Updated roster, spring practices will clear up some KU football mysteries
The Kansas football roster hasn’t been updated since season’s end, which maintains a certain degree of mystery to what 2018 will look like.
So many questions remain. An updated roster will answer some. The 15 spring football practices will clarify others.
The first area of interest involves the identity of the offensive player who will start each play with the football in his hands.
Question No. 1: Will center Mesa Ribordy’s concussion history allow him to continue his football career or will KU have to turn elsewhere for a center?
Either way, identifying an offensive lineman who can snap and handle all the duties that come with the position is a top spring priority for the Jayhawks.
Ribordy missed the Iowa State and TCU games, which KU lost by a combined score of 88-0 and followed a 106-yard performance with a 21-yard historically bad dud.
No obvious candidates jump to mind. Hakeem Adeniji could be tried, but the team is on the shy side at tackle in the first place, so that might not work.
Question No. 2: Will defensive end Isaiah Bean’s concussion history allow him to continue his career?
If not, KU will have plenty of candidates, thanks to recruiting the position aggressively in anticipation of losing Dorance Armstrong to the NFL draft.
Bean had trouble putting on weight, but had remained an intriguing prospect because of his explosiveness.
Question No. 3: Will head coach David Beaty take a different approach from seasons past and name a starting quarterback by the end of spring, giving the top choice more time to get teammates to rally behind him?
Let’s hope so. Beaty and offensive coordinator Doug Meacham will choose from three candidates. Peyton Bender, a senior, and Carter Stanley, a junior, split the job in 2017 and neither player won over the coaching staff.
Enter Miles Kendrick, an undersized born leader, hard worker and confident presence. He’ll be given a serious look after spending his first semester out of high school at a junior college in California before transferring to KU, the only school to offer him a scholarship. He’s considered a dual-threat QB, as is Stanley.
Question No. 4: Will graduating high school a semester early enable cornerback Corione Harris ample time to refine his game to the degree he can become a starter from Day 1 of his college career?
At 6-foot-1, 170 pounds as a high school senior in New Orleans, Harris gained a reputation as a physical corner and was recruited by Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma and Texas, among other heavyweights and stayed loyal to KU assistant coach Tony Hull.
If Harris can lock down a starting job right away, he’ll generate a huge buzz. He wouldn't be the first cornerback named Harris to start as a freshman at KU. Chris Harris arrived on campus with decidedly less fanfare and developed into an All-Pro corner.
Question No. 5: Will solid depth at running back result in more running plays?
KU’s two quarterbacks combined to throw 460 passes last season. The five running backs combined for 391 carries.
Freshman Pooka Williams, sophomore Dom Williams, junior Khalil Herbert and senior Taylor Martin all bring speed.
At previous coaching stops the personnel on hand dictated that Meacham’s offenses would be pass-oriented. But don’t forget, this is a man who spent his college career blocking for Hall of Fame backs Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas. His coaching background is rich with Air Raid history, but don’t think for a second he doesn’t know the value of running the football.