What caught my eye at Wednesday's practice: Nov. 14


Senior wide receiver Daymond Patterson runs through a drill during the early portion of Wednesday's practice at Memorial Stadium.

Senior wide receiver Daymond Patterson runs through a drill during the early portion of Wednesday's practice at Memorial Stadium. by Matt Tait

As I stood there and watched tonight’s practice with just one other member of the media and two members of KU’s sports information staff, it occurred to me that we now have just two practice reports remaining in the 2012 season.

The Jayhawks are off next week and then I’ll be back out there Tuesday and Wednesday of the week leading up to the season finale against West Virginia. That’s it.

I know I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to go up to practice twice a week and get an up-close and personal look at the Jayhawks. As you all know, I haven’t been privy to watching the gameplans get installed and schemes be tweaked, but I still think you can — and I have — learn a lot from just being around these guys and watching them work.

You can see who’s serious about their craft, who’s a natural athlete and who has to work hard every single second to get the most out of their abilities.

What’s more, I’ve been able to observe the lingering effects of an injury or two with my own eyes, something that I think is way better than just taking the word of the coaching staff for it.

Why am I getting into all this now? I guess I’m just taking the long route toward a thank you to KU coach Charlie Weis. He doesn’t have to let us in, and many coaches don’t. But I know I’ve gotten a ton out of it and, more importantly, I’ve heard a lot of feedback from readers about how much they enjoyed these brief practice reports. I know we’ve got two left, but I’m definitely looking forward to getting out there again next season, music or no music.

As for what caught my eye today, here’s a quick look:

• For the first time in a while, senior wide receiver D.J. Beshears was in full uniform going through practice with his teammates. Beshears did have to be taped up at the beginning of individual drills, but it looks like he’ll be out there for his Senior Day. That’s good news. He, like many of his teammates, didn’t have the best season, but he’s given a lot to this program during the past four years and he certainly deserves to run out onto the field one more time and to be honored by the home fans.

• Running backs coach Reggie Mitchell deserves a ton of credit for what he’s been able to get out of James Sims and Tony Pierson during the past couple of years.... but apparently the KU assistant thinks there’s more to pull. Mitchell was riding Sims and Pierson throughout the start of practice Wednesday — mostly with a smile — begging Sims to use a stiff arm “just one time,” and dogging Pierson for running out of bounds whenever he can. Both KU backs have had terrific seasons, so I’m sure Mitchell’s ribbing was merely in good fun, but it gave me a little insight into how these coaches think and operate. They could have Collin Klein, Manti Te’o and Matt Barkley on the roster, but you can bet that wouldn’t stop any of them, position coaches, GAs or Weis, from getting after a guy when it was needed. That’s how you develop players and it’s good to see that even KU’s best players are continuing to be pushed by the coaching staff.

• We all know that Tyler Patmon had a pretty rough week last week against Texas Tech, but you’d never know it from watching him at practice. I know we’ve talked about this a lot this season, about how these guys really have been able to put the past behind them and move on to the next week with good energy, and Patmon is just the latest example that I saw.

• Off topic a little bit, I’m really interested to see what kind of crowd turns up Saturday at 6 p.m., when KU takes on Iowa State at Memorial Stadium. Weis has made it a point this week to push for a great crowd and, overall, I think there are still a ton of people backing this team, even with its 1-9 record and basketball season under way. To me, that’s as much a sign of the progress that has been made this year as anything.


Boouk 8 years, 11 months ago

KU finally offered a field-goal kicker! His only other offer is Memphis, so hopefully he's a diamond in rough. If this year's team had an aberage QB and an average field-kicker our record might be 5-5 right now with a good chance of making a bowl game.

Boouk 8 years, 11 months ago

An average QB and and an average field-goal kicker, that is.

Steve Reigle 8 years, 11 months ago

I don't know about anyone else, but these reports and other "newsy" articles about our football team help keep me pumped up between games. It helps keep the excitement there, even though at this point that excitement is aimed at the improvement I'm seeing in the team and the effort the players and coaches continue to put into it.

hawkdds 8 years, 11 months ago

Thanks Matt, it's great to hear the team is still focused and working hard and not having a pity party. Enjoy your insight and I still feel we are going to get a win or maybe two before the season is over. RCJH

BrianCh 8 years, 11 months ago

What drill is Daymond Patterson doing in the picture? I can't figure it out for the life of me.

Cody Riedy 8 years, 11 months ago

He's running through the gauntlet - he's probably carrying a football in the shoulder that's lowered. Basically, those orange fingers are padded springs that are stiff. Ball carriers run through and it is supposed to simulate running through the arms of tacklers. There is resistance from the springs so it builds strength but also helps practice holding on to the ball when arms are slapping at you.

Chris Bailey 8 years, 11 months ago

DP is one of my favorite players! It's gonna be sad to see him go! Along with Opurium. Thanks for the memories guys! You guys played your butts off for 4 years along with the rest of the seniors. Rock Chalk men!

Bville Hawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Re: Coach Mitchell getting on Tony Pierson for running out of bounds. I imagine he was referring to the finish of one of his long runs where he ran out of bounds about 2 yards before the defender would have hit him.

I remember KU Coach Bud Moore (he had a pretty good wishbone running team with Nolan Cromwell at QB and Lavern Smith and Bill Canfield at halfbacks, can't remember the fullback). Anyway Coach Moore made the comment on his TV show once that the surest tackler out there, the only one that NEVER missed a tackle was the sideline. So true.

beenahawk 8 years, 11 months ago

The fullback was Norris Banks.

