Big challenges today for MHS spikers, kickers

By Steve Sell
September 16, 2014

Tuesday's tidbits...

• BIG MATCHES TODAY FOR MHS SPIKERS — McPherson High's volleyball team has spent the past two weeks taking apart the light lifting on its schedule.

Today, however, it will need to do some heavy lifting.

The Bullpups, who have enjoyed all the comforts of home the last two Tuesdays in padding their record to 9-1, will know exactly where they stand on the state scene today when they go to Andale, with Rose Hill the third team in the triangular.

Andale is ranked No. 2 in Class 4A Division II, though we've seen that very little separates Division I and Division II. Rose Hill has been MHS' chief tormentor the past couple of years and is ranked just ahead of the Bullpups in the Class 4A Division I poll.

We're still early in the season and all teams are still trying to find their way. The Bullpups have benefitted from playing teams like Wellington, Mulvane, Buhler and El Dorado, but I'm sure they're anxious to take a step up in competition. Matches like the ones today enhances a team's strengths and exposes their weaknesses.

Should the Bullpups come away with a sweep, it would go along way toward building confidence.

• KICKERS IN WINFIELD — McPherson High and Winfield have built up a nice soccer rivalry over the past few years.

These two AVCTL Division III powers meet today in Winfield, with the winner the most likely to challenge Rose Hill for league supremacy.

The Bullpups are playing their sixth straight road game. They play seven of their final 10 at home.

MHS coach Chris Adrian has been relatively pleased with his retooled team, which basically has been turned over after the graduation of nine seniors. The Bullpups won two of three matches in the Maize South Invitational, though Adrian thought they were as good as any team there.

Patrick Munsey made the All-Tournament Team and probably should have been joined by Andric McGill, who somehow was bypassed despite scoring five goals in the final two games.

When McPherson hosted this tournament for many years before Maize South assumed control, I saw how the coaches turned in their ballots. Many of them didn't even see half the teams in the field and just guessed.

Hopefully MHS will have a good turnout on Thursday for its home opener against Salina South.

• WEIS IN BIG TROUBLE — University of Kansas sports fans spend half their time in the penthouse and half their time in the outhouse.

Unfortunately right now they’re residing in Reeksville.

I didn’t see the Jayhawks’ abysmal performance on Saturday at Duke, but being a KU alum it was probably for the best. From the deplorable snippets that were aired, it was like a high school team playing a college team, the ‘Hawks were that unprepared.

Things have gotten so dire in Lawrence that a local scribe wrote this week that it’s not this season that could determine coach Charlie Weis’ fate, but Saturday’s game against Central Michigan.

Wow. Would KU Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger really pull the plug on this latest failed football experiment in Lawrence? Weis has a 5-year contract and that’s a lot of greenbacks to swallow if he’s shown the door. Just when I thought the Turner Gill hire was the worst, Weis is surpassing that.

I was never a big fan of Weis’ hire. I lumped him in that group of coaches who have had their reputations inflated by the fact they were associated with New England quarterback Tom Brady. His play has made a lot of coaches millions and earned them employment at a lot of high-profile jobs that they probably weren’t qualified for.

I just don’t understand it. How can KU year-after-year be the blueprint program of college basketball and get it so wrong in football? It has had a minimal amount of success, but it has been so ever fleeting.

Never, though, has the program bottomed out to this level. There truly is no way to go but up. The season-opening victory is going to be it. KU isn’t within light-years of the rest of the teams in the Big 12 and don’t expect it to beat Central Michigan on Saturday. Memorial Stadium is going to resemble a ghost town on Saturday, and then the rest of the games there will feel like road games since the opponent will have more supporters than the Jayhawks.

The talent level is atrocious and from what people have told me the Jayhawks were ill-prepared against Duke. Weis is supposed to be a quarterback guru, but it’s been that position that has hampered KU most in his brief stay. Dayne Crist was a bust. Jake Heaps was not any better. And now Montell Cozart is maybe the worst of all. 

Since the program cratered — about the time Mark Mangino left — KU’s defenses play like they don’t even belong on the field. Receivers run unbated, running backs can walk through holes big enough for semi trucks and forget about a pass rush. It’s painful to watch Hutchinson High grad Ben Heeney play his tail off week after week and basically play 1 against 11.

Somehow, Zenger has got to appeal to a big-time and proven coach’s desire to build a program from scratch. Because in reality, that’s where KU is. There’s nothing there and something would have to be built from the ground up.

• CHIEFS SHOW A PULSE — Unlike the Jayhawks, the Kansas City Chiefs actually showed a pulse on Sunday.

What was expected to be the most lopsided game of the day in the NFL turned in to one of those old AFL-type of games in terms of intensity.

The Chiefs were short-handed, yet won the game about everywhere except on the scoreboard. They had 75 plays to 46 for Denver, proving the best way to slow down the Broncos is by not letting them have the ball.

When Jamaal Charles went out early, gloom and doom was impending. But Knile Davis stepped in and showed he can be a quality NFL back. He rushed for 79 yards and two touchdowns and if Charles is out for a month or more that is expected, Fantasy Football owners will be running into each other trying to pick him up.

Kansas City's defense actually was quite porous as Denver moved the ball at will. But credit Alex Smith and the offense for melting much of the clock with their time-consuming drives.

The Chiefs' economic-driven decision to cut kicker Ryan Succop and keep pint-sized Cairo Santos is looking more and more regrettable. Like good-old-boy NFL coach Jerry Glanville used to say, "NFL stands for not for long." Santos has shown no power in his leg and his only two field goals have been downright ugly. Don't be surprised if the Chiefs have a new kicker before the month is over.