Friday, April 2, 2010

KU football players still learning the lingo


It’s hard for most of us to imagine how difficult life would be if, all of a sudden, our car became known as our microwave.

But that’s exactly what the Kansas University football team has spent the first few days of spring drills trying to get used to.

See, on top of putting a new face on the program and moving away from some of the harsh realities of the old regime, the addition of Turner Gill has brought with it a new way of communicating on the football field.

“It’s just terminology,” Gill said. “It’s somewhat challenging. There are similar plays to what they’ve done, but we’re calling it something different so guys aren’t automatically reacting to it because you have to wait and say, ‘Does this mean this, does that mean that.’”

The new lingo is common in football circles and Gill and his staff have done their best to provide time for the Jayhawks to pick it up. Still, the first couple of days have sounded a bit like a foreign language to some.

“It’s been pretty difficult,” safety Lubbock Smith said. “They’re giving it to us quick. But I’m pretty sure we’ll get everything down.”

Added wide receiver Erick McGriff: “It’s a lot to think about when you first hear it, but they really ease you into it and there’s not too much pressure. As soon as you get it, you’ve just gotta keep it up, study your playbook and come in ready to work.”

McGriff, a red-shirt freshman and the son of former Major League Baseball standout Fred McGriff, stopped short of providing a glossary of the new terms. Overall, he said the titles of his routes have changed, schemes have been scrapped and several key words and audible indicators also are new.

“They’ve kind of got different names,” he said. “I’ll leave it at that.”

The fresh language is not entirely new for the Jayhawks. Gill said they began introducing it in meetings about a month ago. But hearing words in a meeting room and acting them out on the field are two entirely different things.

“They’re still thinking,” Gill said. “And that’s going to happen throughout this whole spring practice. It probably won’t hit until maybe mid-preseason camp as they get a lot of reps.”

One group that already has plenty of practice in this department is Gill’s staff. Gill and his nine assistant coaches essentially have had since the first of the year to take care of the tongue twisters that now make up the Kansas playbook.

“If you add up all the years on our coaching staff, there’s really not any terminology out there we haven’t heard,” offensive coordinator Chuck Long said.

Beyond that, Long said the chemistry on the new staff made the process even easier.

“There’s a lot of experience,” he said. “It’s one of the best staffs I’ve been on in terms of that. Our meetings have been smooth, guys just know what they’re doing. So there’s not a lot to go over. They really just pick it up so fast.”

That’s the goal for the players, who, after a slow start, believe moving forward soon will come easier.

“You do have to learn a whole new offense, but it’s just football, same old stuff you’ve been running since you were a little kid,” McGriff said.

Gill and the Jayhawks will wrap up the first week of spring drills with a 3:30 p.m. practice today and another on Saturday.


Rivethead 8 years, 1 month ago

njjayhawk - that's a guy. It's just air-brushed to look like a girl.

Jonathan Briles 8 years, 1 month ago

I had heard a lot about Gill saying this staff would be the best in the nation, but I had been very skeptical of that. I thought he was thinking to much of it, but now I have a little more confidence in it. While I still do not think it is the best it will be very good. Even if they are not the most brilliant football minds they seem to have all of the intangibles a teams wants. They have great chemistry, experience, and the team is behind them. Every day there is a new football article and I am loving it. The LJW is really stepping up their game. Lots of articles and I have personally thought that they have all been very well written. Thank you LJW.

100 8 years, 1 month ago

Keep bringing the football stories!!!

And yes, Kansas has a great staff, loaded with national championship resumes, recruiters & class.

We're ready for football Coach Gill!!!!

jhokfan 8 years, 1 month ago

New coaches who haven't worked with one another and the unfamiliarity with players means there is a learning curve to overcome. I don’t know how big of an obstacle that will be but I feel good about the level of experience the coaching staff has. The biggest obstacle has to be the qb. This position really plagued Mangino for much of his tenure. Hopefully a clear cut winner will emerge.

milehighhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

KanFan - "even if they aren't the most brilliant football minds"

Sorry - what are you basing this on? Did I miss some games already? LOL.

At least give them a chance to screw up before dishing out the backhanded compliments about "other intangibles" they seem to have.

justinryman 8 years, 1 month ago

It seems there are more stories on the football team, is that because this staff is more persanable than the last? More open to the media?

Just a thought or two.

Can't wait til Kick Off!! Rock Chalk!

Jonathan Briles 8 years, 1 month ago

Sorry Milehighhawk, my comment was not meant to be back handed I think we have an awesome staff. I was not taking anything away I think they have great football minds I must have worded what I said wrong, or you may have taken what I was saying out of context. I don't know who has the most brilliant football minds. As I said I think they have great football minds just not THE greatest as Gill was trying to imply. I don't think any one staff has the greatest, but our staff will have among the best in football IQ, chemistry, and experience.

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