McCarthy: It’s a new season and new Kansas football team

There are a lot of changes surrounding the Kansas football team. New coaching staff. New approach in practice. New commercials on television motivating people to show up at Memorial Stadium on Saturdays.

It’s a fresh start for the Jayhawks. But even with all the changes, there’s also veteran players who will lead the team, especially in the large group of wide receivers.

Kansas is relying on three senior wide receivers to lead the way – all with different skill sets.

Daymond Patterson desperately wants to make the most out of his senior season after a groin injury sidelined him last fall.

Patterson made all kinds of changes in his time in Lawrence. He’s switched from cornerback to receiver, had three different coaches and now he is in his peak physical condition to make an impact.

Then there’s Kale Pick, a player who came to Kansas hoping to compete for quarterback position. He’s had some injuries, but now he is a senior and one of the more consistent workers at practice.

During training camp, coach Charlie Weis said Pick has had the best camp of all the players.

Pick is never going to wow you, but he’s sure handed and reliable, something that is always needed at the receiver position.

The third senior is D.J. Beshears, the man whose speed separates himself from the rest of the talented group.

He’s mainly known for leading the Big 12 with 1,014 kick return yards, but he’s also always a threat to break a play open on the offensive side.

Junior Christian Matthews has shown spurts of good play during spring games, but never put together a complete season.

Kansas also has sophomore Andrew Turzilli and junior Chris Omigie, who are both tall players that will contend for playing time.

These are a handful of the returning players that have an opportunity to make an impact, but there are new faces moving up the ranks as well.

Junior Josh Ford, a transfer from Arizona Western Community College, looks to be a down field threat for the Jayhawks. He has speed to stretch the field, but must fine-tune the basic skills in order to fight for playing time.

Finally there’s freshman Tre’ Parmalee, who’s had an impressive spring and now might be vying for snaps on the field.

The roster has 13 wide receivers listed on it, but at this point it’s anyone’s guess at who will receive the majority of the touches.

This could be a problem, but it could also make difference when opponents have to prepare for Kansas.
There are so many options that it will be hard for anyone to keep track this year.

With the receivers, it’s a lot like the rest of the Kansas squad – a lot of old and a lot of new, but in the end results are what people will be happy with.

—  Edited by Lauren Shelley, originally published Tuesday, August 21, in the University Daily Kansan

McCarthy: This year Bracket hype in full force

I’ve seen more bracket challenges, bashes and insanities the last week than I can ever remember from past tournaments.

Most publications in the country are trying to draw more attention to their work by sticking a bracket on any advertising space.

But the most important things get lost in all of this, because we hype it too much. I just hope people enjoy what the tournament is really all about.

Such as watching a player on a mid-major team hit a buzzer-beating upset shot and dive on the ground, waiting for the rest of his teammates to jump on top of him.

Pure, unprocessed emotion.

That’s one of the things that the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament offers that no other sporting event can.

These are my favorite sports days on the calendar. I sit down with a bag full of Chex-Mix and a case of Coca-Cola and watch 12 straight hours of basketball for four days.

The first weekend of the tournament is the greatest weekend of the year, because you honestly don’t know what’s going to happen.

The experts can talk and you can fill out a bracket, but by the end of this weekend, you’ll stare at your bracket and realize all it’s littered in red marks. (Or maybe you already tore it up and threw it away.) But by Sunday night, you’ll say to yourself, “Man, that was a great weekend.”

Now for the real question that’s on everyone’s mind.

Will the Jayhawks run into similar problems in past first rounds today against Detroit?

Many people have overanalyzed the Detroit matchup mainly because the media and fans have had nothing better to do all week.

Here’s the honest truth: Since there’s even been a sliver of a doubt about the Jayhawks winning this game, they’re going to win this game. Self will have them motivated, and the team will win.

I see this game playing out a lot like a game I remember from Kansas’ 2001-2002 run to the Final Four.The Jayhawks were matched up against Holy Cross, a No. 16 seed at the time.

I remember watching this game in my living room with my family and being scared to death that Kansas would be the first team to lose as a No. 1 seed.

The Crusaders even led the Jayhawks in the second half of the game at one point.

Eventually, the Jayhawks prevailed, led by Drew Gooden with 19 points and 13 rebounds, including an exclamation-point dunk at the end of the game, in the 70-59 victory against Holy Cross.

What I’m trying to say is this: Don’t be surprised if the Jayhawks struggle a little bit tonight. But they’re still not going to lose this game.

—  Edited by Anna Allen, originally published, Thursday March 15, in the University Daily Kansan