Bye Bye Bill

A great Kansas career came to a close on Monday night in Orlando. Bill Whittemore suited up for the final time as a Jayhawk and dazzled fans one last time with his ability to pass, run and create even when the odds are stacked against him.

In the end, his efforts were not enough as Kansas fell 56-26 to North Carolina State in the 14th annual Mazda Tangerine Bowl, but it wasn't for lack of effort by the senior quarterback.

Whittemore's final line at Kansas included three more touchdowns (2 passing, 1 rushing) and well over 300 yards of total offense, with 243 coming through the air and 84 on the ground. His final three TD's gave him a total of 50 touchdowns in his brief 19 game career at Kansas.

A proud coach Mark Mangino talked about the last hoorah for his star senior.

"He did everything we asked him to do. He played hard. He made good plays, he made big plays. He lead the team and made great checks. He ran the ball hard and did everything you'd expect him to do."

A perfect finish to a fantastic career would have been a game-winning touchdown pass on his last collegiate drive. Instead, Whittemore was intercepted with his team down 30 points as the final seconds dripped off the clock. While that ending didn't fit the otherwise storybook senior season that Whittemore enjoyed, Mangino was quick to point out that the final play was just another example of Bill being Bill.

"I just feel terrible that his last throw of his career at KU was an interception but then again he was trying to make something happen and that defines Bill Whittemore."

Whittemore deserves to be remembered as the one player -- more than any other -- that helped get Mangino's Kansas program off the ground. He should go down as a Jayhawk who made the most of every snap he had and got the most out of every play even if things didn't go as planned.

I know I'll never forget his creativity, decision making and ability to come up with big play after big play using every asset he had.

He got it done with his arm, his feet and even the occasional quick flick of the wrist like the backhanded flip pass he tossed to Clark Green for his final passing touchdown at KU.

Because Whittemore could beat opponents in so many ways he made the Kansas offense instantly exciting every time he got under center. The endzone was always in sight no matter where drives began or which eleven guys were lining up across from him.

Simply put, anything was possible and everything seemed attainable when Bill was in the game. That element may now be gone, but certainly won't disappear completely.

Whittemore may be leaving Kansas, but he isn't leaving the 'Hawks empty handed. Next year's signal caller will inherit and offense with plenty of weapons and if Adam Barmann is the next in line, he's also received some great instruction from one of the best mentors a young college quarterback could study.

The near future looks bright thanks greatly to Whittemore, and regardless of what's to come, the recent past was one heck of a ride. Top Stories