Gill Liking What He's Seeing

Every off-season it's the same. As the interminable wait stretches from January to September, and college football die-hards mark off the days on their calendar until opening weekend, spring football practice provides a brief respite from the drought.

For fans, the handful of weeks in late March and early April are full of possibilities, and for Kansas fans this is perhaps more true in 2010 than any year in recent memory. So many questions remain to be answered.

Who will win the quarterback job, and fill the gargantuan shoes of Todd Reesing?

What will the new staff do to shore up the defense? Who can the fans expect to step up and fill gaps at linebacker and defensive end?

Will Angus Quigley finally make his mark, now that he's back at running back?

Though they're far from written in stone at this point, the answers to these questions – and others – are starting to take shape. Last weekend, the Jayhawks held their first full-contact scrimmage under Head Coach Turner Gill, capping off their first official week of spring practice, and the new Kansas head man liked a great deal of what he saw.

"Everybody on our football team is very focused," he said. "They're all intense. Everybody is vying for a spot, so everybody is trying to figure out things."

The identity of now-departed quarterback Todd Reesing's successor has understandably been the subject of a great deal of speculation – and maybe even a little concern – on the part of Jayhawks fans during the off-season.

Though he was careful to point out that things could change at every position, Gill singled out redshirt freshman Jordan Webb as one who has looked good early.

"He's been consistent," Gill explained. "He has a great command in the huddle. Like his demeanor. He's played smart, thrown the ball fairly well. He's got a good grasp of what we're doing right now."

Also earning specific praise from the coach on the offensive side of the ball were the entire offensive line, tight end Tim Biere and running back Angus Quigley.

Quigley has been something of a fan favorite since he arrived on campus in 2005. Granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA for a season-ending injury he suffered early in his redshirt freshman year, the senior has bounced from running back to linebacker with only brief flashes of success.

Granted the opportunity to switch back to running back, his preferred position, by Gill this spring, Quigley is making the most of it.

"Some other guys have done some great things, but I think he's probably stood out a little bit more just over the first five days,"Gill said. "He's a guy who is able to do some things, run inside, can run outside and also can do some things as far as protection in the passing game."

Defensively, Gill pointed to the play of lineman Jamal Greene, linebacker Justin Springer and safety Olaitan Oguntodu as bright spots both during the week of practice and the scrimmage itself.

Springer has shown good quickness, leadership on the field and a firm grasp of the new defensive philosophies, to go along with his outstanding size, while Oguntodu has made an impression with his aggressive style of play.

"He's shown his physicality," Gill said, of Oguntodu. "He's come up and made some good plays in the box as far as making good tackles. He's shown he has good movement, shown that he can run."

This week has been just the tip of the iceberg as far as the evaluation process goes, he added. Many position battles will rage until the spring game and beyond.

"Again, nothing will really be permanent," Gill said. "It won't even be permanent after we play our spring game. We'll have an ending depth chart, if you want to call it that, at the end of Spring Ball, but up until then there's going to be a lot of different parts moving." Top Stories