I would also bet that there are those of us who have had the chance to interact with the senior backup QB who had our doubts, too.
But after KU’s gritty 13-7 win over South Florida Saturday night, most of us were more than happy to wolf down a big plate of crow for Sunday morning breakfast.
With blazing speed, starting QB Kerry Meier’s status went from “starting” to “day-to-day” to “doubtful” to “will not play” to “can’t even comb his own flowing flaxen locks.”
Enter senior back-up Adam Barmann. And enter my concern.
Don’t get me wrong: I like Adam Barmann. He’s gone from hyped recruit to wunderkind to clipboard carrier but never once thought about tanking. In fact, he’s done the exact opposite. He’s maintained his confident smile. He’s tutored Jason Swanson and Kerry Meier, likely at the expense of his own playing time. He was a friend to Brian Luke when things weren’t going well in 2005. Hell, I’d let him date my sister.
Most important Saturday night against South Florida, he’s continued to prep every week like he was going to start. You know, just in case.
In short, he’s the kind of kid you want to see be successful. But there was plenty of worry to go around.
A big factor in this mass concern is his past track record on the field, which can be called, well, “spotty.” It wasn’t for any lack of effort or physical ability. Yeah, he’s not the most mobile quarterback in the world, but given time, he is a solid passer.
Barmann’s problems were from the neck up. You could tell. He made bad reads. He had a terminal case of happy feet. He abandoned the pocket long before he needed to, and he tried to thread needles when he shouldn’t have.
Nevertheless, it was obvious that his shot at newfound success was coming. Barmann got the QB reps with the first team on Monday. And Tuesday. And Wednesday.
On Thursday, it was official: KU head coach Mark Mangino announced that Adam Barmann would be his starter against Southern Florida, a Big East team with a growing reputation and a defensive unit that’s quicker than a hiccup.
Nevertheless, despite all the warm fuzzies and the potentially great story, I was among the sizeable crowd that had our doubts that the Kansas backup quarterback could lead his team to a win.
But he did, and he looked good doing it. No, he won’t make anyone forget Joe Montana, but he certainly had a night a lot of quarterbacks would love to have.
Barmann went 25-for-35 for 273 yards, no INTs and a truckload of key 3rd down completions. Barmann was pretty darn good. Plenty good enough to make a lot of fans – me, included – eat crow.
He was also good enough that the Adam Barmann Fan Club could have been launched postgame.
KU head coach Mangino smiled and said it best: “There’s just something about Adam Barmann I like.”
Mangino said that Barmann played as well as a quarterback could in his system. “He did not miss a check all night at the line of scrimmage. He showed good poise and patience waiting for the open receiver. When he had to get rid of the ball quickly he did it. I'm very pleased with Adam's performance. He did an outstanding job,” the coach gushed.
His teammates were excited about their Barmann’s victory, too – especially those who’ve been with him for the ups and the downs.
KU tight end Derek Fine said, “There’s no one prouder and more excited for Adam than me. He’s been the ultimate team guy. He’s taken a lot of flak and never quit.”
Center David Ochoa echoed those sentiments, saying, “Adam’s been through so much adversity, but it made him a better player and a better person. That paid off tonight. I’m really happy for him.”
In typical fashion, though, Barmann deflected the accolades just as quickly as he accepted the responsibility for losses when he was the starter.
“I feel like I’m just another piece of the puzzle. I just came in and tried to do my best. No matter who's in there (at quarterback), this offense is going to keep rolling, and that's a positive for us,” he said.
Barmann is also quick to squash any discussion of a quarterback controversy.
When asked whether he had earned the start against the Nebraska Cornhuskers this Saturday, Barmann said, “When Kerry's healthy, he's our guy, and I just came in and tried to do the best job that I could while he was absent."
He continued, “I just feel a lot more comfortable. This is my senior year. I feel like there's so many things that I've seen and so many things that I've gone through in my career. I just feel a little more comfortable back there now."
Again, typical Barmann. What makes it just that much more admirable is that you know he didn’t sign on to carry a clipboard, wear a sideline cap and listen to fans who feel obligated to tell him he’s an underachiever.
Like him or not, Adam Barmann has become the ultimate team player, willing to do whatever it takes to help the Jayhawks win. For some guys, that means playing special teams or blocking for someone else. For Barmann, it means running the scout team and being an extra coach to his younger teammates on the KU sideline.
All that makes me hope that he if he is handed the ball later this week, he can launch this Big XII conference race – his final conference race – with a monumental win over Nebraska. After all, everyone deserves their 15 minutes of fame, and I’m not sure Adam Barmann’s used his up yet.