Pat Lewandowski isnt certain, but he believes the idea originally came from KU quarterbacks coach Ron Paulus.
It was late last spring, and the Jayhawks were searching for a center. Nobody had claimed the role during spring practice, and this is football, of course, so you need
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to snap the ball.
Paulus, as the story goes, was intrigued by Lewandowski, a 6-foot-5, 295-pound junior who had spent the spring turning himself into a left tackle. He had never played center in his life, and there are certainly reasons you dont see a lot of 6-5 centers.
It was a huge shock to me, Lewandowski said.
It was also, apparently, a huge shock to KU coach Charlie Weis, who needed a little time to think it through. Eventually, though, Weis was on board, and Lewandowski spent the summer working on snapping the ball with quarterback Jake Heaps.
Weve been working on it all summer, said Lewandowski, a graduate of Blue Valley West. So I feel comfortable with it. Im starting to get the muscle-memory down.
That sounds positive, and thats no small thing. When the Jayhawks hit the practice field on Thursday for their first workout of fall camp, Lewandowski was listed as the projected starter at center.
Lewandowski downplays talk that hes too tall to play the position. (Its all about leverage, he says.) Last summer, he cycled through a ridiculous number of snaps to get caught up to speed. And sometimes, he says, it would almost be more taxing on Heaps, who had to bend down and receive all those snaps.
We wanted to try and get our best five offensive linemen out there, Heaps said. Obviously, theres still competition through camp. And people are still trying to earn spots and as of right now, putting Pat at center puts us in the best position to have our best five out there.
Its about leverage. So as long as I play with good leverage and I have good length.
Weis and Reid catch up
If you thought Charlie Weis would forget about the Chiefs after old friend Romeo Crennel was let go as head coach, well, Weis has some new friends at One Arrowhead Drive.
Weis traveled to Chiefs training camp in St. Joseph last weekend, catching up with some old players and spending some time with Chiefs coach Andy Reid.
Weis and Reid are long-time friends they share the same agent, Bob LaMonte and Weis said the conversation turned to Bill Parcells, who was due to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame that same night.
Its early Saturday morning and Im sitting in Andy Reids office over at training camp, and the two of us are sitting there talking about Parcells, Weis said. And sure enough, who texts at that exact time that we are talking about him Parcells.
So naturally we had some fun with it and said, Reid and Weis are talking about you as we speak. So it was cool; that Saturday morning you are communicating and Saturday night you are watching TV and listening to one of the more inspiring (Hall of Fame speeches) you will ever hear.
Fortunately for me, I have heard that talk a whole bunch of times.
Young quarterbacks battle
Jordan Darling and Montell Cozart were both top prep quarterbacks in the Kansas City area. And thats about where the similarities end. Darling is a strong-armed, pro-style quarterback who played his senior season at Shawnee Mission East. And Cozart, a Bishop Miege product, is a dual-threat quarterback in the mold of Notre Dames Everett Golson.
But for now, both quarterbacks are listed as co-No. 3s on the depth chart, and each one will get the opportunity to impress during fall camp. Darling and Cozart could both profile as redshirt candidates, although Weis hasnt indicated that either will. Sophomore Michael Cummings is currently listed as the back-up behind Jake Heaps, and he certainly has more experience after starting a handful of games last season.
That suggests that Darling and Cozart could be battling it out for the third spot in the pecking order.
I dont think they are the same player, Weis said of the freshmen. It will be interesting to see how it plays out, but in the beginning, they are going to be doing the same things. Once somebody works their way up the depth chart, then I kind of go with what they can do.
Dont misinterpret that Montell (Cozart) cant throw the ball, because he can definitely throw the ball. He is an exceptional athlete. He has had a really good summer for us.
One observation from practice
On most days, Weis allows reporters to watch the first 20 minutes of practice a period that essentially amounts to 15 minutes of stretching and plyometrics and five minutes of positional drills. As you might expect, you cant see much although there is a nice sampling of Springsteen music. During Thursdays practice, however, I was able to get a better look at starting left tackle Aslam Sterling.
Weis has raved about Sterlings transformation. And you might know the story. Sterling arrived as a junior college transfer last fall, weighing nearly 400 pounds when he set foot on campus. These days, Sterling is weighing closer to 315, and even in just a few minutes, you can see the benefits of the weight-loss.
Sterling is sleeker, quicker and a little more agile. Its hard to know how it will shake out on the field, but Sterling certainly looks the part.