Temperatures in the low 80s made conditioning a little more bearable for the 60 or so Kansas University football players who participated in an afternoon workout on the Campanile Hill on Thursday.
With upperclassmen leading the charge, the Jayhawks in attendance ran through a variety of grueling sprints that started at the base of the hill and finished at the top.
Throughout the session, the Jayhawks were encouraged by teammates and several members of KU’s strength and conditioning staff to sprint instead of walking and to finish every run all the way through.
NCAA rules dictate that the workouts are strictly voluntary and that position coaches and head coaches are not allowed to work with their players in any capacity during this time of the year. Therefore, the heavy lifting was left to team leaders and strength coaches.
That did not appear to be a problem, as the players quickly ran through what seemed to be an endless cycle of drills up the hill. Included in the session were straight sprints, backwards runs, side shuffles and crawls, along with regular trips to the water coolers.
Though such a workout is common in college football, it likely comes as a welcomed sight for KU fans who grew tired of watching the Jayhawks run out of gas late in games last season. This spring, KU coach Turner Gill and his staff said they would put extra emphasis on getting the players into better shape. As anyone who’s been around Lawrence for any amount of time can attest, there are few more grueling workout regimens than ones that include the Campanile Hill.
Derek Keaton, a 5-foot-10, 165-pound “athlete” from Camden Fairview (Ark.) High who orally committed to KU in mid-June, may be backing off his commitment.
Otis Kirk, of the Rivals.com site HawgSports.com, reported earlier this week that Keaton was still trying to decide whether to attend an upcoming camp at Arkansas despite being committed to KU.
“I would like to have an offer from Arkansas,” Keaton told Kirk. “When I was up there, they said they liked me. I don’t know if the offer will come later or what.”
Ultimately, Keaton’s decision figures to boil down to one thing.
“I’m looking for a place where I can play,” he said. “I think I can play anywhere though.”
Though he remains committed to Kansas for now, oral commitments never are binding and Keaton is free to change his commitment at any point until he signs a letter of intent.
Former coordinator cracks talk show
Two-time KU assistant coach Ed Warinner, who most recently served as KU’s offensive coordinator from 2007-09 and now works as the offensive line coach and running game coordinator at Notre Dame, received a little face time on the popular morning television show, “Live! with Regis & Kelly” on Thursday morning.
The show, which is co-hosted by Kelly Rippa and huge Notre Dame supporter and graduate Regis Philbin, highlighted the presence of Warinner and his wife, Mary Beth, who sat in the studio audience for the show that featured an interview with actress Jennifer Aniston and a musical performance by Rick Springfield.
Decked out in a Notre Dame polo shirt, Warinner talked Fighting Irish football with Philbin during the early portion of the show.
During his three seasons as KU’s offensive coordinator, Warinner directed the KU offense to unprecedented heights.
On his watch, the Jayhawks posted the three highest yards-per-game averages and the three most prolific passing seasons in school history, while also delivering three of KU’s top seven scoring seasons.