This is year three for Hawkinson and Spikes in terms of playing time on the field. Obviously Spikes is coming off an injury but one would think that he's back at full strength if he's earned the spot on the left side. Either way the moves have to work because Kansas doesn't have anymore excuses on the offensive line.
Hawkinson, Spikes, Marrongelli and Zlatnik will all be juniors, Jeremiah Hatch is a senior. Spikes and Hawkinson have to keep the pressure from coming off the edge and provide the quarterback to be named more time than Jayhawk signal callers received a year ago. It's a simple change, but it could be a big change.
Bradley McDougald to Safety
This was a move made last year but it's a move that will go into full affect this year. In limited time a season ago McDougald showed a lot of promise and the phrase NFL potential continues to be thrown out as it relates to both players at the safety position for Kansas.
Upgrades anywhere on the field are a positive and one thing to remember with McDougald is the fact that Ohio State was recruiting him at the Safety position at one time. That's a program that has had some success at evaluating top end talent.
The position looked thin and undersized again. Pat Dorsey and Richard Johnson were steady last year but depth was a concern. Kevin Young is now committed to dropping down and John Williams has added some weight back on to provide a four man rotation but any injury puts Kansas right back in a vulnerable position.
Green and Lewandowski are both long and weigh in the 270-280 range. They can still provide support at end, but they are working a significant amount of time at tackle and that looks to be where the future might lie. That's not to say that these two will unseat the incumbent seniors but quality depth is critical and both look to have a bright future. It also adds a little more flexibility as Kansas works into a 3-4 or 3-3-5 set.
Most of the work has been in the base 4-3 or in a Nickel set for Kansas this Spring, but the staff is working in a 3-4. There have been some reservations by some fans, but it's another wrinkle that opposing offenses will have to prepare for and it allows Kansas another way to get the best players on the field for a given situation.
Late last season when Kansas experimented a bit with the look Kevin Young dropped to the nose tackle spot in passing situations and that is a perfect spot to also incorporate Julius Green and Pat Lewandowski. Throw in the fact that Toben Opurum is far enough along that he can be used as a 3-4 outside linebacker and it puts Kansas in a position where they can bring pressure at you in different ways. That has long been considered one of Carl Torbush's strengths and this will be another way for him to accomplish that.