Monthly Archives: August 2012

KU announces upcoming non-conference football games

LAWRENCE — On the day before its 2012 season opener against South Dakota State, the KU football program announced 14 upcoming non-conference games over the next six seasons.

The future non-conference schedules includes a 2013 slate that features a home opener against South Dakota on Sept. 7, a road game at Rice on Sept. 14, and a home game against Louisiana Tech on Sept. 21.

The Jayhawks will play a non-conference road game every season through 2018, with games at Duke (2014) and Rutgers (2015) among the highlights.

Here are the announced schedules:

2013

Sept. 7: South Dakota

Sept. 14: at Rice

Sept. 21: Louisiana Tech

2014

Sept. 6: Southeast Missouri State

Sept. 13: at Rice

Sept. 20: Central Michigan

2015

Sept. 12: Memphis

Sept. 26: at Rutgers

2016

Sept. 10: Ohio

Sept. 17: at Memphis

2017:

Sept. 9: Central Michigan

Sept. 16: at Ohio

2018:

Sept. 8: at Central Michigan

Sept. 15: Rutgers

KU’s Weis releases updated depth chart before season opener

LAWRENCE — KU coach Charlie Weis unveiled an updated depth chart on Tuesday afternoon, providing a glimpse at who will be starting when the Jayhawks take the field on Saturday evening in their opener against South Dakota State.

For comparison, here is the depth chart from the beginning of fall camp.

Here are a few things that stick out right away:

– Sophomore linebacker Ben Heeney will start at middle linebacker; Weis said senior transfer Anthony McDonald is not 100 percent healthy, and Heeney and freshman Schyler Miles will handle the position against South Dakota State.

– Juco transfer Aslam Sterling, who initially came into camp as an offensive tackle, will start at right guard, while junior Gavin Howard will start at right tackle.

– Juco transfer Jordan Tavai has won a job on the defensive line, despite arriving in the middle of fall camp. Tavai will start at the inside nose position on Saturday.

– True freshman receiver Tre’ Parmalee moved up the depth chart to second-team at the slot position. Weis said he would likely see snaps on Saturday.

– As expected, juco transfer Taylor Cox won the battle for the second running back behind starter Tony Pierson, while redshirt freshman Michael Cummings is the backup quarterback.

- Lastly, freshman Reilly Jeffers and senior Trevor Marrongelli will fill in for longsnapper Justin Carnes, who was suspended three games for a violation of team rules.

Here’s the full depth chart:

OFFENSE

LT: 1. Tanner Hawkinson, Sr.; 2. Pat Lewandowski, So.

LG: 1. Duane Zlatnik, Sr.; 2. Damon Martin, Fr.

C: 1. Trevor Marrongelli, Sr.; 2. Dylan Admire, Fr.

RG: 1. Aslam Sterling, Jr.; 2. Randall Dent, Jr.

RT: 1. Gavin Howard, Jr.; Riley Spencer, Jr.

TE: 1. Mike Ragone, Sr.; 2. Jimmay Mundine, So.,

FB: 1. Trent Smiley, So. ; 2. Brandon Bourbon, So.,

HB: 1. Tony Pierson, So.; 2. Taylor Cox, Jr.

QB: 1. Dayne Crist, Sr.; 2. Michael Cummings, Fr.,

WR (X): 1. Kale Pick, Sr.; 2. Chris Omigie, Jr.

WR (Slot): 1. Daym. Patterson, Sr.; 2. Tre’ Parmalee

WR (Z): 1. D.J. Beshears, Sr.; 2. Andrew Turzilli, So.

DEFENSE

End: 1. Josh Williams, Sr.; 2. Ben Goodman, Fr.,

N: 1. Jordan Tavai, Jr.; 2. John Williams, Jr., OR Kevin Young, Jr.,

T: 1. Keba Agostinho, Jr.; 2. Keon Stowers, So.

RE/SLB: 1. Toben Opurum, Sr.; 2. Michael Reynolds, So.

SLB: 1. Tunde Bakare, Sr.; 2. Corrigan Powell, Sr.

MLB: 1. Ben Heeney, So.; 2. Schyler Miles, Fr., OR Jake Love, Fr.

