Although Kansas football coach Les Miles said leading up to his team’s most recent bye week that he thought Jalon Daniels would be able to practice, the Jayhawks ultimately took a different approach with their hobbled quarterback.
When asked on Monday during his video press conference whether KU’s starting QB was able to practice, Miles indicated Daniels could have this past week but didn’t.
“He’s working,” Miles said of Daniels, who hurt his lower left leg late in the Jayhawks’ blowout loss at Oklahoma on Nov. 7. “But not extensively.”
Miles said the team will continue to keep close track of how Daniels is feeling as this week goes on. The KU coach also said he wasn’t yet ready to officially name the true freshman the team’s starter for Saturday’s home game versus No. 22 Texas (2:30 p.m. kickoff, ESPN2).
“But I think that you’ll find that his health will return,” Miles added. “That’d be my guess.”
While speaking with reporters on the Big 12 media teleconference a week ago, a couple days after Daniels’ latest injury, Miles said the QB was dealing with more of a bruise than a twist this time around — Daniels also hurt his ankle in a home loss to Oklahoma State on Oct. 3.
When asked on Monday whether Daniels was a limited practice participant during this past bye week, Miles replied: “You know what. I’m going to avoid giving a really strong answer there.
“I want this week to take place without any pressure on it at all,” Miles continued. “So I don’t want to tell anybody that they’re starting or they’re going to play if I don’t know. And right now I’m going to let this play out if you don’t mind.”
So far this year Daniels has started five games. The first-year QB from Lawndale, Calif., has completed 72 of 139 passes (51.8%), with four interceptions and no touchdowns. Daniels has been sacked 25 times, with the most recent one, suffered in the fourth quarter at OU, injuring him.
Sophomore tight end Mason Fairchild told reporters Monday Daniels is “getting better.”
“Over the bye week he did a little here and there. But whoever steps on the field as quarterback,” Fairchild added, naming senior Thomas MacVittie, junior Miles Kendrick and Daniels, “we’ll be fully confident in what they do.”
The Jayhawks (0-7 overall, 0-6 Big 12) played without starting offensive lineman Chris Hughes for the first time this season in their loss at Oklahoma on Nov. 7.
Miles said ahead of his team’s next game, against Texas (5-2, 4-2), Hughes remains “a little nicked” and still needs to heal. The coach didn’t specify whether he expects Hughes, typically KU’s right guard, to return in time to face the Longhorns.
“It would be great to have him back. He’s one, knowledgeable, and, two, a big, strong man,” Miles said of Hughes, a senior lineman listed at 6-foot-4 and 318 pounds. “We absolutely would love to have him back.”
KU freshman receiver Lawrence Arnold isn’t expected back in the lineup after he had what Miles described as “minor surgery” for an undisclosed injury.
A 6-foot-3 wideout from DeSoto, Texas, Arnold played in each of KU’s first four games, totaling six receptions for 45 yards.
Arnold made his first career start for KU at Baylor in the Big 12 opener. He is one of six true freshmen who have started for KU this year.
Playing consecutive home games for the first time this season, the Jayhawks learned their upcoming home finale — Nov. 28 versus TCU — will kick off under the lights.
The Big 12 announced Monday the Jayhawks will face the Horned Frogs at 7 p.m. on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, with the game airing on FOX Sports 1.
TCU (3-4) will have a bye leading up to the game at KU. The Frogs have wins at Texas and Baylor on the road already, along with a home victory over Texas Tech. They lost their most recent game, this past weekend, 24-6, at West Virginia.