Football Practice

Kansas football coach Les Miles is in his first year with the program.

Analysis

Gearing up for year one under coach Les Miles, Kansas football has plenty to unearth in the coming weeks. 

Slated to take on Indiana State Aug. 31, the 2019 season opener will be the first glimpse of what changes have been made over the last six months.

Similar to every year, preseason camp will be the deciding factor in selecting the Jayhawks' starting quarterback.

The ongoing battle between senior quarterback Carter Stanley and junior transfer Thomas MacVittie has yet to see considerable separation.

For Stanley, his career 58.8 completion percentage and 13 touchdowns to his 14 interceptions doesn't present itself as a strong argument to be the starter. However, starting in two games last season, he does have the upper hand on MacVittie in terms of experience in Big 12 play.

In the case of MacVittie, ranked No. 2 pro-style quarterback by JCGridiron.com, his ties to Miles could lead to his selection as starter. Throwing for 1064 yards and 16 touchdowns in six games with Mesa Community College last season, the 6'5 junior's upside is certainly intriguing.

Recruited out of high school by Miles, MacVittie decided to go to Pittsburgh. After red-shirting in 2016 and appearing in only three games on special teams in 2017, he transferred to Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona. If Miles goes with MacVittie as his number one, it would be the third straight year a JUCO quarterback started the opener.

According to the Lawrence Journal World, Miles said he'll let the decision to appoint a starter happen naturally.

The other question would seem to be how well the defense replaces the void left in the linebacker position. Losing Joe Dineen Jr. and Keith Loneker Jr. to graduation, Kansas will shift red-shirt senior Denzel Feaster and junior Dru Prox to first stringers in 2019.

Feaster appeared in 12 games at linebacker and was credited for eight tackles, including six solo. He also recorded one tackle for a loss and one fumble recovery last season. Prox, a native of Kaufman, Texas, played in 12 games on special teams and tallied one tackle against TCU. With inexperience apparent, the Jayhawks may rely heavily on senior safety Bryce Torneden to call shots from the secondary.

Miles said he immediately saw Torneden as a leader, and has made efforts to include him further in team decisions, the Journal World reported. .

For a defense that ranked sixth in total defense in the conference, eighth in rushing defense, ninth in pass defense efficiency, and fifth in pass defense, new defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot will have his work cut out for him against perhaps the most high-powered offenses in the nation.

A lot will be decided in the next week, but for now, the unknown swirls around the Jayhawks just 17 days before game one of a new era on. Kansas kicks off against Indiana State Aug. 31.