Kansas has been looking for decent quarterback play since Todd Reesing left campus. We thought we had some answers when former five-star talent Jake Heaps and Dayne Crist arrived in Lawrence. But alas, they suffered from poor line play, something that also plagued David Beaty.
We’ve seen Montell Cozart and Ryan Willis go to other programs and be immediately successful. Does Kansas have any talent for Les Miles and company to utilize in year one? Let’s investigate.
Case for Optimism
Honestly, any optimism is probably going to come with a healthy dose of kool-aid. Projected starter (more on that in a minute) Thomas MacVittie was a four-star recruit coming out of high school, originally committing to Pitt over Cincinnati and a late push from LSU. So, there’s probably some talent there.
Carter Stanley, who has the most D1 QB experience on the roster, has a Texas win on his resume, along with some of the better performances for a quarterback under David Beaty, who for some mystifying reason did everything he could to NOT start Carter.
So, Kansas has options, and we’re pretty sure neither guy is a stiff. But, we don’t have a very good idea of 1) What Les will ask of his QBs, and 2) Just how good either guy really is.
Case for Concern
I guess I haven’t done a very good job of being optimistic, because this has pretty much already been covered. For the past 10 years, Kansas has struggled along the offensive line, which has led to poor quarterback play. The best evidence of this is the aforementioned Montell Cozart and Ryan Willis. So, the primary concern is the offensive line; a secondary concern is, will the best QB actually start?
Projected Depth Chart
We actually have a pretty good idea of the starter and the backup, as Miles actually answered that question at Big 12 Media Days, saying that if the season started then, MacVittie would be taking first team reps in practice. QB3 and QB4 I’m just guessing on, but I feel like I have a pretty solid take on those as well. But, you know us bloggers, we gotta leave ourselves an out just in case.
QB1 - JR Thomas MacVittie
QB2 - SR Carter Stanley
QB3 - SO Miles Kendrick
QB4 - SR Manny Miles
The quarterbacks will be coached by the offensive coordinator, Les Koenning. Les Miles had originally tabbed Chip Lindsey to coordinate his first offense in Lawrence, but Lindsey left after just a few weeks for his own head coaching position at Troy.
Koenning’s last P5 job was coaching Dak Prescott at Mississippi State, and he has also worked at Arizona State, Southern Miss, and UAB. Koenning and Miles have brought in some interesting offensive analysts to aid them, and taking a look at their work might give us an idea of what the offense could look like. However, that was a topic for an earlier article.
Could the QB play surprise us this year? Sure, it absolutely could. Actually, it would have to be pretty bad to not improve at all. There is some experience there, and although MacVittie doesn’t have D1 experience, he’s still a junior who has played after high school. Stanley, obviously, we’ve seen him off and on the past several years. Miles will have to address the quarterback roster situation (in terms of recruiting) quickly, however, as we have very little to go on for the other quarterbacks on the roster, and MacVittie only has two years of eligibility remaining.