What caught my eye at Day 4 of KU football's 2015 preseason practices
The Jayhawks jumped back into practice on Monday and, perhaps because of the downpour that hit Lawrence during the middle of the day, actually used the practice fields near the stadium instead of the old practice spot near Hoglund Ballpark.
There was a lot of energy out there from players, coaches and even managers, which was not that surprising given it was the start of a new week and followed an off day.
Here's a quick look at what caught my eye out there today:
• A big chunk of the time we were out there focused on special teams and the biggest thing that stood out to me there was the number of bodies working on returning punts. Taylor Cox, Quincy Perdue, Taylor Martin, Darious Crawley, Ke'aun Kinner and Emmanuel Moore all took their turn and they all looked pumped to get a crack at it. We'll see if other guys work there as camp goes on or if they find their punt returner from that group.
• Even before drills began the KU coaches were getting after these guys and inspiring them to work. Kenny Perry shouted “Hey, let's go, fly around, fly around,” while guys were moving from station to station and David Beaty got after a group of guys like I've never seen him get after guys because they walked from one drill to the next. In a little more colorful language, Beaty basically said, “Are you kidding me. What are we doing walking?”
• It's really interesting to watch the coaches emphasize quickness and efficiency in and out of drills. Klint Kubiak, Gary Hyman and Kenny Perry (and probably the rest of the staff, as well) all emphasized getting as many reps in as possible during a particular drill. Don't get me wrong, they're not looking to sacrifice quality for quantity and if a guy screws up he does the drill again. But this theory goes along with the whole fast tempo at all times thing and also inspires the group to get as many reps as possible, which only helps them improve at a faster rate.
• The QBs and WRs worked a lot on back shoulder throws today, which not only was good for chemistry but also gave each some individual work while working together. The QBs got to work on accuracy and throws they'll be asked to make a ton this season and the WRs got to work on their hands at the same time. It was pretty slow speed but very effective.
• I realized today that the strength coaches aren't just out there to watch and have a good time. I noticed these guys walking around to a bunch of different players between drills and commending them for a great effort in the weight room earlier in the day. The talk focused specifically on the tempo they had during their morning lift and it was cool to see them reinforcing positive elements.
• Big Larry Mazyck looks better than I can ever remember. Not only does he look lean and in shape but he looks eager to move, too. No walking. Lots of running for the big fella and he even paces and keeps moving when waiting to jump back into a drill. That's gotta be a great sign.
• Finally, before we had to leave, KU jumped into some team stuff and it was very cool to watch the offense work. OC Rob Likens was very animated and not afraid to praise players for positive plays. One such moment came when Montell Cozart hung in the pocket, went through multiple reads and hit the right receiver in stride for a first down. Likens went nuts and started hollering and pointing at Cozart to praise the play. Good stuff.
• KU will return to practice again Tuesday and will be wearing full pads for the first time this preseason.