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What caught my eye at Monday's practice: Aug. 18th

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More KU staff members took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to jumpstart practice Monday at the KU practice fields.

More KU staff members took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to jumpstart practice Monday at the KU practice fields. by Matt Tait

Couple of quick notes now before jumping back in to an expanded version a little later from Monday's KU football practice.

Check back in a while for more, but here are a couple that needed to get up quickly.

First, KU coach Charlie Weis called the team together during the stretching and warm-up portion of today's practice and called them out for not having any juice. It makes sense. It's hard to go through camp with great energy every day and probably even harder after a big Sunday scrimmage.

That said, Weis wasn't having it. In an attempt to inject some life into practice, he called a few more members of his staff over to the practice field so they could take their turn at the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Included in this group were assistant AD for sports medicine Murphy Grant, equipment manager Jeff Himes, media relations guru Katy Lonergan and assistant strength coach Justin Springer.

A handful of players were chosen to stand behind each person and dump the bucket of ice on their heads. It was hot out there on the turf, though, and I didn't hear any complaining.

Quickly, one newsy note from practice: Tight end Jordan Shelley-Smith, a red-shirt freshman from Waco, Texas, has moved to offensive line. He spent most of the drill I saw working at right tackle, which makes sense given the fact that, as a tight end, he's pretty athletic, moves well and may be a prime candidate to follow in Tanner Hawkinson's foot steps.

Shelley-Smith was listed at 245 pounds in the media guide. I've been told he's up to 260 now and there's no doubt that, with his frame, he could get up to the 290 range without much issue.

I thought he looked pretty strong in the drills and, from what little I do know of him, I think he may have the demeanor to play O-Line. We'll see.

More to come. Gotta take care of a couple things real quick. Quick tease: I spent a good chunk of my time today really looking at KU's three-man competition at Center between Keyon Haughton, Joe Gibson and Jacob Bragg.

Got back to this a little later than I had hoped so I'll save the center update for Tuesday.

Here were a few more quick things that caught my on Monday, though, since I promised you something.

• Still no Josh Ehambe or Damani Mosby out there, the only two players from the latest recruiting class who have yet to make it to campus. Mosby's closing in on an arrival (still just waiting for the paperwork to be graded) and Ehambe, who is still waiting for word from the NCAA on the eligibility of all Prime Prep Academy athletes Tweeted something about it being time to pack, which sent KU fans on Twitter into a frenzy about him getting good news but we've heard nothing official. Coach Weis is scheduled for a brief press conference Wednesday before introducing this year's captains so maybe we'll learn more then.

• I noticed that both the DBs and the linebackers were working a lot on the strip fumble drill during the early portion of today's practice. Nothing new there and certainly nothing they don't work on regularly anyway, but I thought it was interesting that both were doing it. Maybe the offense got the better of the defense in the Sunday scrimmage and the drill was put in to provide extra emphasis on takeaways. Purely speculation there, though. Haven't heard too much about how the scrimmage went yet.

• Weis said last week that he was hoping to be done shuffling the O-Line around after Saturday. It was just the first drill of a Monday practice but it's worth noting that the first group up in the drill for the O-Line looked like this: RT - Damon Martin, RG - Mike Smithburg, C - Keyon Haughton, LG - Ngalu Fusimalohi, LT - Pat Lewandowski.

• Finally, got a quick glance at one of those "It's Time" T-Shirts that the Jayhawks made to remind themselves that this year is supposed to be different. Nothing incredible, but they look pretty sharp.

A Kansas staff member wears one of the Jayhawks' "It's Time" T-Shirts made for the 2014 season.

A Kansas staff member wears one of the Jayhawks' "It's Time" T-Shirts made for the 2014 season. by Matt Tait

Check Tuesday for more on the O-Line, particularly the center position.

Comments

Doug Cramer 7 years, 3 months ago

Too many distractions.

When comparing Weis to guys like Snyder or Mangino...I see too many distractions and not enough focus with Weis. We also saw this with Gill those two years.

I'm no football coach, never have been and never will. But I have coached a lot of baseball, and some basketball. When analyzing from afar, Snyder's focus is very concentrated, private, and difficult to take off it's path toward goals. Mangino was the same, and this allows them to compete on Saturdays in the Big 12.

Coaches like Snyder and Mangino, don't have time in August to show the media that they are doing ALS challenges. They are focused on the season, and just don't have the time to show off. Their goals, were to improve small details that allowed their teams to make the most of their talent ceiling. This = performance on Saturdays...which is the end goal.

Now I'm all about raising funds for a good cause, and I commend coach Weis for teaching his players to be giving...because giving with intention is a very important aspect of life IMO. But there's a time and place to do that, and it's not in August, when you're preparing for the Big 12.

Playing in this league with subpar talent is not easy. When the focus and discipline isn't there, thats when you get kicked in the teeth, and by the 4th quarter, it's just not fun any longer.

Jay Beakum 7 years, 3 months ago

You don’t get to choose when to do the ice bucket challenge. That’s half of the idea. You have 24 hours... oh, never mind. You’ll never see it. The Mangino glasses are too dark.

