2010 Kansas Preview - Offense
Kansas WR Bradly McDougald
Kansas WR Bradly McDougald
Posted May 12, 2010

CollegeFootballNews.com 2010 Preview - Kansas Jayhawk Offense

Kansas Jayhawks

Preview 2010 - Offense

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What You Need To Know: The offense that relied almost exclusively on throwing the ball last year is likely going to going to try to find a little bit of balance under offensive coordinator Chuck Long. The line didn't do much of anything, but it gets everyone back and should be better with decent depth, nice size, and good versatility. The running game has some huge backs in Toben Opurum and Angus Quigley to combine with speedy Deshaun Sands to add more pop, but the key to the season will be the emergence of either Kale Pick or Jordan Webb as the new starting quarterback. With star receivers Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe gone, the KU passing game needs big years from Johnathan Wilson and Bradley McDougald or the offense will hit a brick wall. The star power might be lacking, but the overall experience is there to potentially be more consistent if the quarterback play is solid.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Kale Pick
4-5, 22 yds
Rushing: Toben Opurum
133 carries, 554 yds, 9 TD
Receiving: Johnathan Wilson
35 catches, 4449 yds

Star of the offense: Sophomore RB Toben Opurum (or senior RB Angus Quigley, if he's the starter)
Player who has to step up and be a star: Sophomore QB Kale Pick
Unsung star on the rise: Junior TE Tim Biere
Best pro prospect: Biere
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Opurum, 2) WR Johnathan Wilson, 3) Biere
Strength of the offense: Veteran Line, Big Backs
Weakness of the offense: Pass Protection, Proven Running Game


Projected Starter: With a little bit of time logged in and excellent upside, sophomore Kale Pick is the replacement for Todd Reesing as the starter … maybe. The 6-1, 208-pounder is being given the first honest shot at the job after completing a mere 4-of-5 passes for 22 yards, but he finished third on the team in rushing with 167 yards highlighted by a 55-yard dash against UTEP. A tremendous athlete with a live arm, he might be the face of the offense over the next three years if he can hold off a few hard charging prospects.

Projected Top Reserves: While Pick will be the No. 1 option going into the fall, redshirt freshman Jordan Webb is No. 1A. The 6-0, 210-pound athlete was a Missouri high school all star with great rushing skills and a good enough arm to bomb away for 77 touchdowns in two seasons. While he's not tall and he doesn't necessarily look the part, he's a baller who makes things happen on the move. Sort of like Todd Reesing, he makes things happen, but he could be a much more dangerous player in a spread attack..

6-3, 205-pound Quinn Meachem might not be the starter, but he's a ready-made backup coming from the JUCO ranks after throwing for 3,091 yards and 40 touchdowns for Snow JC in Utah last season. While he'll throw a few picks and will take a few too many chances, he's a big option with the experience needed in the young group.

Watch Out For … an ongoing battle between Pick and Webb. Pick is the safer option, and he hasn't done anything to not be the main man, but there's something plucky about Webb that might be too much to keep him off the field.
Strength: Young playmakers. There might be a slew of mistakes coming from Pick and/or Webb, but they each have the mentality to shake off the last play in a hurry to come back and keep slinging. They'll play with more chutzpah than their years.
Weakness: Experience. Pick saw minimal action and Webb has only been a scout teamer. Meachem might be a safe call because of his JUCO experience, but it'll be a shocker if he's a major factor in the starting chase.
Outlook: Todd Reesing threw for 11,194 career yards and turned into the face of a successful run (until the second half of last year). KU doesn't have a sure-thing, top-shelf recruit who's guaranteed to replace him and shine, but Pick and Webb are interesting prospects who should bring the same sort of gunslinger style.
Unit Rating: 6.5

Running Backs

Projected Starters: All Toben Opurum did as a true freshman was lead the team in rushing with 554 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 4.2 yards per carry, while catching 13 passes for 1-5 yards and a score. The 6-1, 240-pound sophomore packs a wallop in short-yardage situations and has enough speed to bust off a big run now and then, but he was banged up and slowed down a bit production-wise as the season wore on (just like the rest of the team did). While he has the talent and the upside to become a factor-back, the new coaching staff hasn't exactly handed over the offense to the big back and appear to be looking for him to play through the bumps and bruises.

A smallish, unathletic linebacker, the 6-3, 252-pound Justin Puthoff has bulked up over the last year and is getting the first look at the starting fullback job. The redshirt freshman walked on to the team after initially thinking about going to Kansas State, and while he won't likely see any carries, he should be a sledgehammer of a blocker with a little bit of work.

Projected Top Reserves: While Opurum might turn out to be the best of the rushing options, senior Angus Quigley got the starting job coming out of spring ball and at the very least will be a strong second option. The 6-1, 231-pounder got a sixth year of eligibility after missing two full years hurt, and now he appears to have found a home. Moved to linebacker late in 2008, he has the power and just enough burst to be an interesting tailback with 309 career yards and five touchdowns. In a limited role on defense, partially due to problems with a shoulder injury, he made just three tackles and a tackle for loss.

