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Quarterback Change Could Boost Kansas
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By Wendell Barnhouse | wendell@big12sports.com
Big12Sports.com Correspondent

2013 record: 3-9 overall, 1-8 in Big 12.

Returning starters: 8 on offense, 7 on defense.

Top players returning: Sophomore QB Montell Cozart, senior RB Brandon Bourbon, junior RB Darrian Miller, senior WR Tony Pierson, senior TE Jimmay Mundine, senior LB Ben Heeney, senior DL Michael Reynolds, sophomore DE Ben Goodman, junior NT Andrew Bolton, senior CB Dexter McDonald, junior S Isaiah Johnson, senior S Cassius Sendish, senior CB JaCorey Shepherd.

Key players to replace: RB James Sims, OL Aslam Sterling, DL Darius Willis, OL Gavin Howard, DL Keba Agostinho.

Spring review
In Charlie Weis' first two seasons, Kansas' inability to move up in the Big 12 standings can be traced to ineffective play at quarterback. After spring practice, Weis thinks he's found a quarterback that can help boost the offense.

Sophomore Montell Cozart was named the starter after winning the job in 15 practices and the spring game. He'll be the sixth different quarterback to start a KU season opener in the last six seasons.

"What we didn't want to do was go into the summertime misleading our players about who the starting quarterback was," Weis said. "After the spring game, which was really practice 15, we did post-spring evaluations with the whole team. In the eyes of the coaching staff, Montell had clearly played better than the other quarterbacks on our team."

As a freshman, Cozart ran for 214 yards and threw for 227 more by completing 37 percent of his passes. During spring practice, Cozart completed 75 percent of his throws.

Cozart will be running a scheme designed by new offensive coordinator John Reagan, who has been at Rice the last four seasons. KU will still rely on the running game but the offense will almost never huddle, and they will rely on their quarterback to make plays with his feet - whether in the option or designed runs.

"We have like five different tempos," says Cozart, who saw time at quarterback as a true freshman. "We can speed it up and go 100 miles per hour if we need to, or we can slow it down and still be able to put pressure on the defense."

Quick slants
*Quarterbacks are typically protected from contact in spring practices and games by wearing a red "no contact" jersey. But Kansas quarterbacks were "live" during the spring game which helped the offensive coaches evaluate the QBs.

*In addition to new offensive coordinator John Reagan, new coaches on the staff include wide receivers coach and former Washington offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau; assistant director of football operations Ryan Cantrell, who played at KU from 2005-08 and worked under Reagan at Rice; and quality-control coach Bernie Parmalee, the father of KU receiver Tre' Parmalee who worked under Weis at Notre Dame and with the Kansas City Chiefs and also played for Weis with the New York Jets in 1999.

*Kansas has hired HNTB, a Kansas City-based architecture firm, to draw up blueprints for Memorial Stadium's future renovations. The company is in the final stages of rendering illustrations/blueprints. "We will have the designs in place," athletic director Sheahon Zenger told the Lawrence Journal-World. "When we have momentum and the deck is cleared, we'll be ready to go."

Coach Charlie Weis on …
New offensive coordinator John Reagan:
"Obviously, the biggest transition we're going through right now is really changing our personality on offense. I believe it's for the better or else we wouldn't be doing it."

Receiver Nick Harwell, a transfer who becomes eligible this season:
"He's a natural leader. You know, I'm glad we have him. He's a hard worker. He's driven. They follow him, and he jumps on everybody. And they respect him."

The Kansas roster headed into his third season:
"Not that we're loaded with talent, stacked and racked at every position. But I think the infrastructure has been rebuilt with a predominantly junior and senior team. And usually (those are) the teams that win."

2014 Schedule
Sept. 6 Southeast Missouri State
Sept. 13 at Duke
Sept. 20 Central Michigan
Sept. 27 Texas*
Oct. 4 at West Virginia*
Oct. 11 Oklahoma State*
Oct. 18 at Texas Tech*
Nov. 1 at Baylor*
Nov. 8 Iowa State*
Nov. 15 TCU*
Nov. 22 at Oklahoma*
Nov. 29 at Kansas State*
*- Big 12 Conference.
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