Tom Keegan: Carter Stanley KU's QB best suited to facing Big 12 competition

Kansas quarterback Peyton Bender (7) drops back to pass during practice on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, as Carter Stanley (9) observes.

Carter Stanley’s nameplate was on an empty table in the front of the Gridiron Room, where select Kansas football players do media interviews every Tuesday afternoon. The empty table reserved for Peyton Bender was tucked in the left corner of the room.

Neither player ever showed, a sure sign that something’s brewing at quarterback.

It was eerily similar to when Stanley broke a bone in his hand before last season and head coach David Beaty was trying to keep it a secret because he wanted SEMO to have to prepare for both Bender and Stanley, whose name plate sat at an empty table in the front of the room when that failed misinformation campaign unfolded. Beaty tried to say he hadn’t decided between Bender and Carter back then, after we had reported that Stanley couldn’t throw because of the hand injury.

This time, the nameplate antics appeared more innocent, but might have been intended to keep Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy guessing.

All three quarterbacks, including Miles Kendrick, were requested by the media. Kendrick, out with a shoulder injury, is listed as day to day, and injured players generally aren’t made available to the media, so that explains that one. My guess is he won't be available this week because, if he were, Kansas would want to make that known to try to get the Cowboys to waste time preparing for him and would have had him at the press conference, showing off his healthy shoulder.

My guess is the quarterback who gives the defense the most to think about will be the one who gets the most snaps Saturday, and he happens to be the QB who has received the fewest snaps of the three so far.

The third-stringer the first four weeks, Stanley is close to as effective a runner as Kendrick and nearly as good a passer as Bender. Kendrick doesn’t appear to be nearly as comfortable throwing as running, and Bender certainly isn’t anywhere near as well-equipped to run as he is to pass.

Since Stanley is equally comfortable with running and throwing, then, in theory at least, he would give the Oklahoma State defense more things to keep an eye on.

The two QBs who played high school football in Florida have had roughly the same level of statistical success during their KU careers. Stanley has averaged 6.1 yards per pass attempt and has a net positive rushing total of 268 yards. On the down side, he has thrown 10 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions. Bender has averaged 5.7 yards per throw, has a net rushing total of negative-143 yards and has thrown 17 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Those numbers tell us what we already knew, which is that Bender’s a better passer, Stanley a better runner.

Face it, for KU football, the more things change, the more things stay the same, which is another way of saying things change constantly, especially at quarterback.

So back to comparing quarterbacks we go. Stanley is 1-7 as a starter, all against Big 12 competition.

As a starter, Bender is 3-9 overall, 0-6 vs. Big 12 schools.

Bender has beaten SEMO, Central Michigan and Rutgers. Stanley beat Texas.

So now, let’s look at how the team performs in Big 12 play under Jordan Webb and compare it to Quinn Mecham. I’m sorry, I meant to type Dayne Crist and Michael Cummings. No, I didn’t either. I meant Jake Heaps and Montell Cozart. No, wait, not that. Ryan Willis and Cozart. Nope, not that either.

Scratch all that. Let’s look at how the team performs in starts made by Bender and by Stanley in Big 12 play, which is another way of saying when the Kansas offensive line is at a big disadvantage against talented, huge, fast defensive lines.

Average score in Stanley’s Big 12 starts: Opponent 34, Kansas 18. Average score in Bender’s Big 12 starts: Opponent 49, Kansas 13.

Why might Stanley’s margin (16 points) be significantly smaller than Bender’s (36 points)? KU has trouble keeping Big 12 defenders out of the backfield, which puts a premium on mobility.

After calculating this difference, I asked Beaty if maybe there is something we don’t see in Stanley that made him the third-string quarterback, such as he calls too many audibles or doesn’t trust the offense or whatever? Beaty sidestepped the question.

“I will say this: The race between those guys was actually really close, and the reason it was really close between all of them was that they really studied a lot,” Beaty said. “They did a nice job. I attribute the reason that we've done a better job taking care of the ball at that position is because they have studied a bunch. They understand defenses now. They're not putting the ball in jeopardy as much. And that's really, really critical.”

