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Monday, August 20, 2012

Tim Grunhard’s gospel: No softies allowed on KU offensive line

Offensive line coach Tim Grunhard works his players through drills during practice on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012.

Offensive line coach Tim Grunhard works his players through drills during practice on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012.

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The hidden, swollen-knuckle world of line play, where the dirtiest, nastiest shots are taken and given, is no place for softies. It’s a mean place where Tim Grunhard thrived for Notre Dame and then the Kansas City Chiefs, but he has seen much nastier places.

Grunhard’s father, after serving as an Army airborne Ranger, served the city of Chicago as a violent-crimes detective.

“For almost 30 years, he was CSI before CSI was cool,” Grunhard said. “We’d drive around the South Side of Chicago, and he’d say, ‘I had a murder there. I had a murder over there. I had a murder behind that thing over there. A person was shot over there.’ My brother and I would be like, ‘Whoa.’”

Grunhard’s father, killed by prostate cancer, didn’t get to see much of his son’s NFL career, but the square-jawed son made good use of the toughness gene passed down to him from the square-jawed detective.

“That six inches between your backbone and your breastbone, your heart, is so important in the offensive-line position,” said Grunhard, who left his job as head football coach at Bishop Miege to coach Kansas University’s offensive line for Charlie Weis. “We can talk about hand placement and head placement and how we’re going to take our steps, you know, little fundamentals and techniques, and I could tell you all kinds of great jargon, and I could make up all kinds of terms, and I can wow you with all kinds of different stories about how to do things, but offensive-line play comes down to one thing: You’ve got to be a tough (S.O.B.). Simple as that. Right? Isn’t it? You tell me?”

Who’s going to tell him otherwise?

“You’re not going to get your head in the right spot all the time,” Grunhard continued. “You’re not going to get your hands right all the time. You’re going to get beat. But you’ve got to be mentally and physically tough. We’re going to talk about all the little things that you have to do, and we’re going to work on the little things, and we’re going to do all the things you have to do to get yourself in position to be tough, but if they’re not tough and they don’t want to compete, then they’re not going to play for me, simple as that.”

By “tough” he doesn’t mean growling, not shaving, eating steaks with bare hands. He means completing their tasks when they’re so exhausted that lesser men would be too spent to stand.

“If they’re not going to run to the line of scrimmage when they break the huddle, if they’re not going to finish plays, if they’re not going to finish down-field, and they’re not going to lift that running back up off the ground, and they’re not going to get (ticked) off when somebody hits their quarterback late, I don’t want them,” Grunhard said. “You can go to these clinics, and guys are making millions of dollars with their drop-steps and their hand placements, but it all comes down to one thing: If you don’t got a guy who wants to kick that guy’s butt in front of him, then you don’t got nobody.”

The more unpopular an offensive lineman is with the defensive linemen during practice, the more likely he is to climb up Grunhard’s depth chart.

“I remember Dan Saleaumua and I, we didn’t like each other very much because I was going so hard in practice,” Grunhard said.

Before the start of spring football, Grunhard vowed: “These guys are going to go hard in practice, and they’re going to compete. We’re going to compete, first of all in the classroom. If you’re late for class, you’re going to pay. If you’re not going to class, you’re going to pay. If you’re in that weight room, you better compete in the weight room. When it comes to the coaches’ stations, you better compete in the coaches’ stations. You have to learn to compete and push yourself and get out of your comfort zone. Once that happens, then and only then, you’re going to grow.”

Grunhard pointed to the work done by strength and conditioning coach Scott Holsopple and to the head coach’s standards as important in instilling discipline in the program.

“(Holsopple) put cones around the Jayhawk in the weight room,” Grunhard said. “You don’t step on your seal. At the beginning, they were stepping on the seal, and they were making them do 200 pushups. Nobody steps on that seal anymore. Little things like that, just challenging them to be great, respect your school, respect yourself and know that there’s discipline and there are consequences for everything you do.”

He’s also a big fan of his boss’ quick addition by subtraction.

