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September 17, 2013When the new depth chart went around the press conference room it didn't take long to see all of the shake-ups especially on the offensive side of the ball.
The one, big change on the defensive side was also noticeable. Nose tackle Marquel Combs wasn't listed and Charlie Weis is now hoping to redshirt the former four-star recruit. Weis hoped to redshirt a certain number of players and other defensive linemen like Tedarian Johnson and Ty McKinney[/db, who were in Lawrence for spring football. That gave them an advantage.
Weis said Combs has been good about the possibility of not playing and then having two years of eligibility.
"We don't do these things without involving the player," Weis said. "When you come in no matter how good, what you are rated or what the hype is, on the offensive or defensive lines the guys that are here a semester earlier helps. Look at the guys who were playing better. Look at McKinney who was playing better. Look at Tedarian Johnson who is playing better."
The Jayhawks went junior college heavy in the last class. Several players didn't report until the summer time because they had to get their course work complete before transferring.
"It's no coincidence that those guys have been here since January," Weis said of the players on the two-deep depth chart. "They got to go through spring ball. These other guys were in class the whole time through the spring and in the summer. You aren't doing anything football wise other than running. Then all of a sudden you roll in and you are a good semester behind."
There were more changes on the offensive side. Rodriguez Coleman, who led the Jayhawk Conference in receiving at Garden City Community College, has moved to the starting position at the X position. Justin McCay is listed at second on the depth chart. Tre' Parmalee will get the start at the Z-receiver spot.
"Some of those guys being positioned the way they are has to do with drops," Weis said of the receivers. "Part of that has to do with separation. The answer is both things are included in those tweaks. The two guys that we put up their first are the two guys in practice that regularly get open the best. They also happen to catch it pretty good. Rodriguez is probably getting force fed before he's really ready to be number one. We need to get better and we can win games scoring 14 points that just isn't going to be good enough."
Depth chart moves to be more physical
Some of the moves on the depth chart also have to do with players that could give the Jayhawks a more physical look. Trent Smiley will start at tight end over Jimmay Mundine. Weis said there will still be packages to get Mundine on the field.
"He is more physical," Weis said. "Jimmay is much more athletic than Trent, but Trent is more physical than Jimmay. I wasn't very pleased with the physicality of our team the other day. You only have two choices. Guys get better or you tweak it and make a couple moves."
Another position change made to help with the front line being more physical is Riley Spencer moving in at right tackle for Zach Fondal. Weis hopes some of the moves will give the offensive line more strength up front because he didn't like what he saw from the whole unit.
"We weren't real pleased with our offensive line play in the last game," Weis said. "Riley was a projected starting right tackle for us. Coming off of these knees (injuries) he has been slow coming along. He has been healthy but slow. He has been a little slow to pull the trigger because you are afraid something is going to happen. But he has gotten better and better. Riley is a big man, a very big strong, man. One of the things that he will bring is a little bit more physicality. Zach is more athletic but I wasn't real happy with the controlling of the line of scrimmage the other day across the board."
There also looks to be a battle brewing at center between former Blue Valley West teammates Pat Lewandowski and Dylan Admire. When the depth chart was released they were both listed as possible starters.
Evening out numbers in recruiting class
When you go big numbers at the junior college like Weis and his staff did, you try and plan for roster numbers down the road. It looks like things are falling into place.
The Jayhawks could benefit two and three years down the line from the 2013 class and additional transfers.
"Unless you want them all to graduate at the same time you stagger them," Weis said. "You have to take a percentage of them. We wanted to take 1/3 of them and push them for another year. You just don't know which third it will be. Now 2/3 of them go next year and a third of them go the following year. Now you don't dwindle the numbers. You can only bring 25 guys in on scholarship. So if you lose 30 players and you could only bring in 25 then you are down five."
Bigger role for Bourbon, Pierson
Weis has made several comments he likes the quality of running backs. He created the F-position to get more of his backs like Tony Pierson and Brandon Bourbon on the field. On Tuesday he said both of them will likely figure more into the game plan. Weis has been up late figuring out how to get the ball into his play-makers hands.
"He (Bourbon) will have an expanded role this week," Weis said. "I haven't been sleeping very well since Saturday night. Bourbon, and Tony and a couple of those guys will have expanded roles."
Weis didn't go into detail how he would change his offensive approach. Last season he went to a new approach after the non conference schedule. One player he wants to get involved is Tony Pierson, but teams are game-planning to take him out of the mix. Rice used multiple defensive players to keep watch on Pierson.
"They rolled toward him all night," Weis said. "Even the touchdown catch they had two guys on him. You can't force too many throws into a guy when they are rolling all the coverage into him. On the touchdown they had a guy on the inside of him and the outside. He banged off of one guy, spun around and went up the sideline. That should've been a 6-yard gain. He is one of the few guys on our team that can take a 6-yard and turn it into a big play."