Center Alex Fontana, who made the majority of the snaps even though Andru Tovi started, has not encountered any troubles snapping since having troubles against Nicholls State. In other ways, it was a rough day in Waco for the offensive line.

Asked how he thought Stanley performed during his stint late in the Baylor game, Fontana said: “I feel like Carter played pretty well. I feel like all three of our quarterbacks came into that game prepared, but I feel like Carter handled himself really well. Moving forward this week, whether Carter or Peyton will be the starter, I feel like it’s going to be a competitive week in the quarterback room and that will help our offense get a lot better.”

Stanley might start, but if he doesn't, my guess is he'll get more snaps than Bender.

Comments

Jeff Kallmeyer

Todd was a better scrambler than Stanley and a better passer than Bender.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Brett McCabe

I've always liked Ryan Willis. Mostly because, he was a fighter. When Beaty was hired and tried to chase Willis off by recruiting Stanley, Willis didn't quit. And when Willis had two groin pulls and was getting absolutely shredded by opposing teams, he didn't quit. And when Beaty finally found a way to chase him off, he didn't go to some smaller school where he could instantly step in as a starter, he went to a top-25 program to try and compete. Willis is everything Beaty is not.

So, after Beaty recruited Stanley, and then recruited Bender to replace Stanley who was supposed to replace Willis, Beaty recruited Kendrick to replace Bender. And? Here we are, back to the guy who Beaty also tried to chase off. So now, I like Stanley. Because he is everything Beaty is not. A fighter.

David Beaty will be fired following his loss to West Virginia. It should have happened two games into his second year because anyone with a brain could see that he had no clue as to what he was doing.

Many people post on this site about what a good man Beaty is. Really? A guy who won't recognize those who will keep fighting for their team? A guy who holed-out a program to save his job?

For me, it's easy to root for Ryan Willis and Carter Stanley. Superior men and athletes in every way. If Jeff Long decides to keep anyone this year, let's keep Carter Stanley. We need more Stanley's and Willis's. We need fewer rah-rah millionaires who can't win games and who show no fight.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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John Fitzgerald

Great post, Brett. I agree 100%.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dane Pratt

Willis will be the starting QB this Saturday against Duke. I'll be rooting for him.

Bet Beaty wishes he was still here.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Brett Hathaway

Haha, Kelly Bryant from Clemson wants to transfer….. Maybe?

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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['']

Haha -- Beaty would ruin this kid just like he did Cozart and Willis and more...

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Stephen Johnson

Great Post. Stanley has shown that he's elusive and can create something out of nothing. He doesn't have the greatest arm, but he has a feel for the game.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Tom Keegan

Wow, extremely well-written post, Brett.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Steve Corder

I could not disagree more!

Beaty a good P5 coach? No

But to equate, or imply he is not a “good man” because someone thinks Beaty “chased off a player” precisely because Beaty is some character-flawed man is ludicrous. At best, one could say that Beaty did not give a kid more time to prove he belonged on the field.

Did Beaty make a mistake in talent evaluation? Perhaps. I really cannot say, as I was never on the sidelines at practice, in film rooms or privy to coaches’ meetings.

It’s just fine with me if you believe or are looking forward to the dismissal of Beaty because his record justifies. But, please refrain from judgments, implied or not, of someone’s integrity. It is unbecoming.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Greg Ledom

Talk about your nice posts! Nicely stated Steve and spot on. The inevitable is coming soon enough for Coach. I know some kids that were close to Willis and let’s just say that comprehension was not one of his strong suits. You might be able to hide that in High School but not college. That said, I did love Willis’ fight and will be rooting fo him vs. Duke.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Brian Hosfelt

Tom its really not fair to compare Benders and Stanley's over all numbers because Bender has started against the so called cupcakes the first 3 games of the year. To me if you look at the best 3 game stretch of Beaty's 4 years at Ku its with Carter at QB.....2 years ago Iowa State, Texas, Kstate