“He set the precedent right away,” Grunhard said. “There are guys who aren’t here anymore for one reason or another because they weren’t doing things the way he wanted them done. That’s a great signal to other people that, ‘Hey, you’re going to do it our way, not your way, because our way works. Your way obviously doesn’t work. Understand that.’”

Comments

Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

Someone mentioned Jacorey Shepard (WR) now working out with the D-backs. Maybe giving a DB the "edge", trying to flip the phrase about d-backs being rcvrs that couldnt catch, well maybe we need someone with "hands" and an "instinct" for the pass, plus the secondary starting lineup hasnt changed much from last year. Need depth + an infusion of talent. And this would be Clint Bowen+Campo at work. Lets see how this plays out. Biggest help to the secondary is a competent pass rush.

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Travis Shinkle 1 year, 8 months ago

I'm sorry but I was NEVER this optimistic about KU's football when they hired the last guy. Are we going to win 10+ games? It'd be awesome but probably not. However, I do not think there's going to be the pathetic effort like last year. I do not believe this coaching staff, starting with Coach Weis is going to accept anything less than 100%.

There is lots to love about KU's staff...and as for Holsopple...he just sounds like a guy KU needs to keep around...

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JHWKDW 1 year, 8 months ago

Well he was a pretty good player for the Kansas City Chiefs and a good center there no doubting that! Well he did a good job at Miege High School, can he do it at the College level as a Offensive line coach? We will find out. Sounds like he has the right ideas and ways. If he can teach them how to play like he did in college and the pros, we will be very happy with the results.Coach Weis has made so many good moves, well besides Jordan Webb he has done a pretty good job. Well he has done better than Gill I wanted to give Gill the benefit of the doubt, but after seeing what Weis has done all I can say is things may look better than before we will see.

Well I wish we could have picked up a guy like that on the defensive side of the ball on the defensive line. That would have been another Gold Domer,a Notre Dame guy by the name of Bryant Young.He had a pretty kick butt career at Notre Dame and the San Fran 49ers That guy got snatched up by Florida unfortunately,and way before Weis got hired.Would have loved to see him in Kansas. Hey any guy who played like he did and after a broken leg like he did could also have taught toughness on the defensive line.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 8 months ago

11 days from today, we're going to learn a lot about this team. I'm excited. I think that maybe they're going to be underestimated!

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Micky Baker 1 year, 8 months ago

This coaching staff is light years ahead of Turner Gill's!

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qringer 1 year, 8 months ago

Grunhard is a softy. Lots to love about this KU coaching staff.

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 8 months ago

Grunhard was considered by many one of the meanest, nastiest, most brutal offensive lineman of his day......I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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John Randall 1 year, 8 months ago

Heavens to Betsy! An article, long one at that, with dozens of comments posted and not one of them bashing Keegan. Is the KUsports clientele trying to achieve respectability?

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Rivethead 1 year, 8 months ago

I don't understand why any Jayhawk is surprised by the power of Coach Holsopple and a "real" S&C program.

The reason we won an Orange Bowl is a guy by the name of Chris Dawson. He's the same reason K-State won 10 games last season. The moment he left are program and headed west the two programs began heading in opposite directions. That should be no surprise.

Success starts with an S&C program that is tough and holds kids accountable (unlike the program run by John Williams and his daily doses of Bible verses the last two seasons).

1

martyks 1 year, 8 months ago

Just keep in mind that ND's line was pushed around like they were toddlers by teams such as Tulsa, Navy, Boston College, etc. in the last years before they got rid of CW. These guys are obviously an upgrade from the Gil deal, but have yet to prove themselves in the world of college football... I hope this is the place they do.

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martyks 1 year, 8 months ago

I think Grunhard is the single biggest difference between ND and KU for CW. Let's hope it's a big enough difference. I was cleaning out my storage room this morning and saw the book "No Excuses" by CW. The next year, he had tons of excuses! Let's hope he doesn't need as many as he did then.

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Kirk 1 year, 8 months ago

It's all just talk. But it's good talk.

