LAWRENCE — Les Miles gave two prognoses Wednesday for injured Kansas football quarterback Jalon Daniels.
The first, a look into the more immediate future for the freshman, wasn’t encouraging.
"We expect that it might take him a bit to get back," Miles said during his weekly radio program.
But Miles went on, insistent on also offering a sunnier long-term evaluation of Daniels.
"We enjoy him. He’s going to be a future for us," Miles continued. "He’s a guy that can throw the football, a guy that can run the football. So we know what we’ve got there and we can’t wait to get him back."
Quarterback play has arguably been the biggest ailment for the winless Jayhawks.
Daniels, junior Miles Kendrick and senior Thomas MacVittie have all shared snaps at the position, and the results haven't been pretty — out of 74 qualifying programs, KU (0-3, 0-2 Big 12) ranks 66th in passing offense (146.7 yards per game), 70th in passing yards per attempt (4.8) and dead last in passing yards per completion (8.15).
KU’s offense ranks 67th in yards per game (296) and 70th in points per game (14.7).
And the Jayhawks are still on the hunt for a full-time quarterback.
"We’re going to compete," Miles said. "We’re going to turn and find a guy and we’re going to walk him on the field and he’s going to compete for us."
Daniels doesn’t appear to be an option for that role, at least for the time being.
The 6-foot, 200-pound former three-star recruit suffered an apparent foot injury in the first half of last Saturday’s 47-7 defeat to then-No. 17 Oklahoma State and didn’t return — Daniels was spotted on the sideline in a walking boot late in the contest. After starting and playing the entirety of the Jayhawks’ 47-14 defeat at Baylor, Daniels struggled to find traction against the Cowboys, finishing 3-for-5 passing for 2 yards.
The KU offense went three-and-out on its first three possessions and punted on its fourth, Daniels’ final appearance.
Despite the apparent long-term nature of his injury, Daniels will "absolutely" return this season, said Miles, who added the freshman is "a special player" and an individual whose return will "escalate" the competition in the quarterback room.
Kendrick, who traded possessions with MacVittie in Game 1 until the latter suffered a shoulder injury, couldn't get the KU offense going against OSU, finishing 11-for-19 passing for 90 yards and an interception. Kendrick and Daniels were sacked four times by the Cowboys and oversaw a Jayhawk offense that went 1 for 14 on third downs.
"Everybody has to look within ourselves individually, see what we need to do," Kendrick said Saturday. "Every day we need to work on individually getting better each and every day, coming together as an offense, finding our identity — what do we do well and what are we going to take advantage of week to week — and keep moving forward."
MacVittie was 5-for-9 passing for 20 yards with a hard-luck interception in his team's 38-23 defeat to Coastal Carolina on Sept. 12, also rushing six times for 37 yards. Miles estimated last Saturday that MacVittie is about "a week away" from returning.
"(MacVittie) wants to be back in. He’s pushing the envelope. He’s healing. It’s a shoulder," Miles said Wednesday. "But he’s a special young guy. He sees his future, wants to compete, has a nick but he’s going to take care of it. I’m for him."
Miles has expressed optimism that MacVittie could be available for the team’s next game, an 11 a.m. Oct. 17 matchup at West Virginia, but if he isn’t, look for an extended run for Kendrick — and perhaps a look at a newcomer to the picture.
"(Junior) Miles Fallin had a really wonderful practice," Miles said. "I mean he’s 6-(foot)-5 and ready, very bright and capable."
Kendrick, who acknowledged that he "needs to be better," said it’s no secret what Miles and offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon are seeking in their quest for a long-term answer at the sport’s most important position.
"Leadership, execution, toughness, playmaking ability — just all the qualities that you look for in a quarterback," Kendrick responded. "I feel like that’s what they’re looking for, and whoever brings it to the table is going to be the guy that gets the majority of the reps moving forward."