Kansas spring game: What we learned

David Beaty's Kansas squad held its spring game over the weekend. Defense was the name of the game during the two-hour scripted scrimmage. Here’s what we learned.

1. The quarterback battle could last deep into August. As a group, Kansas' four quarterbacks threw four interceptions (versus just two touchdowns), including three from Montell Cozart, who has started games during each of his first three seasons. Cozart and redshirt freshman Carter Stanley got the bulk of the work and had some good moments, but neither one had a turnover-less showing. Cozart finished 10-of-19 for 137 yards and one touchdown, plus the three interceptions. Stanley was 12-of-22 for 117 yards and a touchdown, with one interception. Ryan Willis, who threw for a Kansas freshman record 1,719 yards and nine touchdowns in 2015, sat out with a wrist injury. The Jayhawks' quarterback competition should linger into the preseason.

“Montell probably had his toughest day that he's had throughout spring,” Beaty said. “Honestly, that was not what we've seen from him throughout spring. He's actually been very, very good with the ball. He's made good decisions, and he's played really well.”

2. The defensive line could be a strength. Kansas has some intriguing prospects along its defensive line, including Dorance Armstrong, Daniel Wise and Josh Ehambe. The Jayhawks' defensive front was active throughout the game, putting pressure on the quarterbacks while recording a pair of sacks and seven tackles for loss and allowing just 3 yards per carry.

“What they're doing makes our job, as linebackers, a lot easier,” linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. said. “Props to them, [defensive line] Coach [Michael] Slater is getting them right and they're getting better by the day."

3. LaQuvionte Gonzalez can fill the playmaking void. The Texas A&M transfer receiver had a big game with six receptions for 115 yards, including a 61-yard catch-and-run from Cozart. “I made some plays out there,” he said. “And that's what I hope you will be seeing all year."

Gonzalez's speed was on full display after catching a short slant then racing past the entire Kansas defense on the long touchdown.

“I think he's got some explosiveness that I don't think we possessed last year, so it's good to see him out there,” Beaty said.

4. The defense is ahead of the offense. The 49-42 final score was indicative of what Beaty has seen from Kansas' defense throughout the spring. The White team (defense) gave up only two touchdowns to the Blue team (42) during the 100-play scrimmage, which was tailored to specific situational scenarios.

“We're scoring it just like that every day, and there's a winner and a loser every day, and then there's a weekly winner and loser,” Beaty said. “So this score today goes into the composite for the week, and I think the defense has won the last three weeks in a row.”

The defense returns several proven playmakers who had solid showings on Saturday, including Dineen (four tackles), Courtney Arnick (four tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss) and Marcquis Roberts (two tackles).

5. The running game needs work. Kansas ran 42 times but gained just 125 yards, with no carry going for more than 13 yards. Taylor Martin and James Sullivan had the bulk of the carries but neither recorded more than 4 yards per carry. Ke’aun Kinner, last season’s leading rusher, did not have a carry. If the Jayhawks hope to have a more explosive offense in 2016, they will need a consistent running game to allow players like Gonzalez to use their explosiveness in the opponent’s secondary.