Jordan Webb trusts Tim Biere.
So with the Blue Team facing a fourth-and-one from the White Team's 20
yard line, Webb faked a handoff to tailback Angus Quigley, then
immediately looked for his tight end.
And he found him, too. Only he wasn't a couple of yards past the first
down marker, which would have been the safe play. No, the 6-foot-4,
260-pound Biere was headed for the end zone.
"I see Tim coming out and I just know he's going to go out and get it
for me," Webb said, after the game. "So I put it up for him."
The gamble paid off, as Biere's acrobatic catch in coverage provided
the first score of the 2010 Spring Game, breaking a 0-0 stalemate after
one quarter and giving the Blue Team the lead.
As the clock ticked down in that first quarter, the estimated 12,500
fans gathered at Memorial Stadium Saturday afternoon were starting to
get a little restless.
Call it a product of heightened expectations. This was to be Jayhawk
Nation's first glimpse of the team after a period of significant
change. Gone are a handful of all-time football greats at KU, including
the likes of Todd Reesing, Kerry Meier, Dezmon Briscoe and Darrell Stuckey. Gone is former Head Coach Mark Mangino, who resigned in early
December amid a flurry of controversy.
In steps Turner Gill, the charismatic head coach from the University of
Buffalo, hired by athletic director Lew Perkins two weeks
later – and the new Jayhawks head man doesn't come alone. He brings
with him established assistants like offensive coordinator Chuck Long
and defensive coordinator Carl Torbush.
But with so many new faces on the coaching staff, and so many holes to
fill on the two-deep, Jayhawk Nation was left wondering what, exactly,
Gill's Jayhawks would look like on the field.
And after one quarter, with the score tied 0-0, the picture wasn't
becoming any clearer. Both offensive lines were struggling with their
defensive counterparts, and yardage was tough to come by – either on
the ground or through the air – for either squad.
But Biere's touchdown reception brought the crowd to it's feet, and
kick-started a second quarter that might have given Kansas fans a
glimpse at what's in store for 2010.
Though the game's opening score gave the Blue Team a 7-0 advantage,
that lead was short lived. After a penalty pushed the White offense
into a third-and-long from its own 28 yard line, sophomore quarterback
Kale Pick stepped up in the pocket and cut loose with a bomb to
freshman wide receiver Chris Omigie.
Pick, who opened the game as the starting quarterback for the Blues,
said he knew the pass was on the money as soon as it left his hand.
"I saw him open, I saw the safety bite down and I let her fly," he
said. "I was pretty positive that he was going to come down with it. I
was hoping anyway."
"I knew I had the corner beat off the line," Omigie added. "I was like
'Alright, Kale, just throw it out here and I'm gonna go get it,' like I
always tell him in practice."
Omigie did, in fact, come down with it, and after securing the ball
sprinted the final 10 yards to paydirt to tie the game at seven-all.
After such a quiet 12 minutes to start the game, the crowd responded
enthusiastically to the barrage of offensive fireworks.
Despite finding some success through the air on the day, both offenses
struggled throughout to run the football. Starting tailback senior
Angus Quigley led all rushers with seven carries for 33 yards for the
Blue Team, while freshman Deshaun Sands paced the Whites with seven
carries for 33 yards. The two teams combined for just 53 yards on the
It's an area that Gill said needed to be addressed in the summer and
fall, though he was quick to praise the defense for their play.
First-team defensive ends freshman Kevin Young and junior Travis Stephens caused havoc in the backfield for the White Team, forcing Blue
quarterbacks into sacks, scrambles and hurried throws on several
"From a defense line standpoint, I think we played pretty well on the
whole," Gill said. "It was a good sign to see that and they were going
against all different groups of guys. They were consistently
getting penetration both on the run and the pass."
Senior kicker Jacob Branstetter's 36-yard field goal gave the White
Team a 10-7 lead with 4:19 remaining in the first half. That score
would stand until late in fourth quarter, with neither offense able to
get much going, when Pick hit freshman Christian Matthews for his
second touchdown pass of the day.
The sophomore, who finished his day 14-of-22 for 214 yards, threw the
ball on a rope to Matthews from the White 37 yard line to give the Blue
Team the 14-10 lead and the victory.
"The DB was almost ahead of (Matthews) on the fade," Pick explained, of
the play. "I was going to try to back shoulder him or throw
it a little short so he could come back for it and he did. I was glad
that we were on the same page, and that might be with his quarterback
experience too, that he knew where the quarterbacks were going to put
the ball, so he came back and got it right away."
With his first spring on Mount Oread now behind him, Gill said he was
pleased with what the team had accomplished in the past four weeks of
They set out to identify 15-18 players on both sides of the ball that
they felt good about, he explained. Rather than start building
gameplans to win games in September, the coaches wanted to see how
their players responded to different situations, to game-like scenarios
when the heat is on.
"I think we feel pretty good about what we wanted to get accomplished,"
Gill said. "So now we'll get down to evaluating and looking for
details, getting into those specific players."
Blue Over White in Spring Football Game
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