He watched the legendary Kansas quarterback set virtually every school record while paying his dues redshirting his first year in 2008 and then seeing limited action as a redshirt freshman last season, playing in seven games and completing four of five passes for 22 yards and rushing for 167 yards on 14 carries.
Reesing has now graduated and the Pick era of KU football commences.
The sophomore and Dodge City, Kan., native will be making his first
start at quarterback in the season opener Saturday at 6 p.m. (CT) when
KU hosts North Dakota State at Memorial Stadium.
"I'm ready for the opportunity," Pick said. "All the hard work, not
only this year but my whole career, I'm ready to get going. I'm
Pick has actually talked to Reesing a couple of times about his
"He just told me to go out and do what I do," Pick said. "He's seen me
plenty of time in action at practice and scrimmages, and some last
year. (He said), ‘go out there and have fun with it.'"
Pick is ready to have fun after working hard this offseason to earn the
starting quarterback position over redshirt freshman Jordan Webb.
He got that honor two weeks ago when first-year head coach Turner Gill
pegged Pick as the starter.
"Kale Pick's our guy," Gill said.
Pick has since become more confident and a better leader.
"You can only lead so much when you are in competition time," Pick
said. "Once you name the starter, you can go out there and be more
vocal and show them you are the guy.
"A lot of people probably wouldn't listen to you if you tried to take
over during competition because there is a chance you might not be
named the starter. So it definitely developed after I was named the
While Pick's leadership skills have increased, senior offensive lineman
Brad Thorsen said Pick has also continued to work hard and become a
"Kale hasn't missed a beat (since being named the starter)," Thorsen
said. "That's a big thing. It hasn't been a big ego boost or I'm
something bigger now. He still has the same work ethic he had before.
He still comes to work every day knowing he's got to make better reads
and see the routes better and control the huddle a little bit better.
"I think the biggest thing we've seen is a level of consistency. There
hasn't really been a change of personality or maybe a falling off
because he feels like the battle's (quarterback competition) over and
the game's won. The game is Saturday, and he sees that as an important
Indeed, he does.
Pick has been preparing hard this week for NDSU, both physically and
"Lately, I've been envisioning the game and have it go well," Pick
said. "Kind of imagining the defenses that will be thrown at me and see
those in my head and what I would do on certain game calls."
He's also gearing for Saturday with great conversations with Gill,
quarterback coach/offensive coordinator Chuck Long, and his teammates.
Pick said he's learned a great deal from Gill and Long, who were both
star quarterbacks in college — Gill at Nebraska and Long at Iowa.
"They haven't been here that long, but they've helped me out big time,"
Pick said. "The fact they've been there before, they've told me advice,
not just on the field but off the field. What they've really stressed
is the work ethic they had to be be successful and the preparation they
had coming into their games.
"Just the advice they've given me is remarkable."
Pick has received guidance as well from his teammates, especially two
of his closest friends on the team, offensive lineman Sal Capra and
tight end Tim Biere.
"We just hang out and talk about the game and how it's going to be
like," Pick said. "We can't wait to get out there. They're excited for
me, as much as I'm excited for them to get the season going."
Senior receiver Jonathan Wilson expects Pick to come up big on Saturday.
"I think he is going to handle his first game starting very well,"
Wilson said. "He likes to run the ball and he has a lot of confidence
and I believe he is going to make a lot of plays out there for us."
After losing its last seven games games in 2009, Pick believes KU can
gain a lot of confidence and momentum by getting off to a great start
"I think it's huge," Pick said. "If we come out and win a few games to
start the season, I think we can get on a roll. It builds momentum for
our team and just the atmosphere we have for the stadium every
Saturday. It's very important to take one game at a time and get as
many wins as possible."
KU's first chance is Saturday. Pick surely knows he has big shoes to
fill replacing Reesing — not only his individual accomplishments but
how he approached the game.
"His work ethic is probably the biggest thing I learned from him," Pick
said. "During summer workouts, we'd get out there and work out and do
ladder drills and stuff like that. We'd always have a competition
between me and him. He always wanted the competition and so did I. We
always competed each day in the offseason in 100 degree weather.
Whatever the circumstances, we liked to compete against each other."
Pick now hopes to make a special mark himself on the KU football
program with Gill and KU fans watching his every move. He doesn't
hesitate when asked if he'd like to have a career like Reesing.
"Oh yeah, he was a great quarterback," Pick said. "I think any
quarterback would take the career he had."
"Kale Pick's Our Guy"
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