Make no mistake - this is an important time of year for Kansas University football.
Consider the Jayhawks' late-season run in 2005. Four victories in their last five games. A comeback victory against Iowa State. Complete-game pastings of Nebraska and Houston. A late-game surge against Missouri.
Think an out-of-shape team could have such late-game heroics that late in the season?
KU strength coach Chris Dawson knows the answer. He's just glad the offseason conditioning program KU currently is going through has past results he can point to.
"I think it certainly builds a lot of kids' confidence going into the offseason with spring ball coming up," Dawson said. "It not only helps us as coaches but helps as players to raise the bar."
Dawson is coordinating the offseason program, which usually includes sleepy eyes at Anschutz Pavilion and Anderson Family Strength and Conditioning Center. Workouts often start before the sun comes up to avoid conflicts with classes.
Considering a valuable senior class was lost after the Fort Worth Bowl ended the 2005 season, the Jayhawks overall aren't as sturdy as they want to be at this stage.
But Dawson is pleased with how the first step toward the 2006 season is playing out.
"It's going well," Dawson said. ": but we've got a long way to go. It's still early."
Jayhawks on TV: Former KU defensive end Charlton Keith and do-all Charles Gordon will be participating in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, which officially started Wednesday.
Gordon and Keith's workouts will be televised on the NFL Network (Sunflower Broadband channel 154).
Defensive end workouts will be televised live at 10 a.m. Monday, while defensive backs (Gordon's group) will be shown at 10 a.m. Tuesday.