Kale Pick was here because he’d forgotten the snap count.
During a practice early last week, the Kansas University wide receiver picked up a false start penalty after not remembering his team was trying to draw the defense off side.
So after practice, in a steady rain, Pick remained on the field with three teammates and KU receivers coach David Beaty.
Pick jogged in place before completing 10 up-downs on the wet turf.
Some days, the discipline is up-downs. Other days, it’s sprints.
Every day, though, KU’s receivers are being held accountable for their actions under Beaty, who has rejoined KU this season as receivers coach after serving as offensive coordinator at Rice University last year.
“They know that I have high expectations for them,” Beaty said, “and they never back down, no matter how much I get onto them and what tempo I set for them.”
Beaty, who was previously KU’s receivers coach in 2008 and 2009, has had plenty of time to focus on his receivers after moving back into his old house in Lawrence.
He jokes that the mailman won’t deliver to his house because it appears that no one is living there. There’s no furniture, and Beaty’s wife and two daughters haven’t joined him in Lawrence yet, though the coach says he’s counting down the days.
In the meantime, Beaty has devoted most of his time working to develop a receiving corps he says is deeper than any he’s had at KU.
“There’s so much that goes into playing out there. People just think you run a straight line or a wiggly line and you go catch a pass,” Beaty said. “There’s a lot more to that, to really good receivers in this league. They understand the nuances of it.
“For young guys, it takes them a while to understand scheme and wrap their mind around that so they can learn how to be crafty.”
Beaty also has put extra focus on another aspect of the position: blocking.
KU struggled last season with its wide-receiver screens, and part of the reason was inconsistent blocking on the outside.
In many practices this spring, Beaty has run his receivers through blocking drills to make sure they know their responsibilities on each play.
“We know that it’s an if-then relationship, and if we block, then we will be able to catch balls,” Beaty said. “It’s a role that we play and we take a lot of pride in. And I’m trying to continue to instill that in our kids. I’m starting to see a lot more physicality out of them, and they’re starting to take pride in it.”
So far, Beaty said one of the most impressive receivers has been Pick, who converted to the position from quarterback last season.
Beaty, who also coached QB-turned-receiver Kerry Meier, said the two players have similar personalities that allowed them to make the transition smoothly.
“I think just his overall work ethic, desire, his relentlessness ... those kids see that and they want to imitate that. They want to be like that,” Beaty said of Pick.
“They see how hard he plays on every snap, and they see, quite honestly, just about every day I can use him as an example on anything in a positive way.”
Beaty also complimented Pick’s hands and route-running, saying he was “very much a natural player” at his new position.
Out of all the receivers, Beaty said Pick had the best spring.
“He’s going to outwork people,” Beaty said. “He’s going to make you play him.”
In addition to Pick, Beaty also said he was excited about senior Daymond Patterson, junior D.J. Beshears and soph Chris Omigie, among others.
More than anything, Beaty said he’s glad to be back at home in Lawrence — even if that home, for now, is mostly empty.
“Just being in this town, being a Jayhawk is really important,” Beaty said, “and is really something that I fell in love with before and I’m excited to be back and be a part of.”