Counting down the days until the start of the upcoming college football season, Kansas coach David Beaty said the Jayhawks have the same hopes and dreams as all of the other programs.
After completing their spring football practices, the Jayhawks have shifted their focus to the weight room, 7-on-7 drills with skill players and other individual work.
But there’s no denying the extra buzz around KU, and Beaty felt all of that enthusiasm when he spoke to a standing-room only crowd packed inside of The Well Bar in Kansas City, Mo., on Wednesday.
“The thing that really sticks out for us is the experience we finally have coming back,” Beaty said. “We didn’t have that luxury very much either of the last two years, but now we do. I think that in itself makes it exciting.”
Beaty was joined at the team’s “Football in June” event by defensive linemen Dorance Armstrong, Josh Ehambe and Daniel Wise, linebacker Joe Dineen, center Mesa Ribordy, tight end Ben Johnson and receiver Steven Sims.
At the meet-and-greet, Beaty said the players’ progress under Zac Woodfin, the team’s new director of strength and conditioning, was “the coolest new change in our program.”
“Coach Woodfin, we all love him,” Sims said. “He’s working us hard. He’s killing us every day. We feel different, our bodies feel different.
“I think we’re going to be a way more explosive team, more flexible. I think that’s going to help us win a lot of games.”
Woodfin previously was the strength and conditioning coach at Southern Mississippi and UAB, and Beaty said it’s not a coincidence that both schools saw their records improve when he joined their staffs.
“The things that (Woodfin) does technically to help them improve on their technique and help their bodies get more flexible and stronger have been ultra, ultra impressive,” Beaty said.
Speaking to the crowd, Beaty described his excitement in adding defensive line coach Jesse Williams, from Ohio, and offensive coordinator Doug Meacham, from TCU, to his staff in the offseason.
Beaty, who served as the offensive coordinator last season, said he won’t call any plays this fall.
“There is no doubt Doug Meacham will call every football play this year and as long as he’s here, just so you know that,” Beaty said.
After ending last season with a 2-10 record, KU players cited the number of returning starters and their work ethic throughout the offseason as signs for a strong year.
“Everybody can’t wait to see what we’re going to do,” Sims said. “It’s fun and we know that, so that’s why we work so hard. Our coaches and everybody on the team is hard working and we’re going to prove everybody wrong.”
Beaty didn't shy away from sharing his expectations for his team.
“We expect to go to a bowl game,” Beaty said. “That’s big talk but we have to go do it.”