LAWRENCE — It’s probably never a good sign when a football coach has to spend part of a press conference explaining the difficulties of snapping the ball to the quarterback. But that was KU coach Charlie Weis on Tuesday afternoon, reshuffling his offensive line again after the Jayhawks were plagued by errant snaps in a 54-16 loss to Texas Tech on Saturday.
“Some of those, they looked like me snapping,” Weis said. “And I was never very good, in case you’re wondering.”
Here are the specifics: Senior Gavin Howard will start at center in place of sophomore Dylan Admire, who had previously replaced junior Pat Lewandowski. To this point, no KU center has been able to master the dual tasks of snapping and identifying blocking assignments — and it’s been a major issue for an offense that has struggled to get on track all season.
“That’s the position we’ve kind of been held hostage a little bit by,” Weis said.
Weis, of course, had promised changes on the depth chart after the loss to Texas Tech. And the new faces didn’t stop at center. Lewandowski, who was the No. 1 left tackle during the spring, will assume the starting spot at left tackle, while left tackle Aslam Sterling will shift to the right side.
Lewandowski would have likely entered the season as a favorite to see time at left tackle, but then the Jayhawks needed help at center. The “Lewandowski at center” experiment didn’t work, and now Weis is spinning the center wheel once again, looking for an answer.
“The issue is, as soon as you snap the ball, you have a guy 300-plus pounds … ready to hit you in the mouth,” Weis said. “That’s the issue. No other position do you have to do that.”
Turzilli to start — Junior receiver Andrew Turzilli was elevated to a starting spot after making a late touchdown catch against Texas Tech. Weis, however, said Turzilli’s rise up the depth chart has been steady since some uncharacteristically poor performances during spring practice and fall camp.
Weis said junior running back Brandon Bourbon is slated to start in place of Tony Pierson at the hybrid “F” receiver spot; Pierson is still recovering from a concussion suffered on Saturday and appears likely to miss at least a week.
Faifili could redshirt — Junior linebacker Samson Faifili, who started the Jayhawks’ first two games, is battling a nagging injury issue and could take a medical redshirt, Weis said. Faifili was left off the depth chart on Tuesday and could still qualify for a medical redshirt if he is unable to get healthy in the next few weeks.