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Tom Keegan

Brian, The team's performance is the key way to judge any QB, which is why I used Big 12 only starts to make the scoring comparisons and Stanley has the big advantage there.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Tom Keegan

Brian, Good idea to compare Big 12 only stats. I'll do that soon. Thanks, Tom

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Keith Cahalen

Two guys that try their best ... but to me, the difference seems to be the old "practice" player versus "game" player dichotomy ... ( we all know people or even friends like that) ... apparently Bender is the best practice quarterback - after all, the coaching staff started him - but the number of overthrows to open receivers in the first 3 games frankly surprised me .. plus, his lack of being an effective runner, removing that extra threat on the field ... whereas Stanley seems to make solid throws ... and has the understanding of when to pull the ball and run ... always thought Stanley was a better "game" player - not a Todd Reesing, but a solid quarterback ... in summary, agree with your article Tom.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Steve Corder

I see so many posts about how good a passer Bender is but see no evidence of it in a game.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jerry Walker

The same sentiment could be applied to OC Meacham. Often called an offensive genius but no evidence of that in a game.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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['']

AMEN! Doesn't matter who starts at QB if you have crap play calling. Meach and Beaty need to go as a package deal.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jeff Coffman

I think it is compared to Stanley and Kendrick, which is even scarier to think about.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Layne Pierce

if we are honest we have to admit that Beatty has not had great talent, but on the other hand he has not managed the talent that he has. We are blessed with good running backs, and if plays were designed with Stanley at qb to put pressure on defenses not to rush so hard, and not knowing whether Stanley is going to run, or pass, or run and stop and pass, and or pitch to one of our good running backs, who knows what could happen.

Fact of the matter is, we do not have the personnel for a run and gun passing attack, and we still don't, so what are we paying the coaches for, are they not capable of designing for what we have?

I could coach Alabama, if all I have to do is make up an offense, and tell the best players in America to go run it, but real coaches are more than the sum of their players.

RCJH

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jeff Coffman

He has had 4 years to recruit a QB or talent.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Greg Ledom

And would suggest this is his biggest failure from a recruiting standpoint. The most critical position on offense and we still don’t have a QB that can affect the game like Pooka can for the running game. And 4 years is plenty of time to find that individual.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Chris Condren

It is Groundhog Day again. The Beaty QB Carousel continues. I will be glad when the long nightmare now know as The Decade of D3spair is over.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dane Pratt

Firing Beaty, which seems like a foregone conclusion is no guarantee the decade of despair will end. But I am encouraged our new AD will not repeat the mistakes of his predecessor.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bryan Schmiedeler

Probably nothing bothers me more than the "QB Carousel". Really, opposing coaches must have been laughing when Beaty tried to make them guess who to prefer for. We have been so bad it really didn't matter who was quarterback. Opposing coaches defensive game plans were probably no more complicated than "go tackle the guy with the ball."

Balance that against the effect on our offense. Uncertainty and doubt, difficulty in establishing a rhythm, increased chances for fumbles on snaps, decrease your quarterbacks confidence.

Am I missing anything here?

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jeff Coffman

I always wonder about the other positions as well, I think the QB is the most notable, but reps help and it seems like Beaty splits reps for the QBs, and I'm just curious about how much rotation goes with the other positions as well.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Kevin Robert Fest

This is where l become a little confused. Carter nor Kendrick were not good enough to beat out Bender in camp. But the season starts and it takes all of one game for Beaty to do his qb juggling act which helps no one. Carter and Kendrick were deemed to be not as good as Bender, but yet now after a few games they are? What changed, has their accuracy gotten better all of a sudden? Are they making better reads? What are they doing now that they didnt do in camp to beat out Bender in the first place? Bender is bad, has never been that great, but what does that say that neither could supplant Bender in camp? Gven his Swiss cheese o line, which will only get worse as Big 12 play rolls on, Baylor d line isn't at the top of the league, wait til TCU OK etc come rolling in. So now a player who couldn't beat out Bender in camp is expected to play behind said Swiss cheese o line and do better against tougher competition? Who's dreaming here. No qb who plays behind that o line against WV TCU OK etc is going to have time to breath after the ball is snapped. Carter and Bender haven't had great stats, so every team will load 8 in the box to stop the run and dare Carter or Bender to beat them, which they both have already proven they can't do. Bender, Carter, Kendrick, who cares, each will be running for their life on Saturdays and Beaty will have that confused look on his face we have all grown used to seeing as he calls a time out before a punt.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Tom Keegan

