Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Notebook: Kansas WR Evan Fairs discovers consistency through trash-talking

Kansas wide receiver Evan Fairs (19) pulls in a deep catch late in the fourth quarter on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 at Peden Stadium in Athens, Ohio.

Kansas wide receiver Evan Fairs (19) pulls in a deep catch late in the fourth quarter on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 at Peden Stadium in Athens, Ohio.


Expected to become a more integral part of the offense this coming fall, University of Kansas receiver Evan Fairs discovered this past spring a painless way to maximize his development.

A junior, Fairs experienced the epiphany after first diagnosing a flaw.

“If I had a good practice on Monday, I’d have a bad one on Tuesday, a bad one on Wednesday and then a good one on Thursday,” Fairs said of the inconsistencies that plagued him as an underclassman, during a recent appearance on 1320 KLWN’s Rock Chalk Sports Talk with Nick Schwerdt.

According to Fairs, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound passing target, KU head coach David Beaty helped him notice the irregularities in his preparation habits.

“He just told me to be more consistent, and that’s pretty much what I trained myself to do this spring,” Fairs related. “Every day I had that same energy and I brought it to the team.”

It wasn’t a new focus or mantra that steered him toward stability. It turned out Fairs, who caught his first career touchdown in the Jayhawks’ 2017 finale atOklahoma State, just needed to stay loose and be true to his personality.

“My energy is talking smack,” Fairs revealed. “I like to get in people’s ear. That’s really what motivates me, because I know if I’m talking to you, (you’re) getting mad.”

As Fairs, who caught 24 passes for 335 yards as a sophomore, sees it, he isn’t the only one benefiting from his in-practice trash-talking.

“I’m always trying to get the best out of my defense,” he said. “I promise you that.”

Friendly competition

Playing a position where everyone else in a KU uniform trails Steven Sims Jr.’s productivity — team-best 59 receptions, 839 yards and six touchdowns in 2017 — Fairs said the Jayhawks’ receivers try to help each other improve in any way possible during the off-season.

Providing a few examples of how they make sure to stay ambitious, Fairs said the Jayhawks track:

— the number of receptions made each day

— runs after practice

— results from the speed monitors they wear to see who is running fastest

— who drops the least balls

“Everything’s a competition in our room. You’re never safe, and that’s what I like about it,” he said. “It pushes everybody to get better.”

Sims’ approach

Outside of senior standout Sims, no KU receiver currently on the roster finished with more catches than Fairs (24) this past year. Only three others — Jeremiah Booker (22), Ryan Schadler (21) and Quan Hampton (21) — completed 2017 with double-digit receptions.

Considering the distance between Sims’ experience and results compared to his teammates, redshirt senior Tyler Patrick said it would be easy for the most recognizable face on KU’s offense to walk around acting like he is better than his fellow receivers.

“But he doesn’t,” Patrick said, praising Sims for never flaunting his abilities. “He’s one of the hardest workers in the room. You can get him on the board and he can do chalk talk. He understands the offense. He’s by far one of the hardest workers on our team and the most talented.”


John Fitzgerald 4 years ago

I have Fairs as a potential break out player. He's such a good route runner, finds ways to get open and he's clutch. Hoping it works out for him because we definitely need it.

Bryson Stricker 4 years ago

When are you going to learn they are deleting your links???

This isn't a free advertising agency and your writing is officially trash after you tried to mock our coach for blocking you on twitter.

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years ago

I see smacking talking the opponents by players is encouraged, smack talking the coach by fans gets you blocked. Hmmmm.

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years ago

How can anyone on this team "talk smack?" Maybe in practice but l sure hope he just concentrates on making the right play during a game not trying to come up with some zinger to get into his opponents head. Team had too many dropped balls, false starts last year they have enough to concentrate on besides trying to get into an opponents head. Isn't just making plays and catching passes for yardage gains enough to get into an opponents head? Just do what you are supposed to do why is smack talk so important? Interested in seeing what he comes up with during a blowout.

Lucas Town 4 years ago

Exactly, I hate to see the jawing going on when we are down by 30.

Matthew Pyle 4 years ago

I had to click on this after reading the headline. A KU player "talking smack" is just a hilarious thought. I'm convinced the Lawrence HS teams from the mid 80's would give them a run for their money. Perhaps they should focus on making plays and winning a few more football games.....

John Strayer 4 years ago

I guess I'm missing something...but somehow, I don't feel anyone in a Jayhawk uniform should be talking smack. Shouldn't you have to prove your ability to beat someone before you have the ground to stand on?

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