August 21: The QB problem
David Beaty is probably being coy. He knows Montell Cozart will start the season as the Jayhawks' quarterback. Beaty might say the race has tightened in recent weeks, and maybe it has, but I don't see any reason to believe Cozart will not be out there for the first snap. Cozart started last year's season opener too.
K.U. doesn't have many options. Cozart has the most game experience. They could throw one of two true freshmen into the fire. The number two QB in camp has been a junior college transfer who had more interceptions than touchdowns in his JuCo career. I get the feeling Beaty isn't confident about playing the true freshmen yet... while the games are still competitive. The team's best chances of winning games come in four of the first six weeks (South Dakota State, Memphis, @Iowa State, Texas Tech). K.U. will only be favored in week one, but those four are the best chances to show progress to fans and future recruits. A freshman quarterback, like Ryan Willis or Carter Stanley, making freshamn mistakes could kill any possibility of early momentum.
That brings us back to Cozart. Jayhawk fans think they've seen enough of him. The Kansas City junior is a terrific athlete and by all accounts, a positive influence in the locker room and off the field. But a successful quarterback needs more. He needs "it." What is it? I can't define this quality. But think of your friends. Do you have one man who is "the man" or "the dude" or "the guy who gets it" or "gets things done?" He can drink a six pack without feeling a buzz, effortlessly becomes the leader of the pack, perhaps even walks out of the room with the best-looking woman every time. He drips confidence, especially in the spotlight. Grantland wrote about it.
While Cozart is physically gifted, he seems to withdraw from attention. It spills onto the field too. K.U. fans have noted Cozart's effort to avoid contact on the field. He seemed afraid of getting hit. Hopefully the new offense will simplify things for Cozart, as opposed to Weis' strategy of a new offensive game plan every week.