The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Sports Potpourri: KU, K-State learning through spring ball

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  • It’s not possible to gain an accurate assessment of a college football team by watching the spring game.
    Kansas had its spring game Saturday and the Blue Team (first string offense and defense) defeated the White Team (second team offense and defense) by a score of 20-10. The White Team led at halftime, 7-0.
    Two factors emerged during the game: KU is going to have much more depth on offense and defense than its had in the first two years of the Charlie Weis era, and sophomore quarterback Montell Cozart had an exceptional second half running and passing the ball.
    Cozart has gained the inside track on the starting QB position for next fall.
    KU didn’t sustain any serious injuries in the spring game and the Jayhawks are going to be an improved team this fall.
    Coach Charlie Weis said, “We still have questions, but we also have a lot more answers now than we did at the beginning of the spring. We’ve implemented a new offense and we still have a ways to go, but I think it’s positive at this stage.”
    Turning to the hardwood …
    Over a number of years, KU basketball coach Bill Self has done an excellent job of combating early entrance into the NBA by many of his best players. Despite one-and-done players like Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, Self has had players who stayed for four or five years.
    College basketball has changed significantly because so many of the best players leave after just one or two seasons. Freshmen are limited by a number of shortcomings during their first season. And, just when they reach a point when they can become big-time college players, they say, “Sorry, I’m going to enter the draft.”
    There’s no easy answer to this dilemma.
    Freshmen make freshmen mistakes, and when they finally start to catch on, they’re gone. The question is whether it’s best to have players like Wiggins and Embiid for one year or Perry Ellis, Jamari Traylor and Landen Lucas for four or five years.
    Experience tells in college basketball.
    Coach Self has two more McDonalds’ All-Americans coming for next season: small forward Kelly Oubre (6-7, 200) and Cliff Alexander (6-9, 240). Oubre will take Wiggins’ position and Alexander will probably split time between power forward and center. They are both exceptional players.
    Self will have a decision to make at point guard. From here it appears Conner Frankamp is just what the Jayhawks need at this most-vital position.
    Frankamp is KU’s best ball handler and he’s a deadly 3-point shooter. He has also improved consistently on defense.
    Page 2 of 2 - Kansas has plenty of players for next season, but they must have improved play at the guard positions or it could be another disappointing NCAA Tournament. Turnovers have plagued the Jayhawks for the last few seasons, and Frankamp can solve this weakness.
    Turning to the diamond …
    The Kansas City Royals’ hitters are doing it again: they can’t hit a lick when the ducks are on the pond. KC fell to 4-6 (0-4 on the road) in the first 10 games.
    It’s been strictly good pitching, good fielding, and no hitting.
    Designated hitter Billy Butler and third baseman Mike Moustakas have been pitiful. Butler was hitting .171 and Moustakas .091 through KC’s Saturday game.
    Alex Gordon (.306) has gotten a few big hits and newcomers Nori Aoki (.270) and Omar Infante (.300) are off to encouraging starts.
    Catcher Salvy Perez (.375) has been KC’s best all-round player, but he can’t do it by himself.
    Kansas City had just one home run (Gordon) through the first 10 games — that’s the worst in MLB.
    The season is young, but we’ve been down this street before. It’s way too early to give up on KC’s hitters, but the thought that talent might be lacking is lurking in the background.
    And circling back to football …
    It’s no longer a rumor.
    Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder has moved QB Daniel Sams (6-2, 210) to wide receiver. That doesn’t mean Sams will abandon QB completely — he’ll still be second in line if anything happens to starter Jake Waters.
    Snyder said, "He's made progress with some ups and downs in there as well, but he's learned some of the nuances, not as well as he needs to, but he's learned some of the nuances about the position that he wasn't aware of, and he studies it pretty hard, and is focused on the field. He's got skill … we understand that. He can make you miss sometimes."
    Sams could make K-State’s passing attack a double-barreled shotgun with Tyler Lockett at one WR slot and Sams at the other.
    Lockett is going to be double-teamed consistently, so that could open up Sams as a second deadly weapon.
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