Jayhawks experience new indoor practice facility for first time
After nine months of construction time, the Kansas football program’s new indoor practice facility was finally ready to be put to use on Tuesday.
Returning players and spring enrollees were up bright and early for a 6 a.m. conditioning session on the full-length turf, sprinting and cutting as head coach Les Miles and his staff instructed and observed.
While spring practices won’t commence until March, the Jayhawks are able to work out without footballs while out of season at this time of the year. NCAA rules allow college football players 8 hours of work per week, with no more than 2 hours in a week spent reviewing game footage or walking through plays.
The other six hours are limited to conditioning and weightlifting, and Tuesday’s early morning workout was all about speed, changing directions and building the stamina the players will need for spring football. No skill instruction is allowed at this time of year, so there aren’t any footballs or blocking sleds or the types of drills one would expect to see at an in-season or spring practice.
But such workouts still hold great value for Miles and his assistants, as the staff members get a better understanding of their players’ individual abilities and how each Jayhawk approaches all that goes into playing at this level.
While there are still more bells and whistles to come for the indoor facility, with the playing turf ready to go, the Jayhawks got a sneak peek of the pristine venue on Monday, as donors Dana and Sue Anderson welcomed them to the space where the current and future players will spend countless hours in the months and years ahead.
In a video posted to KU football’s Twitter account, a number of Jayhawks offered their reactions to being inside the practice building for the first time.
“It’s a beautiful place,” senior receiver Daylon Charlot said. “We’re thankful for the opportunity for getting this. So we’re about to come in here and work hard every day.”
Junior quarterback Thomas MacVittie, one of the top signees from KU’s 2019 recruiting class, could be seen with his iPhone in hand, letting his father, Thomas Sr., get a live look of the facility via FaceTime.
“Man, this is something special,” the KU quarterback said. “This place is going up. It’s going to be fun.”
Between the social media posts provided by the football program, Jayhawks such as Najee Stevens McKenzie, Bryce Torneden, Corione Harris, Mike Lee, Hakeem Adeniji, Carter Stanley, Miles Kendrick, Quan Hampton, Evan Fairs, Elmore Hempstead Jr., Khalil Herbert, Codey Cole, MacVittie, Ezra Naylor and Andrew Parchment could be seen taking in and/or working out in the facility.
“This is beautiful right here. We love this,” redshirt junior cornerback Julian Chandler said in one of KU’s videos. “We’re ready to get some work in right here.”
Herbert, who served as the host for a live Instagram video of the players’ initial tour, enjoyed the bouncy feel to the fresh turf, as well as the prospect of staying warm and dry during workouts.
“It’s about to snow tomorrow, but that doesn’t matter to us,” Herbert said. “We’re fixing to be inside.”
Lee, who will be a senior safety this coming season, said it felt good to finally be inside the structure.
“We worked hard for this,” Lee said. “It’s about time we change this program around and get some dubs, and turn rock chalk nation to extreme.”