WLB: 1. Huldon Tharp, Jr.; 2. Prinz Kande, Jr.

FC: 1. Greg Brown, Sr.; 2. Tyree Williams, Fr.

BC: 1. Tyler Patmon, Jr; 2. Greg Allen, Fr.

SS: 1. Lubbock Smith, Sr.; 2. Ray Mitchell, So. OR Tevin Shaw, Fr.

FS: 1. Bradley McDougald, Sr., 2. Dexter Linton, Jr.

SPECIALISTS

K: 1. Ron Doherty, Jr.; 2. Austin Barone, Fr.

P: 1. Ron Doherty, Jr.; 2. Sean Huddleston, So.

LSN: 1. Reilly Jeffers, Fr.; 2. Trevor Marrongelli, Sr.

SSN: 1. Trevor Marrongelli, Sr.; 2. Reilly Jeffers, Fr.

HOLD: 1. Blake Jablonski, So.; 2. Tre Parmalee, Fr.

KR: 1. D.J. Beshears, Sr.; 2. Taylor Cox, Jr.

PR: 1. Daymond Patterson, Sr.; 2. Bradley McDougald, Sr.; 3. Tre’ Parmalee

KU basketball notebook: Forward Randle among top recruiting targets

LAWRENCE — It’s that time of the year. The college football season is starting. And that means the top basketball recruits in the country are cutting down their lists and planning official fall visits.

It’s shaping up to be a very busy fall for KU, which will have at least five open scholarships in the Class of 2013.

Start here: Senior forward Julius Randle, one of the most sought-after players in the country, hasincluded KU in his trimmed-down list of 10 schools, according to Rivals.com. The list: KU, Baylor, Duke, Florida, Kentucky, NC State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and UNC. Ranked as Rivals.com’s No. 2 overall player in the Class of 2013, Randle (6 feet 9 and 240 pounds) was a high school teammate of current KU freshman forward Zach Peters at Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas.

Other recruiting notes:

– Point guard Anthony “Cat” Barber, a top-10 player in the Class of 2013, will visit KU this weekend, according to SNY.tv. Barber, a native of Hampton, Va., is considering a long list that includes Alabama and Louisville. KU also has interest in Barber’s AAU teammate, Troy Williams, a swingman from Oak Hill Academy in Virginia.

– Top juco point guard Chris Jones also has interest in KU, according to Rivals.com. Jones, a 5-foot-10, 195-pound native of Memphis, Tenn., was a top-50 player in the Class of 2011 and committed to Tennessee. Jones, however, didn’t qualify academically, and he spent last season at Northwest Florida State College, a juco in Niceville, Fla.

According to Rivals, Jones is considering Kansas, Baylor, Florida State, Louisville and Oklahoma State. He’s expected to take his campus visit to KU in October and be in attendance for “Late Night in the Phog.”

– Kansas already has two commits in the Class of 2013, Wichita guard Conner Frankamp and Georgia swingman Brannen Greene. Both competed this past weekend in the Under Armour Elite 24 all-star game in Venice Beach, Calif. Frankamp won the three-point contest at the event on Friday.

– Another KU target, forward Aaron Gordon, also participated in the Under Armour event. Gordon is listed as Rivals’ No. 5 overall player in the Class of 2013.

Big 12 teleconference: Weis sees improvement in the defensive line

LAWRENCE — The Kansas football program enters its season opener against South Dakota State on Saturday with plenty of question marks. But for a team that finished 2-10 overall and 0-9 in the Big 12 last season, the operative word is improvement.

So here’s a question to chew on as KU prepares for its first game under first-year coach Charlie Weis: Where will the Jayhawks see the most improvement?

“I think as far as personnel goes,” Weis said Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference, “I think there will be a drastic improvement in the defensive line.”

The Jayhawks ranked 120th last season in total defense — that’s dead last in the FBS, by the way — and the defensive line was regularly chewed up on the ground while not generating much of a pass rush. Weis addressed the problem in his first recruiting class, bringing in juco defensive linemen Jordan Tavai and Keon Stowers. The Jayhawks should also get a boost from junior nose tackles John Williams and Kevin Young, two players that have battled injuries during their time at KU. (The current rotation doesn’t include juco transfer Ty McKinney, who is scheduled to arrive on campus on Sept. 7 and be ready to contribute at some point this season.)

