We couldn't all be there and if you weren't in Kansas City you really could only listen so here's the best breakdown we've had on the site over the last couple of days.
This was posted by Rivet as a comment in another thread but I thought it'd be worth kicking around a little more in depth today. So let's dive in a little deeper and thanks again to Rivet for sharing his thoughts and providing a from a trip up to Lawrence for the Kansas spring football game! - Owen
First off, I was amazed at how different Lawrence/Campus is since my last visit in the Spring of 2007. The Oread is more beautiful than I expected. It’s really well-done and I didn’t miss the Crossing at all (Yellow Sub a little). Had some Pyramid Pizza and I was disappointed….it sucks now compared to what it used to be. But several pitchers of Boulevard Pale Ale at Jeffersons sitting outside on Mass. St. made for a great day (saw Coach Miller walk by with the family).
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
First off, I was extremely impressed with the turnout. Way more people than I expected. I know they ran out of posters really early after the gates opened, so maybe KUAC didn’t expect as many people either. Wish they would have given out t-shirts, but I guess times are tough. The poster was boring anyway. I gave mine to a little kid who showed up too late to get one at the start.
Before entering the stadium, I stood behind the rope near the exit from the players locker room. I wanted to get a field-level, first person view of our team as the trotted by. The first thing I noticed was how TALL our WRs are as a group. I think it was Omigie and Herod that ran by together and they just seemed so tall and lanky. The OL monsters were also noticeably HUGE. And it was nice to see QBs with normal size.
I was able to grab a seat on the west side, exactly 50 yard line, row 32. Nice view of the field.
QB's: Crist was good, not great. He definitely knows the offense. The OL gave him all day to throw (or our DL is pitiful….TBD) so not sure how mobile he is. But he’s not as accurate as I had hoped/expected. He throws a lot of high balls. I’d say he’s going to get our WRs killed except…at this point they’re all probably used to it after getting strung out by Webb. Personally, I thought Heaps showed the better arm (and feet) but he definitely needs time to learn the offense. Micheal Cummings, God help him, got absolutely zero protection from his OL, so it was hard to judge his performance. But I did find it interesting how many snaps Weis gave him. But it was kind of like watching a train wreck. Jablonski didn’t do anything bad, but he also didn’t do anything to show he should be considered for anything more than a backup role.
WR's: Kale Pick. Is. The. Man. Of course, we said the same thing last spring and he didn’t really do much last season. Or maybe he did and I just don’t remember. I’m trying to pretend last season didn’t happen. Kales’ got size. He’s got route running. He’s got smarts (uses his body to shield the DB). He’s got hands. He’s going to be a workhorse weapon. No deep threat, but if you need a tough 6 yards on 3 and 6, he’s going to give you 6.5 yards. DP looks like DP of old. Ricki Herod looked impressive (had some nice blocking downfield too). And DJ Beshears was…pretty absent. Justin McCay is big, but I wasn’t really impressed. I can see why Stoops gave him a release so readily…I don’t see star Big 12 WR in him. Hope he proves everyone wrong, cause from all accounts he’s a good kid.
RB – Well you all know I love me some James Sims. But I have to admit, his time might be done. On numerous plays I noticed him try to juke and dance around in the backfield (only to be tackled). What is wrong with him? That’s NOT his strength. He’s a 3 yards and a cloud of dust type of back. Go hit someone and fall forward. Quit dancing around! I guess that’s why he’s on the second string. That or the suspension. Either way he’s got a battle on his hands to get PT because…..
Marquis Jackson could very well be the real deal. I was super surprised about his performance. Kids hits the holes FAST. Then again, the OL facing a Casper the Friendly Ghost DL might have had something to do with it. Regardless, I was impressed. And then their was Tony P. The 88 yard TD run was amazing. Amazing from the fact that once he hit the 50 he put it into yet another gear and fly away from everyone. The speed was noticeable. But…..he’s just too small to be an every down back. There were a couple of tackles where I wasn’t sure if he was going to get up.
OL - They did what they were supposed to do. Gotta admit I didn’t see the personal foul (leg whip) they called on Hawkinson…..I don’t think he did either cause he laughed about the whole thing while trotting to the sideline. The deal is, as alluded to above, against that DL (or that thing we were calling a DL) it’s hard to judge what they’re really capable of. But they look HUGE. Personally I was impressed with Zlatnik.
TE – Jimmay Mundine is once again an athletic freak. He’s effective in the slot. Not so much lined up as a traditional TE. That might hurt him once the transfer arrives. I remember hearing Trent Smiley’s name called too.
DL – The most notable thing about them was seeing Kevin Young and John Williams stand side by side without pads on the sidelines. Those guys look huge….let’s hope the heal. The next thing to know is that Micheal Reynolds is the real deal. Damn is he explosive. But then again…against 2nd string OL so who knows. He got screwed too. He touched the QB for a 10 yard loss on a play and stopped running (assuming play would be called dead…it wasn’t). QB scrambled for a big gain. Had to feel bad for the kids (even the press box announced credited him with the tackle, even though the field judge gave the gain to the QB). I Also noted that Toben was very active as well. Those two could make a fine tandem.
LB's – Darius Willis looked slow to me. Huldon Tharp is a beast and back. Ben Heeney is Huldon Tharp’s twin. So that’s nice.
DB's – I tell you what, I thought they looked good. I saw them actually turn around and look for the ball (a novel concept). And coverage was generally tight. I even saw…press coverage. Greg Brown jammed his guy at the LOS and played physical!! Seriously. I saw it. McDougald has potential to be playing on Sundays. The size is there. The speed is there. He just needs the performance to get noticed.
Lubbock Smith was a beast too. My favorite play of the game was actually a sequence of two Smith tackles. The first, he showed excellent closing speed, angle to the ball, and tackling. He made the play. He got up pretty jacked about it. He was jumping up and down. Now, I can’t be sure of this but I think Coach Weis sent a message on the next play because he called a run right at Smith and James Sims ran his ass over. He made the tackle, but he got punished for it. It was one of the biggest collisions of the day. It seemed to me that Coach Weis sent a message…hey Lubbock don’t get too cocky.
I found it really interesting that Coach Weis spent a large part of the scrimmage actually on the field, 10 yards behind the QB. That’s a unique approach.
Well, that’s it for now as I just got back after driving home 10 hours (and 20 minutes). Sorry if this is sloppy. But I’m tired.
Oh one more thing…..our kickers suck.