With the season halfway over, I figured now would be as good a time as ever to grade the 'Hawks position by position. Nothing serious, just simple grades.
Quarterback (Todd Reesing) -- A
He gets a little taken off for his rocky start in Manhattan, but other than that he has been just about perfect. His completion percentage would be quite a bit better if his receivers didn't drop so many balls.
Runningback (Jake Sharp + Brandon McAnderson) -- A+
Is there anything t his combo hasn't done? Seriously. They are incredibly underrated by the national media, something that figures to change after this Saturday's nationally televised game.
Wide Receiver (Dexton Fields + Marcus Hery + Dezmon Briscoe) -- B
Drops. The entire crew drops too many passes as a whole, and that needs to stop once we start to play better teams. We can't afford to give up more turnovers like the one off of Fields' facemask in the K-State game.
Tight End (Derek Fine) -- B+
Nothing special, but no clear-cut mistakes. Reesing really trusts him, and he is our go-to-guy in short passing situations. Could be key in a close game later in the season.
Offensive Line (Anthony Collins + Adrian Mayes + Ryan Cantrell + Chet Harley + Ceasar Rodriguez) -- A
They have been fantastic thus far, despite replacing all 3 interior positions. Most thought the unit would be a weakness, including me, but it has certainly looked excellent thus far. A big test for them will come on Saturday, when they face their first BCS-caliber 4-3 defense (K-State plays a 3-4), but I fully expect them to pass with flying colors.
Defensive Ends (Russell Brorsen + John Larson) -- B
They have been the weakness of our defense thus far, but have by no means played poorly. It's just our entire defense is so hole-less, a small hole like the one at DE tends to stick out. They are both first year starters and obth struggle creating a pass rush by themselves, although they are good in the running game.
Defensive Tackles (James McClinton + Caleb Blakesley) -- A
That grade is almost all because of McClinton. The man is an absolute beast, maybe the best defensive player in the Big 12, and is constantly in the opposition's backfield despite double-teams. He is a potential game-changer, and him occupying two blockers creates holes for Blakesley and Co. to run through, which makes them better.
Linebackers (Joe Mortensen + Mike Rivera + James Holt) -- A
This unit has played really well thus far, especially Mortensen. Holt has really surprised me with his play so far, and Rivera can make some dynamic plays. Sure, he misses some assignments and such, but he has toned that stuff down since his earlier years.
Cornerbacks (Aqib Talib + Chris Harris) -- A
Talib hasn't been lights-out thus far, especially in the first half against Jordy Nelson, but has played about as well as expected. Chris Harris, on the other hand, has far exceeded every expectation Jayhawk fans had for him, as the true freshman has already established himself as a bonafide Big 12-caliber starter at cornerback. With Talib's likely departure, Chris Harris will very likely become the leader of this defense. And I'm not even worried about it, I really think he will eventually be just as good as Talib is now.
Safeties (Patrick Resby + Darrell Stuckey) -- A-
They haven't played amazing, make-you-look football so far, but they are miles ahead of last year's safeties. The safeties were the reason we gave up the most passing yards in the Big 12 last season, and the improved play has been the biggest difference in this defense from last year to this one.
Kicker (Scott Webb) -- B+
He missed a FG somewhere along the line (Toledo?), but he is just about money. Just about.
Punter (Kyle Tucker) -- C
The worst part of our team thus far has been the punting. Not a bad problem to have, I know, but field position can be crucial in conference road games, like Saturday. Hopefully Tucker can get it back together.
I have only been able to see one game, so that is largely based off of the one game I did see (Kansas State) and the feeling I have gotten from reading message boards and the like.