than the talent, but Fields is a serviceable receiver to
work around until more talented prospects like Wilson
and Briscoe start to do more. There's plenty of potential
to stretch the field and provide some big pop, but consistency
and keeping the chains moving will be the key to this corps.
Projected Starters: Last year the tackle situation was the one
steady part going into the season. Now the two spots are up for grabs
with Anthony Collins and Cesar Rodriguez gone. There will be a constant
rotation going into the fall, but at the moment it's redshirt freshman
Jeff Spikes taking over for Collins on the left side, and senior
Matt Darton stepping in on the right. Don't get comfortable with
the idea of those two starting the season.
Spikes was singled out this spring for his pass protection. At 6-6 and
314 pounds, he has the size to grow into a mauler and surprising feet. A
good athlete, he should be a fixture on the line for the next four
years. He appears to have more job security than Darton, who was going
to start out on the left side but was moved to the right at the end of
spring ball. The 6-4, 310-pounder was a key reserve last season and got
a start in the Iowa State game. While he's a good pass protector and has
good athleticism, he's not Spikes.
The star of the line should be 6-3, 295-pound senior Ryan Cantrell,
who has a few problems with a foot injury but should be an All-Big 12
performer again after earning second-team honors last year. Able to play
guard if needed, where he was a reserve at times earlier in his career,
he was one of the team's biggest surprises as he turned into a fantastic
quarterback for the front five. Ultra-consistent, he's the team's most
Back at a starting spot at right guard is 6-4, 310-pounder Chet
Hartley, who came over from the JUCO ranks to start every game. A
physical hitter who was great for the running game, he's a decent pass
protector, but not an elite one. His game is about mowing down defenders
and keeping drives moving.
6-3, 305-pound senior Adrian Mayes started every game last season
and will once again be the man at left guard. Without Anthony Collins to
help out anymore, he'll have to become even more consistent. The former
walk-on is a physical force on the inside, but he's not a great athlete
and isn't going to do too much on the move. He's a smart player who
doesn't make mistakes.
Projected Top Reserves: While Matt Darton and Jeff
Spikes have the starting tackle spots going into the fall, sophomore
Ian Wolfe and JUCO transfer Nathan D'Cunha will get every
shot to win the jobs. Wolfe is an athletic 6-5 and 283 pounds, but he's
30 pounds lighter than Spikes on the left side. He saw a little action
last season and got the starting nod against Toledo. While decent in
pass protection, he's not the overall talent Spikes is projected to be.
The 6-6, 307-pound D'Cunha was brought in to start immediately. The
Australian is a fantastic athlete for his size and was strong for Santa
Barbara Junior College. While he's still raw, he has tremendous upside.
Watch Out For ... Spikes. Considering Anthony
Collins was up for just about every big award an offensive lineman can
get, he was slightly overrated. He was good, but he wasn't the
be-all-end-all. Even so, he will be missed until Spikes gets his feet
wet. In the long run, Spikes should be the better of the two; he has
that kind of upside.
Strength: The interior. Last year the big question
marks were at guard and center. How was the running game going to be as
effective as it was in 2006? Cantrell turned into a force,
and Mayes and Hartley were rock-solid. They'll be one
of the team's strengths.
Weakness: Proven depth. Several backups have seen
a little bit of game action, but there will be huge problems if the
interior suffers any major injuries after Mayes, Cantrell and Hartley
started every game. There are four options at tackle, but they're all
starting from just slightly ahead of square one.
Outlook: The line wasn't dominant last season, but
it cranked out the long scoring drives when the team absolutely needed
them. While mediocre in pass protection, allowing a Big 12-high 26
sacks, it was good when it had to be. Now the trio of guards Mayes and
Hartley along with center Cantrell should be terrific,
while the tackles are promising. Jeff Spikes has the potential to be
special in place of Collins on the left side, while it'll be an
ongoing battle for the job on the right side.