Tuesday afternoon provided the ultimate return on making the trek to Kansas University football practice day after day during the preseason.
As the team broke into position groups to work on individual drills, I found myself watching the wide receivers. Specifically, I had my eye on freshman Tre' Parmalee, who was praised by KU coach Charlie Weis earlier in the day. Watching Parmalee, who has put himself in position to play a lot this fall, got me thinking about which receivers we weren’t hearing much about.
The immediate name that came to mind was sophomore JaCorey Shepherd, last year’s fourth-leading receiver who tied for the team lead with three touchdowns.
Shepherd has been pretty quiet this offseason. So quiet, in fact, that now he’s playing a new position.
Tuesday, while all of KU’s wideouts worked out with assistant coach Rob Ianello, Shepherd was on the other field — in a white jersey instead of blue — working out with the defensive backs.
Shepherd still wore No. 89, and there has not yet been any kind of announcement about him switching positions permanently. But he was definitely working with the D-Backs on Tuesday and he might be staying there.
Here’s a quick look at what else caught my eye on Tuesday:
• Senior linebacker Anthony McDonald was back on the exercise bike after a brief moment away from it at the start of practice.
Earlier in the day, Weis told us that part of the reason McDonald spent so much time on the bike was because they were trying to make sure he would be full-go for the season. McDonald has a history of injuries and, according to Weis, knows only one way to play the game.
“He’s one of those guys, tackle to tackle, hit you as hard as he can possibly hit ya,” Weis said. “That’s the only game he knows. There’s no passive game in how he plays.”
• There’s a new player in camp — and, no, it’s not Ty McKinney — but I’m not sure who he is yet. He wears No. 78, works out with the offensive linemen and his last name begins with the letter B. That’s all I could make out in the brief time we were up there and no one by that name, or that number, is listed on KU’s official roster. I’ll check into it more and let you know. Know this, though, the guy caught my eye because he’s huge. Looks to be about 6-foot-6, 310-320. Stay tuned...
• Finally, the Coach Weis song of the day was “For You” by Bruce Springsteen. I probably won’t tell Weis this, but I must admit, the only version of the song I had ever heard was the cover job by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. I like both versions.