The 2012 Kansas offense will be heavy in the running game that features multiple tight end sets. Lead by senior quarterback Dayne Crist, this new and improved Jayhawks offense will be vastly different than the one we saw in 2011. Though heavy on the run, this Kansas offense will rely on their receiver’s to keep opposing defenses honest. So does Coach Weis have the skill players to run his famous offense? Let’s take a look.
When talking Kansas wide receivers, it is important to remember what new Kansas Coach Charlie Weis has made a living doing. Sure he has the Super Bowl rings and several Hall of Fame players attached to his name but Weis is somewhat of a conservative play caller that doesn’t give into fads or Sports Center highlights.
No, Weis does things the old fashion way: with solid blocking up front and a running game that dictates the flow. Then he adds a touch of tight end help and this lays the foundation for everything else.
But this doesn’t mean the receivers are an afterthought. In fact, the rushing game and tight ends are established to free up the receivers in coverage. The receivers probably won’t be the focus of opposing defensive game plans but they certainly have an opportunity to cause some headaches for D-coordinators should Weis’ first line of attack prove successful.
Weis will ask QB Crist to attack down the field and over the middle sparingly but when he does, it has to connect. This means the receivers need to be reliable or this Kansas offense runs the danger of becoming one dimensional.
Playing into Kansas’ favor is the senior leadership at the wide receiver position. D.J. Beshears, Kale Pick, and Daymond Patterson are all listed as starters in the X, S, and Z position respectively and that’s for good reason.
Beshears has been listed as one of 49 players for the preseason watch list for the Paul Hornung Award for most versatile player in college football. Finishing 3rd in the Big 12 for most all purpose yards in the in 2011 (1,587), Beshears gives Kansas a squirrely, multidimensional, and experienced weapon that opposing teams will struggle to contain.
Opposite Beshears at the “X” position is former quarterback Kale Pick.
Pick has had an amazing turnaround since losing out on the starting QB job his sophomore season. After becoming a full-time receiver in 2011, Pick amassed 344-yards on just 34 receptions on a Jayhawks offense that struggled at times. Now in 2012, Pick has risen to the top of Kansas’ depth chart at wide receiver.
Throughout Fall Camp I’ve had the opportunity to speak with all the offensive coaches and majority of both offensive players and defensive backs. In all of those conversations, Kale Pick’s name came up as one of the most consistent receivers, blockers, and toughest players to defend. When the guys on defense are saying your name, that’s a very good sign you are doing something right.
At the slot position the Jayhawk’s have another talented and multidimensional player in senior Daymond Patterson. After struggling to settle into a position his first two years at Kansas, Patterson finally found a home at receiver but his experience in the secondary has made him a very smart and instinctive receiver.
Patterson was awarded a red-shirt injury exemption in 2011 after an injury in week-1 that ended his season prematurely. Prior to that, Patterson was the Jayhawks most productive receiver in 2010 and looks poised for a final stand his senior season. From all accounts, Patterson is healthy and ready to make an impact.
Outside of the top-3, Kansas has a lot of inexperience but plenty of reason to be optimistic.
For starters, look at junior transfer Josh Ford.
Ford is a big and tall receiver with good speed and a physical body that prompted his high school coach Jason Lane to refer to him as a “freak of nature”.
Ford might be the Jayhawks most athletic receiver but has struggled to ascend up the depth chart as of yet. In fact, during a recent public practice, Coach Weis “dressed down” Ford after a bobbled would-be reception was batted into the air making for an easy interception by the defender. After the play, Weis could be heard by the hundreds in attendance laying into Ford.
This was the first and only time we have seen Weis openly criticize a specific player. For my money, this says a lot about what this staff believes Ford can be and also signals he is still struggling to get there. If Ford can put all the pieces together, he could become the Jayhawks best deep-threat option.
Another big-play playmaker Coach Weis targeted upon his arrival was Bishop Miege grad Tre’ Parmalee. Though not heavily scouted due to his lack of size (5-foot-10, 168-pounds) Parmalee has looked very impressive though Fall Camp and will be hard to keep off the field due to his explosive speed and special teams talents.
One guy whose name has been popping up lately has been sophomore Andrew Turzilli. When talking to both players and coaches throughout the fall, Turzilli’s name continues to be one mentioned in the “strong camp” category. Turzilli is a big receiver at 6-foot-4 but seems to play even bigger. I’m not sure how much of a role Turzilli will play early but it appears the offensive coaching staff will try to incorporate him into the offense early.
A few more names to keep an eye on would be Chris Omigie and JaCorey Shepherd. Both players have skill sets that could vastly improve the passing game but as of yet I’ve not heard or seen much from either player. In their defense, there have been few opportunities to witness “live” action so the coaches may know something we don’t about these two. Until the season starts on September, 1 we just won’t know much about these guys.
Good news is Kansas has options both in 2012 and beyond. Though there is not one single star player, what the Jayhawks have at wide receiver is solidity and depth. When paired with an outstanding QB, running backs, and tight ends, solid and deep is as good as Coach Weis can ask for.
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