Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ready to rumble: KU football eager to put pads on

Offensive players on Kansas University’s football team stretch prior to the Jayhawks’ first practice Sunday on the KU practice fields. After having worked out twice without pads, the Jayhawks will don pads today for the first time this spring.

Offensive players on Kansas University’s football team stretch prior to the Jayhawks’ first practice Sunday on the KU practice fields. After having worked out twice without pads, the Jayhawks will don pads today for the first time this spring.


KU football looking for leaders

The Jayhawks are looking for leaders after losing their starting quarterback, running back and wide receiver. The team's next spring practice will be held on Wednesday.

Although the start of spring football practice has been accompanied by a fair amount of excitement and energy, there still are a handful of rules that players and coaches must follow.

For that reason, Kansas University coach Turner Gill has not put too much emphasis on what he has seen during the first two days of drills.

“I’m more anxious to see what they do when pads are on and things are going on around them,” Gill said. “I’m taking into consideration what we learned in the winter (during individual workouts), but I want to know how they respond when we’re on the field, and (I want to) see all the things that are going through their minds. It’s a process. It’s a journey. Each and every day we’re going to find out some things about our football team.”

Beginning today, Gill will discover how his players perform in pads. According to the NCAA rulebook — which can be accessed at — only 12 of a team’s 15 spring practices can include full pads and contact. The first of those days cannot take place before the third practice of the spring. That third practice without contact is scheduled for Friday, April 23, the day before the annual spring game.

Of the 12 days during which contact is permitted, eight may involve tackling, and no more than three of the eight tackling days can take place via the 11-on-11 scrimmage-type scenario.

In short, after helmets and shorts on Sunday and Monday, the Jayhawks are ready to turn it up a notch beginning at 3:30 p.m. today.

“Obviously, we know some guys, who’s played quite a bit and who hasn’t,” Gill said. “But I want to make sure our coaches have an open mind as we go here and really evaluate these guys on the practice field, particularly when we get into pads. It’s really going to be more of a true evaluation once we get our pads on.”

In a lot of ways, today could be the first real indication of what Kansas football under Gill might look like. Both coaches and players referred to the first couple of days of drills as a learning process, a chance to feel each other out and see how the coaches coach and the players respond.

Offensively, playing in full pads gives the linemen a better chance to show Gill and his staff what kind of players they are. Are they better suited for run-blocking or pass-blocking? In addition, the wide receivers, of which there are many, will get the opportunity not only to show how they make plays in pads, but also how they play in blocking situations.

“I try to be physical,” freshman Chris Omigie said. “At receiver, you have to be tough, physically and mentally tough.”

Defensively, opening practice up to full-contact status provides those vying for starting spots — on a defense full of opportunities — a chance to play fast and hit hard, which seems to be in line with the style of defense Gill’s teams will play.

“We’re going to get to be a lot more aggressive,” senior defensive back Chris Harris said. “We’ll get to take a lot of chances. As a defense, we’re bringing a lot now. It’s just an aggressive-minded defense.”

After today’s session, KU will practice again on Friday and Saturday and will be off Sunday.


Jonathan Briles 12 years, 4 months ago

The football coverage has been outstanding, and it is really getting me pumped up for the season. This is going to be an exciting year.

Jonathan Allison 12 years, 4 months ago

the problem with spring practice is that after it's done you have three months of waiting before the guys get on the field again...

I bet Tait has a plan to give us just enough football reporting to keep us excited about football through the summer

OCJHAWK 12 years, 4 months ago

Appreciate the reports Matt. Thank you for keeping KU football as the main theme instead of trying to drum up controversy.

Dyrk Dugan 12 years, 4 months ago

i haven't heard or seen one quote from a defensive player...that doesn't talk about being more aggressive.

we must have really sat on our hands the last couple of years. football season, truly, can't come soon enough.

