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April 5, 2010

Two emerge at quarterback

After six practices, it appears that Jordan Webb and Kale Pick have emerged as the leading candidates for the starting quarterback job. Redshirt freshman Christian Matthews was also a player who Gill named would get a majority of the reps, but Matthews will spend the rest of the spring practices splitting time between quarterback and wide receiver.

Both Pick and Webb brings their own unique strengths to the table. Webb is considered to have better arm strength and accuracy to make the tight throws. Pick has the size and speed to make plays on his own. Offensive coordinator Chuck Long said the coaching staff would tailor the offense to whoever wins the starting job.

"Whoever is in there you try to play to their strengths," Long said. "Kale you are going to get out of pocket stuff and run the ball a little bit. Jordan is more of a pocket passer."

Pick played sparingly last season behind three-year starter Todd Reesing, and is the only quarterback on the roster with game experience. The redshirt sophomore quarterback was praised by strength coach John Williams during the offseason for his conditioning habits and is said to be one of the faster players on the team.

Although don't count out the 6'0 Webb. He has made his mark since spring practices started little over a week ago. When head coach Turner Gill mentioned specific players that had stood out during the last week, Webb was the only quarterback name to come up.

"He has great command in the huddle," Gill said. "I like his demeanor. He has played smart and thrown the ball fairly well. He has a good grasp on what we are doing."

Webb is doing well considering in high school his team ran nothing but the spread offense. He had never played under center until he got to Kansas. In the new offense, Kansas plans to spend half the time under center, and the other half out of the shotgun.

"It hasn't been as hard as I thought," Webb said of playing under center. "You go through reads and take longer drops. It's a lot different footwork. Before you could take a three step and throw and now you might have to take a five step and do play-action."

Long said Monday's practice was the best one for the quarterbacks, and while they still have a ways to go to reach their potential, Long prefers to look at the long-term goals.

"The best thing about this is they are all young," Long said. "They can really grow in this system. I don't have a senior who has to learn it real quick then go."

Of course, the inexperience and a brand-new offense also means there will be mistakes.

"Before you can learn to beat the other team, you have to learn not to beat yourself," Long said. "Right now they are fighting through that step."


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