Even though the months and weeks have flown by, it’s been a long summer in terms of KU football coverage.
As most of you probably know, access to the players and coaches was pretty limited throughout the months of June and July, which meant that I had to look elsewhere for story ideas.
Although that can be difficult some days, it can also lead to fun and unique stories on other days.
But that’s not a problem any longer. Football season officially has started and, with it, comes some of the most incredible access to a KU football team that I can remember seeing. (And that’s to say nothing about what kind of access most other schools offer up during fall camp).
Former KU coaches Mark Mangino and Turner Gill never gave us the kind of schedule that first-year coach Charlie Weis has laid out for the next few weeks and, because of that, we’re planning to use our entire staff to get out there to cover some football.
Just so you know, here’s the way it will break down. For the next nine days in a row, we’ll get access to a different position group and assistant coach before they head out to practice.
The way the folks at KU billed it, every single player or assistant coach that is requested will be made available at least once during fall camp. And some will be made available more than that. In addition, we will continue to be allowed to attend the first 20 minutes of practices and, therefore, I will continue to bring you my quick-hitter thoughts about what I see.
Most of the time they're doing basic stretching or drills, but you can still pick up some insight into what's going on and who's looking good. So look for that in addition to our regular lineup of stories.
Rather than it being a crap shoot of who to request and when, Weis and company have broken it down by position, by day.
Here’s a look at the schedule:
Today: Tim Grunhard and Offensive linemen
Saturday: Clint Bowen and Defensive backs
Sunday: Rob Ianello and Wide receivers
Monday: Buddy Wyatt and Defensive linemen
Tuesday: Charlie Weis
Tuesday: Reggie Mitchell and Running backs
Wednesday: Dave Campo
Wednesday: DeMontie Cross and Linebackers
Thursday: Jeff Blasko and Tight ends
Thursday: Ron Powlus and Quarterbacks
Friday: All other staff
Aug. 11: Open practice (fans and media invited from 8:45-10:45 a.m.)
So, as you can see, there will be no shortage of opportunities to get good info from a team that is made up of a ton of new faces.
While it might be tough to wait on some of these days to get here — for instance, all we keep hearing is that we’re “gonna love” new tight end Mike Ragone, yet we have to wait until next Thursday to talk to him — there will be plenty to keep us busy and plenty of opportunities to listen and learn about this team.
Because of limited space and time, I obviously won’t be able to do feature stories on all of the players this preseason. But I’ll try to hit the highlights and get to as many newcomers as I can.
Freshmen won’t be available until Aug. 15, but, after that, they’ll be treated as a regular part of the team and will be available to the media as often as we request them — as long as Weis approves the request, of course.
From the sound of things, he will at least 90 percent of the time.
There have been and will continue to be moments where Weis will prefer to keep some things inside the walls of the program. It’s understandable and part of the gig. But he’s a pro and he gets that we have a job to do and seems to be willing to do whatever he can to help us do it.
But enough about that. I’ve got more interviews to get to.
Now you know the schedule, so you whether it’s Ragone you’re waiting to hear from or linebackers Schyler Miles and Anthony McDonald or even some of the returning guys, now you know why we won’t be able to get to them until their day arrives.
After that, the season will be here and we’ll turn up our coverage even more.