Kansas quarterback Montell Cozart will return to the starting lineup this week at Iowa State as fellow quarterback Deondre Ford recovers from what was initially diagnosed as a thumb sprain.
On the Big 12 teleconference Monday morning, KU coach David Beaty said Ford will be outthis Saturday as the Jayhawks travel to Iowa State for their Big 12 opener. Ford, who made his first career start Saturday at Rutgers, was injured while taking a hit in the second quarter of a 27-14 setback.
A transfer from Dodge City Community College, Ford completed six of 13 passes for 85 yards and an interception as Rutgers built a 13-0 lead in the first half. His day ended when he was leveled on a blitz and his thumb made contact with an opposing player’s helmet.
That injury forced Cozart to return to the field and battle through his flulike symptoms, which had surfaced Friday. He responded by immediately leading Kansas on its first scoring drive. Cozart finished 13 of 18 passing for 193 yards, bouncing back from a lackluster 13-of-28 passing performance in a loss to Memphis on Sept. 12.
Both quarterbacks had split reps with the first-team offense in the two weeks after the Memphis loss. Beaty has also maintained that true freshman quarterback Ryan Willis will be used in a limited capacity, perhaps in specific offensive packages.
“Ryan is continuing to develop,” Beaty said Monday. “There’s a clear separation between Deondre, Montell and then between Ryan — Ryan is not completely developed yet. He’s got a little ways to go; he’s a young guy. He continues to develop each week. So our plan is just like I talked about — Ryan is going to play football this year for us again. We’ve already got packages in place.”