It was another incredible weather day at KU football practice Wednesday afternoon. And I gotta tell ya, these odd August days have been noted by the KU football staff.
While at practice, I talked with head trainer Murphy Grant about whether or not he was loving the cooler weather and not having to worry about heat exhaustion like they do every other August. Grant said he thought the good-weather days were great but added that he would not mind if it got just a little hotter so these guys could test their bodies and conditioning in real heat just in case Sept. 7 rolls around and it's a scorcher.
Makes sense to me. And it's certainly cool to hear that the training staff is thinking about things like that. Grant said they're still focused on proper hydration and all of those things just as if they were going through a normal August. But there's no better test for seeing how the body reacts to heat than being out in it.
Murphy's one of best out there and he and his staff take great care of these guys.
Moving on, here are a few other things that caught my eye on Wednesday:
• Today was the first day for Pearce Slater to don full pads. He was big before but he looks like an absolute mountain all dressed up. If his stamina and conditioning can get to where the coaches want them to be, he'll help in a big way right away. Heck, even if they can't, he might help anyway. The guy's a load.
• I was particularly tuned in to Ben Goodman today at practice, largely because the defensive linemen we talked to this morning said he had looked sharp in camp. In fact, Keon Stowers went as far as to say he didn't think there was any drop off from what Chris Martin gave the defense this spring to what Goodman's giving the D in camp. Stowers is a straight shooter so that should be considered really good news. Goodman works some with the linebacker and some with the D-Line. Today he was with the linebackers and he more than held his own athletically. The guy is in great shape and he looks incredibly athletic. I think you should toss him onto the pile of guys you're excited about this fall if he's not already there.
• Minor note: Darius Willis is now wearing No. 52 instead of No. 2. We'll have to ask him about the change next time we get to talk to him. I still always think of Steven Johnson when I see 52 in a KU uniform. And, no, it's not because Johnson plays for the Denver Broncos these days, although that doesn't hurt.
• While watching the LBs I caught my first real glimpse of Courtney Arnick. Don't count this guy out. He's got great feet and can really change direction. Another guy who stood out today was Victor Simmons. I think he's having a solid camp and KU coach Charlie Weis was not overstating it when he said Simmons looked like a man among boys, physically, at linebacker. Watching him move out there, he actually reminds me of a bigger Bradley McDougald. That should come as no surprise, though, since he played quarterback at Olathe North in high school.
Another two-a-days session awaits tomorrow.