I spent most of my time at today’s practice watching the quarterbacks. I know that’s a little cliche, but, because it is, I often forget to look at them at all.
I know we all know that Dayne Crist and Jake Heaps are former five-star guys, big-time talents, a huge upgrade for KU, yada, yada, yada, but it really never gets old watching them work.
They’re so focused, such natural leaders and have such live arms.
Although Heaps, Turner Baty, Michael Cummings and Blake Jablonski all have their share of talent, it just continues to become more and more obvious how important Crist will be to this year’s team. The biggest reason? He’s huge. KU’s offensive line will fight like crazy to keep him from taking hits, but even if he does, I think he’ll be able to hold his own.
Anyway, here are a few other things that caught my eye today.
• Crist, Heaps and Baty all throw great balls. Baty’s motion and delivery resembles Crist’s a lot. The only difference is, since he’s 6-2 — compared to Crist’s 6-4 — the release point is a little different. Heaps, I’m told, has the best technical release of all of the QBs and it shows during warm-ups. He releases it high, it stays tight and it gets there in a hurry.
• One area that Baty really stands out to me is in the learning department. The guy is like a sponge out there, always watching the other QBs and listening to any and all direction from whoever is talking. I’ve seen him on more than one occasion run over to a coach who was trying to instruct him. Cool to see. Should help him a lot.
• During our early interview session today, senior safety Bradley McDougald tipped his cap to senior corner Corrigan Powell for renewed focus and intensity. It shows. Powell really digs in during practice and appears interested in making his final season at KU one that will included his name more than a couple of times. Not only does the arrival of all these new, young corners help push the starters, but it also can push guys like Powell, who, if they don’t step up their games, could get passed over for good.
• It’s always easy for the new guys to stand out in these types of settings because we haven’t seen them before. It happened again today when I caught a glimpse of freshman defensive end Tyler Holmes. Physically, Holmes looks ready to play right now. With Toben Opurum and Michael Reynolds working in at Sam linebacker and a couple of those other defensive linemen arriving late, Holmes could be an under-the-radar guy to keep an eye on. I remember talking to him before he got to campus and his goals there were very clear — come in and play right away. On the most recent depth chart, Holmes is listed in a battle with red-shirt freshman Ben Goodman for the second-string spot behind transfer Josh Williams. I know there are a lot of battles worth keeping an eye on, but the Holmes-Goodman showdown should be intense.
• One other quick note from today’s practice... senior wide receiver D.J. Beshears spent the early portion of the day riding an exercise bike in the corner. Initially, I wondered if it were an injury thing, but it looked less and less like that as practice went on. A few minutes before we had to leave, I noticed strength coach Scott Holsopple standing next to Beshears as the senior wideout did crunches. No telling what it was, but regardless of the reason, it did not appear to be serious.