Big 12: Quinton Woods

Big 12 spring game recap: Kansas

April, 26, 2010
4/26/10
2:45
PM ET
What happened:

  • Kale Pick threw a late 37-yard touchdown pass to lead the Blue team to a 14-10 victory over the White. (Worth noting: he also threw a touchdown pass for the White team. Spring game rules: Love them. Colons as well, apparently.)
  • 12,500 fans showed up.
What we learned:

  • As noted this morning, Kale Pick made himself the clear favorite with the game-winning score to Christian Matthews. But he also threw a pretty deep ball down the right side for a 72-yard score to Chris Omigie. Pick was frustrated that most people thought of him as just a runner when spring began. Consider that idea officially dead. Except Pick still gets to keep his 4.5 40 time. Of course, the contest is hardly over, but he's planning on asserting himself this summer with his receivers. "We don’t have great timing yet, but it will come this summer," he said.
  • [+] EnlargeJordan Webb
    AP Photo/Orlin WagnerJordan Webb was 8-of-13 for 46 yards with a touchdown and interception in the spring game.
  • Jordan Webb threw the other touchdown pass, a nice throw to tight end Tim Biere into a tight window while he was under pressure. Webb emerged as the other candidate this spring, and had a decent day throwing the ball (8-of-13, 46 yards), but also threw an interception.
  • Applying that pressure? Kansas defensive ends, who had a field day on the quarterbacks without actually planting any of them into the Kivisto Field turf, of course. Spring means no contact for the quarterbacks, but Kansas quarterbacks were sacked nine times in the game, including two by Quinton Woods and Kevin Young.
  • But what does that mean for the offensive line? They bring back all five starters, but give up nine sacks to a relatively unheralded defense? Probably not a great sign, but again, it's spring. Kansas was 11th in the conference in rushing last season, and gave up 25 sacks, second-most in the conference. Sometimes improvement is assumed, but it doesn't always happen. (See: Kansas 2009 season.) The offensive line will have to show some improvement before it gets penciled in as the strength some see it in Gill's first year.
  • On a related note, nice days for running backs Angus Quigley and DeShaun Sands, who both carried the ball seven times for over 30 yards, surpassing four yards per carry. Disappointing day for sophomore Toben Opurum, who ran for just 16 yards on the same number of carries. "There is no clear-cut guy," Gill said of his running backs. "We’re going to keep this thing competitive. We do have some competitiveness at the running back spot and a lot of different areas."
They said it:

“It was pretty simple. We were just running our base plays. We didn’t get too exotic. We wanted to see execution.” -- Kansas coach Turner Gill on his offense, which ran only 30-40 percent of the playbook.

"I think it’s part of a clean slate, and we’re disappointed by last year. Nobody’s happy about that. We’re doing whatever we can to not let that happen again ... It’s been a big factor. I was sick watching those bowl games over the break. I couldn’t watch all of them. I watched a couple, but I was just sick after we didn’t make it." -- Senior receiver Johnathan Wilson, on last season's failures as a motivator for the spring.

"We just got a lot of new terminology. People at new positions and just different faces that weren’t there last season. But I think things are going along nicely." -- Sophomore running back Toben Opurum, on the changes with the new coaching staff

Kansas will need defense for Big 12 success

June, 4, 2009
6/04/09
4:01
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Kansas checks in at No. 22 in the preseason rankings compiled by my colleague Mark Schlabach.

The Jayhawks are ranked that high because of a potent offense keyed by quarterback Todd Reesing and a strong cast of offensive weapons around him.

The biggest concern about the Jayhawks has been their defense and specifically the loss of starting linebackers James Holt, Mike Rivera and Joe Mortensen from last season.

Any time you have to replace consistent producers like them, it's a big worry. But it might not necessarily be as troublesome for Kansas as you might expect.

First, Coach Mark Mangino is tinkering with a 4-2-5 defense that he expects he will use in most base situations. It's a good idea because of the heavy aerial attacks in the Big 12, but also because the four players he started in the final six games of the season all return. That group is keyed by a potential big-time producer in strong safety Darrell Stuckey, free safety Phillip Strozier and starting cornerbacks Justin Thornton and Daymond Patterson.

But the biggest reason I expect the Jayhawks to improve will be their depth up front along the defensive line. I really like Jake Laptad at defensive end who is one of the most underrated defensive linemen in the league. And I expect junior college transfer Quinton Woods to be an immediate force on the other side.

The Jayhawks also have a nice set of experienced tackles returning in Jamal Greene and Caleb Blakesley. Their experience will help them immeasurably in their second season together as starters.

It will be interesting to see how much the Jayhawks' statistics are altered with the losses at linebacker. Needless to say there's a lot of pressure on returnees like Dakota Lewis and Arist Wright. And I'm intrigued how much playing time that converted running back Angus Quigley will receive.

Another factor that will be interesting in the team's development will be what the addition of veteran co-defensive coordinator Bill Miller means to the group. Bill Young had all kinds of success with the defense and got much of the acclaim for the team that won the Orange Bowl two seasons ago.

When Young left, it was left to first-year coordinator Clint Bowen to start his program. There were some rocky parts along the way, considering they allowed at least 33 points in seven of their final 11 games.

Development in the defense will be the biggest key in the Jayhawks fulfilling their high preseason ranking and determining whether they will be able to contend for their first berth in the Big 12 championship game.

It won't necessarily be a surprise because Kansas' defense might not be as depleted as some might presume.

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