It was a dark and cold evening at the latest Kansas University football practice, but you never would have known it from watching what went down on the field.
From players bouncing around with energy and excitement to coaches screaming and smiling, it looked like just another week on the KU practice field for the Jayhawks, who began final preparations for this week’s match-up with West Virginia.
At this point, there’s not a whole lot new that’s going on out there. But it’s worth noting that the energy shown today was equal to what we saw during practices back in September and October.
KU coach Charlie Weis was asked earlier in the day if he thought it would be tough to get his guys fired up for one more game and his answer painted a clear picture:
“I don’t think the offseason’s even in their mind yet. You think they’re looking forward to spending extra time with (strength coach Scott) Holsopple? They’re not there yet. They’re happy we’re still playing. Maybe it’s the lesser of two evils, but I think they’re really looking forward to having one more shot.”
With that in mind, Here’s a quick look at a couple of things that caught my eye at Tuesday’s practice.
• KU’s running backs continue to work as hard as anyone on the roster and, while they’re doing it, they also have as much fun as anyone. Credit running backs coach Reggie Mitchell for some of that. At the start of individual drills, the KU RBs were on the ball and ready to work. So much so in fact, that they surprised Mitchell. “We even started before the clock,” Mitchell said with excitement. “I love it.”
• Speaking of the running backs, I noticed that KU senior D.J. Beshears, who has played wide receiver, running back, defensive back and returner during his KU career, was working with the backs. Maybe Beshears will be KU’s answer to WVU’s Tavon Austin. For more on him, check tomorrow’s paper.
• The first-team offensive line, which has been a revolving door at times during the season, shaped up like this on Tuesday: RT Aslam Sterling, RG Randall Dent, C Trevor Marrongelli, LG Duane Zlatnik, LT Tanner Hawkinson. Hard to believe that Hawkinson, is going through his final week of practice at KU.
• Finally, the season may be winding down and many on that field may be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but the focus seemed squarely on the task at hand, with several coaches shouting several colorful things designed to pump the Jayhawks up for their 1:30 p.m. meeting with the Mountaineers on Saturday at WVU.