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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Keegan

Tom Keegan: Speed bump boosts Kansas outlook

Kansas director of strength and conditioning, Je'Ney Jackson, talks to the media Wednesday, Jan 14, 2015, during an introductory session with the KU football team's assistant coaches.

Kansas director of strength and conditioning, Je'Ney Jackson, talks to the media Wednesday, Jan 14, 2015, during an introductory session with the KU football team's assistant coaches.

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The next college football head coach or assistant who says the staff has downgraded recruiting will be the first and won’t be in office for long.

Most of the time, the coaches are sincere in hyping their recruiting classes because if they didn’t like the players, they wouldn’t have offered them scholarships.

So it’s nice to have solid evidence to back up claims that the athletes coming in are better than the ones leaving when they were fresh out of high school.

Kansas football strength and conditioning coach Je’Ney Jackson had some of it in his hands and shared highlights from the color-coded paper.

“We’re head and shoulders faster and more athletic than we were a year ago,” Jackson said. “I don’t know how many wins that equates to, but we’re better. That’s those guys upstairs. They’re recruiting their butts off. They’re bringing some really good kids.”

The “guys upstairs” from the weight room are the assistant coaches.

Jackson started by sharing 40-yard dash times run Wednesday by members of the freshman class and then shared some returning players’ times. Multiple coaches hand-timed the players.

Kyle Mayberry, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound cornerback from Tulsa, Okla., ran a wicked fast 4.36, a time that could lead to him earning serious playing time as a true freshman, even though he is undersized.

Running back Khalil Herbert (5-9, 195, Coral Springs, Fla.) impressed with a 4.47.

Shola Ayinde, a 6-foot, 175-pound corner from Richmond, Texas, ran a 4.50.

Dual-threat quarterback Tyriek Starks (6-1, 180) from New Orleans tore through his 40 yards in 4.53 seconds. Evan Fairs (6-3, 185), a wide receiver out of Fulshear, Texas, matched Starks’ time.

Cornerback Ian Peterson (5-11, 180) of Round Rock, Texas, sprinted a 4.54.

Defensive end Isiah (String) Bean of Humble, Texas, stands 6-4 and weighs just 210 pounds. He’ll add weight during his career and it will be interesting to see how he can move with added weight because he’s moving more like a wide receiver at the moment. Bean was clocked in 4.58, a remarkable time for a defensive lineman and the same time as receivers Keegan Brewer, a freshman, and Jeremiah Booker, a sophomore.

Sophomore D-end Dorance Armstrong has bulked up to 241 pounds. Nevertheless, he ran a 4.66.

“Dorance and Josh Ehambe were in here in a full lather doing position drills before we ran the 40’s,” Jackson said. “There’s a little bit of overtraining going on.”

So Armstrong could have gone even lower, if he had saved his energy.

Running backs in their second year in the program ran the two fastest times Wednesday. Sophomore Taylor Martin ran a 4.31, senior Ke’aun Kinner a 4.35. Senior corner Brandon Stewart checked in at 4.37, his former high school teammate, Texas A&M; transfer wide receiver LaQuvionte Gonzalez at 4.38.

The 14 players whose times were listed here so far have one thing in common: When they came to KU, David Beaty was the coach. He said he intended to bring in more speed and has lived up to his promise.

The fastest time logged Wednesday by a player Beaty inherited was produced by a player whose name might shock some, given that he’s not a running back, receiver or defensive back.

“Another coach and I clocked Joe (Dineen),” Jackson said. “I looked at mine and said, ‘There’s no way. What did you get. We had him at the exact same time. I hesitate to even say what it is.”

Come on, the suspense is killing me.

“We had Joe at 4.40,” Jackson said of the junior linebacker out of Free State High.

Super, Joe.

Running back Ryan Schadler might have approached Dineen’s time had he been allowed to run, but as a precaution, he was held back so as not to risk re-injury.

Other times of interest: Junior receiver Bobby Hartzog 4.42, junior cornerback Derrick Neal 4.45, senior safety Greg Allen 4.47.

Still shy on depth, size and experience, Kansas is closing the gap at most positions in the speed department.

Comments

Austin Lopez 2 years, 3 months ago

I'm confused, either the time is getting this best of me right now or you made a mistake, how did Joe Dineen have the fastes time with a 4.40 when a dozen other guys ran under a 4.40??? Taylor Martin 4.31, Kinner 4.35, just to name a few....

Jonathan Briles 2 years, 3 months ago

Not the fastest overall, but the fastest player not recruited by Beaty. So all those sub 4.4 times are Beaty and his staff bringing in speed.

Chris DeWeese 2 years, 3 months ago

Very impressive times. That coupled with the improved strength numbers should mean we will be able to hang with B12 teams well into the 4th quarter. Right?

Dirk Medema 2 years, 3 months ago

4th quarter performance will be more about endurance (rest from 2nd string players) than raw rested ability. Having an FBS vs. and FCS roster (85 athletes vs. 65) will be the way we're more competitive in the 4th quarter. That's not likely for another 2 years I believe, and even then those players are mostly freshman and sophomores, so it's likely even another year or 2 after that. It's a big reason why even the competition anonymously says that we are realistically in a 5 year rebuilding process.

There needs to be continued improvements, but it's not likely to happen in a year or 2.

Greg Ledom 2 years, 3 months ago

I've seen positive improvement in all aspects of Coach Beaty's program but one. The good news on this last aspect is it's only year two. That said, we need to see some W's now to keep the momentum going. I honestly think we have a better than average chance to get 3. Let's go get some fella's!! RCJH!!

Dirk Medema 2 years, 3 months ago

Is there anything out there comparing hand timing (even multiple) to electronic timing like at the combine?

Also, when timing a 40, does the timing start when the player starts, or player start when the timing starts similar to track races? In elite track races that are electronically timed, there are sensors in the starting blocks than detect when the athlete comes out of the blocks. If the sensors in the blocks detect a change in pressure that is less than 0.1 seconds after the starters pistol, it is considered a false start, because that was tested as the fastest possible reaction time.

What that means is that a 4.3 by our multiple coaches could more realistically be a 4.4. Sort of like a 6-10 BB player only measuring 6-8.5, though he's likely 6-10 at other schools as well.

Either way, it is good to hear that the recruits are getting faster, just as it was good to hear that the off season program is also making them stronger.

John Fitzgerald 2 years, 3 months ago

Every little improvement counts. This is a rebuilding process that will require lots of finesse and patience, not just from coaches and players but from fans too. I just hope Beaty gets the time he needs because these improvements just in performance alone are more than we've seen in years. Speed, strength, and execution. We get those three things down and we'll have some surprises this year.

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