LAWRENCE — Kansas football followers and Carter Stanley both learned the identity of the Jayhawks’ next starting quarterback at roughly the same time Monday.
In fact, social media-savvy fans may have gotten the scoop before the signal caller himself.
“Now that I think about it, I don’t even know if I was told. I think I kind of saw it on Twitter or something,” said Stanley, who will start the Jayhawks’ 11 a.m. Saturday contest against No. 9 West Virginia in Morgantown, W.Va. “But no, it’s all good. I was going to take the same approach either way.”
Stanley completed 24 of 32 pass attempts for 247 yards and three touchdowns in the Jayhawks' 48-28 defeat last Saturday to Oklahoma State. It was the junior's first start of the season, though an effort KU coach David Beaty needed to review on film before making a decision for the starter against the Mountaineers.
It wasn’t a perfect performance, but Beaty saw enough to announce during Monday morning’s Big 12 coaches teleconference that Stanley would receive a second start.
“There are several things that we ask that position to do, this or this, and we missed a few of them,” Beaty said Tuesday. “We missed seven or eight that could have made a big difference in extending drives, and those are things that kind of go unseen sometimes until you look at that video. But the good thing is as he started feeling better, he started seeing it better and we started communicating with him on the sideline. He got way better at it, and we started moving the ball a little bit more."
Stanley, who battled an illness Saturday, said he’s “really fired up” to earn another opportunity, this time at a place with career significance.
His first extended time at quarterback came two years ago at West Virginia, where he entered in the third quarter of a blowout and completed 9 of 11 pass attempts for 127 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while also running four times for 34 yards in an eventual 48-21 defeat.
“I was fired up going into it just because that was my mom’s school and I had some dreams for sure of playing in that stadium,” Stanley said. “But just kind of the whole day I felt good about it."
The often self-critical Stanley said he has room to grow from last Saturday's performance, but there was at least one play not recorded in the stat book that appeared to embody his best attributes.
When wide receiver Steven Sims turned the other direction and ran back toward Stanley on a screen pass, the 6-foot-2 quarterback threw a block on a much larger defender that helped Sims get a few extra yards. It was a moment recognized by coaches in KU’s film review of the contest.
“I saw of course like their biggest dude on defense. I was like, ‘Jeez, here we go,’ ” Stanley said. “But no, honestly just tried to get in the way of him. It wasn’t necessarily a textbook block, but I just got in the way of him and luckily Steven was able to get some more yards out of it. ...
“It was a good effort. A good effort, but not the best technique.”
Sims had a season-high 10 receptions in that contest, a number the senior wide receiver said Stanley told him he was going to hit during pregame warmups.
Again though, Stanley sees room for improvement.
“I actually did tell him that,” Stanley said, “and honestly if I could’ve been better I could’ve gotten it to him like 15 (times).”
NO REDSHIRT FOR KENDRICK
Injured backup quarterback Miles Kendrick isn’t expected to be available for the Jayhawks (2-3, 0-2 Big 12) against WVU (4-0, 2-0), but Beaty isn't considering a redshirt for the sophomore.
Kendrick’s next appearance will be his fifth of the season, putting him past the four-game limit for redshirted players allowed under a first-year rule change.
“Not at all. We're not talking about redshirting anybody right now,” Beaty said. “We don't have enough full scholarship guys to consider that. Everybody is going to be eligible the entire way. We need everybody. We need everybody we got.”
Beaty later clarified the team may end up redshirting players, “but we're not trying to do that” intentionally, he added.
“Some of it will come as we move along through the season, and guys are just not quite prepared yet, right? But there is no plans to redshirt anyone,” Beaty said. “... We have 25 seniors, so we've got the ability, and most of those guys are playing, so it gives you the ability to let those others grow before they have to get thrown completely into the fire.
"We're not planning on it. Doesn't mean it won't happen, but we're not planning on it.”
DINEEN NATION’S TOP LINEBACKER
Through five weeks, no linebacker in the country grades higher than fifth-year senior Joe Dineen at advanced analysis outlet Pro Football Focus, the organization announced Tuesday in a breakdown of the top players nationally at every position.
A preseason All-Big 12 pick and the nation’s leader in solo tackles with 45, Dineen has an overall Pro Football Focus grade of 90.8 percent through Week 5.
“Dineen narrowly edged out a number of other linebackers and he’s done his best work in the run game where his 91.2 grade is tied for sixth in the country,” Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo wrote. “He ranks third in run-stop percentage at 17 (percent) and he’s missed only three tackles on the season. In the passing game, Dineen has added five pressures and he’s posted a solid 78.5 grade in coverage.”
A frequent favorite of Pro Football Focus’ weekly grading metrics, Dineen said he follows the outlet’s feedback of his performances.
“It’s cool to see kind of like a third-party grade and just see what they think,” Dineen said. “I have no idea how they grade it. It’s crazy how they get some of the grades that they do based on some of the games that I’ve played and stuff where I didn’t think I’ve played as well. But no, it’s definitely a cool thing and I’ll keep track of it.”
SAFETY THOMAS SUFFERS ‘SETBACK’
Sophomore safety Ricky Thomas will not be available against WVU. It will be his third straight missed contest following an undisclosed injury.
“Hopefully we can get him back,” Beaty said. “We got a bye week coming up, we're hoping to get him back after that. Tough kid, working hard through it but suffered a pretty significant setback, so hopefully we can get him back. He can be helpful.”