By Andrew Curtis
We’re only one-third of the way into the 2012 football season, and Kansas finds itself in the same position as it has for the past few years: hopeless, with a long season ahead.
This KU team appears to have improved in most facets (mostly on the defensive side), but it hasn’t shown in the win column. The Jayhawks might be more competitive against superior teams this season, but moral victories aren’t good enough in college football.
A main reason for the Jayhawks getting off to a 1-3 start is the subpar play of senior transfer Dayne Crist at quarterback. Crist has only completed 48 percent of his passes, with just 763 yards in 4 games with two touchdowns and four interceptions.
For those of you who followed the previous game at Northern Illinois, you probably recall KU using the “Jayhawk” formation, with receiver Christian Matthews behind center in the shotgun. The offense was much more effective with Matthews, a former quarterback who is a run-pass option, in there.
Most say that Crist is still an upgrade over Jordan Webb, who opted to flee to Colorado, where he somehow managed to win the starting job. I agree with that.
Crist’s leadership, solid arm, relationship with Charlie Weis, knowledge of the offense, presence on the field and his size are substantial improvements to the position. This Kansas team wouldn’t be any better off with Webb taking snaps.
The fact of the matter is that we need to lower our expectations of Crist. It was unfair for a fanbase not accustomed to winning the past few years to expect the guy to come in and work miracles. Crist has been overhyped since high school, where he was a hot shot 5-star recruit.
He has never lived up to these unrealistic expectations due to injuries and coaching changes. Now that he’s earned his shot, he has yet to make it work out. You can sit here and point fingers at the talent around him not being all that great at KU, which is true, but I’m not buying any excuses.
I’m not saying that Crist is worlds away from being a good quarterback for this football team, I’m just urging Jayhawk Nation to temper their expectations and take the good with the bad when it comes to Crist.
After all, this his final season of eligibility, with Jake Heaps waiting in the wings to take his job next season. At the very least, Crist could use his experience and become a valuable mentor for the ever-so-talented Heaps so he’s ready to step in next year.
Another key for Jayhawk fans is to be patient with Crist. It’s a long season ahead and Kansas doesn’t have any other legitimate options at quarterback. He will at least get marginally better as the season progresses.
Crist has had a rough going in his college career, and there wouldn’t be a better way for him to go out than by helping KU to upset a couple Big 12 teams. He’s a great kid and deserves some good fortune.
Everyone knows that quarterback is the most important position in the game, and until Crist starts to play better, it’s going to be a long first season for Charlie Weis in Lawrence.