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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Spring game a game again

Today’s spring finale won’t be just ‘glorified scrimmage’

Kansas University quarterback Dayne Crist, left, listens to KU coach Charlie Weis during spring drills on Tuesday, March 27, 2012, at the practice fields south of Memorial Stadium.

Kansas University quarterback Dayne Crist, left, listens to KU coach Charlie Weis during spring drills on Tuesday, March 27, 2012, at the practice fields south of Memorial Stadium.

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Whether it’s played in front of a record crowd or not, it sure sounds like today’s Kansas University spring football game — 1 p.m. kickoff at Memorial Stadium — is going to be a bit different than previous editions.

“We will actually play a game,” first-year KU coach Charlie Weis said. “We won’t show everything, obviously, and use every personnel group due to the lack of numbers, but we will come out, run it and throw it. … I would not call it a glorified scrimmage because it is going to be more competitive than that.”

Part of that is because of the mentality that Weis and his coaching staff have brought to town. For 14 practices over the past four weeks, the Jayhawks have been put through a tryout of sorts. Whether it was a fifth-year senior who had logged all kinds of playing time in the past or a red-shirt freshman who had yet to play during a live game, each player was treated equally by KU’s new coaching staff, and each was given a shot to prove himself to the new regime. Just because today’s spring game marks the end of spring drills and will be played out in front of fans in Memorial Stadium does not mean anything changes.

The players seem to realize that.

“It’s a new staff here, and guys are still out here showing their best,” senior captain Toben Opurum said. “Even if they’re comfortable with where they are, they want to make sure they’re showing their best all the time. (Weis) wants to make it as game-like as possible. The earlier we can see what the presence is gonna be, the better it’ll be for us. It’ll definitely have a different feel to it than the last few spring games.”

That’s not just because of the new mind-set. Weis also will reveal plenty of elements of the 2012 squad that people seem to be dying to see. At the top of that list is Notre Dame transfer Dayne Crist, a senior quarterback who is expected to start this fall.

Asked what he’s hoping for from today’s game, the fifth-year senior QB offered a glimpse into why Weis seems to be so connected to him.

“Guys stay healthy,” Crist said. “That’s the last thing you want to do is lose a guy in the spring game. It’s great to get out there and have fans around, but at the end of the day you want to have guys get out of the game healthy.”

Of course, there is more to it than that, and Crist acknowledged as much. Asked what he hoped for from himself and Weis’ offense, Crist coughed up a little more coach-speak.

“Just be efficient,” he said. “I know that’s kind of vague, but that’s kind of the goal you have every time you step out as a quarterback. Just being as efficient as possible in your throws and making the right checks and just putting the team in the best situation at all times.”

Opurum said the coaches tried to split up the blue squad and the white squad as evenly as possible. The Jayhawks were told which team they would be on at the end of Thursday’s practice, but the rosters won’t be made public until kickoff. One guess that seems safe is that Crist and BYU-transfer Jake Heaps, who will have to sit out the 2012 season, will be on opposite teams. And while the two ultra-competitive, former five-star QBs no doubt will try to outdo each other throughout the day, Crist said he and Heaps had not made any wagers as extra incentive.

“Nah. That’d be an NCAA violation,” Crist said with a laugh.

As for what he expects from Heaps, that was no laughing matter.

“I know it’s exciting for him,” Crist said of Heaps. “He’s worked so hard this spring, and it’s nice for him to have this outlet and to just be able to go out and do it live for the last time in probably a long time. It’ll be great for him, but we’re excited for everybody and just want to put a nice close on spring practice.”

Added offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson: “We just want to show ’em that we’ve made progress throughout the spring and putting our best day together as a unit. We want to show not only the fans but also ourselves that we’ve grasped the offense.”

Comments

Doug Cramer 8 years, 10 months ago

Would be encouraging to see a nice showing from Heaps...since he's likely to be our QB for a couple seasons after this year.

tical523 8 years, 10 months ago

Agree, but this Turner Baty sounds like a tough competitor who has big time talent. Won a high-school and JUCO championship already, so he is a winner, going to be great for the competition to push these guys to thier best the next few years.

DrGraydog 8 years, 10 months ago

Good luck guys.....

I am ready for some Football!!!!!!

ahpersecoachingexperience 8 years, 10 months ago

Who will be leading the no drinking pledge at halftime?

tical523 8 years, 10 months ago

I am so happy we are not going to have to deal with THE MOST akward five minutes of the anti drug / drinking pledge, I absolutely hated it. . . . man was that an akward feeling looking around at everyone else asking if we were really doing this. LOL

s6u6r6f 8 years, 10 months ago

I encourage everyone to take the pledge and abstain from using and abusing drugs. Then perhaps the invisible hand of the market can do its work: supply will rise and prices fall!

Ron Prichard 8 years, 10 months ago

Heading over in a couple of hours to tailgate a little before the game. I can't wait! I've been looking forward to this for a couple of months now. The only down side is that after the game is over, football is done for the summer.

ahpersecoachingexperience 8 years, 10 months ago

And way to step up with 2 articles on our last place women's golf team on game day!

Jayhawk838 8 years, 10 months ago

anyone know if the Spring Game is streaming anywhere?

KGphoto 8 years, 10 months ago

Not exactly what I expected on game day.

TV Coverage?

Radio?

Internet links?

Anyone?

Bueller?

LAJayhawk 8 years, 10 months ago

I also hold an interest in acquiring the information listed above.

Steve Brown 8 years, 10 months ago

help, can't get out of KC, don't want to listen to the Royals rain game delay on 610, what if any AM/FM station has coverage?

Have Ipad, any streaming clues?

LAJayhawk 8 years, 10 months ago

Tait just tweeted that Heaps and Crist are playing on the same team today.

"I've been told that QBs Dayne Crist and Jake Heaps are actually on the same team today... Crist for a half and Heaps the 2nd? #kufball"

Interesting.... Maybe he's looking to get Baty as many reps as possible. Maybe even some Matthews tossed in there for good measure?

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