The 2009 season is firing up and Mark Mangino took to the microphone yesterday. What did we learn?
Jeremiah Hatch will move to center which makes a lot of sense in the long range plan. That's his natural position and why we wanted him at KU. However, he played left tackle last year and that means we'll be training a new left tackle. The KC Star reports that Tanner Hawkinson (6-6/266) will move from d-line to left tackle. He started out as a tight end, but Mangino seems really sold on Hawkinson:
“Tanner Hawkinson is a big, quick, athletic guy. We think he has a chance to develop into one of the best left tackles we’ve had here.”
Okay, but I would have expected someone with more experience, like Jeff Spikes, who was also described as a natural left tackle to get a crack at the position. I think we've all learned not to question Mangino on these things, but I'm hoping we don't have a steep learning curve along the front line.
Speaking of left tackle talk -- it didn't work out for another highly-touted o-line prospect. Nate D'Cunha will be transferring to a new school. That also helps explain the Hawkinson move.
Also from the same KC Star article, there is an official indication of the plan to move Kerry Meier to full-time wideout status. Not that he isn't already, but the fact that Meier still spends practice time as the #2 QB isn't really a closely-guarded secret. Mangino did cover himself by stating that it will depend on how comfortable they feel with either Kale Pick or Jordan Webb as the number two QB. Christian Mathews will be on deck this summer as well. Since 2010 is just around the corner, I would really like to see Mangino feel comfortable with one of those guys this year.
Oh, and just in case there is someone who isn't really aware of this ... all of this stuff really comes from the KU website. In this case, specifically it comes from here. Of course, for the real media, it's always nice to take a drive over to Lawrence.
You'll want to get these times into your Outlook calendar:
Monday, March 9 – Practice starts
Wednesday, March 11 – Practice open to public (3:30 p.m.)
Friday, March 27 – Practice open to public (3:30 p.m.)
Saturday, April 11 – Spring Game (2 p.m.)
Looks like I have plans on March 11, but I'll try to make March 27 practice. The spring game is mandatory for anyone that likes to be considered a KU fan.
In the category of super-fantastic news, Mangino indicated that Angus Quigley can petition for a medical hardship year after the upcoming season. Yep, that means Angus could still be with us in 2010. I think moving Angus to LB is a two-year project, so I love this. However, we are not the University of Texas, so it seems like we never get these requests through. We'll see.
Isiah Barfield will move to wide receiver. I like this move. I don't think we are real settled at CB once you get past Justin Thornton and Daymond Patterson, but we have a lot of talent on the roster and coming in. All reports indicate that Barfield is one of the fastest guys on the team. I like putting that threat out on the field. Mangino put it this way:
"Isiah Barfield will move to wide receiver to help us develop some quality depth there. Isiah’s got great hands. We looked at it this way—in the fall we will have 10 corners on scholarship."
Back on the linebacker front, it looks like Justin Springer won't be practicing until August. Mangino indicated that the rehab is going well though. We definitely want to see Justin out there in the mix.
Dugan says that Todd Reesing was mean to the press at the Insight Bowl post game conference:
During a bizarre post-game press conference at last December’s Insight Bowl, Reesing sarcastically answered a question from a reporter and declined to answer another. Talking among themselves in the press box later that night, bowl representatives expressed distaste at the junior quarterback’s patronizing press conference demeanor.
Did I totally miss this? Someone help me out here.
In case you are confused about the offensive line, here is Mangino's take:
“Well, we’ve got Sal Capra who played a substantial amount of time for us last year. We’ve got Trevor Marrongelli who’s competing for a position; John Williams who had surgery and missed all of last year and we redshirted him. He will be a big factor in there. Now that he’s gotten going, he really looks good. Carl Wilson is in there competing. I think we’re going to be okay. I think the biggest key, is that we solidify the tackle spots. I think Jeremiah Hatch will be fine, center is his natural position, I think the guard positions will fall into place.”
Jeff Spikes will play right tackle.
If you've made it this far, you might as well grab yourself a Lowenbrau and make some comments or share this on Facebook,* because you are definitely hardcore. And for the hardcore, I leave you with this clearly stated goal by Todd Reesing:
"Just like the rest of the team, I want to win the Big 12 North. I want to win the Big 12 Championship. We have two bowl wins and that’s a great feeling, but we want a chance to play for a championship. We are looking forward to the challenge.”
*real men don't have Facebook pages