Kansas Jayhawks Football Team Has Been Hit Hard By Injury

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Kansas Jayhawks Football Team Has Been Hit Hard By Injury

The Kansas Jayhawks have been getting hit hard with injury lately -- something they'll have a tough time handling -- and others are starting to notice.

David Ubben of ESPN.com says KU and Nebraska have been hit the hardest by injury in the Big 12.

That's not the case in Lawrence, where Turner Gill will coach his first season without Huldon Tharp, one of the conference's best linebackers and one of his most exciting young talents. Backup running back Rell Lewis will miss the season with a knee injury, as will offensive lineman Jeff Spikes, who had a chance to start.

Some of it's timing, too. For example, Gill announces on Friday that Toben Opurum is headed to linebacker. Three days later and running back Rell Lewis is out for the season. Even though he was the leading rusher as a freshman, the Jayhawks won't move him back to running back.

Tough luck for the Jayhawks. We'll see how Turner Gill's first season rolls along. He's been making some noise on the recruiting trail.


Kansas Jayhawks Lose RB Rell Lewis For The Season With Knee Injury

The Kansas Jayhawks have taken another hit due to injury.

Head coach Turner Gill announced RB Rell Lewis was lost for the season with a knee injury.

"It’s a sad day for us, and we feel sad for him, too," Gill said. "Obviously, he was a guy who was in the hunt as far as battling for a starting job."

RB Angus Quigley is the projected starter but Lewis was vying for time on the second team.

Just last week, Gill announced Toben Opurum would move from running back to linebacker. That won't change even with Lewis' injury, Gill says.

"Toben is set at linebacker at this point in time," Gill said. "We think he can help us in that situation as time continues on. Obviously, he’s not prepared to play, but we think by the time game time starts he’ll have an opportunity to help us."

Check out Rock Chalk Talk for more on Lewis' injury and more KU football news

Lots of RB-To-LB and LB-To-RB Switches For The Kansas Jayhawks

On Thursday Kansas head coach Turner Gill announced that Toben Opurum would make the switch from running back to linebacker. Depth issues likely contributed to part of that.

He also announced that Angus Quigley would be the starting running back.

His former position?

Yeah, linebacker.

Bill over at Rock M Nation says, "This makes approximately 117 RB-to-LB-and-back position changes made at KU in the last two seasons."

I'll have to check the accuracy of that 117 number.


In Need Of Linebackers, KU Looks To Running Backs

The Kansas Jayhawks have been hit and hit hard at linebacker in recent weeks. They've lost a guy for the season and another is out for academic reasons.

Before Thursday's practice Turner Gill released a new depth chart and announced that Toben Opurum will move from running back to linebacker.

I'm not sure if that will do the trick but they needed bodies there either way.

Gill also announced freshman Keeston Terry will moving from receiver to safety.


Timing Was Right For Kansas To Name Kale Pick Starting Quarterback

I expressed some concern this week over the amount of time Kansas head coach Turner Gill was taking in announcing a starting quarterback for the 2010 season.

If you had two players competing for a spot, then that means they were each getting half the first team reps. That's OK for a position like running back or linebacker who doesn't have to make the decisions that a quarterback does. A quarterback is the most important position in sports and you simply can't go through the majority of your camp with him only taking half the first team snaps.

Pick and Jordan Webb were splitting snaps so, whoever the starter was, they would enter 2010 without the regular amount of first team snaps.

So Kansas chose Kale Pick to be the starter in 2010 and, while that remains to be seen whether that was the right decision, it was the right timing for the decision.

KU's players needed to be able to look to a leader and express confidence in that leader.

Gill took a little longer than I would have preferred, but it's over with now.

Kale Pick in 2010, onward and upward....


Kansas Names Kale Pick Starting Quarterback For 2010 Season

Is it a good thing or a bad thing that your starting quarterback has the last name Pick?

Regardless, that's who it is. The Kansas Jayhawks announced that Kale Pick will be the starting quarterback for the team in the fall.

KU had told the media this afternoon that they would have an announcement. Most figured it was to announce the quarterback and they were right.

On Tuesday, KU head coach Turner Gill told reporters that his quarterback decision could come as early as next week and it could last until Sept. 3, the day before the season opener.

Pick is entering his third year at KU.

In 2008, he redshirted while winning the team's scout team player of the year award.

In 2009, as a freshman, he saw action in seven games throwing just five passes but coming in third on the team in rushing.

And now he has to follow record-breaking quarterback Todd Reesing. Good luck.


Kansas Jayhawks Football Team Selects Five Captains For 2010 Season

The Kansas Jayhawks football team has announced five team captains for the 2010 season.

This is quite the honor because it's a team vote (except freshman) so it's coming from their peers.

Here are the five captains:

Offensive lineman Sal Capra, cornerback Chris Harris, defensive end Jake Laptad, running back Angus Quigley and linebacker Justin Springer.

Jayhawks coach Turner Gill commented on the captains.

"Our staff thought our players did an outstanding job of selecting excellent captains for the 2010 season," Gill said.  "All of these student-athletes have displayed phenomenal leadership qualities, both on and off the field, since I have arrived here."

All five of the players are first time captains.


Kansas Football Camp: Quarterback Decision Coming As Early As Next Week

The Kansas Jayhawks are still without a starting quarterback for the 2010 season.

Sophomore Kale Pick and redshirt freshman Jordan Webb have been battling all summer for the honors but the staff has yet to pick someone.

Per KUSports.com, that decision could come as soon as next week.

