With the defensive chart already in the books (for whatever it was worth), it's time to look at those big vacancies about to pop up on the offensive side of the ball...
Tanner Hawkinson hasn't been spectacular, but continues to grow physically and mentally. Next season, with a year of experience (and a few extra pounds) under his belt, I look for him to take big strides. The potential is there.
Ian Wolfe is a Mark Mangino-program guy, and will continue to stand right behind Hawkinson as a mentor and motivator.
Brad Thorson really can play anywhere, can't he? There's certainly no reason to expect he won't play every game somewhere on the Jayhawk offensive line next season.
If things need shaken up again, fellow senior Sal Capra will probably slide over here and cedes his spot to Trevor Marrongelli. A third senior, Carl Wilson, will provide another reliable option.
Jeremiah Hatch has plenty of potential, and some of his snaps look like Dan Marino is throwing them. Like Hawkinson, an added year of experience will serve Hatch very well in his junior season.
Thorson will still be the second guy here if Hatch struggles, goes down with an injury, or is plagued by any of the other possible inexpectancies that feed on innocent college football players.
I predicted in the early season that Trevor Marrongelli would be a starter here by next season, and I was right... sort of. He did start here last week, but I expect Jeff Spikes to work his way back into the line-up soon.
Sal Capra has done just fine, and isn't about to simply give up his starting role. There may be a really good competition here next season.
As I've said before, Spikes has too much potential to remain in the doghouse for long. If he doesn't, though, Thorson didn't look to bad in his debut on the right side of the line...
On paper, Darius Parish will be a red-shirt sophomore, and either he or junior Michael Martinovich will likely be written in as the number two guy. In reality, I think Thorson does fill in, or Ian Wolfe has played the right side before as well.
I think the only thing that will change here is that Tim Biere might have a few more balls thrown his way. Otherwise, Ted McNulty is listed as the number two man and Bradley Dedeaux has some experience as well.
Assuming a worst-case scenario (Dezmon Briscoe being gone), let's start from the top...
Jonathan Wilson's Mangino-favored build, athleticism, and experience will get him the top nod. True freshman Ricky Herod or Keeston Terry may show up on the depth chart behind Wilson as the number eight guy, even if both (probably) take a red-shirt next season.
Bradley McDougald, I think, is a better receiver than Wilson. However, I expect McDougald to stay very busy with special teams and even the occasional defensive appearance, so he's still the second guy for now. The next in line is probably the versatile, athletic Isaiah Barfield as the seventh option.
I'm still sticking with Erick McGriff as the third man in line. I don't want to get too excited, and currently he's off of the scout team nursing an injury, but he has more physical tools than Dezmon Briscoe did, and will have the benefit of a red-shirt season to boot. Rod Harris has a good enough combination of size and game experience to earn him the title of number six.
Chris Omigie is already listed on the depth chart, although in reality I think he is still among the red-shirts for this season. He must be ready to play, though, and adding a little muscle this summer will go a long ways to making Omigie a legitimate threat as a freshman next year.
I'll give Tertavian Ingram his own paragraph, because he may get the nod over either Omigie or McGriff. Despite never quite living up to his expectations as a Jayhawk, he has more experience than the other back-up options, and should get one more good opportunity to make a name for himself next season.
On a final wide receiver note, I've continued to discuss the notion of Daymond Patterson's return or even a Christian Matthews transition to the wide receiver position with various KU fans. While neither seems likely at all, both are at least plausible.
I'm 95 percent sure that the college football world is going to see a lot more of Toben Opurum in 2010. I'm not entirely sure why we're not seeing more of him now, to be honest.
Juco transfer Daniel Porter took a red-shirt this season, and Rell Lewis is currently the number three back, but I think Deshaun Sands will be the recipient of a large quantity of back-up carries. I've heard nothing but good things about him so far and he would compliment Opurum wonderfully. Think along the lines of 2007's Jake Sharp-Brandon McAnderson combination.
Easy money, here. Kale Pick has done okay for himself with the opportunities he's been given this season. The only thing that's held him back to this point are the plays being called for him. I think, when he is finally turned loose, he will be a more-than-capable quarterback, even if he doesn't immediately become a star or team-leader.
I still like Jordan Webb as the back-up signal caller. He's been here since last Christmas, has had a year of tutelage under Reesing and Meier, he's a pocket quarterback but with the athleticism to run this offense, and I hear he's got an amazing football IQ.
Christian Matthews will be the third guy on board (Jacoby Walker likely red-shirts as a freshman), but the guy is really a great playmaker. As I said before, I won't be entirely surprised if Coach Mangino finds another way to use him...
All in all, the offense will be young, but there's plenty of talent to go around, and an experienced offensive line will really go a long way to help bring the younger starters around.
My biggest worry is with Ed Warriner. The offensive coordinator tends to be stubborn, and I worry that he won't play to his personnel very well.
I'm not saying he needs to ditch the no-huddle spread offense; I only hope that he realizes that Toben Opurum, Kale Pick, and Bradley McDougald have very different strengths than Jake Sharp, Todd Reesing, and Dezmon Briscoe or Kerry Meier.
I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
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