The University of Kansas will see a number of new faces and familiar faces taking on different roles this season, starting with the head coach.
Going into his third year at the University of Kansas head coach Charlie Weis will be taking off his offensive coordinator hat. After two years of performing both the head coach and offensive coordinator’s duties, John Reagan will step in to lead the offense. Reagan has spent the past four years at Rice, three of them as offensive coordinator. Reagan is familiar with the Jayhawks. He was the offensive line coach and run game coordinator in 2005-2009.
“He said that he wanted to give up control of the offense,” Reagan said. “That he was ready to be a head coach and to spend his time being a head coach and he wanted to hire somebody to come in and run the spread offense. That is exactly what he has done, from my perspective.”
Last spring, Weis named now sophomore Montell Cozart as his starting quarterback. Last year, the Kansas City native played in seven games, starting three. He was 23-63 in the air ad had 214 yards and one touchdown on the ground. His versatility makes Cozart a valuable weapon.
“When you have a quarterback that can keep plays alive and make plays with his feet, it’s important,” Reagan said. “It puts a whole different strain on the defense. If forces them to defend the entire field.”
A number of transfers highlight the receiving core. The newest, Nigel King, a junior from Maryland. He led his team as a sophomore in touchdown receptions. He will join Miami of Ohio’s Nick Harwell who also transferred to the Jayhawks this summer. As a junior, he was the team’s leading receiver with 870 yards. They will join Tre Parmalee and Tony Pierson as well as a few other receivers to create a deep receiving core.
“I think that there’s a solid ability to be able to put more than three or four players on the field,” Reagan said.
Despite losing his top rushers in James Sims and Darrian Miller who combined for more than 1,500 yards of total offense, Weis says he likes the runners he has now. Number one on his depth chart is senior Brandon Bourban followed by Taylor Cox and junior college transfer De’Andre Mann. The three more experience running backs will also be competing with freshman stand out Corey Avery and versatile receiver Tony Pierson.
“It’ll be, let’s see, let’s see who the best guy is,” Weis said. “I couldn’t answer right now. All I can say is before you even get to Corey Avery or putting Tony in the backfield a little bit,those three guys, there’s a lot of people that would be very happy having those three guys in competition for their number one running back.”
Hutchinson’s Ben Heeney will be ending his last year with the Jayhawks. The linebacker has worked his way to a leadership role. He lead the team with 88 total stops and three interceptions. Weis says Heeney had come a long way since his freshman year.
“He’s always the guy living on the edge as you know,” Weis said. “That’s how he always played, but he’s just grown so much. He really has. He’s grown so much as a person. He stepped up. He’s said to the team things he’s done wrong that he acknowledged that he wants to do better, because it’s all about, for him, about winning. He’s really, more than anything else, turned himself into a leader.”
The Jayhawks first game will be against Southeast Missouri on September 6th at 6PM.