On a side note: Does anyone really know why Lewis Field in Stillwater runs east and west? So the Pokes could call Terry Miller a North-South runner!

VaJay 8 years, 11 months ago

Just FYI, it was Laverne Smith and Billy Campfield. They were great KU backs.

Jayhawker111 8 years, 11 months ago

Matt: You efforts are greatly appreciated.

You are right --it is nice of Charlie Wies to let you come and observe.

I saw an interview with D.J. Beshear - he is a real gentleman and a great spokesperson for KU. KU can be real proud of this guy.

Reggie Mitchell is to be commended - his backs have been outstanding as well as the offensive line.

Matt: - Hope you will keep reports coming --year round.

pbouldenv 8 years, 11 months ago

Matt, thanks for this article and all the practice articles (and all the other coverage)!

We are making an 8 hour trip to be at the game. Can't wait! Best of luck to the team...especially the seniors!

Chris1955 8 years, 11 months ago

Matt, let me join the others writing their praises of your coverage this season of KU football.

I think one of my favorite Winston Churchill quotes is a fitting one to illustrate where the KU football team is in its development from a transition from losing to winning.

"Now this is not the end, It is not even the beginning of the end, but it is perhaps, the end of the beginning"

We may all be celebrating our first conference win in what seems like forever Saturday night.

eastcoasthawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Can't thank Matt enough for these reports. I am seeing the transformation of our team week by week. Coach and Matt just feed the fire for guys like us who want to see this team win another game and their first conference game in years. Was back for homecoming and will be at WVU in about 2 weeks. Keep sawing that wood boys!

Sam Brockert 8 years, 11 months ago

My family and I will be there saturday with bells on!

Thomas Michaud 8 years, 11 months ago

The staff is amazing -- it's my bread and butter reading up here in Michigan (ugh!) ... It makes me long to live back in Lawrence. Not only do I thank HCCW for opening up practice to Matt, I also thank Matt for his insights -- along with Jesse, Gary, and (yes, I'll add in ) Keegan (as well as the other staff writers and photographers). We've got it good!

I so wish I could be there for senior night. If I was living closer, I'd love to attend the games (I just love the atmosphere of the school and the sport itself). I can't believe how much our seniors have been through over the course of their time at KU and appreciate those that stuck through the good and bad times.

Rock Chalk, Go KU! Bring home a win for this final home game!!

squawkhawk 8 years, 11 months ago

I'm still disappointed in a hugely wasted opportunity with Dane Crist. This guy was a top 5 HS QB with a 5 star rating. Weis couldn't develop him at ND and he couldn't develop him at KU. It isn't often that KU will have the luxury of getting such a highly touted QB and to squander that kind of talent is unacceptable. This falls flat on the back of HCCW and no one else. If Weis can take credit for the successes of Tom Brady and Matt Cassell, then he needs to own up to his failure with Dane Crist. We'll just have to see what he can do next year with a second afforded luxury in Jake Heaps. Hopefully he'll turn out to be the real deal and Weis can prove his ability to coach up a talented QB.

Ian Legler 8 years, 11 months ago

Your comment does not really merit a response in my opinion but I just felt you should know that Charlie I am sure has taken some of the blame but it isn't his job to pander to the fans and say ... "I made a mistake with Dayne" ... Dayne lost his starting job at ND for a reason and I honestly think that Charlie brought Dayne in to lure Heaps to Kansas as well.

That said I am sure Charlie will be able to bring some high level QB talent to Kansas 5 Star Top 10 guys probably not but far better than what we have had in the past. (Save for Reesing but he was undervalued out of HS)

Jeremy Hays 8 years, 11 months ago


First it is Dayne.
Second I don't know but I believe Charlie is as upset as anyone that Dayne didn't pan out and be successful. I believe a lot of (and I've said this elsewhere) Dayne's problems are that he didn't have the luxury of throwing to 5 star WRs and after having knee surgeries has lost a step or two. Dayne was an excellent leader and did a very good job everywhere (it seemed) except when it came to make critical passing decisions. I don't think we squander that kind of talent but each his own.

Lastly, I believe Tom Brady, Brady Quinn, Jimmy Clausen, Matt Cassell, and even to an extent the kid from Florida shows that he can get it done. I think those places has a complete package to help the QB. I hope the Current underclass wr corps plus McCay and maybe a recruit or two help heaps become who we want our offense to be.

Jack Jones 8 years, 11 months ago

There's one in every crowd - Squawk is just doing his/her duty.

miltnewton 8 years, 11 months ago

I think it is time for those who weren't sold on Weiss to admit it was a great hire. Grades are through the roof. His team has not quit on him despite our record. Games are close, even against opponents with much better athletes and very well respected coaches. Further I think the fact that he retained Mitchell and at least tried to bring in some KU blood (Bowen) shows his "ego" is not out of control and he has learned from his time at ND. Sure a couple more wins would've been nice, although it is not too late to win one this week and steal one next week. All in all, there is little to complain about and every reason to believe this was the hire that needed to be made. Zenger should be congratulated for thinking outside the box and selling Coach Weiss and his guys (ie: Campo) on us. I also believe we have lived up to our end of the bargain as well which will be evidenced by the crowd on Saturday. Today I am very proud to be a Jayhawk. Rock Chalk!

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