Just a few days before Kansas takes the field to kick off its 2019 campaign, coach Les Miles stood in front of a crowded room inside Johnny’s Tavern in Lawrence. As curiosity of the unknown hovers around the Jayhawk faithful, the anticipation of Saturday has created a sense of excitement among the community.
Suffering through 10 consecutive losing seasons and nine straight years with three wins or less, the breath of fresh air in Miles has not only grabbed the attention of longtime fans but of the nation as well.
Sitting next to the play-by-play voice of the Jayhawks Brian Hanni, Miles had his chance to address the fans for the final time before the season. Trying to entertain the public and be reserved at the same time, Miles broke down how the offense is shaping up as Kansas inches toward week one.
“The offense has a receiving core that’s really pretty talented,” Miles said. “[Andrew] Parchment is a guy that can go and take the top off the coverage and make big plays.”
Parchment is a junior wide receiver transfer from Iowa Central Community College — the same program junior wideout Ezra Naylor II was recruited from. Both in their first years with Kansas, Parchment was listed as a starter on the depth chart while Naylor will be used as depth.
On the topic of quarterback, which is perhaps the biggest question mark, Miles delivered the same message he gave the media on the controversy.
“With the quarterback position, everyone wants to know,” Miles said. “Well, we’re going to find that out after the game. We’re going to tell you guys after the game and as soon as you get it, that’s when we will get it.”
Similar to past seasons, the inability to select a starting quarterback for week one has caused some speculation. In certain cases, it’s to have the opponent prepare for two quarterbacks on film. In other instances, it’s because your first stringer is not far off in talent from the backup. Although there wasn’t a clear cut No. 1 to pick from, the decision will either come down to the “safe” bet in senior Carter Stanley and the “risk” pick in junior Thomas MacVittie.
This has more to do with what we know rather than their abilities. Stanley has played in 25 games at the Division I level. Therefore, you know what his capabilities are going to be. For MacVittie, he appeared in three games on special teams in 2016 at Pittsburgh. How he fairs after a year at JUCO will be answered on Saturday. But aside from the uncertainty, Miles believes all of that will change by 11:00.
“There’s a specific thing,” Miles said. “You bring them behind the line and then as a group together, we are going to cross that line. We’re going to take all the distractions, girlfriend, mom, bad grade, or whatever it is, and we are going to put it on the sideline and play as a team. And that’s the exciting thing about it.”
Saturday will see the fifth coach Kansas has employed since 2009 (Turner Gill 2010-2011, Charlie Weis 2012-2014, Clint Bowen 2014, David Beaty 2015-2018). Among all the publicity and optimism, the doubt of if Miles is in over his head will be determined. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. at David Booth Memorial Stadium.