Piles of snow may have surrounded the field and a chill may have hung in the air, but none of that stopped the Kansas University football team from getting spring practice off to a hot start on Tuesday at Memorial Stadium.
“I thought Day 1 was good energy, good focus; I thought we were running around well,” said wide receivers coach Rob Ianello. “It was just Day 1, it was just in helmets, but I thought it was a very good start for what we’re trying to do.”
In reality, work started a couple of months back, when strength coach Scott Holsopple got ahold of the Jayhawks for offseason conditioning and, for the second year in a row, worked wonders with their bodies.
“It’s not even close,” said tight ends coach Jeff Blasko, comparing this year’s opening day with last year’s. “From the strength and conditioning aspect of it all, it’s a completely different feel and a complete transformation.”
The Jayhawks will return to practice Thursday for Day 2 of their 15-day spring session before jumping in with full pads on Saturday.
What, me worry?
Junior-college transfers Marquel Combs, a defensive tackle, and Zach Fondal, an offensive lineman, have not made it to campus yet, and even though both were expected to arrive in time for spring ball, Weis reiterated Monday that there was no need to panic about the intentions of either player.
“Let me just erase any doubt of (us) going through what we went through last year,” Weis said. “There are a couple of guys who aren’t here yet, but the latest they’ll be here is the first week of June.”
Pursuit of the turnover
As they met with the media on Monday, different players talked about their goals for the upcoming season. Most emphasized team goals over personal goals, but a few discussed how the pursuit of their own goals would benefit the team. One such player was junior linebacker Ben Heeney.
“They just told us that there’s a turnover chart,” Heeney said. “And whoever gets the most turnovers throughout the spring gets a reward or something. So I guess that’s my goal, to get the most turnovers.”
KU’s defense took a major step forward in the turnover department last season but still finished just seventh in the Big 12 with 20 takeaways.