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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Jayhawks counting down the days to preseason camp, opener

Team Jayhawks receiver Daylon Charlot roars after scoring what proved to be the winning touchdown during the fourth quarter of the 2017 Spring Game on Saturday, April 15 at Memorial Stadium.

Team Jayhawks receiver Daylon Charlot roars after scoring what proved to be the winning touchdown during the fourth quarter of the 2017 Spring Game on Saturday, April 15 at Memorial Stadium.

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— As head coach David Beaty, preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Dorance Armstrong Jr., and his Kansas teammates Daniel Wise, Joe Dineen and Hakeem Adeniji prepare to spend most of their Monday discussing the program at Big 12 Media Days, the Jayhawks’ Sept. 2 opener versus Southeast Missouri State — and the end of college football’s lengthy offseason — feels closer than ever.

Preseason camp will commence the first week of August, and before they know it players and coaches will finally find themselves in the midst of the long-anticipated 2017 season, when they plan to build upon last year’s progress and post a record superior the 2-10 mark of 2016.

The Jayhawks, junior quarterback Peyton Bender mentioned during a recent interview, received a rare week off coinciding with Independence Day. When Bender and his teammates returned to Lawrence to get back to KU’s offseason strength and conditioning work with coach Zac Woodfin, the quarterback realized, “We’re here now until the end of the season, so we’re really gearing up and ready to get it rolling.”

For Bender and fellow quarterback Carter Stanley, a redshirt sophomore, the start of practices in a couple weeks also means they are that much closer to the finish line of their ongoing QB competition, which began when Bender enrolled in the spring.

Stanley said June “flew by,” and it really hit him a few weeks back how much more intense and relevant every moment of preparation feels.

“All right, we’ve got 10, 11 more workouts until (August) fall camp, and that’s when it’s going to be decided,” Stanley said of KU’s starting quarterback job.

A key target for whomever lines up at QB this fall, sophomore receiver Daylon Charlot also can’t wait to get these summer months behind him. After sitting out 2016 as a transfer from Alabama, the 6-foot playmaker said in a recent appearance on KLWN’s Rock Chalk Sports Talk he’s eager to make his KU debut.

“I’m very excited. I can’t wait,” Charlot said. “We’re growing as a team and I’m growing as a player. I’m just working on everything to get prepared to have a great season.”

KU football culture shift

The team’s veterans, too, feel enthusiastic about the possibilities for Kansas in the months to come.

Fifth-year senior tight end Ben Johnson, recruited by Charlie Weis and his staff, has been with the program since 2013, his redshirt year after graduating from nearby Basehor-Linwood High.

Asked on KLWN to compare and contrast the state of KU football now versus when he arrived in Lawrence, Johnson, who has seen the Jayhawks go a combined 8-40 over the course of the past four seasons, explained how he views the culture moving in a better direction.

“It hasn’t been easy being here throughout what we’ve gone through,” Johnson said, “but it’s definitely changing. And I can just feel the vibes, especially with what Coach Woodfin brings to the table. He’s helping us a lot.”

Sophomore safety Bryce Torneden said the players feel confident Kansas can keep improving this year.

“I just really think we’re a program that’s obviously on the rise,” Torneden said on KLWN. “We’ve got a fresh, new coaching staff, some hot recruits obviously. I just think the feeling around here is just a lot of positivity and that we’re just going to turn things around — and why not be a part of it. That’s exciting.”

Comments

Randy Bombardier 3 months ago

I'm counting the days myself. But changing the subject and having not read anything or much of anything that i recall, in the photos over the last year i like the look of the new uniforms. I like the smaller font, the font style, the color schemes. Not sure when we made these changes but looks sharp.

Brett McCabe 3 months ago

Some of the uni combinations have been very sharp. The red chrome and limestone are my two favorites, along with the blue and charcoal that Clint installed during the interim. If I had to choose, I'd make the limestone as our standard home uni with the all red for special situations.

Also changing the subject: Torneden is going to be the big surprise this year, in my mind. I think that he ends up starting alongside Mike Lee, and the backside of the defense becomes extremely effective for us. This could have a huge impact on pace of scoring and total points from opposing offenses.

John Brazelton 3 months ago

Pray for no major injuries to key players this season. Armstrong barely avoided a major training camp injury during last season's training camp. That would have been a disaster.

Brett McCabe 3 months ago

For Benton: as we get closer, it would be great to have some preseason opinion polls or pools for the readers: newcomer of the year, defensive player of the year, offensive player of the year, team record, etc., etc. I'd like to get some these guys down on record for their predictions (myself included) and see how we fare as the season unfolds.

Randy Bombardier 3 months ago

I'll give you my opinion, Brett.

Newcomer: Octavius Mathews D player of year: Mike Lee O player of the year: Sims Team record +55 turnover margin

Overall record 6-6 (my team say they can...I'll go with that.)

Lonnie Ross Dillon 3 months ago

The online feedback page is broken so I have to provide my feedback another way...the KU football schedule page is missing 2015 and 2016. Granted, not great years, but still...

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