LAWRENCE — Kansas football coach Charlie Weis is generally a man with a plan. And for Weis, this means the Jayhawks’ season-opening game against South Dakota State could take on a little extra significance. The game, Weis says, could set the tone for a program that needs some momentum. “I think we’d better get off to a fast start or we’re going to have a long year,” Weis said. “And I think everyone else wants to look at the 12-game schedule. I want to look at one. I have a one-game schedule, and it’s South Dakota State. It’s been a little while here since we came, and in the first game of the year, we had a very convincing performance, and that’s what my intent is in the opening game.”
COX, CUMMINGS LEADING: Weis said Tuesday that nearly 90 percent of the Jayhawks’ position battles are settled. He won’t release an updated depth chart until next week, but he did say that juco transfer Taylor Cox continues to lead sophomore Brandon Bourbon in the race to be the next running back behind starter Tony Pierson. He also said Michael Cummings is ahead of juco transfer Turner Baty in the backup QB battle. The right side of the offensive line, however, is a little more open. It appears that junior Gavin Howard will likely start at right guard or right tackle, depending on the progress of Riley Spencer or Aslam Sterling at right tackle. If Howard starts at right tackle, junior Randall Dent could slide in at right guard.
INJURY UPDATE: Spencer was back at practice on Tuesday after missing part of fall camp because of a knee injury. Senior transfer linebacker Anthony McDonald was back on the exercise bike during practice as he recovers from an injury. Weis said the staff was taking it slow with McDonald because of his track record of injuries while at Notre Dame. “We want to make sure that when he’s going, he’s a full-go, ready to go, because he only knows one way to play,” Weis said. “He’s one of those guys, tackle to tackle, hit you as hard as (he) could possibly hit you.”
SCHOLARSHIP UPDATE: Weis disclosed Tuesday that he has awarded scholarships to walk-on long snapper Justin Carnes and special-teams contributor Shane Smith. In addition, Weis gave scholarships to walk-ons Ryan Burton and Brandon Hawks after both posted 4.0 GPAs last semester.
MCKINNEY STILL ABSENT: Weis said Tuesday that the program was continuing to wait for juco defensive lineman Ty McKinney to report to campus. For the second straight week, Weis said McKinney was waiting for some class material to be graded at his junior college so he could take his last final. Once he took the final, Weis said, he could report directly to KU.
| Rustin Dodd, firstname.lastname@example.org