Tough situation for any QB because as you say the QB will be running for his life. But as for what has changed since practice, what has changed is they are playing games and there is no way of simulating games in practice. The better thrower will win the job in practice and sometimes lose the job in games to the better scrambler on a team with vulnerable O-line.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jeff Coffman

I can't believe he is still our coach...

2-2 Against Division II

1-6 against non-power 5

1-0 Power 5 non-conference

1-27 against our conference

When does the Beaty nightmare end?

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Tom Keegan

Actually, 1-5 vs. Group of 5 and 1-1 vs. Power Five nonconference. Is 1-1 vs. Rutgers.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jeff Coffman

thanks for the correction.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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David Kemp

The season is lost and Bender has obviously reached his ceiling, just as well see if Stanley can get an upset. Problem comes from bad play calls.by meachum.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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['']

THIS!

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Tom Keegan

Is it bad play calling or just an offense that doesn't suit the personnel? The receivers don't get open downfield that often, although Bender missed Sims last week and opted for Booker on the other sideline, and the blockers can't protect for all that long. So they don't have the passing personnel to keep opponents from loading the box to stop the run. When one back is back there everybody knows who's running. So the best offense would be a triple option with a QB, FB, two slot backs and smaller, quicker linemen.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Aaron Paisley

A triple option would still suck at KU. Our line can't block and pass blocking us much simpler and easier than run blocking. If they can't pass block, there's no chance of them run blocking.

But if you're going to insist on an option offense something similar to what Chip Kelly ran at Oregon would be the best bet. He built that offense using the undersized players from California than USC ignored, but were just as fast. He lined up with 2 backs and ran a lot of option plays at the opposing teams best defensive player to eliminate having to block that person. He also split the receivers out very wide to spread the field and mixed in a lot of play action and got a lot of easy scores that way.

KU can replicate that offense with ease because they can go down into Texas and get the 5-9, 170 receivers that the Texas, Texas A&M, and other schools ignore and just get a bunch of athletes on the field to make plays.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Micky Baker

I don't think we need to run too many routes downfield if the defense is going to stack the box. Run crossing patterns right behind them and tell the receivers to be looking for the ball at all times because if they're wide open, dump over the linebackers and let the receivers and/or running backs make plays when they're already past the second level. It's harder to execute that than it sounds, but it seems we get gashed the same way by Texas Tech every year. They simply throw it to the guy that is wide open, no matter where that guy is on the field. Don't worry about the 25 yard plays. Get 8 yards a play all day if that's what they're going to give to keep Pookah from going off.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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David Kemp

No we don’t put the ball in jeopardy, we just take bad sacks. USE pooka, Use the tight end position! Of course what does Beaty care is gone anyway.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bryson Stricker

Ryan Willis was his own worst enemy at KU. He needed to get away from KU if he was ever going to be successful.

Now to 2018 QB1, we all knew before the season Bender wasn't good enough. Miles Kendrick and Carter were the only QB's that ever gave this team a shot of winning a game that they ever faced adversity. In case none of you have ever noticed, Peyton Bender has only won blow out games in his time at KU. Folds under adversity and becomes an inept version of himself.

I think Miles is the better option over Carter because he's smarter and a better leader but Carter shares leadership traits w/ Miles and is very well liked by the team because he is just someone you would want to be friends w/ if you played football. I don't think it is fair to compare who should start between the two based on what we've seen this year because both QB's have been very limited in what they were given with the "keys" to the offense. If Miles is hurt, I hope to see CS9. If he isn't, I hope he is given a chance to start and allow us to see what we have there. (we know what we have in carter and it's not great but I much prefer it over Bender).

