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Kansas Jayhawks RB/WR Tony Pierson producing in hybrid role


Dropped passes have been a major issue for Kansas through its first two games, including two such mistakes in its 23-14 loss at Rice on Saturday. Two days later, head coach Charlie Weis still didn't have an explanation for the problem.

"It's not consistent with what's happening in practice," Weis said Monday during the Big 12 conference call.

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Those errors could open the door to more touches for junior running back/wide receiver Tony Pierson. With the underrated James Sims entrenched as the feature back for the Jayhawks, Pierson was moved to a hybrid role to keep him involved in the offense.

As a sophomore, Pierson rushed for 760 yards and four touchdowns (6.5 yards per carry) and had 21 receptions for 291 yards and two touchdowns. He has been even more explosive to start this season. Pierson has six carries for 50 yards and leads the team with six receptions for 127 yards and one touchdown -- he's averaging 14.8 yards per touch.

Pierson had a 77-yard touchdown catch against the Owls, taking a short slant upfield for Kansas' longest pass play since 2007. That is the kind of productivity a struggling offense cannot overlook.

"Still figuring it out," Pierson told the Kansas City Star of his new duties. "It's only week two. So we're just gonna keep coming in and working at it."

Pierson (5-foot-10, 175 pounds) is part of the new all-purpose player class that is thriving across college football and spilling into the NFL.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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