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Original Issue


The organizers of the X Games might be wise to add Jayhawk
Football to their extreme-sports event. In the nine months since
Kansas last played a home game, the Jayhawks program has lived
life on the edge.

It all started in December when head coach Glen Mason, the Big
Eight's coach of the year after a surprising 10-2 finish and a
No. 9 final ranking, announced he was leaving for Georgia, then
changed his mind a week later. But things were just getting
interesting. The Jayhawks' annual quarterback shuffle was
interrupted when Ben Rutz tore the anterior cruciate ligament in
his left knee in spring drills. (As a freshman at Nebraska in
1993, Rutz tore the ACL in his right knee.) He resumed workouts
with his Kansas teammates earlier this month and is expected to
start in the season opener. If he can't go, the Jayhawks will
have to use inexperienced junior Matt Johner to control an
offense that averaged only 186 passing yards per game last season.

Meanwhile, Isaac Byrd, who led Kansas receivers with 48 catches
for 604 yards and Jayhawks batters with a .321 average, kept the
football staff in knots by waiting until late June before
deciding to pass on a full-time pro baseball career.

The worst may be yet to come, though. As a final element of
danger, Kansas warms up for back-to-back games against Colorado
and Nebraska in October by going 43 days between its first two
home games.

Now that's extreme, dude.


COLOR PHOTO: DAVID E. KLUTHO It will be hard for June Henley and Kansas to catch foes off guard this year.