The 3-9 season is well behind us but as is fairly typical with football, the awards don't necessarily filter out until quite a bit later. For one you usually head right from the regular season into ideally bowl preparation and a break from school. If not you jump straight to recruiting and then that same break from school.
With workouts back underway and the team gearing up for spring, how about a few who's who awards from 201. Some might surprise, some might not and others might lead to that all important thing we like to call "hope". Just remember, while it was a 3-9 season that doesn't mean there weren't players deserving of recognition. Here's your list for 2010.
2010 Kansas Football Team Awards
Offensive Player of the Year - Daymond Patterson
Defensive Player of the Year - Jake Laptad
Special Teams Player of the Year - Alonso Rojas
Offensive Line - Brad Thorson
Offensive Backfield - James Sims
Wide Receiver - Daymond Patterson
Tight End - Tim Biere
Defensive Line - Jake Laptad
Linebacker - Justin Springer
Defensive Back - Chris Harris
Specialist - Alonso Rojas
Compete Team Offensive Player of the Year - Jimmay Mundine
Compete Team Defensive Player of the Year - Darius Willis
Compete Special Teams Player of the Year - Ray Mitchell
Clearly there was an emphasis on those players that had experience and likely helped with the transition in ways outside of what was seen strictly on the field. I won't argue Patterson, although Sims could probably wedge himself in their for a few votes.
I think Laptad's mention might raise some eyebrows, but I think as the season went on and we listened to the staff talk more about the scheme it was a little more clear why his numbers looked off. Laptad did a nice job and put together a nice career at Kansas and in 2010 he made some sacrifices on a personal level to play the way the staff and scheme wanted him to play. By the end of the year the defense was making improvements.
Rojas over Beshears on special teams surprises me a bit, but again I think that a big part of these awards looks to be character. Beshears obviously had the suspension and while his passion is impossible not to like, it probably just needs some proper channeling to fit in with coach Gill's philosophy.
Brad Thorson is one that like Laptad will raise some questions. Thorson struggled through injury all season and it affected his performance, but I can't honestly say their was an offensive lineman playing significantly better than him. That said he is a player that does the little things the right way and he's a departing senior. That likely carries some weight.
No real reason to say anything regarding receiver, runningback or tight end. Sims, Patterson and Biere were the leaders at their respective positions and all three will be major pieces in 2011.
Obviously if you're going to name Laptad the Defensive POY he probably was the best in his unit but I think a guy like Pat Dorsey also deserves mention for stepping in, undersized and doing a nice job at defensive tackle while doing everything that was asked of him and then some based on the fact that the position had very little depth.
Real nice rebound for Justin Springer in his final season. Again no depth at the position, but Springer was a fighter and had some big games. Glad to see he'll be remaining on staff because Springer is one of those players that lives in the weight room. Hopefully that rubs off on someone.
As for the "COMPETE" Team. Obviously we're talking scout team and two of the three awards directly reflect everything we've been hearing out of the program regarding next year. Look for Jimmay Mundine and Darius Willis to make an impact from day one next season. It's good to see talent develop and hopefully these are two that can move up the ranks.
As for Ray Mitchell, it's not a name you heard a lot of but anyone who is setting the bar on special teams gets a hat tip from me because that's an area that Kansas needs to improve and seems fairly focused on improving.