MitchumMan 12 years, 4 months ago

Great stuff! I'm looking forward to seeing this "new" defense. Keep it up Matt!

truefan 12 years, 4 months ago

mvjayhawk...our defense was sitting on their hands the last few years. if you take a look at any game since Aquib went pro you will see our corners playing at least 5 yards off of the receiver. No press, no bump and run, just sit and wait. the last time i saw one of our corners come up and make a hit was when Kendrick Harper got his concussion. i hope we will see our corners attacking and being the aggressors this coming season.

Andy Tweedy 12 years, 4 months ago

OMG, I LOVE FOOTBALL!!! I am that Kansas grad and fan who loves the basketball season but truly loves the football season more. We won 8 games in the four years I was in school (86-90), but I was at every single one of them and have been to games every year ever since, even though I live in Omaha. I grew up a Husker fan and can tell you first hand that if Gill is half the coach he was player, we are in for a fun ride. CAN'T WAIT!!!

justinryman 12 years, 4 months ago

1990-Oh living in Omaha makes it hard not loving football and finding out about KU football. Gotta love these articles and updates.

Im like the rest of the above, can't wait for the season to start and see what's in store for this team and new staff. Heck I can't wait for the Spring game!!!

Rock Chalk

MDHawk 12 years, 4 months ago

Keep 'em coming, Matt. While I've always been an avid fan of the game of baseball, there are only two sports I follow almost religiously: KU football and basketball. I'll enjoy the Summer weather, the cookouts, the fishing, an occasional baseball game...but I'm stoked for football season, and am dying to see what Gill can do for Kansas football. This Fall is going to be exciting, and the anticipation is already brimming!

d_prowess 12 years, 4 months ago

Perhaps during the slower summer months, we can have a fan fest type of thing. Do some football/combine style drills? You know, just something fun for the fans of the site to come to.

12 years, 4 months ago

rhino11 ~

“Dugan's still here. In fact, you'll still see his work on regularly, but he'll be able to spend more time working on features and other long-form journalism that he's particularly good at and that he particularly enjoys. He'll also pick up some of the high school coverage that Matt used to do.”

jhokfan 12 years, 4 months ago

Is there a single coach on this year's squad left over from the Mangino era?

Jayhawk444 12 years, 4 months ago

The NCAA rulebook seems as hard to figure out as the IRS tax codes. Seems it would be simple enough to say "you can have 15 practices between X and Y dates."

Matt Tait 12 years, 4 months ago

jhokfan -

Coach Gill did not retain any of Mangino's assistant coaches. The only member of Gill's immediate staff who was here during Mangino's time is Director of Football Operations George Matsakis.

A handful of behind-the-scenes type staff members also have held on to their jobs under Gill.

Of the old assistants, all but two (Bill Miller and Brandon Blaney) have found coaching jobs elsewhere.

Ed Warinner - Notre Dame Clint Bowen - Western Kentucky David Beaty - Rice John Reagan - Rice Je'Ney Jackson - Southern Miss Louie Matsakis - Youngstown State Tom Sims - Youngstown State

jhokfan 12 years, 4 months ago

Thanks Matt. Next time I won't be so lazy and I'll look it up myself.

I would think it would be difficult for an entirely new coaching staff to come in and try to evaluate players they only know through game film. Seems like it would put coach Gill at a distinct disadvantage. Fortunately, I don't think the cupboard is as bare as it was when his predecessor took over.

97jhawk 12 years, 4 months ago

Alright Taitinator, you seem to have the inside scoup so where is the Grandaddy of them all? Where oh where is Mangino? Is he really working for Stoops at OU as a "consultant" of sorts?

Lay it on us.

jhokfan 12 years, 4 months ago

I'd like to know as well. Inquiring minds want to know.

troutsee 12 years, 4 months ago

The stadium is going to be full this year and I think more people are going to turn out for the spring game than ever before.

Matt Tait 12 years, 4 months ago

Mangino has been in Lawrence but recently put the house he shares with wife Mary Jane up for sale.

He has been keeping a low profile, other than doing some volunteer work at Corpus Christi Catholic School, and has not done any media interviews since resigning under pressure.

We haven't heard yet what his plans for the future are...

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