Rarely one to wear his feelings on his sleeve, Kansas University senior co-captain Toben Opurum recently talked bluntly about the toll KU’s 2-10 season a year ago took on him and his teammates.
“There’s no way you can go 2-10 and not be motivated by that,” Opurum said at Big 12 media days last week in Dallas. “It’s embarrassing, to be honest, and it’s not something that anybody wants to be a part of any more. That alone will motivate guys to give a little more effort and play with a little more intensity.”
KU coach Charlie Weis also has discussed the role that the past two seasons would play in his rebuilding project, and he, too, said he believed the record harmed his team’s confidence.
“One issue, the one that everyone sees, is the fact that we’re 2-10 and 3-9 over the last two years, having won one conference game in that time frame,” Weis said. “The other one, which I think is maybe even more important, were not the losses last year but how badly they lost so often.”
The Jayhawks lost six games by 30 or more points a year ago, and, while he might not be able to promise more victories right away, Weis said it is his intention to put a more competitive team on the field immediately.
“Once you get your team more competitive on a weekly basis, more wins will naturally follow,” Weis said. “That that’s the No. 1 job that we have to permeate all the way down to our players is that we expect them to know what to do and go out and do it hard for 60 minutes. I think that at least gives you a chance.”
Opurum on Monday was one of 40 college football players named to the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award Preseason Watch List.
The 6-foot-2, 245-pound senior from Richardson, Texas, who finished the 2011 season with 45 tackles, including 10.5 behind the line of scrimmage and four sacks, will split time between defensive end and Sam linebacker. He played defensive end during the entire 2011 season after switching from running back to linebacker in 2010.
In its 11th season, the Ted Hendricks Award is named after the first three-time All-American, who played at the University of Miami.
DT McKinney delayed
Monday night, during a joint appearance with KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self on KLWN’s “Rock Chalk Sports Talk,” Weis confirmed that junior college defensive tackle Ty McKinney, of Trinity Valley CC in Athens, Texas, would report to camp at least a couple of days late.
McKinney, who was originally slated to arrive on campus in June but had to stay in Texas to finish a class, was one of the late arrivals Weis talked about last week in Dallas. He emphasized that even though McKinney would be late, McKinney was still coming and would still play.
The Jayhawks are slated to report to campus Wednesday and will begin fall practice Thursday.