Despite Loss to Wildcats, Pick Enjoys Career Day

Oct. 23, 2011

In the 109th edition of the Sunflower Showdown, one native Kansan had a career day for the Kansas Jayhawks. Dodge City product Kale Pick hauled in a personal-best six receptions against Kansas State Saturday in a game he circled when the schedule was first released.

“I was looking forward to this game for a long time,” said Pick, whose 51 yards were only four shy of a career-high in that category as well. “Growing up in Kansas, you always watch these two teams play. It’s definitely a big rivalry game. I’m glad I came out and played well against these guys. It’s just too bad that we didn’t get the win.”

Pick, who was recruited by Kansas as an all-state dual-threat quarterback, started at that position in the 2010 season opener. However, after missing some time with a leg injury, Pick switched to wide receiver midway through the year and returned for the final two games to make three catches for a total of 18 yards.

Following the end of the 2010 season, Pick focused on developing his receiving skills and learning the nuances of the position throughout spring practices and the summer. Pick said that once he made the in-season switch, he was fully committed to his new role and that co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers’ coach David Beaty deserved a lot of the credit for his progress.

“From day one, I’ve been focusing on being a receiver and what I can do to help this team,” said Pick. “Coach Beaty is a great coach. He’s helped me out tremendously just by teaching me the fundamentals of the game at wide receiver, technique and how to get better with certain drills that help you in the game, like getting out of your breaks, doing cone drills, ladder drills and different ball-catching drills. Having good fundamentals in the game will make you have a good game overall.”

One great example of Pick’s development in route-running came on KU’s first possession when sophomore quarterback Jordan Webb completed a 13-yard pass to him on a 3rd-and-2 to keep the Jayhawks’ opening drive going.

“I came out of my corner route and broke the safety off,” said Pick, who had two catches of 10 yards or more in the game. “Jordan threw a good pass, and I went up and got it. It kept the chains moving, and that was good for our offense early.”

Webb said that Pick has become a reliable target, especially on third down, and that he has the chance to follow the path of a former KU quarterback who switched to receiver.

“Kale finds a way to get open,” said Webb, who completed 75 percent of his passes Saturday for 169 yards and a touchdown. “That’s something you need on third down. He’s strong, has great hands and has a knack for making plays. He’s developing really well. It’s definitely not an easy transition. We’ve had some success here with Kerry Meier, and I think Kale can be that same type of player. I think he’s really going to excel.”

Offensive coordinator Chuck Long agrees that as Pick continues to hone his skills, he has a lot of potential going forward in his Jayhawk career.

“He’s getting better and better,” said Long. “He’s playing with a lot more confidence now. I thought he played well today. He just needs to keep working and refining his routes. I think Jordan and Kale have a pretty good combination going.”

Whether or not Pick will continue to work and refine his routes is something that Long doesn’t have to worry too much about with Pick’s work ethic. Pick takes great pride in preparing for each game and getting better each day.

“You have to be totally dedicated to keep improving,” said Pick, who has 19 catches for 203 yards and two touchdowns this season. “I try to get better every day and make plays for our offense to have an opportunity to win. You have to work on it every day, whether you’ve been a receiver for 10 years or just for one year. I come in every day, pick out a few things that I can improve on, try to improve on those and get my game better overall.”

Kale Pick and the Kansas Jayhawks will travel to Austin, Texas, next Saturday to play the Texas Longhorns in the first of two straight road contests. The game, which will be broadcast statewide on the Jayhawk Television Network, will kick off at 6 p.m.