Busy day for the Jayhawks, who released a pretty impactful depth chart late Thursday afternoon.
At the top of the list, Kale Pick has officially beaten out redshirt freshman Jordan Webb and juco transfer Quinn Mecham to be the team's starting quarterback. That's expected, but it's further proof of how important experience is, even if it's limited experience like Pick got as a freshman last year as a running complement to Todd Reesing.
Coach Turner Gill sounded confident in the decision and I don't see anything outside Pick struggling in-season changing that.
"He probably separated himself from the aspect of ball security which was huge. He didn’t really turn the ball over there," Gill said. "I love the way that his demeanor has been, not to say that Jordan Webb has not had a good demeanor but Kale Pick’s has just been a little bit better as far as the intangibles and his demeanor in the huddle, outside the huddle and when plays are going well and when plays aren’t going well, just how he’s handled himself."
Pick noted that Webb wasn't happy about the decision, of course, but there's a silver lining for him: He's only a freshman and Pick, a sophomore, has a ways to go before he proves he's a franchise quarterback. This isn't Texas Tech, where two very talented, experienced seniors are fighting it out, and injury, almost certainly, is the only thing that would cause them both to play.
“I definitely had a smile when I received the news. I’m excited and I think we’re going to have a good season this year," Pick said.
I'm no history buff, and things like this are tough to look up, but can anyone else recall -- in the history of the Big 12 -- another team's leading rusher beginning the following season as a linebacker? Fans, feel free to let me know if that's happened to your team before.
If not, Toben Opurum is a trailblazer.
Gill has sounded unimpressed with Opurum since he got to Lawrence, but plenty of people -- myself included -- chalked that up to Opurum being hobbled by injury in the spring. Not the case. Opurum has officially moved to linebacker, but is still 0-for-3 on depth chart appearances under Gill. Judging from his quote to the Topeka Capital-Journal last week, my guess is he isn't thrilled about the decision.
"I expect to see my name at the top of any depth chart. I have to use that to drive myself," he told the paper.
Sixth-year senior Angus Quigley -- who, in light of Opurum's new position, ironically played linebacker last season -- held on to the starting job and should lead what sounds like a running back by committee situation. That's a good move with a lot of talent behind Quigley, like freshmen DeShaun Sands and Brandon Bourbon, as well as Rell Lewis, who was listed as the co-No. 2 back with Sands.
"We’re going to probably rotate some guys, again we’re still evaluating some of the guys so things can change but there are still some things happening at running back and we just have to get some guys some more reps," Gill said. "We have to dwindle that down because you can’t get four, five or six running backs reps and you can’t see them improve and so that is why we aren’t able to make that decision at this time."
Elsewhere for the Jayhawks, Jeremiah Hatch, a two-year starter at center, has been benched in favor of Sal Capra, who was listed as the starting left guard after the spring. Reports that Duane Zlatnik was rising proved correct, as Zlatnick moved into a starting spot at left guard after being listed as the position's No. 2 afer spring.