LAWRENCE (AP) — Like father, like son? Deshaun Sands can only hope.
The Kansas freshman knows if he’s going to follow in his father’s footsteps, he’d better step lively and he’d better step fast. In the Jayhawks’ game against archrival Missouri back in 1991, ol’ dad carried the ball an NCAA-record 58 times for 396 yards — No. 2 in NCAA annals.
Now Deshaun is ready to begin his own career as a Jayhawk running back, beginning Saturday night in the season opener against North Dakota State. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.
The elder Sands was an undersized running back for the Jayhawks from 1988-91 and he’ll be in the stands watching on Saturday as his son begins his career. He earned the nickname “Tuxedo” by showing up for games in formal attire.
“Man, I just get goose bumps thinking about it,” said Deshaun. “I’m going to be out in front of 50,000 fans, my first time, I’m just nervous.”
Deshaun will likely split playing time with sixth-year senior Angus Quigley, who is back atop the depth chart after playing linebacker this season. Kansas’ leading rusher from 2009, sophomore Toben Opurum, switched to linebacker in mid-August and the Jayhawks lost junior running back Rell Lewis to a season-ending injury around the same time.
The openings in the depth chart gave the younger Sands a shot at a larger role in the offense.
The differences between Quigley and Sands are obvious. At 6-foot-1, 231 pounds, Quigley is a big, powerful back. Deshaun is built more like his dad at 5-foot-7, 190 pounds.
“They’re different backs, there’s no question about that as far as their style of running,” coach Turner Gill said. “I think we want to get a sense on the field for both of them in a football game.”
Deshaun compares his style to his father’s — quick and low to the ground.
“I play a lot like him,” Deshaun said. “We don’t have the same attributes, but you can see on the film that he played a lot like me. He was able to get through the holes and find space to move.”
Gill said nothing about using Quigley and Sands in specific situations. In practice, they’ve both gotten the same repetitions on the same plays.
Besides the contrast in style, Quigley and Deshaun Sands have had different mentalities through practice, senior offensive lineman Brad Thorson said. Quigley, a team captain in his sixth year, has been focused on developing the team as a whole while Sands came into camp trying to prove he deserved a spot near the top of the depth chart.