Wednesday, March 27, 2013

KU football gets back to business after spring break

Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis, center, directs tight end Jimmay Mundine (41), receivers Tre’ Parmalee (11) and Justin McCay (19) and quarterback Jake Heaps (9) during spring drills on March 9, 2013, at Anschutz Sports Pavilion.

Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis, center, directs tight end Jimmay Mundine (41), receivers Tre’ Parmalee (11) and Justin McCay (19) and quarterback Jake Heaps (9) during spring drills on March 9, 2013, at Anschutz Sports Pavilion.


Before his Kansas University football players hit the road for spring break last week, KU coach Charlie Weis promised them something upon their return — a killer Monday morning conditioning session.

The idea behind the welcome-back workout was to keep football on the minds of the Jayhawks while they lived it up at their various spring break destinations.

“Hey, look, I want the guys to have a quality of life like any college kid and go have a spring break like everyone else,” Weis said. “But we’ve got business to attend to and we’re right in the middle of spring ball.”

Tuesday morning, before leading his squad through the sixth of 15 spring practices, Weis shared the informal results of the conditioning test with the media.

“They knew it was coming,” he said. “This was not unannounced. There were a couple of guys that obviously did not do a whole lot of work over (spring break), kind of laid on the couch the whole time. And they were hitting the garbage cans a little earlier than some other people. Look, if you go away somewhere and you’re on the beach and you run on the beach every day, that’s a good thing. As long as you’re doing something to keep yourself in shape. So it looks like most of them put themselves in a pretty good position.”

With spring drills starting a couple of weeks earlier than normal at KU this year, Weis and his coaching staff had the luxury of hitting it hard for five practices before using the week off to recharge and evaluate the team’s progress.

“We gave ‘em an awful lot of information in five days,” Weis said. “And the minimal number of mental mistakes was encouraging. Now, we didn’t move people around very much. (Tuesday) that changes, and we open ourselves up for a whole bunch of mental mistakes. And you don’t do it to try to outthink yourself, you do it because you think that that’s how it’s gonna end up.”

Heaps ahead

He’s been listed first on the depth chart since it was released a few weeks ago. And although junior quarterback Jake Heaps and returning part-time starter Michael Cummings are currently battling for the starting job, Weis made it clear Tuesday that the depth chart reflected where the two guys stood.

“He’s the man to beat out,” Weis said of Heaps. “I put him first for a reason. If I thought he deserved to be second right now, I’d put him second.”

Listing Heaps, a BYU transfer who sat out last season, ahead of Cummings, who actually played in 2012, follows a common theme throughout the roster.

“We were 1-11 last year,” Weis said, “and I’d prefer not to be 1-11 again. So if I think that there are guys that are better than the other guys, then I’m putting ahead of them. And we have new guys coming in in the summertime, and, guess what, after the spring, if I think those guys are better than the guys that just practiced in the spring, I’m putting them ahead of them.”

Such a scenario sounds likely on defense, where some of KU’s top defensive prospects in the Class of 2013 will not arrive on campus until this summer.

“There’s at least a half-dozen on defense that have a chance of being on the field the first play of the game when we play in September,” Weis said. “When you’re 1-11, you don’t worry about being in love with anybody. You put the best guys out there, whoever they are. That’s the only way you’re gonna get better.”

Receivers on the rise

With their top three receivers lost to graduation, the Jayhawks have multiple openings in the pass-catching department. And, although sophomore Tre’ Parmalee and junior Andrew Turzilli opened the spring atop the depth chart, there has been some early movement.

“Christian Matthews has been the most pleasant surprise of anyone,” said Weis of the senior wideout. “And I was hoping (junior transfer) Justin McCay would move up into that realm and he’s moved up, too. Those guys who were running twos have now been running a lot of ones. ... If we were playing a game today, (they) would start at wide receiver.”

Hoop, Hoop, Hooray

Since his arrival in Lawrence, Weis has been very open about his love of college basketball. Tuesday, he took time out to congratulate KU’s hoops programs.

“I think it’s only apropos that I mention something about both our basketball teams, men and women’s,” he said. “We’re the only team in the land that, for the last two consecutive years, has had both the men’s and women’s basketball team make it to the Sweet 16. Kudos to coach (Bill) Self and his squad and coach (Bonnie) Henrickson and her squad. Congratulations and Rock Chalk as we go to the next venture and hopefully, at the end of the day, we come back with a couple of championships to add to our trophy case.”

Virtual reality

Kansas Athletics became the first NCAA institution to partner with EON Reality, the world’s leading interactive 3D software provider, in the creation of software to eventually be used in a virtual reality football simulator.

