Les Miles not yet ready to play just 1 quarterback

Kansas quarterback Thomas MacVittie (7) passes to a teammate during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Coastal Carolina in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020. Coastal Carolina defeated Kansas 38-23. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Eventually the Kansas football offense might get back to playing one quarterback week in and week out, the way the Jayhawks did in Les Miles’ first season as head coach.

But for the time being at least, it appears KU will keep rotating at the position.

Miles indicated this week the Jayhawks will open Big 12 play without a true starting QB and continue to give both Thomas MacVittie and Miles Kendrick in-game reps.

KU’s head coach even included the name of freshman Jalon Daniels when discussing QBs during his weekly video press conference.

“We’ll go into practice week,” Miles said Monday, “and see who’s the best or who gives us the best opportunity at victory.”

In KU’s season-opening loss to Coastal Carolina, senior MacVittie started and led the offense for its first two possessions. Then Kendrick got a series, and next KU went back to MacVittie for one more. After that, Kendrick played the final two possessions of the first half.

MacVittie started the second half, as well, but got hurt during KU’s first drive of the third quarter and had to leave the game, putting an end to the swapping back and forth.

As his team prepares for its Big 12 opener at Baylor (6:30 p.m., Saturday on ESPNU), Miles said the plan again is to use multiple QBs.

“We’d like to move in the direction of (sticking with) one, but we want to make sure that that one is the best one,” Miles said of the competition carrying over into games. “I don’t think that’s necessarily an easy decision. We’ll take it a step at a time and play the best players.”

In the nonconference home loss to open the season, KU’s three QBs combined to go 21-for-35 (60%), throwing for 189 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Statistically, most of those numbers belonged to Kendrick, who threw for 156 yards, going 15-for-24, with both of KU’s passing TDs and one interception.

MacVittie finished his KU debut 5-for-9, with 20 yards and an interception.

Daniels didn’t enter until the final series of the game, with the outcome all but solidified. In his collegiate debut, the 6-foot, 200-pound QB from Lawndale, Calif., completed one of his two throws for 13 yards.

Neither of KU’s two primary QBs were made available for interviews this week.

Takulve “T.K.” Williams, who caught seven passes in the opener for 38 yards, described how it has been practicing and playing with multiple QBs.

“It’s definitely different, because I’ve never practiced with multiple QBs before,” Williams said. “But the amount of work we put in, it honestly didn’t even matter who was there, because the chemistry is there for both of them because that’s how much we work. Even like throwing on our own after practice and stuff, it was always both of them. So it wasn’t really that big, just off the fact that we throw with both of them a lot.”

KU sophomore running back Velton Gardner said he expects the offense and the quarterbacks to bounce back from the defeat.

“We understand what it takes and what happened last week,” Gardner said. “And we’re shaking off the rust and just keep getting to it. Everything’s getting back on track and coming back to playing the way we know we can play.”

Miles again bemoaned KU’s early turnovers against Coastal while sharing his thoughts on what stood out to him about the QBs when he watched the game footage.

KU, of course, gave the ball away on three of its first five possessions, and CCU scored a TD after every turnover it secured.

“So do I think they’ll play better? Yes,” Miles said.

Comments

Phil Leister

If only this meant that we had two stud quarterbacks and it was just too hard to leave one of them on the sideline.

Unfortunately, that's not the case here.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Dane Pratt

That's disappointing. Thought Kendrick had the edge on MacVittie after game one but it did seem a big unfair that he was pulled from the lineup after moving the offense into the red zone only to give Kendrick the opportunity to cash in.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Brett McCabe

The point is to win games, not stage a qb competition. Game o e was winnable. Shuffling the qbs hurt our chances of getting a rhythm and confidence offensively. Pick a an and let’s try and win one of our few winnable games of the year.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Brian Wilson

Just guessing, MacV must be perfroming in practice better than Kendrick. It was Kendrick that showed up at the end of the game. This is why we are not ready to settle. If I were HCLM, I would continue with Kendrick and either let him try and claim the job. This well give Mac time to watch a fresh game and get his mind straightened. Maybe if Kendrick struggles, Mac can then make a comeback and show what coach is seeing in practice. But, I think you need to ride the hot hand and just cycle through before making the decision. If it's not clear after each player gets two shots then I agree with Brett, make a decision and then stick with one and hope more playing time helps. But in that regard, I would think you would want to start the player that will return in 2021 so you don't have to do this again next year.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Benjamin Shear

It's hard to fathom HCLM not having a good grasp on which QB is better at this point in the year. It just seems so odd to me. However, HCLM has a ring I do not have and has forgotten more about football than I will ever learn. From an average fan perspective (me), it seems like a bad move to not decide on a QB at this point in the season.

2 months, 1 week ago

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