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August 8, 2013

Analysis: Thoughts on first depth chart

You have to give Charlie Weis, the Kansas coaches, and players some credit. Pat Lewandowski moved to center sometime after spring football and it never leaked out. All summer long Lewandowski worked close with Jake Heaps to learn the position and develop chemistry.

The first thing naysayers will comment on is the fact that Lewandowski is too tall. Those comments have already been thrown out there by Kansas fans. But go ahead and throw that logic out.

In the early 2000's Justin Hartwig was a three-year starter at right tackle for the Jayhawks. He was every bit 6-foot-4 before moving to center in the NFL. He helped the Steelers to a Super Bowl title.

Last year in the Pro Bowl game there wasn't a center on the roster under 6-foot-4.

Just because a player isn't short, like most centers are pictured to be, doesn't mean a player can't make the transition. Lewandowski is currently holding down the top spot on the depth chart at center after playing tackle. Right behind him is Dylan Admire. The top two centers are from Blue Valley West High School.

A year can make a lot of difference.

If you compare the depth chart going into last season to this year's it is the world of difference. In just one season the Kansas coaching staff has built up quality depth.

No position stands out like running back. Tony Pierson has shifted over to the F position at receiver. Most likely that stands for flanker but Weis has not confirmed that. A flanker is one of the receiver positions that lines up off the line of scrimmage so they can avoid contact with defensive backs or linebackers. That way they can create space and have more room to operate.

One of the other surprises on Wednesday is Brandon Bourbon backing up Pierson at the F receiver. Weis said they have too many talented backs and wants to get Bourbon on the field. So that is one reason for the change.

There are 11 players on the two-deep that signed with the Jayhawks in this year's class. All of them are junior college transfers. That goes to show the confidence Weis has in the newcomers. He also has seen what some of the returning players can do and will give the new ones a chance to start out higher on the depth chart.

Last year they barely could form a two-deep on the defensive line. One player I expected to have a shot at starting is Ty McKinney at nose tackle. But he's listed behind Keon Stowers and Kevin Young, which shows how far the depth chart has come in a year's time at that position.

The depth chart is going to change a lot in the upcoming weeks. There is going to be a lot of competition in fall camp. Some are going to rise and some going to fall as August heats up. But for the first time in four years there are several positions where competition will determine the starter.

Even the special teams has their own battles brewing. From kickoff duties to long snapper the depth chart is going to be a fluid situation. The punt and kick return jobs are so up in the air Weis didn't even fill them out on the first depth chart. There are going to be a lot of candidates for those return spots ranging from Pierson, Rod Coleman, Kevin Short, Brandon Bourbon, Tre Parmalee, Mark Thomas, Ishmael Hyman and Taylor Cox.

August should be a fun month for the Kansas football fans because the depth chart is likely to change and there are enough quality players on the roster to make it change.






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