LAWRENCE — One day after Saturday’s debacle against Rice, KU coach Charlie Weis had reason to breathe a sigh of relief.
By RUSTIN DODD
The Kansas City Star
The leg injury that forced senior receiver Kale Pick to miss most of the second half was less severe than Weis and the KU staff originally imagined. For now, Weis said, it appears that Pick should be able to play next week against TCU.
“Pick actually was way better than we thought he was gonna be,” Weis said Sunday night during a conference call.
Safety Lubbock Smith and linebacker Prinz Kande were also banged up during Saturday’s 25-24 loss. Weis said that Smith would likely be available this week, while Kande was “probably the most likely guy to not play.”
The Pick news is certainly a positive development for a receiving corps that has managed to make few big plays during the first two weeks of the season. On Saturday, senior quarterback Dayne Crist struggled in the efficiency department for the second straight week, finishing just 16 of 28 for 144 yards. Weis said Crist was more “in tune” than he was during the opener against South Dakota State. But he said both Crist and the receivers could be better.
“Once again, there’s a handful of throws that I could think of in the game,” Weis said, “where I would have expected a complete pass and not an incomplete pass.”
Weis added that the receivers were open enough — but they could be open more.
“There were enough times in the game where guys were open enough for us to have a completion,” Weis said. “Now there’s other times in the game where I would expect (the receivers) to win, where they’re not winning.”
After watching the film, Weis also expressed displeasure with his team’s open-field tackling.
“One of the things we were disappointed in was tackles,” Weis said, “not just on the sideline, but tackles in the open field. It’s one of the things that the coaching staff really emphasized.”
First practice back
On Saturday night, Weis stated the importance of pulling his team out of “the tank” after it let a late lead slip away against Rice. By Sunday night, Weis said the team had made progress in that area.
“We had an hour and a half practice (on Sunday),” Weis said, “and I think that they were flying around really good. And it was very competitive. And I think that’s the easiest way to get them going again.”