Glen Miller 7 years, 3 months ago

I was unaware that a group effort to raise awareness for a horrible disease was a distraction. In all actuality, this was probably a welcome and fun development for the coaches and players to look forward to and might have made them work a little harder. The problem with sports is that everyone expects you to eat, sleep and breath nothing but football or whatever sport you play. There are bigger things in life than football and this cause to raise awareness is one of them. To suggest that the players had any lack of focus or drive because they were thinking about the ice bucket challenge is absurd and ridiculous. I coached several sports from little kids to teenagers and all I can say is that with my experiences, when you let them have a little fun and you let them be human.... they tend to be MORE focused and put in better work. I don't know what kind of coaching you do, but did they have to raise their hands to go pee?

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 3 months ago

But I thought was a little business all the time. At least that's what the god of building college football teams keeps chirping about.

Doug Cramer 7 years, 3 months ago

Glenn - from my experience as a coach, there is nothing more fun for a player (kids), is when they taste success on game day. Thats when they have fun and build confidence. Normally that takes a certain level of focus, work eithic, and a coach that filters out the distractions during practices. I have kids that are grown up in high school and college (and their parents), that continue to thank me for the focus and effort I put into their technique by teaching them fundamentals that most kids didn't learn.

We are now finding out, that Gill's players weren't being developed. They weren't learning techniques that other D-1 programs were instilling. Why ? Because Gill wanted to be the 180 from Mangino, the nice guy, the guy that was buds with his players. Those are distractions that takes away from teaching fundamentals and skill.

We are also finding out that Weis's players are also being underdeveloped because of this lack of focus on teaching and concentrating on what needs to get done. Want an example, lets talk about the wide receiver unit. We've seen written in a few articles now, that our wideouts over the last two seasons, were not learning fundamental techniques that players in high school were absorbing. Apparently our new WR coach is working on this.

The point is, thats inexcusable, and easy to point out when looking at our performance as a receiving core the past two seasons.

Want another example ? Look no further than our offensive line the past two seasons ? We found out that they were under-developed...which resulted in Grunny leaving the program.

The root cause of the discipline issues such as false starts, penalties, dropped passes, bad QB decisions, poor performance from our special teams, poor performance by our boys in the trenches (on both sides) can be traced back to the lack of focus and preparation.

This is an FBS (D-1) program. It's the big 12. This isn't little league or a bunch of 9 year olds. It's not out of line to expect our coaching staff to eliminate the distractions, and implement a little focus and concentration on what can give us the best shot at winning some games this year.

Mark Lindrud 7 years, 3 months ago

So, you have ignored that we have a new OLine and Receivers coach, but guess you want to focus on what he is doing wrong. He has tried to improve this coaching staff this offseason.

kellerman411 7 years, 3 months ago

Mark, yes he has tried to improve the coaching staff but he hasn't improved the culture. There is too much praise. Good coaches use media encounters as opportunities to knock their players back down to reality. Look at Nick Saban for example. Weis is a good man but he is a poor leader and will fail as head coach at this university. I'm afraid that is all there is to it. I go to all the games no matter who the coach is.

Doug Cramer 7 years, 3 months ago

Kellerman I think you're being serious...but theres a chance you're being sarcastic.

At any rate...what you said is hitting the nail on the head. "Weis enjoys everything leading up to the season when his record is 0-0".

Couldn't agree more.

kellerman411 7 years, 3 months ago

No dude, not kidding at all. Good head coaches don't talk the way Charlie talks. They are grounded and generally pessimistic about the progress their team has made. All Charlie can ever talk about is how much more talent they have, how much faster they are and how much better they're going to be. He shoots himself in the foot with comments like those. The kids hear it and pull up, it's a natural human reaction. If all your boss does is compliment you at work, you'll slow down a little.

Glen Miller 7 years, 3 months ago

I highly doubt an ice bucket challenge is going to cause us to lose a game. This is still a ridiculous concept to me. I don't see how the challenge has any relevance to not being focused and causing us to drop a pass, fumble a ball or lose a game for that matter.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 3 months ago

There's no single coaching style that is superior over others. Coaches that like to have some fun during practice have won championships and coaches that have sticks up their butts have won titles as well as coaches who fall between those two styles. But please continue to tell us how great a coach Mangino was despite having a losing record against FBS teams and nobody showed even a remote interest in hiring Mangino after the Orange Bowl or after the investigation.

Ray Winger 7 years, 3 months ago

I think its a matter of managerial style. Snyder and Mangino, and President Carter are micromanagers and have to have their hand in every decision. General Robert E Lee was a leader that delegated results and Subordinate Generals like Thomas Jackson, or Longstreet then worked their best method to achieve those results. Many of the Union Generals were afraid to make their own decision, due to criticism from up the chain of command. I think HCCW is doing fine. I think of Zenger's analysis of turning the ship, or rather turning a aircraft battle fleet is more like righting the football program.

kellerman411 7 years, 3 months ago

Could not agree more. Weis is all about talk. He loves all the little moments leading up to the season where his team's record is 0-0. Then, the season starts.

Jim Stauffer 7 years, 3 months ago

Well, Cramer, if Weis fails miserably in his first 5 years you could say you are right. However, if in his first 5 years he wins the same as Snyder, you can say you were wrong.

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