No news on the quarterback battle between sophomore Kale Pick and red-shirt freshman Jordan Webb. Gill said the staff was still in a heavy evaluation period at that position — as well as most others — and that a decision would likely be made sometime next week as the team begins preparation for its Sept. 4 season opener.

Gill continued his stance that the competition could go down to the day before the opener.

So basically we've got the announcement coming sometime next week or Sept. 3.

I think KU needs to go ahead and make a decision sooner rather than later. Quarterback isn't like linebacker or running back where you can pretty much plug someone right in there and move along without much interruption. There isn't a position in team sports that's more important than quarterback.

Quarterbacks need that confidence knowing they're "the man" and, most importantly, they need to take as many first team reps as possible.

With their current competition, whoever wins the battle will have fewer first team snaps than was possible.


Kansas Football Camp: Another Linebacker Is Out

The Kansas Jayhawks have already lost LB Huldon Tharp for the season.

Now here's another one: LB Jacoby Thomas has been dismissed from the team for academic reasons.

As Owen Kemp of Rock Chalk Talk notes, this is another hit for the Jayhawks linebacker corps.

Again, Drew Dudley, Justin Springer and Steven Johnson appear to be the starters, but beyond that Kansas is starting to run thin on options.  Jacoby was likely a situational player at best, but the loss still hurts at a position that can't afford many more. 

It may not have mattered much in 2010 but true freshman LB Ed Fink will also miss the 2010 season, Turner Gill announced.

Read the full reaction at Rock Chalk Talk.


Kansas Football Camp: What's The Difference Between Turner Gill And Mark Mangino?

Size? Check.

Language? Check.

And then this quote from a player, which you never saw when Mark Mangino was in town.

"Coach Gill is just positive," senior offensive tackle Brad Thorson said. "He's about finding the right solutions that are going to make student-athletes happy, that make you want to compete for him. He's focused on the whole student-athlete. This game's about football, but we're involved in the community. We're here to get a degree as well. It's not about scolding you or scaring you into doing things the right way."

Could you ever see a "Coach Mangino is just positive" quote from a player? I don't think so.

When Turner Gill was first hired he gave the players a questionnaire with questions about themselves. Gill wanted to get to know the players as people -- something that, well, the perception of Mangino likely wouldn't have let happen.

We're not saying Gill's way is the best way to win. Mangino did a darn good job of winning at times. But Gill's way is probably more appropriate for a higher learning institution.


Kansas Football Camp: Criticisms Of The Running Game

We told you that the Kansas Jayhawks are planning on a renewed focus on the run game this year. They're returning starters on the offensive line and head coach Turner Gill has several nice recruits along the line so why not build the foundation of a running team now?

Well, David Ubben of ESPN.com describes the Jayhawks running game as a "mess" right now.

It sounds like a mess. When your top runner is a sixth-year senior who played linebacker last year, that's not a good sign. Not to discount Angus Quigley, but they've got to figure out who they can count on during camp. Surely, Lewis will get his chances, but so will last year's leading rusher, Opurum, and incoming freshman Brandon Bourbon. The same goes for redshirt freshman DeShaun Sands. Kansas has some guys -- the ones I just listed -- who look like they might have some talent, but one or more of them has to produce for me to really feel good about the Jayhawks moving into conference play.

Can you say running back by committee?


Kansas Football Camp: Here Comes The Rushing Attack

The Kansas football team over the last three years with Todd Reesing at the helm has had the perception of that of a passing team. That's true, to an extent.

In 2007, with Reesing leading the Jayhawks to an Orange Bowl appearance, they rushed the ball 52% of the time, J. Brady McCollough of the Kansas City Star notes. In 2008, that number was 47% and in 2009, 43%.

KU can expect to see that number rise in 2010. Turner Gill has been focusing on the offensive line during recent recruiting efforts and it's clear that's where he wants to dominate.

Gill also spelled out his preference to have a feature back in his offense.

“No doubt,” Gill said. “If I had to say exactly what I’d like to have, it’d be having someone that can carry the ball 20 to 25 times.”

Upgrading the offensive line and relying on the run game is a smart move for a team who doesn't have a clear cut quarterback, like the Jayhawks. So it's hard to tell if he's doing this out of necessity or because he feels this is the best way to build the team moving forward. I tend to think the latter because his recent recruiting efforts have been focused on the offensive line.

So get used to a slower paced game, Jayhawks fans.


KU Football Camp: LB Huldon Tharp Out For The Year With Foot Injury

Huldon Tharp missed spring practices with a foot injury and now it looks like he will miss the 2010 season. Kansas football head coach Turner Gill confirmed to reporters on Monday that a foot injury will keep him out for the 2010 season.

Tharp, a sophomore from Mulvane, Kan., started seven games last season and was fifth on the team in tackles. Along with seniors Justin Springer and Drew Dudley, he figured to be one of the leaders at his position on the depth chart entering the season.

Losing Tharp is a big hit for the KU defense, which lost linemen Jamal Greene (arrest) and Travis Stephens (academics) due to off-the-field issues in the offseason.

It's actually not the same injury as the one that kept him out in spring drills, according to Gill.

"It’s a little bit different area but it’s definitely a foot injury," Gill said. "We’re obviously going to miss Tharp. He was definitely a guy who was going to play."

The defense is taking a hit already (and they don't even know who the quarterback is).

Springer and Dudley were the only two with real experience so this could be a green unit.

Check out Rock Chalk Talk for more KU news.

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