The Jayhawk backfield is full of big, strong runners, but redshirt freshman Deshaun Sands is a speed back in the equation. The 5-7, 190-pounder from Florida is slippery, shows more pop than his size might indicate, and could grow into a deadly third down option as a potentially dangerous receiver in the open field. He won't carry the ball 25 times a game, but he should be dangerous when he finds a defined role.

True freshman Brandon Bourbon could be the team's best all-around rushing option from the word go. The 6-1, 208-pounder has a good burst and moves extremely well when he gets a hole to blow through. The Missouri high school player of the year, he ran for 2,531 yards and 34 touchdowns highlighted by a 451-yard effort. He's a speedster with 10.4 wheels in the 100, and barreling through the line isn't a problem.

Junior Steven Foster was supposed to be a good fullback when he came to KU, moved to linebacker, and he made nine tackles last year. He hasn't lived up to his prep hype, and now he'll move to his more natural fullback spot where he should be able to use his 6-1, 257-pound size to be a powerful blocker and an occasional short yardage back.

Watch Out For … Opurum needing to step up his game. It seems a natural to make him the centerpiece of the attack, but he's in for a dogfight just to get a starting spot back. The coaching staff has opened up the jobs to everyone, and Gill isn't joking.
Strength: Size. Sands might be a 190-pound quick back, but the rest of the running backs are huge. Quigley and Opurum are linebacker-sized pounders, and the fullbacks, Puthoff and Foster, are big enough to blast away on any defensive lineman.
Weakness: Production. The Jayhawks had to bomb away to stay alive most of last year, and the running game sputtered and suffered finishing with a mere 1,345 yards and with 13 touchdowns from the backs. There will be more chances this year, especially behind a veteran line, but the backs have to prove they can produce.
Outlook: Under Mark Mangino, KU almost always seemed to find a major producer in the backfield. Jon Cornish and Brandon McAnderson were stars when everything was clicking a few years ago, but the running game lost that element last season. Opurum and Quigley will pound away, while Sands is an X factor who'll have a few wow moments.
Unit Rating: 7


Projected Starters: After playing third fiddle to Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe, senior Johnathan Wilson becomes the team's No. 1 target. The 6-2, 190-pounder finished third on the team with 35 catches for 449 yards, but he didn't get into the end zone and didn't make more than three grabs in any game over the final six. He has enough speed to be used deep from time to time, but he has to prove he can be a clutch, go-to receiver.

Junior Daymond Patterson spent most of his career at corner after starting out as a wide receiver. The ultra-quick 5-9, 173-pounder made 32 tackles with seven broken up passes over the last two seasons, and he was also used as one of the team's main punt returners. Having dabbled a bit on the offensive side, catching 14 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns in 2008, he's experienced enough to be ready to take over a big role in the offense.

6-1, 195-pound sophomore Bradley McDougald turned in a nice true freshman season making 33 catches for 318 yards. While he has the speed to be more of a deep threat, he only averaged 9.2 yards per catch with his highlight a 42-yard play against Northern Colorado in the opener. Consistent, he made a catch in every game but one and also spent a little time on defense, picking off a pass against Texas Tech. A quick runner who's great in the open field, he'll be great when he gets time in the open field.

Junior Tim Biere has seen starting time at tight end as a true freshman doing more as a blocker than a receiver. The 6-4, 260-pounder has 20 career catches making 14 for 183 yards last year. A big target with soft hands and good route-running ability, he has the potential to do far more for the passing game and become a safety valve for the new starting quarterback.

Projected Top Reserves: 5-8, 174-pound D.J. Beshears got in the mix as a true freshman working at corner making 17 tackles in just four games of work. While he's not all that big, he's tough, is a great tackler in the open field, and has cut-on-a-dime quickness. There's a chance he could see time here and there on defense, but he's being moved to the offensive side where he has the potential to explode. A better receiver prospect, given a little bit of time he could be a dangerous target in a rotation with Daymond Patterson.

At 6-1 and 186 pounds, former quarterback Christian Matthews has decent size, but he has to show he can be a regular for the passing game. A dangerous dual-threat high school playmaker, the redshirt freshman should now be ready to contribute and be the understudy behind Johnathan Wilson. He's not going to be a deadly deep threat and he's not too shifty, but he'll be productive.

6-4, 194-pound redshirt freshman Chris Omigie has the size and the potential to grow into a No. 1 receiver before his career is up. With tight end strength with the ball in his hands and just enough deep speed to get by, he should be a nice part of the rotation with Bradley McDougald on the outside. He's not a blazer and he's not all that quick, but he moves well enough to be a mismatch for most defensive backs.

Junior A.J. Steward is a smaller, quicker tight end option than Tim Biere, but he hasn't done much for the passing game making just one career catch for six yards and failing to make a grab last year. He came to Kansas as a quarterback and is trying to take the Kerry Meier route to grow into a regular for the passing game.

