Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Derek McGinnis Strives to Be More Consistent in Washburn Offense

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Derek McGinnis Strives to Be More Consistent in Washburn Offense

Article excerpt

Pittsburg State was ranked No. 4 in Division II football, playing in the shadow of its 40-foot inflatable gorilla and entertaining fans with their Jungletron.

Basically it was a typical football Saturday in southeast Kansas when Washburn visited last season.

Derek McGinnis, the Ichabods' transfer quarterback was unaffected. He connected on 23 of 38 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns to engineer a 28-21 upset.

"We've seen his best game. He was on fire," recalled Pitt State coach Tim Beck.

Unfortunately for McGinnis, the hot touch could not be sustained. He completed fewer than 50 percent of his pass attempts (188 for 378) and the Ichabods finished 5-6.

With McGinnis returning for his senior season, Beck offered an encouraging perspective.

"If you're going to have success in this conference," he said, "a lot of times it's when a quarterback is back who's had a year in the MIAA. It helps physically and mentally."

No great secret there. Still, Washburn should benefit from the inconsistency McGinnis experienced after transferring from FCS powerhouse North Dakota State. He passed for 2,409 yards, with 26 touchdowns offset by 13 interceptions.

"I was up and down and I've worked on that this summer, especially on completing more passes and limiting turnovers, putting our team in position to win more ballgames," McGinnis said.

"I feel like I tried to make something out of nothing too much and it ends up being worse than it should have been. That's where I got in trouble.''

The flaws were not entirely attributable to McGinnis. Inexperienced receivers also made mistakes.

The group worked on timing throughout the summer, including several seven-on-seven sessions, and returns virtually intact. The Bods' leading receiver, 5-foot-9 Bryce Chavis of Riley, caught 51 balls for 759 yards and eight TDs.

"There were a few plays where if the receiver had done his job, it wouldn't have looked so bad,'' said WU coach Craig Schurig.

Usually the mistakes McGinnis made were not because he misread plays. Instead, he sometimes needed to chuck the football out of bounds rather than over-extend a play into a nice gain. …

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