Turner Gill still not ready to commit on Kansas QBEagle staff and wire services
IRVING, Texas — Kansas sophomore quarterback Kale Pick may have performed better than redshirt freshman Jordan Webb in the spring game back in April, but KU coach Turner Gill said again Wednesday that the competition will continue into fall camp.
"The quarterback spot is definitely wide open at this point in time for us," Gill said, "and we'll see how that all shakes out."
Gill has said all along that each player's leadership qualities will be key in the decision-making process. But on Wednesday, Gill didn't seem confident in his young quarterbacks' ability to take the lead early this season.
"I think the leadership is probably going to be coming from a little bit more other positions at this point in time," Gill said, "probably more from the offensive line."
Taken by surprise — Gill said he knew there was a chance KU athletic director Lew Perkins would not be around for much of Gill's tenure as football coach. But he didn't think Perkins' retirement would come as soon as Sept. 4, 2011, his announced retirement date. "Didn't expect it to be as short," Gill said. "Again, he's giving me this opportunity at the University of Kansas, and whoever the next person will be, I know we'll be able to work well together."
Harris thinking big — Kansas senior cornerback Chris Harris has started for most of his three seasons in Lawrence, but he hasn't met the expectations that were set for him after he was chosen Big 12 defensive newcomer of the year by the Associated Press as a freshman.
Harris starting at one cornerback slot is about the only sure thing at this point in the KU secondary.
"I just know this year I'm expected to have a real breakout season," Harris said. "That's what I'm going with. I expect a lot out of myself this season. I gotta come through."
Revenge? Not so much — Writers have dubbed the Texas-Kansas State game, which is Nov. 6 at Snyder Family Stadium, a revenge match. The Wildcats defeated the Longhorns in each of their last two meetings and were the only Big 12 team Texas quarterback Colt McCoy was unable to beat.
So some think the Longhorns will be eager to beat K-State. But with a two-year gap between meetings, most of the players that took part in the 2007 game, which K-State won 41-21 in Austin, are now gone.
"I've never played Kansas State," said Texas' Kheeston Randall. "It's like a totally different team from those past years."
And the sting of that defeat, combined with a 45-42 loss to K-State in 2006, has been taken away.
"We really aren't looking forward to that, or any other, game," said Kyle Hix. "We're concentrating on Rice in our first game and we'll move on from there.
"Kansas State is a great program, and I'm sure when we get to that point in the season it will be a very exciting time. But right now, we're not thinking about that."
Save the date — Texas football coach Mack Brown was asked if there was any chance the Red River rivalry with Oklahoma could be moved to a later date to give the game added meaning.
Brown said he was advised not to share his opinions on future issues facing the Big 12. But he said Texas and Oklahoma have a contract to continue playing at their current time slot until 2015. He believes school presidents and athletic directors will consider all options when the time is right.
Parting is such sweet sorrow — Colorado will be leaving for the Pac-10, and the Buffaloes say they will miss the Big 12.
Coach Dan Hawkins and his players agreed they will miss the Buffaloes' rivalry game with Nebraska.
"The Nebraska game is always huge," said Scotty McKnight. "I'm gonna miss that one a ton."
But McKnight didn't stop there. He said he will miss the entire Big 12. He always liked going to Austin and playing in the Longhorns' huge stadium. Then he contrasted that to traveling to Manhattan and playing in a more intimate setting. He'll miss them all.
No magic number — Hawkins hoped to deliver a 10-win season a year ago, but early losses to Colorado State and Toledo ruined those chances.
He was asked again about that on Wednesday. Does Hawkins know how many wins he needs to record to save his job?
"No," he said, "and I don't even worry about that."
But he has high hopes.
"Our expectations are always very high," Hawkins said. "I don't know how you could go into a season without high expectations. ...For us, it's always about chasing excellence."
Sooner rebound? —Oklahoma hopes last year was an aberration.
The Sooners had some success, went 8-5 and beat Stanford in the Sun Bowl, which wasn't exactly a bad season, but it wasn't up to typical Boomer Sooner standards.
With quarterback Landry Jones returning, and an improved offensive line leading the way, OU coach Bob Stoops is once again aiming for the top.
"Hopefully we're at a spot where we can compete for a championship again," Stoops said.
A long list of injuries, including the loss of Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford, hampered the Sooners last season.
Stoops said his luck was so bad he made sure to avoid Las Vegas when the year was over. He believes those type of snakebites won't happen again, but knocks on wood after saying so.
One of the reasons he is confident about the upcoming season is Jones, who developed considerably last season after Bradford went down.
"It's like night and day," Stoops said. "Coming into this season, you can tell he's just in command. He's confident and sure of what he's doing. Through a whole season, he's a totally different guy than he would have been had Sam not gotten hurt. It's obvious to everyone."
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