“I think there’s a lot left on the table for me to go and get (this year),” the Kansas University senior receiver said. “Even though nearly 100 balls were caught, I think there’s a lot more balls out there that I could have had last year. That’s what kind of drove me this offseason as I went through and watched film from last year.”
It didn’t matter to Meier that 97 catches itself was an absurd number. Consider that KU’s single-season reception record before last season was 70, set by Richard Estell in 1985.
Meier still couldn’t help but wonder if his numbers could have been better. He even sat down one day and made a list of items that he wanted to improve upon before this season.
“Hopefully,” Meier said, “those few mistakes that I had last year, I learned from them.”
With the KU football team officially starting its practices today, Meier looks to be putting himself into a position where he could be a better all-around receiver in 2009.
...As a senior, Meier has taken time to reflect on the accomplishments of the KU football program since he joined it.
“It feels dang good coming from a family that had two brothers go to K-State and be successful at K-State and see all the success they had at K-State,” Meier said. “When I came to KU, I wanted to experience some of that success. I knew it was going to be hard work.”
He also has seen a facilities facelift firsthand. During his freshman year, he remembered the team having problems with bugs in the locker room. Sometimes, the water wouldn’t work in the showers after practice.
Now, with the new Anderson Family Football Complex, Meier said he feels “almost spoiled.”
“I think we have too much stuff,” he said with a smile.
Meier said it’s the most excited he has been for a football season since he has been at KU.
“If I catch 80 balls, if I catch 20 balls, if I catch 100 balls ... as long as we have a successful season as a team and we find ourselves at the (Big 12) championship,” Meier said, “I’m going to be the happiest guy on the team.” LJW
Working as the third receiver with the first team offense, Brandon Rideau excelled in Wednesday’s training camp practice, catching everything thrown in his direction.
The lanky 6-3, 198-pounder hauled in Jay Cutler passes on three of the first four plays in 11-on-11 team drills and later snared a Cutler laser beam to set up a field goal in a two-minute drill. Rideau also delivered a nice block against cornerback Nate Vasher on an Earl Bennett reception.
“Today was a good day for me,” Rideau said. “I enjoyed getting to be more involved. The ball comes to you every once in a while. Sometimes you get it a lot, sometimes you don’t. You just have to be there to make the play when it comes.” After failing to stick on the Bears’ 53-man roster in each of the past three seasons, Rideau is performing well in training camp and seemingly has a chance to contribute this year.
The Kansas product has appeared in two NFL games, making his debut last Nov. 23 in a road win in St. Louis and then registering two special-teams tackles in a season-ending loss in Houston.
“Everything’s going pretty good for me [in camp],” Rideau said. “I’m minimizing my mental errors and taking advantage of every opportunity. There are a lot more opportunities to come, and I just want to do the best I can in those situations.” ChicagoBears.com
Around the Big 12
The preseason projections held up for Big 12 teams with the release Friday morning of the USA Today coaches' poll. Four Big 12 teams were ranked in the Top 25 and another almost made the list.
As interesting as the vote is the composition of the balloters. The Big 12 has six coaches who are voters this season, down from seven last season.
Big 12 poll voters in 2009 include Dan Hawkins of Colorado, Gary Pinkel of Missouri, Bo Pelini of Nebraska, Bob Stoops of Oklahoma, Mike Sherman of Texas A&M and Mike Leach of Texas Tech. Of those, only Hawkins, Leach, Pelini and Pinkel were poll voters last season.
Considering that composition, it's not surprising that four Big 12 teams ended up being selected.
I've always thought the early polls are little more than a "beauty contest" at this stage. Some wish they weren't released until several games into the season, but I've always liked them coming out when they do.
I think they serve a purpose for college football as they start the hype several weeks before the season and get fans thinking and focused about college football.
And that isn't a bad thing to have a month before the season. ? ESPN
The spring announcement that Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins also will handle the wide receivers this season barely caused a blip on the news meter. Preoccupied with big- picture responsibilities, Hawkins would probably just go through the motions with the wideouts, some figured, and let others do the hands-on work.
No chance of that. Beginning with today's opening practice (5:30 p.m., open to the public), Hawkins needs to get newcomers up to speed in a hurry. The transfer of Josh Smith to UCLA left an already-thin position almost emaciated. Denver Post
Frankly, most Missouri players don’t take issue with those who champion Kansas.
“Kansas, they’ve got a lot of guys coming back,” said linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, another senior captain. “Everybody knows it. It’s understood.
“I won’t get into Nebraska. It’s Nebraska. They’re going to get their respect. Good luck to those guys.”
Last year, Maclin ? a first-round draft choice who signed Monday with the Philadelphia Eagles ? made this observation about respect:
“We don’t want you to just give us respect. We want to take it from you.”
Weatherspoon has taken those words to heart.
“When you take respect,” he said, “it feels a little better. We want to go out and surprise some people.”
The big question, of course, is: Can Missouri do that minus the talent lost from the offensive juggernaut of the previous two seasons? KC Star*
Around College Football
Granted, it's barely August and college football camps are just opening.
But see Florida, Texas and Oklahoma sitting 1-2-3 in the USA TODAY coaches' preseason poll released Friday ? and Boise State, TCU and Utah ranked a more modest 16-17-18 ? and take it seriously. In a sport that settles its national championship, in part, by popular vote and not by a playoff, early positioning matters.
All too much, some coaches say.
"It's just too difficult to get an accurate read on where everybody is until you've played three or four games," says Utah's Kyle Whittingham, one of a number of coaches and other officials who favor a later start in the voting.
"That's a piece of credibility I think we lose," says the Big 12's Dan Beebe, who oversees the Bowl Championship Series with 10 other major-conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick. "Because I don't think you can know now ? no matter how much you know about who's coming back and how teams looked at the end of last year, any of that stuff ? how strong those teams are until you see them play. Or at least see the results of them playing." USA Today
Former Kansas University basketball players Mario Chalmers and Julian Wright will be playing an NBA exhibition game in Kansas City, Mo., this fall.
Chalmers’ Miami Heat will meet Wright’s New Orleans Hornets on Thursday, Oct. 15, at the Sprint Center, the Heat announced Thursday.
...Former Kansas University basketball guard Rodrick Stewart has signed a one-year contract to play basketball in Finland during the 2009-10 season.
Stewart’s dad, Bull Stewart, said Thursday that Rodrick will leave the U.S. on Aug. 17. His son will report to the training camp of pro team FoKoPo, which is located in Forssa, Finland.
“The owner called. He was really excited. He said Rodrick’s going to be their starting point guard. He’ll be a 6-foot-5 point guard,” Bull Stewart said of Rodrick, who shattered his kneecap while attempting a dunk at a practice session at the 2008 Final Four in San Antonio.
“He started playing again four months ago. He’s 100 percent healthy and in good shape at 205 pounds. He’s in good enough shape to play above the rim,” Bull Stewart added. LJW
It was a new start for Keena Mays this summer, her first with the Cy-Fair Shock. After a summer in which several colleges moved on her late because of her play, she had plenty of options and as many expect of top players in Texas, a Big 12 school won out.
For Mays the early commitment of Odyssey Sims to Baylor took one of her top in-state options off the table early, though she also considered Texas A&M. Nevertheless it was Kansas and the Jayhawks program that stood out to the No. 93 ranked player in the ESPN HoopGurlz Hundred from early on. Tuesday she called and committed to head coach Bonnie Hendrickson. ESPN: Top 100 guard picks Kansas
Current recruiting news & college basketball news can now be found here.