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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Quarterback turned receiver perserveres through three head coaches

  • Kale Pick has gone through all the twists and turns and ups and downs of a human roller coaster during his four-year stint with the Kansas Jayhawks.
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  • Kale Pick has gone through all the twists and turns and ups and downs of a human roller coaster during his four-year stint with the Kansas Jayhawks.
    Groomed to be a starting quarterback for the Jayhawks, it taken away from him after only one start at the position. Instead of sulking, Pick turned the negative into a positive by becoming one of the top receivers the past two seasons for the Big 12 squad.
    Add to that having to deal with changes among the program's coaching twice during his four-plus year stay showed one thing about the kid.
    But it's best to let him say it in his own words.
    "I don't even know if I could come up with one word, but it probably sums up the passion I've had for the game," Pick said. "I've always loved football and kept up with the hard work. All of us seniors have had to go through a lot of hard work and dedication to go through this program and the three coaching staffs."
    Pick and the other seniors prepare for Saturday night's Big 12 home contest against Iowa State, the last time they will wear the blue jerseys on the field as competitors.
    "I'm pretty excited. It's kind of crazy to how time has went by, but I'm looking forward to it," Pick said.
    Pick said he had positives with each coaching staff, but that the situation with current Jayhawks head coach is unique. Although it hasn't shown in wins on the scoreboard, it has brought what seems to be the foundation of future success in the program.
    "Many of the coaches brought in players who they had recruited before, but they treated everyone as if they recruited each of us as their own," Pick said. "This coaching staff showed their dedication to the game and how many hours they put in to try to turn this program around."
    With his desire to one day be a collegiate coach, Pick admits he has been studying what coaches do in certain situations and how he plans on taking some of what he has seen to building his style of coaching on the field.
    "With three coaching staffs, there was a lot I picked up along the way," he said. "There were things I enjoyed and I was interested in when it comes to being a coach. There were other things I didn't agree with. I think dealing with the coaching staff has helped me in the long run when I am through with football as a player.
    "The experiences that I have had on the field and off the field has definitely helped."
    Pick said his character as a player comes two-fold when it comes to his collegiate career. Many could have thrown in the towel and just sit on the sidelines for the final two years of his career.
    Page 2 of 2 - Instead, when Pick realized that his days as a quarterback for the Jayhawks were over after the release of Frank Mangino and the hiring of Turner Gill — who brought along a different set of schemes that wouldn't fit the type of quarterback Pick had grown up being — the quarterback just moved his passion over to the other side of the passing equation to catching the ball.
    In 2011, Pick was second in receiving and yardage for the Jayhawks. This year, going into Saturday night's game against the Cyclones, Pick is leading the team in both categories.
    "That kind of came along with the different coaching staffs," Pick said. "Mangino and his staff told me they were going to move the offense towards my strengths and how I was going to be the next guy in line, then a new staff came and they might have pulled the trigger a little quick and asked me to move to receiver.
    "I just stuck with it and being a receiver kind of became natural to me. I'm really glad I kept working on it and improving every day. I would have never guessed when I came to Kansas that I'd be on my 25th start as a receiver coming into my last home game as a senior."
    The other part of where his character came from was from the constant work and support Pick got from his family.
    Pick was in third grade playing pee-wee football as quarterback against players who were fifth and sixth graders. His father, Mark, was Kale's coach and his mother, Janna, was always filming the games from the sidelines.
    After the games, Kale and Mark would go and watch the game and discuss how the younger Pick could see where he was doing well and what mistakes he was making to help him become better as a quarterback.
    That helped Pick as he grew into a starting quarterback for the Dodge City Red Demons. Pick still holds a number of DCHS passing records he broke during his junior season, despite playing only one half of the first game and the final game of his senior season.
    "My father has been my biggest influence by far when it comes to football," Pick said. "We still continue to discuss what I'm doing in college when we have the time."
    The only thing that the Pick men aren't completely on the same side comes one final time Saturday. Mark Pick spent his college playing days as a member of Iowa State, so there is a little fun-hearted trash talking going on between the father and son.
    "Every year when we play Iowa State, I give him a little talk either Sunday or Monday and that we are going to beat the Cyclones," Pick said. "I think it's probably me doing most of the smack talking because he wants the best for me. I know he'd rather see us come out of the win Saturday."

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