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Ben Kliewer 1 year, 8 months ago

I don't know guys... sounds like he's being an abusive coach and we should probably fire him. Any Tweets of these guys' swollen knuckles? #sarcasmfont

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ironhead80 1 year, 8 months ago

If, Grunhard is doing these types of things now, walking the walk.We will know this season about the guys they have now, because of the talent and new coaching. Next year will be next year.

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bville_hawk 1 year, 8 months ago

Is Sept 1 ever going to get here?

This coaching staff obviously 'gets it.' The question becomes: How long does it take to exorcise the demons of past seasons and past coaching staffs? Can you change the culture in just 9-12 months?

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flyingfinn 1 year, 8 months ago

People that can not see that this staff is head and shoulders above the last one have never played football. I love his staff's attitude.

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danno1313 1 year, 8 months ago

IMAGINE THAT, being aggressive on the football field~! Dang, who would've ever thought of that? IF it happens it will be a nice change from the, Turner Gill philosophy of "HIT EM WITH YOUR PURSE!"

2

hucking_fawks_rock 1 year, 8 months ago

Just reading this guys comments made me want to kick someones ass. I can only imagine what the players feel like being around him every day. Here's to hoping good things await on the O-line.

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bigtex 1 year, 8 months ago

Toughness and heart I'm in 110% with this guy!!!!

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HotToddy69 1 year, 8 months ago

I just went from 6 to midnight.

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iamakufan 1 year, 8 months ago

Winning starts with the coaches and this crew of coaches continues to impress me. I am really getting excited for football season.

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townshiprebel 1 year, 8 months ago

I would like to see one of our O-linemen get in a fight if Crist gets hit late.....much different attitude than the previous staff......LOVE IT!!

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edmondjayhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

I love the attitude from HCCW on down....but, these coaches better make sure that they don't grab a players face mask, cuss at 'em, yell at 'em, hurt their feelings...etc, etc or them and their parents might run to the AD and have them fired...making kids accountable is the start of winning games and eventually winning BCS games (like an Orange Bowl) for example. I love the quote "your way obviously doesn't work". In other words.."Turner Gill's way doesn't work".

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Brak 1 year, 8 months ago

"If you don’t got a guy who wants to kick that guy’s butt in front of him, then you don’t got nobody."

Love this comment and this is what I want to hear. This team the last few years didn't have that kind of fight in them so it will be interesting to see what they can do with it now that they have it.

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LSHawk 1 year, 8 months ago

We might be short on talent but this staff is going to ensure that this team brings it on every play, every down, every time and that is gonna result in making plays and winning some games. Love the attitude of this staff.

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Jim Stauffer 1 year, 8 months ago

We don't have to wait until next year on Grunhard. He is starting out with a rookie right side of the line. This year will tell us a lot.

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Andy Tweedy 1 year, 8 months ago

I know this article is about Grunhard, and I like him a lot. But the name that just keeps jumping out at me is Holsopple. I LOVE THIS DUDE! I am beginning to get a serious man-crush on the strength and conditioning staff!!!

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Terran Woolley 1 year, 8 months ago

I miss Gill. No trips to Dave and Busters, no BELIEVE statement, none of that. How can KU guys possibly be excited this year? Not wondering how we will surrender 60 points to teams that normally only score in the 30's? What is wrong with these people?

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troutsee 1 year, 8 months ago

Grunny will have them ready to play. I am pumped. Bring it on

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Danny Hernandez 1 year, 8 months ago

People are going to be in for a rude awakening when they line up opposite Kansas's O-line. Man, September 1st can't get here soon enough!

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OakvilleJaybateNightmare 1 year, 8 months ago

The time for talk is quickly coming to an end.

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Katy Shaflestad 1 year, 8 months ago

I could see Tim getting a head coaching gig at some point - probably a few years down the road if our line is consistently good.

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Bangkok_Jayhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

I think we will really be able to see Grunhard's ability next season when we lose Zlatnik, Hawkinson, and Marrongelli. The guys there now have talent and should form a good line. Let's see what happens in a year when he is going to be breaking in some newbys. Would love to see a consistent line.

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Thomas Young 1 year, 8 months ago

If Kansas overproduces like I think they might, Grunhard is going to be a key reason. If the OL is a strength, this is going to be a very good year.

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