The Kansas football team played its third consecutive game — and fourth overall this season — without starting quarterback Jalon Daniels on Saturday.
But after the Jayhawks’ 39-32 loss at Oklahoma State, KU coach Lance Leipold offered a hint of optimism about Daniels’ potential return as the team prepared to head into its bye week.
Asked if Daniels’ presence on the Kansas sideline on Saturday provided any added hope that the KU starter could return in two weeks when the Jayhawks take the field again, Leipold said simply, “I’ve got great hope. I’ve got great hope.”
“We’ve said that from the first time (we discussed this),” Leipold added. “It’s kind of like last year’s deal, OK? He wasn’t out for the season (then) and no one’s told me that he’s out for the season this year.”
Battling what’s been deemed “back tightness” since preseason camp in August, Daniels missed the season opener against Missouri State and then started the next three games while leading the Jayhawks to wins over Illinois, Nevada and BYU.
But on the morning of the showdown with Texas in Austin, Daniels suffered a setback and the team found out less than an hour before kickoff that Jason Bean would start in Daniels’ place. KU lost that game and is now 1-2 in its last three after racing out to a 4-0 start for the second season in a row.
Daniels was not on the sideline for KU’s home win over UCF but was on the sideline, wearing a headset, during Saturday’s loss at Oklahoma State. Before the game, Daniels was seen in street clothes moving in what could only be described as normal fashion.
“You can see him moving a lot better than he has been,” Leipold said of Daniels, with KU AD Travis Goff nodding in agreement as Leipold uttered those words. “So, hope? Yeah, I have no reason not to. We’ll see what next week brings and then, as we head into that Oklahoma week, (take a look at) where he’s at.”
KU (5-2 overall, 2-2 Big 12) is off this week and will return to action against the Sooners on Oct. 28 at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, with or without Daniels under center.
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