While Kansas basketball was making a magical run through February into late March, a lot has happened for Kansas football. It’s time to catch up with what has been going on around Memorial Stadium.
One Billboard Outside of Lawrence
On March 20, drivers on I-70 between Kansas City and Lawrence were treated with a disparaging Kansas football billboard. The billboard read, “Kansas Football: ‘The Most Incompetent Thing I’ve Seen In Major Sports’ – Dan Le Batard (ESPN)”. Paid for by saveksfb.com, the billboard generated interest when Lamar pulled the advertisement for no specific reason.
The billboard was put together by the same group of fans who created saveksfb.com and flew a banner over the stadium reading “FIRE ZENGER” before the K-State game. If KU continues to stumble with Sheahon Zenger and David Beaty at the helm, expect more public outcries against the administrator to be levied in the upcoming months. The football program holds a record of 12-72 during Zenger’s tenure at Kansas.
Mesa Ribordy and Charles Baldwin highlight players leaving the program
Starting center and offensive anchor Mesa Ribordy has left the program. Reportedly, Ribordy has decided to retire due to multiple concussions. While his health is the number one concern, losing him is critical to an offensive line that struggled without his presence in 2017. Defensive end Isaiah Bean, cornerback Shola Ayinde and safety Ian Pederson were also missing from the 2018 spring roster.
One of the more disappointing sagas for Kansas football is that of Charles Baldwin. The Alabama transfer was a five-star lineman out of junior college. However, after seeing no playing time in 2017, Baldwin disappeared from depth charts in October. Beaty announced at his opening spring press conference that Baldwin would be seeking a graduate transfer opportunity this summer. Effectively, Baldwin’s Kansas career ended before it ever started.
Pro Days and the NFL Combine
Dorance Armstrong projects to be the highest draft pick for KU since Aqib Talib in 2008. Armstrong started the year off as a projected late-first to early-second round pick, but has seen a drop-off in the months leading up to the draft. Part of this drop-off has been due to a lack of production in 2017, combined with mediocre athletic testing. Regardless, Armstrong still projects to be a highly sought after EDGE in the 2018 draft.
While Dorance Armstrong has been the main attraction in Lawrence for NFL scouts, a few other players have turned heads during the pro day circuit. Ben Johnson pulled off a solid pro day, measuring 6-foot-5 and 248 pounds. He ran a 4.82 40 yard dash and produced a 33” vertical leap. Johnson, along with offensive lineman Jayson Rhodes, were invited to the local pro day by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Safeties coach Todd Bradford announced he will be leaving the program to work in the oil business. His post is now be manned by former Kansas safety Cassius Sendish. Sendish played for Clint Bowen and will have familiarity with Bowen’s expectations for the safety position. Offensive coordinator Doug Meacham will now coach quarterbacks along with coordinating the offense. Previous quarterbacks coach Garrett Riley will now coach receivers and tight ends. On the other side of the ball, cornerbacks coach Kenny Perry will now be coordinating special teams and coordinator Clint Bowen will take over the cornerbacks position. All in all, the faces in the room will stay very similar, but the shift in responsibilities should be interesting. Specifically, how Meacham handles the QB room. Meacham prefers mobile quarterbacks and will likely be more hands on with the minutiae of the offense in 2018.