LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Montell Cozart was named the starter in the spring to settle the most important position at Kansas. Now, five games into the season, interim head coach Clint Bowen has exactly what helped to get Charlie Weis fired: problems at quarterback.
It’s not set in stone as to who is going to get the nod Saturday when Kansas returns home to face No. 16 Oklahoma State. Cozart has been getting equal practice reps with Michael Cummings and T.J. Millweard, both of whom played last week at West Virginia.
“We have great lines of communication with all three of the young men and explain to them that — and they understand that — they’re all in this to win, too,” said Bowen, who lost his first game as interim coach, 33-14 to the Mountaineers. “Everyone is pulling in the same direction here as a team to do whatever we can to go out and win football games.”
Cozart was just 4 of 10 for 42 yards against West Virginia, 30 of which came on one pass to Nigel King. Cozart didn’t get the job done on the run, either, with seven carries for five yards.
Bowen and his coaching staff decided to sit Cozart at halftime and give Cummings, his backup, a shot. Cummings played better than Cozart, but not by much, going 8 of 17 for 65 yards. He lost four yards on five carries.
In the fourth quarter, Cummings was pulled and Millweard given some snaps. He mostly handed the ball off to running back Corey Avery, but completed his only pass for four yards.
Last weekend wasn’t the first time Cozart has failed to deliver.
He threw four interceptions the previous week against Texas — six if you count plays that were called back due to penalties. He was sacked four times in that game.
Earlier in the season, he was 11 of 27 for 89 yards in a loss at Duke.
Cozart has already thrown seven picks, putting him on pace to throw 17 if he remains the starter. His completion percent of 49.6 is far below what the Jayhawks (2-3, 0-2 Big 12) had expected.
Questions have been looming as to why Millweard didn’t see any playing time before the fifth game of the season. Bowen said that Weis and his crew’s offensive plan worked well with Cozart and Cummings, who have an ability to run the ball, and not so much Millweard, who is more of a drop-back passer.
He may get a chance to prove himself against Oklahoma State (4-1, 2-0).
“I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m not as athletic as Montell or Mike out there,” Millweard said. “I believe in my abilities to be able to run. I’m not going to go break it for 75 yards or anything like that, but I believe I can pick up the first down. If I need to I can lower the shoulder and get the first down for us.”
Even though Cozart’s season has been an up-and-down roller coaster, he remains the most likely to be under center on Saturday. Just how long he stays there remains to be seen.
“All three quarterbacks will get opportunities to go out there and perform and prepare to play,” Bowen said. “We’ll see which ones are handling the parts of the offense that they can control and are best making the decisions that need to be made. Toward the end of the week we’ll make a decision on who’s going to play, if not all three of them.”
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