Kansas QBs Bender and Stanley compete for starting job

Publish date:

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) The quarterback position has been the definition of unstable for Kansas in recent years. Carter Stanley and Peyton Bender are trying to change that.

In coach David Beaty's two seasons leading the Jayhawks, five quarterbacks have lined up under center in what can best be described as a 24-game revolving door of signal-callers. Of the five, only two remain with the program: Keaton Perry and Stanley.

The other three - Ryan Willis, Deondre Ford and Montell Cozart - have all transferred away.

All three were starters at one point, but none were able to permanently pin down the job. Cozart was the first, Ford briefly followed and then Willis entered the picture.

That was all in Beaty's first five games. From that point on, for the most part, Cozart and Willis flip-flopped between the No. 1 and No. 2 spots on the depth chart. At the tail end of last season, Stanley stepped forward and seized the job from Cozart, finishing the year as the starter.

While Stanley improved in those final games, setting a new career high in yards with every start, Beaty hasn't announced he's retaining the starting job. He and junior college transfer Bender have found themselves in a tight competition for the starting gig.

In the spring game Saturday, Bender's Team Jayhawks came out victorious, 14-7, thanks largely to his superior play over his counterpart.

Bender completed 11 of 15 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns. With just under two minutes left in the game, he completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Daylon Charlot.

It was Charlot's third catch of the day.

''I think he (did) a great job, because we (were) kind of on the same page when he gave me the last signal, you know to run the slant route or whatever,'' Charlot said.

It was Bender's first game-setting appearance for the Jayhawks, and he was pleased with his showing.

''I thought I did fine, thought I did what I was supposed to do,'' Bender said. ''We kept the play calling fairly simple, so we weren't trying to get, you know, anything too complicated called in there. But I thought I made the most of every play call, and thought I did fine.''

Stanley finished 13-of-24 for 114 yards, with no touchdowns. He found wide receiver Kerr Johnson Jr. in the end zone early in the game, but the play was called back for a holding penalty.

While he knows his performance could have been better, Stanley is content with how he played.

''I think it was all right,'' Stanley said. ''I'll have to watch the film, just to see all the stuff, but I know I missed some throws, maybe missed some reads. But there were some positives about it.''

The team still has multiple practices left before the end of the spring campaign and Beaty has a decision to make. But as the battle between Bender and Stanley continues, Beaty sees the fire in his two quarterbacks and admires their competitiveness.

''Those guys have been looking forward to competing,'' Beaty said. ''They both want to win that job, and you can tell.''