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August 17, 2013

Jayhawks out for turnaround in Year Two under Weis

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Charlie Weis spent most of last offseason talking about Dayne Crist, the former Notre Dame quarterback who transferred to Kansas and was supposed to lead a massive turnaround.

Weis spent most of the season talking about why it wasn’t happening. The Jayhawks stumbled to a 1-11 finish, and things went so poorly for Crist that he was ultimately benched.

Now, Weis is tempering expectations for another high-profile quarterback transfer.

Jake Heaps is No. 1 on the depth chart entering fall camp after spending last season running the scout team. He was forced to redshirt after leaving BYU, where he set several freshman passing record, but still got a chance to learn Weis’ offense in preparation for this year.

Heaps will be pushed by Michael Cummings, the sophomore who replaced Crist last season.

The QB job isn’t the only new face, though. Weis brought in a bonanza of junior college transfers, and six of them appeared as starters on the initial depth chart — not counting Trevor Pardula and Michael Mesh, who are in a race to handle kicking duties.

“Last year at this time I had a tough time giving you two-deep, and probably had a tough time giving you one-deep in some cases,” Weis said. “I can give you a three-deep this year.”

That’s a good benchmark for the rebuilding of Kansas. Here are five more things to keep an eye on as the Jayhawks try to take another step from the Big 12 cellar when they open the season against FCS school South Dakota on Sept. 7:

 

1. Heaps to McCay:Heaps wasn’t the only notable transfer to sit out last season — wide receiver Justin McCay, who began his career at Oklahoma, spent the entire year catching passes from his quarterback on the Jayhawks’ scout team. The NCAA refused to grant McCay a waiver to play last season, forcing him to redshirt. “Justin has an opportunity to be a top-five wide receiver,” Weis said.

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