“This state-of-the-art training will greatly benefit our student-athletes and makes Kansas a leader of virtual reality in sport,” said KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger in a news release. “We constantly seek responsible and innovative ways to help our student-athletes and this cutting-edge technology brings a great opportunity to our football team.”

According to the release, once the software is fully developed, student-athletes will be able to step into a 10 feet by 10 feet room and be immersed into simulated-game action. The experience makes the user feel as if they are standing on an actual playing field, complete with crowd noise, realistic game speeds and football player avatars running real plays.


Jhawk59 9 years, 3 months ago

Couldnt you just tape binoculars to your head and play EA Sports NCAA Football in 1st person view mode?

Dirk Medema 9 years, 3 months ago

I had a coach in HS who ran with us - and smoked us on a regular basis, but then again he was 6th at the US Olympic trials the summer before he started coaching us. Once in a while you'd get a FB coach that would lift with us too.

It is good to Know-tice that Coach continues to rehab from his leg injuries/surgery.

Ryan Shelton 9 years, 3 months ago

I run with my players, but then I have selfish motives. I want to be around for a while and with my busy schedule, it's the only time I can exercise. That said, the measure of a coach is not in his or her 40 time.

kellerman411 9 years, 3 months ago

He's there to rattle the cages of these animals, not to get inside with them.

KGphoto 9 years, 3 months ago

Said the guy with a Samantha Ryan “virtual reality doll”.

Lucas Town 9 years, 3 months ago

Can we worry about getting better on the football field before worrying about the virtual stuff?

texashawk10 9 years, 3 months ago

The virtual stuff will help players get better by allowing someone to program stuff in and let them work on weakness like reaction times, reading the other side of the ball, and stuff like that.

KGphoto 9 years, 3 months ago

So funny listening to Weis in his presser. I love his pressers. He sounds exactly like my grandpa used to. (RIP grandpa). It’s a good thing. I like how he repeats himself on some things. Just slow and deliberately as to make sure you got it. Like when comparing the ILB position with Darius Willis and Ben Heeney.

“Well Ben’s a little smaller, you know, and a little quicker. You know. He’s a little smaller... and a little quicker. They are both very physical, both very physical players and can take on the inside game, that you know that most teams will sprinkle in. They are both, you know, both capable of doing that, you know... it’s just that Darius is a little bigger. You know, a little bit slower, you know, but also a little bigger.”

Also funny when he used Matt as an example for loafing up-downs.

“Tait!” - up-down - “Tait!” - up-down - “Tait!” - up down.

Matt have you been loafing?

April13 9 years, 3 months ago

Anger issues? Overreact much? Ever heard of Oregon? Always put two periods at the end of your phrases?

If uni's aren't part of sports, then let's make a new rule: Home team wears white with black. Away team wears black with white. And small cranial-capacity neanderthals aren't allowed to comment.

qringer 9 years, 3 months ago

I like the practice jerseys better than the gamers.

machinegun 9 years, 3 months ago

Dead last in wins, points, and passing. Simple enough. We need a QB who can pass all day.

rtwngr 9 years, 3 months ago

My teams are undefeated from this blog. I notice the same for a lot of you "experts" . Stick a sock in it.

Lance Meier 9 years, 3 months ago

Glad to see the majority of players stayed in some type of shape. I had two spring breaks I went on and had spring ball after only one of them... Had a GREAT SPRING BREAK, so I wouldn've been over one of those trah cans!!! Time to get back to work...


CrystalJones 9 years, 3 months ago

Don't understand at all why spring practice is scheduled so that it's interrupted by spring break. Is that an unavoidable scheduling conflict? Or is it done to give the guys a little time off during spring practice? Either way, it seems odd, and I'm not sure it's a good idea.

Also, I know Heaps is supposed to be some kind of savior and all that, but it seems to me that Charlie is anointing him way early, just as he did with Crist. I don't think that helped Crist at all last year, knowing that the job was his and there was little chance of losing it. Well, of course he did lose it, but I don't think he was allowed to be pushed by Cummings or anyone else in the spring or early fall. He could just kind of relax...and I think it hurt his performance.

I don't think most good college programs do this. Instead of "creating" job security, they create "job insecurity" by making every position competitive and keeping it that way all the time. They look at the film and grade each player after every practice and game. I guess my question is whether Charlie's way is more of an NFL approach. If so, I don't know if that works well at the college level.

JJHawq 9 years, 3 months ago

He's going w the guy he thinks is better. Would you rather he go with the guy he thinks is second best, just because he was wrong last year? Kind of a Costanza approach?

CrystalJones 9 years, 3 months ago

I'm just saying that he seems to close the competition too early and lets the winner relax too much. Why not keep it competitive all the time and don't let any starter get too comfortable?

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