The defensive line is just one piece to the puzzle. But improved play at that unit could help KU improve in other, more general, ways. Like say, being competitive on a weekly basis. And for Weis, that’s the main objective.

“That’s the thing that bothered me the most (about last season),” Weis said Monday, echoing a sentiment he’s stated for most of the preseason. “

“I think that there were just too many games that we just weren’t competitive in. And I like to think that a staple of teams that our staff is associated with … are teams that are gonna play their (rears) off for 60 minutes. Because I think if you do that, it always gives you your best chance.”

Other notes from Weis’ Big 12 teleconference:

**Weis said his players were definitely ready to face a real important after what he termed a “grueling” offseason. “I think right now that school’s in session, and things get calmed down into a 20-hour week,” Weis said, “I think they’re really looking forward to showing everyone they’re not as bad as they were.”

**Weis spent a few moments on South Dakota State, saying that Jackrabbits defensive end Doug Peete, a former Olathe North standout, was a versatile player who would allow South Dakota State to mix up its defensive fronts.

A look at the new documentary on Naismith’s Rules

LAWRENCE — Nearly two years ago, in the fall of 2010, a Kansas City native named Josh Swade opened The New York Times and saw a story about a special auction that was coming to the famed Sotheby’s auction house in New York.

The original rules of basketball, typewritten on two pages by a gym teacher named James Naismith in 1891, were going up for sale.

Swade, a 1993 BV North grad who grew up going to games at Allen Fieldhouse, had an idea. He had moved to New York in the mid 1990s to pursue a job in the music industry and was now working for a production company in New York. He knew of Naismith’s connection to KU and the history of the basketball program. What if he took to the road and could convince a few wealthy KU donors that the rules HAD to be in Lawrence?

The result of Swade’s idea is the upcoming documentary “There’s No Place Like Home.” The film, which includes co-director Maura Mandt, is now part of ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series and is set to air on the network on Oct. 16. And the early online trailer — which can be seen here — is drawing plenty of buzz from KU fans.

You probably know the end of the story. KU alumnus David Booth purchased the rules on Dec. 10, 2010, for more than $4 million, and KU now has plans to give the rules a permanent home near Allen Fieldhouse. But how did it all happen? On Wednesday, The Eagle talked to Swade about the project. (Here’s one spoiler alert: former KU coaches Larry Brown and Roy Williams appear in the trailer. But yes, KU coach Bill Self appears in the film.)

The Eagle: What was the motivation behind the project? Did the idea for the film come first? … How did this all start?

Swade: I grew up going to KU games. My dad is a huge Jayhawk fan. That really turned me on to Kansas basketball. So in November of 2010, I read an article in The New York Times about the rules coming up for auction. At first, it was kind of just like, ‘Wow, I couldn’t believe there were these rules.’ I can’t really remember if I knew they existed … but I just remember being impacted profoundly by this article.

And immediately, I think of Kansas basketball and James Naismith, because he has such a legacy there. And the more I thought about it alone… the more I thought it made more sense for the rules to be in Lawrence than anywhere else.

My motivation was strictly, in the beginning, to try and figure out a way to get those rules back to Lawrence, Kan. The film aspect of it was really a second thing for me. And quite frankly, is not something I really ever cared about — to be 100 percent honest with you.

The Eagle: So, you have the idea, and you know about the auction. But how did the film part come together?

Swade: So I work for a production company — a TV production company called Maggie Vision Productions — and we do a few different things. We’ve done some documentaries before. And when I heard about the auction, I went to my boss, and I said: ‘There’s this auction coming up. And it’s for the rules of basketball. And it’s pretty cool.’ … So I contacted Sotheby’s, and went there; they were having a press day, and I’m not in the media, but they said I could come. And I met the executive in charge of the auction, and I also met Ian Naismith — James Naismith’s grandson, the seller of the rules.

