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What caught my ear on Day 6 of KU football's spring practices

A few quick thoughts from today's news conference with KU football coach Charlie Weis and a handful of offensive assistant coaches.

The Jayhawks returned to practice for Day No. 5 on Sunday night and are out there for Day No. 6 this afternoon.

We did learn today that we'll get an opportunity to watch practice on April 5, so between that and the spring game on April 12, we'll soon get a lot of live, visual action to go along with what we're hearing.

For now, though, another installment of “What Caught My Ear.”

• Although there remains a long way to go, it seems like the quarterback battle is becoming clear. Weis did not go into detail about who was doing what, but he did say the separation at the position has been easy to spot. The guess here, as it has been all along, is that Jake Heaps, T.J. Millweard and Montell Cozart, in that order, have established themselves as the main contenders in the race.

• Speaking of the offense, I thought it was interesting that Weis pointed out that he is doing his best to stay out of the way during practice and is letting the offense be put in by the offensive coaches. That's not to say he doesn't have input. But his input comes before or after practice, not during. What's more, he said he has spent the better part of his time during practices watching the areas of greatest concern, specifically the offensive line, the wide receivers and the defensive line.

• As is the case with the QB battle, there's a long way to go and a lot of competition still to be had at the RB spot, but Weis said senior Brandon Bourbon has done a nice job of transitioning back into a full-time running back role. Bourbon spent much of last season playing the F position, which primarily was used in the passing game, but he entered the spring as the No. 1 running back on the depth chart and appears to be doing well there.

• Speaking of depth charts, we haven't receive one yet, but Weis said the players are well aware of where they stand.

• Quickly, a few notes about specific players:

--- Weis said sophomore defensive back Greg Allen has been one of the more pleasant surprises of the spring. He's done well behind Kevin Short at nickel back, so well, in fact, that Weis said he would feel comfortable moving Short to cornerback if the need came up.

--- Senior wide receiver Justin McCay is working at the No. 2 spot behind junior Rodriguez Coleman, whom Weis said has been one of the best performers on the offense all spring. A big thing for McCay is learning that he and Coleman are different players and will be asked to do slightly different things. Weis credits wide receivers coach Eric Kiesau for doing a solid job of helping McCay understand that.

--- Senior wide receiver Tony Pierson has taken his first couple of hits this spring in live action and, evidently, responded well. Weis reiterated that he was not going to be careless with Pierson in the spring and that he would have him go through a lot of days with the no-contact rule. But he also said that Pierson getting that first big hit out of the way was good for his mindset and should help him reach a full recovery from his concussion issues much sooner.

Comments

Brandon Mahon 7 months, 1 week ago

I know you commented earlier in the spring but any more news on Hyman being off the roster?

Jim Jackson 7 months, 1 week ago

It's very odd, Brandon, Hyman is still enrolled at KU and although he is not on the current roster, judging by his Twitter, he loves KU and has been working out. He is now up to 190 lbs, per him. I am thinking that if he gets things in order, contingent on what was set forth by the staff, he may be back in the summer. That's my guess. Tait?

Brandon Mahon 7 months, 1 week ago

Jim I completely agree. I actually follow him on twitter and seems to love our bball squad. There must have been something he did. Weis gives second chances so maybe there is a plan in place. I wish we could get more info. Matt said earlier he didn't think he would be back, but it has been pretty quiet about the situation.

Mark Lindrud 7 months, 1 week ago

With Bourbons straight line speed he's more suited for running back so this will be good. I'll be curious how Cox and Miller are in the mix as far as their roles in the offense. I'd guess Miller is the change of pace back and Cox will be short yardage. I know we have other backs coming too so this will be interesting, but am happy about having depth back there.

Jim Stauffer 7 months, 1 week ago

I still think when the smoke clears, Taylor Cox will be No. 1 at RB.

Brandon Mahon 7 months, 1 week ago

Idk if I agree. We have Cox, Miller, Bourbon, Mann, you can throw Pierson in and Spencer and the new guys Wrench and Avery. I could see Avery and Wrench RS but I think Bourbon and Miller will be top 2 to start and Mann will come in and suprise. If you haven't seen pics or highlights he is a freak.

Dirk Medema 7 months, 1 week ago

I haven't seen much of anything of Mann, though Hartnell fans really like him, but it seems prudent to point out that they don't play in the most competitive JC league. It is a step down from Taylor's. There was a column in the Salinas Californian recently on the topic (http://www.thecalifornian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014303080032).

Jim Jackson 7 months, 1 week ago

You guys should see Mann's workout video. He is indeed, a physical freak. Miami came after him hard to be their RB and he turned them down.

Should be interesting. I am hoping we play 2 guys consistently, whoever they may be, with 15 reps a piece dependent on who has the hot hand.

Just a thought.

Mark Lindrud 7 months, 1 week ago

I can go with that idea. We've got the athletes at running back so let's use them

Craig Carr 7 months, 1 week ago

If Heaps is the starter this year should be the end for Weis, at least McCay is no longer being tabbed as a difference maker. Without a QB the hope is our new coordinator will run it 80% of the time. Hoping for 5 wins but hard to imagine given the track record of coaches and players.

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