Tight end Ben Johnson impressing new OC Doug Meacham
Nobody ever called first-year Kansas offensive coordinator Doug Meacham a low-energy personality. He's always up, forever looking for the next task to tackle. He's unconventional in many ways — he rides a Vespa to work from his downtown residence — but he has a lot in common with many football coaches in that he clearly loves his job.
To drive Meacham to a new level of enthusiasm merely mention two words, one name: Ben Johnson. Not the Canadian sprinter, the Kansas senior tight end.
"Ben Johnson's a really good player, man," Meacham said. "I had a kid at Oklahoma State named Brandon Pettigrew, who was a first-rounder. I’m not saying Ben’s a first-rounder, but Ben is kind of what those guys (NFL scouts) look for, I think."
Pettigrew played seven seasons for the Detroit Lions. The way Meacham sees it, Johnson's versatility will be his ticket to a spot on an NFL roster.
"He can do all the special teams," Meacham said. "He can set the edge, block, and he’s a really athletic, route-running guy; great set of hands and ball skills."
For now, Meacham is excited about how Johnson can be used in his final season at Kansas.
"I don’t think you could design a better guy for what we do because he plays fullback, he plays tight end and he plays receiver," Meacham said. "Man, he’s just so versatile, and all the special-teams stuff, so he’s going to get a lot of plays. I’m really excited about him. He makes you want to play that position, have that in the game plan, because he’s such a good player.”