If reading about the auction piqued my interest, actually going to Sotheby’s and meeting Ian Naismith … that really lit a fire under me. And I went back to the office, and basically had formulated in my head: These (rules) had to be in Lawrence. So essentially, I pitched this idea to my boss, and she’s someone that responds to passion.

We had no money, no resources, nothing. I had to get a buddy of mine who doesn’t even shoot film; he’s a photographer. He brought a friend of his along, and we basically just hit the road to see if we could get anywhere with it.

The Eagle: So the next three weeks were essentially all about talking to KU boosters and big-time donors and those type of people?

Swade: Yea. Sotheby’s auction estimate was above $2 million. That was their baseline… and quite frankly, I thought they’d sell for more than that. So I knew we needed a lot of money. So from that point, it just becomes about trying to get in front of people — and really giving them the reasons why this would be so monumentally important.

The Eagle: Without giving too much away about the film, how much do you think KU fans will respond to it?

Swade: Well, I hope … I really think they’ll go crazy for it. Quite frankly, no major network is gonna air something about the history of basketball unless it’s PBS. Nobody wants to be bored … but having said that, we interweave what KU and what Kansas has meant to the game. … If there’s one thing I could say… it’s get ready Jayhawk nation.

Three thoughts from KU football’s fall camp

LAWRENCE — After two days of KU football practice, here are three early thoughts from the first fall camp under KU coach Charlie Weis.

1. The offensive line looks the part. Maybe it’s because the offensive line warms up just a few feet from where the media are allowed to stand during the first few minutes of practice, but first-year offensive line coach Tim Grunhard has inherited an intriguing group. We’ll start with the size. Every starter should likely crack the 300-pound mark, no small feat for a program such as Kansas. Senior left tackle Tanner Hawkinson is listed at 6 feet 5, 300 pounds; senior left guard Duane Zlatnik says he’s sitting at 305 — a solid 305 — and senior center Trevor Marrongelli is listed at 303. That doesn’t include juco transfer Aslam Sterling, whose all-around girth has become a small sideplot during the first couple days of practice.

KU coach Charlie Weis has a name for linemen this size — “A big muchacho” — and Sterling appears to be safely in the “big muchaco” club. Sterling, of course, will have to win a job. And he’ll face competition on the right side of the line from juniors Gavin Howard (6-4, 300) and Riley Spencer (6-6, 305).

But Sterling does appear to move pretty well for someone his size. He’s coordinated and his feet work pretty well — although it will likely take him some time to catch up in the conditioning category. And this is where the incumbents have an advantage.

“I applaud them for how hard they worked this summer,” Grunhard said. “And they’re very, very excited about the chance to go out and compete against some of the teams that, quite frankly, have given them a hard time over the years.”

2. A look at the backfield. Charlie Weis is the coach. And Dayne Crist is the quarterback. And this seems to suggest that KU will be airing the ball out plenty this year. But with the questions surrounding KU’s defense — can it stop anyone? — it will be interesting to see how much Kansas leans on its running game.

Grunhard said Friday that he believes KU will be able to run the football. And from a pure athleticism standpoint, the Jayhawks certainly have a deep stable of running backs. Even in drills, sophomore Tony Pierson can display a burst of speed that is certainly rare. Sophomore Brandon Bourbon looks healthy and powerful at 6-1, 218 pounds. And juco transfer Taylor Cox (5-11, 210) has the body of a more traditional halfback. That doesn’t even include junior James Sims, who will miss the first three games because of a suspension. Last time we saw Sims outside of practice, he was racking up yards in the spring game behind a patchwork second-string offensive line.

3. KU has also upgraded in the DJ department. First thing you notice about KU football practice under Weis is the blaring music during pre-practice stretching and plyometrics. The playlist has generally flip-flopped between some Lil Wayne or Rick Ross (we think) and then some Bon Jovi — reportedly a favorite of Weis. (Coach and singer go way back, in fact.) Hey, it’s pre-practice music. And KU still went 2-10 last year. But Weis, by all indications, is trying to install a faster pace at practice this year. And during the first couple minutes — the part the media can view — the Weezy appears to be working.