Junior wide receivers Rodriguez Coleman and sophomore Tre’ Parmalee replace Justin McCay and Josh Ford at the X and Z positions, and Trent Smiley replaces Jimmay Mundine as the team’s starting tight end. Drops by Ford and Mundine in last Saturday’s game against Rice came on crucial third down plays, while another by Mundine may have given Kansas a key touchdown later in the game.
McCay and Ford look more explosive than the Kansas wide receivers of the last couple years, but drops by the entire receiving core continue to stall drives by the Jayhawk offense. Weis hopes these changes in the depth chart do one of two things: motivate McCay and Ford to improving their pass-catching ability or provide the offense with more explosive targets on the outside.
It remains to be seen whether Parmalee and Coleman can provide this element to the Kansas offense, but Parmalee matched his career high for catches, two, in last week’s game and this could be a sign of things to come. Coleman has yet to record a catch this season, but Weis has talked about getting him more involved in the offense and his words are coming to fruition.
Aside from the changes on the depth chart, look for Tony Pierson and Brandon Bourbon to get more involved in the passing game for Kansas. Pierson is the most explosive player on the Jayhawk roster and should continue to play the “Percy Harvin” role in the team’s offense by getting touches out of the backfield and as a receiver. Bourbon has been Heaps’ other favorite target early in the season and his combination of good hands, power and speed should only increase his role in the offense.
Although McCay, Ford and Mundine have dropped on the depth chart, don’t expect this trio to fall off the face of the earth. McCay still has the most physical talent of any of Kansas’ wide receivers, Ford has shown potential as a downfield threat and Mundine is the most experienced tight end on the roster. Change can be good for everyone, even for the guys getting demoted.
Changing the starters at the wide receiver and tight ends positions may not cure the team’s offense woes overnight, but Weis and Jayhawk Nation hope that some new blood gives Kansas momentum as they head to Saturday’s game against Louisiana Tech and then into conference play.