Sports

Kansas' Webb struggling through fog

LAWRENCE — Kansas offensive coordinator Chuck Long does not want to say that quarterback Jordan Webb has run into a freshman wall. He prefers the term "haze."

"You do get to a point where it becomes very challenging," Long said. "You're not seeing everything all the way yet. But once that haze goes away one day, it's a nice feeling."

If Long's offense is going to wake up from its two-game slumber, Webb's hastened development is going to be the key. It's not that his numbers have been horrible during KU's back-to-back 7-point showings — he has completed 42 of 74 passes for 399 yards and one touchdown with three interceptions. But Webb just hasn't looked like the same confident player who started his career 2-1.

"He's fighting it," Long said. "There's nothing smooth right now going on in his mind and body. Nothing at all. What happens to a young quarterback is they let one play affect the next play. That's creeping in a little bit right now. They're riding that emotional wave. They're up and down with the play, with the series, with everything."

Looking back, it makes sense that Webb played so well in his first start against Georgia Tech, when the Jayhawks shocked the Yellow Jackets 28-25 and seemed to be on the way to turning their season around.

"He didn't have all the thoughts," Long said. "When you come off the bench or have a first start, you don't have as much. All of a sudden, the weight of the season starts to happen. All of a sudden, teams start to prepare for you. They see him on tape now. There was an element of surprise (against Georgia Tech)."

Every game now represents a chance for Webb to breakthrough and show Long and KU coach Turner Gill that he is the quarterback of the future. Of course, he could use some help from his teammates, whose mistakes in the form of penalties and costly fumbles have stalled drives. Webb has been sacked 16 times in five starts.

At least Webb has Long and Gill, former college quarterbacks who have been through the same thing, on his side.

"You're just playing the plays," Gill said, "not truly understanding it. My second year, I had a better understanding of really what's going on. I could anticipate it happening. We're still not quite there at the quarterback spot. I think we'll get there."

KU backup quarterback Kale Pick, who started the season-opening loss to North Dakota State, has been battling a leg injury. But Gill said after the K-State game last week that Webb would be his starter even if Pick is healthy.

That's good, because it appears that Webb needs more time to adjust to the college game.

"It's definitely a lot harder than high school," Webb said. "It's just a whole different level. There's so many different athletes. They're great players. We just gotta get better at what we're doing and not really worry about the opponents."

Sands arrested — Redshirt freshman running back Deshaun Sands was arrested on Thursday morning for two counts of failure to appear in Lawrence Municipal Court relating to multiple traffic violations, according to Douglas County Sheriff's Department records.

Sands, the son of former Kansas great Tony Sands, was released after making separate bail payments of $153 and $288.

Sands has carried 34 times for 105 yards and a touchdown this season.

Jim Marchiony, KU's associate athletic director for external relations, said Sands is still on the team and that coach Turner Gill will handle any discipline internally.

"He's a good kid," Marchiony said. "You miss a court date . . . that's one of those things that we tell everybody. Take care of the things you're supposed to take care of or something that is very minor is going to turn into something bigger."

  Comments