Watch Out For … the defensive backs. KU recruited several multi-talented players over the last few years, and now the versatility will pay off with Beshears and Patterson bringing some much needed quickness to the receiving corps.
Strength: Size. Patterson and Beshears aren't that big, but Wilson, McDougald, Omigie and Matthews have good size and enough toughness to battle for passes across the middle. Most secondaries won't be able to outphysical this group.
Weakness: Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe, and speed. While there's decent experience returning, it always hurts to lose two fringe NFL receivers like Meier and Briscoe, who combined to make 186 catches and came up with 17 of the team's 22 receiving touchdowns last year. Those two weren't blazers, but they produced. There isn't any warp speed among this year's corps, but Beshears and Patterson can move.
Outlook: It would be nice to have a Todd Reesing-like veteran at quarterback to make the still-emerging receiving corps better, but that luxury won't be there. With just enough starting experience to get by, and with some excellent young options waiting to break out, this should be a good group as the season goes on. It just might take a little bit.
Unit Rating: 6.5

Offensive Line

Projected Starters: All five starters return to the offensive front, but it needs Tanner Hawkinson to improve for the overall production to be better. The 6-6, 293-pound sophomore started every game on the outside after being one of the stars of 2009 spring ball, and now the former tight end should be growing into the job after struggling in pass protection. He's tall, athletic, and got bigger after starting out his career as a 6-6, 245-pound spring-bean.

Along with Hawkinson, junior Jeremiah Hatch started every game at the same position last year as the stalwart for the line at center. At 6-3 and 332 pounds, he's a huge blocker who started out his career at right tackle before moving to the left side. He has struggled with his consistency and is an average pass blocker, but he's good in a phone booth and has the potential to be a bigger factor with a year of center experience and 24 straight starts.

Senior Brad Thorson earned Academic All-Big 12 honors last year and grew into the team's best all-around blocker. He started out the year at left guard for the first eight games before moving to right tackle, and now he'll stay in the spot providing better pass protection and good toughness. The former Wisconsin Badger is up to 310 pounds on a 6-5 frame, and he could be the anchor for the running game.

6-2, 295-pound senior Sal Capra went from being a top backup guard to a regular starter at right guard starting the first eight games before moving over to the left side. Now he'll stay in the spot at left guard with excellent toughness and enough talent to live up to his immense promise. A one-time star recruit who was a high school superstar out of Kansas City, he's overdue to be a steadier run blocker.

Sophomore Trevor Marrongelli got two starts late last year at right guard and will get the first look at the spot going into the fall. The 6-2, 293-pounder is built more like a tackle, but he's athletic and tough with the potential to grow into one of the team's better starters over the next few years. An Academic All-Big 12 performer, smarts aren't an issue.

Projected Top Reserves: Junior Jeff Spikes started out last year at right tackle before moving to right guard late in the year. The 6-6, 325-pound veteran struggled in pass protection and ended up coming off the bench, but he's versatile enough to see plenty of time somewhere on the line and will likely spend most of his playing action at right tackle in a rotation. Not great against the speed rushers, he could end up being more productive at guard.

Bringing more size to the inside is 6-4, 326-pound sophomore Duane Zlatnik, a former defensive lineman who'll see time at left guard. He's raw and will need seasoning as a factor on offense, but he has the bulk and the size to add more to the running game from time to time. At the very least, he's a bigger option than the 295-pound Sal Capra at left guard.

6-7, 300-pound redshirt freshman Riley Spencer hasn't arrived yet as a viable starting option, but with a little more practice time and more work on the scout team he could become a major factor at left tackle. Originally considered by some as a guard prospect, he still needs technique work to become a decent pass protector and isn't the type who'll flatten defenders, but there's excellent upside.

Watch Out For … more for the running game. The line struggled to come up with too much production for the ground game, but it'll get its chance this year with a bit more of an emphasis on the ground game. The veteran group will be able to pound away.
Strength: Veterans. All five starters from last year are returning, and Marrongelli is another starting option who'll upgrade the right guard spot. Everyone knows what they're doing.
Weakness: Pass protection. Granted, the Jayhawks threw 506 times and Todd Reesing always tried to hold on to the ball until the last possible nanosecond, but the pass blocking was lousy allowing a whopping 32 sacks. The line has to be far better with a new quarterback under center.
Outlook: The line hasn't stopped anyone from rushing the passer over the last few years, but with a good combination of size, experience, and versatility, the overall production should be much better. There might not be a sure-thing superstar to work around, but there's a nice mix of veterans and good young prospects to hope for more for an offense that finished 101st in the nation in rushing and sacks allowed.
Unit Rating: 6.5

- 2010 Kansas Preview | 2010 Kansas Offense
- 2010 Kansas Defense | 2010 Kansas Depth Chart
- Kansas Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006