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Spring Football: Kansas
April 24, 2010
By Wendell Barnhouse | Correspondent

2009: 5-7 overall, 1-7 in Big 12.
Starters returning: Offense (7), defense (7)

Turner Gill, the former Nebraska quarterback and assistant coach, proved he could win when he took over an awful Buffalo team and guided it to a bowl game. He takes over a Kansas program that has had unprecedented success recently, but there is work to be done.

Todd Reesing, the record-setting quarterback who was responsible for much of the Jayhawks' revival, is gone. So are two of the top receivers in school history – Dez Briscoe and Kerry Meier. And Gill replaces Mark Mangino, one of the most successful coaches KU has ever had.

To put his stamp on the program, Gill wants the offense to be more physical and run the ball. He wants the defense – which will line up in a traditional 4-3 scheme – to be in attack mode with more man-to-man coverage in the secondary. He’s also outlawed swearing. Hopefully for KU fans, all that will allow the Jayhawks to put a quick end to the seven-game losing streak that carries over from last season.

Who’s missing
In addition to Reesing, Briscoe and Meier, safety Darrell Stuckey must be replaced along with defensive tackle Caleb Blakesley and safety Justin Thornton. Senior running back Jake Sharp, who had a solid final season, also is gone.

Who’s new
Both coordinators are former head coaches. Chuck Long, who previously coached at San Diego State and was the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma, will coordinate the Kansas offense. Defensive coordinator Carl Torbush was the head coach at North Carolina.

You’ll hear about
The quarterback, whoever he is. For the last three seasons, Kansas fans were treated to the passing ability and competitive fire displayed by Todd Reesing. He holds most of the school’s passing and offensive records. The candidates to replace him include sophomore Kale Pick (Reesing’ backup last season) along with junior college transfer Quinn Mecham and redshirt freshman Jordan Webb. The quality of quarterback play will be scrutinized throughout the 2010 season.

Spring buzz
* Daymond Patterson started his career as a wide receiver in 2008, then found himself moved to the secondary as a cornerback last season. Now, he’s back where he believes he belongs – at wide receiver. “I feel like I’ll be a better player, a happier player and more productive on the offensive side of the ball,” said Patterson, who was considering transferring.

* Another player who feels like he’s coming and going is senior Angus Quigley. After being granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, Quigley is back at running back after playing linebacker last season. In 2007 and 2008, the 6-1, 230-pound Quigley gained 407 yards in 76 attempts. He believes he did something as a running back to wind up in former coach Mark Mangino’s doghouse. Now, he has a shot at playing time under new coach Turner Gill, who was impressed by Quigley’s play during spring practice.

* Defensive coordinator Carl Torbush likes his linebackers. “If we’ve got everybody completely healthy, I think we’ve got six or seven linebackers we can get in the ballgame who can get the job done,” he said. “It’ll be a concern if we don’t have ’em all well.” Sophomore Huldon Tharp was selected as a freshman All-American last season and should be KU’s top linebacker. Junior Steven Johnson has caught coach Turner Gill’s eye because of his versatility. Gill thinks that Johnson can contribute at any of the three linebacker spots.

* On the third day of spring practice, another player joined the quarterback competition. Conner Teahan, a walk on guard on the Jayhawks’ basketball team, received permission to give football a shot. He was a standout high school quarterback at Rockhurst High in Kansas City, Mo. Coach Turner Gill said that Teahan is a “long shot” to win the starting job.

Coach speak from Turner Gill
“He’s going to take care of the football. He’s going to raise the level of play of all the people around him. He’s going to show his leadership. And he’s going to show why the people there are excited about him being in that huddle. That’s it.
- On what he expects out of his quarterback

“It’s definitely going to go into the fall camp. … They’re going to make mistakes, I understand that. It’s a whole new terminology and all those things. But (we’ll look at) how they carry themselves and how the team responds to them, both good and bad.”
- On making a decision on the starter at quarterback

“Aggressive. Attacking. We want to be a defense that people know that we can run and we’re aggressive. Hopefully, we can find two to three guys who are so-called playmakers.”
- On how he wants his defense to play

“We’re targeting the top players in his area, a 250-mile radius. Then we’re gonna branch out to the state of Texas and Florida. Nationally, we’ll go after players who have a strong interest in Kansas.”
- On his recruiting philosophy

2010 Schedule
Sept. 4 North Dakota State
Sept. 11 Georgia Tech
Sept. 17 at Southern Mississippi
Sept. 25 New Mexico State
Oct. 2 at Baylor*
Oct. 16 Kansas State*
Oct. 23 Texas A&M*
Oct. 30 at Iowa State*
Nov. 6 Colorado*
Nov. 13 at Nebraska*
Nov. 20 Oklahoma State*
* - Big 12 game.
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