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“We know we’re trying to replace a legend,” said Pick, who backed up Reesing last season. “Todd taught me so much. We still keep in touch. But I’m a competitor. I love to compete and I’m excited for the challenge.”

Even without Meier and Briscoe, the receiver corps will still offer much more experience than the quarterback position. Several pass-catchers who were on the receiving end of Reesing passes are back, including Jonathan Wilson, who had 35 catches for 449 yards, Bradley McDougald (33, 318) and Tim Biere (14, 183).

“We have six or seven different guys we feel very good about,” Gill said. “We have some guys that can make some plays. Jon Wilson has done some great things. He isn’t the fastest guy, but he has run some great routes. He has done an excellent job at catching the football. We have a solid receiving corps.”

Also back is sophomore running back Toben Opurum, who rushed for 554 yards and 13 touchdowns last year before injuries hobbled him in the final couple of weeks of the season. He was hampered throughout spring practice as well and did not have much opportunity to get acquainted with the new staff.

“What I did last year, that’s gone with everybody else,” Opurum said. “So I gotta show this new staff what I can do.”

Tharp’s loss will be a blow to a defense which could be lacking speed.

“I want to have a faster defense with more speed,” Gill said. “I am going to recruit more speed in all positions. We have some speed, but I want 14 or 15 guys that I can put on the football field that I know can run. I am not trying to knock my own football players or anything in the past, but ideally, I would like to see more speed.”

Kansas opens the season Sept. 4 at home against North Dakota State, followed by tough matchups against Georgia Tech and Southern Miss.