I honestly feel bad for Peyton Bender because I think he has a great arm that could have been successful somewhere that he could have been protected. I don't think he would have been that great but he's the type of guy to dominate in the FCS or at a G5 team in FBS. KU was never a good landing spot for him and I feel sorry that this coaching staff couldn't see it on his behalf.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Kevin Robert Fest

Bryson, sadly this coaching staff could have brought in Joe Montana and they would have found a way to screw it up.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bryson Stricker

Kevin, I do not necessarily disagree.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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who is Surprised by any of this? total dumpster fire, same as last 3 years. 0 competency @ Anything. get. rid. of. db. okst 48 - ku 13. rcjh

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jim Stauffer

Fact is there is not a Big 12 QB on our roster unless it is Fallin. I would like to see us go to Stanley and when he most surely fails, give Fallin a try. Maybe we can find someone who can both stand in the pocket without his knees knocking and also throw a ball to his own receiver. Stanley and Kendrick have the poise and confidence but can't throw worth a lick.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Randy Bombardier

I always thought Carter Stanley should have been the quarterback of the future, that despite wanting to let everyone play like little league you must develop game experience in your quarterbacks, knowing they most likely won't peak until their senior season. Todd was the exception and certainly not the norm. You set things up to where as many pieces as possible are peaking at the same time and end up having two of four decent years.

I think this staff has squandered that opportunity or so it seems.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dane Pratt

After four games I believe we’ve seen Peyton’s ceiling. We just lost by nearly three TD’s against what is probably the second worse team in the conference. Miles Kendrick is injured. It would seem logical that a change in strategy is necessitated by these circumstances making Carter the best option. That said, I expect to see Peyton behind center on Saturday. Hopefully he will be on a short leash.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Tom Keegan

Don't you think Baylor is better than K-State this season? Maybe even better than Iowa State? ... If I had to guess, I'd say that if he stays healthy, Carter Stanley will start the remaining eight games.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dane Pratt

Hope you are right about Carter but Beaty strikes me as the reactive and not the proactive type. When it comes to the former he seems to be a bit slow in adapting. It did after all take him 3 years to abandon a failing air raid offense. I will wager my prized collection of empty beer cans that Bender will start this weekend.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jeremy Wilhm

Brett, the wins over Central Michigan and Rutgers gave Beaty the leeway to be fired at the end of the season, with one exception - if the football team sh*ts the bed against K-State and loses to the Wildcats by 30+ points, then I would bet Beaty would be fired the Monday after. If the K-State game is anywhere close, then Beaty gets fired at the end of the season.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jeff Coffman

I don't think so...Beaty lost to a DII school...that should have caused him to pack that night. The two wins were meaningless to his longevity at KU. He has been on borrowed time since Zenger was fired.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Aaron Paisley

Can you stop referring to the FCS as D2? They are not the same thing and your argument loses a lot of effectiveness because of that. Pitt St., Emporia, Washburn, and Ft. Hays are D2 schools. Nicholls is a D1 school.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jeff Coffman

Old school...small colleges that we should never lose to.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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['']

Those wins get weaker and weaker each week Rutgers and Central Mich continue to lay eggs on the field. Rutgers got tooled by Buffalo and C Mich barely beat a bad FBS team last week.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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['']

Correction: C Mich barely beat a bad FCS team last week.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Andy Godwin

Grundy could careless about who KU starts at QB. If the offensive line does not step up any QB KU starts will spend much of his time trying to escape the rush and stay upright. The way you defense KU is to stack the box to stop the run and then see if KU has the receivers and QB to make them pay. Against Baylor the answer was no. OSU is better across the line. Unless the revolving offense line is not drastically better, OSU and the points would be a safe bet.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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David Kemp

Play action slip pooka in flat, te behind lbs, and wide receivers clear

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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['']

That is too difficult for Mecham to understand. Don't make him deviate from the 7 plays he calls.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Brian Hosfelt

One of our QBs problem might be the receivers....how many times a game do we have someone with 2 or 3 yards of space between them and the DB.....our QBs have to have perfect throws...Simms is suppose to be a speedster but seldom gets wide open

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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