We’re 50 days away from kickoff of the 2017 campaign so I think it’s time to start the preview into the season. I’d like to start this little series by discussing different things that I believe will be instrumental to our success this season. Keep in mind, I am not a professional journalist, just a student and lifelong die hard fan who wants to share his opinions on Kansas sports.
Today, I’m going to start with the quarterbacks. It’s no surprise that the QB situation has been rocky since Todd Reesing left in 2009. The closest thing we’ve had to stability is Montell Cozart, and let’s be honest with ourselves, that’s not exactly a good thing.
After Carter Stanley won the starting position last year and literally ran the competition out of town, he seems to be the guy everyone wants to start this season. He’s the hero now, and everyone loves a good underdog story. This is the man who kept his redshirt when Willis played two seasons ago, and started the previous season as the third string. It’s hard not to cheer for the guy. He went 93/156 on the season, completed 59.6% of his passes and had both 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, with a majority of that coming in the last 3 games of the year.
Peyton Bender is a name everyone needs to learn, however. In 2015 at Washington State, Peyton Bender was 53/91 for 498 yards with a 58% completion rate. He had appearances in 5 games while only starting in one. He played 2016 at Itawamba Community College in Mississippi, before coming to Lawrence for the Spring.
After watching the spring game, it appeared that Bender had the better day. I understand this isn’t an accurate representation of how the season will go, but I saw a lot of things I liked. Also, it’s no secret that Bender had the better receivers on his side, which will help quite a bit.
Carter Stanley didn’t have as good of a showing, but I still liked what I saw. While watching him in the Iowa State game last season, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Reesing. He’s small, likes to run, and has no problem lowering his shoulder and going straight for a defender. He’s fearless. It was surprising to me though, that Stanley didn’t throw a TD once during the spring game. That’s a bit of a red flag.
If I had to guess right now, I would say that Bender will be our QB this season. He’s got an extra year of experience and has a better arm. I would like to see Stanley, but I think that the Jayhawk faithful will fall in love with Peyton Bender this year. No matter who plays, we have at least two seasons out of both, and I believe that is key. We need consistency, and we’re getting that. As long as Beaty can make a decision and stick with it, we may have our new QB to lead us back to being successful. We’ll keep an eye on both as practices start up soon, but no matter what, we should have every reason to be optimistic.