What caught my eye at Day 8 of KU football's 2015 preseason practices


We talked to WR coach Klint Kubiak earlier in the day Friday so I guess it was only natural that I spent my time at practice this afternoon watching Kubiak and his crew.

The vets on the coaching staff all really like Kubiak and believe he has a bright future. The reason is easy to see: He does not waste a single second of practice time.

He's direct with his instructions, makes them easy to understand and is not afraid to repeat them if needed. Like the players, he runs from drill to drill and position to position and he has the kind of demeanor that makes him easy to follow and want to play hard for.

This all shows up without him screaming and hollering. Don't get me wrong, he can get loud, but it's usually loud in the sense of trying to get guys fired up to work harder not loud in the way of disciplining a guy. There's nothing wrong with either style, Kubiak just chooses the former. And it fits his personality.

A few of the wideouts we talked to Friday morning said they really like the way he coaches because they truly feel he cares about them, he cares about football and he cares about Kansas. He's young, but he's been around a lot of football and a lot of good coaches and, he already seems like a bargain and a great guy to have on this staff.

Here's a quick look at the rest of what caught my eye at Friday's practice, the last one we're invited to until Monday.

• I watched Virginia Tech transfer Joshua Stanford — and, yes, he prefers Joshua to Josh — a lot more closely at today's practice and it's very easy to see why the coaches like this guy. He's all business, very polished and has a nice combination of good feet, good hands and good route-running ability. His ability to get off the line against press coverage was particularly impressive — and speaks to his veteran status — and he has so much success there mostly because of his feet, though his hands definitely play a role. Very nice late addition who should contend to lead the Jayhawks in receiving this season.

• Six or so years removed from playing defensive back at Colorado State and getting a chance in the Washington Redskins camp, Kubiak showed he can still cover a little bit. We've routinely seen him line up and jam the receivers at the line while working on beating press coverage, but during one drill on Friday, he actually dropped into coverage and ran with these guys, too. He's not as young or as athletic as these guys so they most always got by him, but you could tell he enjoyed pushing them and no doubt had a few words for them when they went by him.

• I noticed new DBs Bazie Bates and Brandon Stewart talking to each other a lot when they weren't in drills. It's cool to see the team's top corner and potentially top safety developing that kind of bond and chemistry. Fish Smithson has emerged as a leader in that secondary but there's no doubt that both Stewart and Bates have strong leadership qualities and could help Fish lead the defense this season.

• During his Friday meeting with the media Beaty talked about how they're still a little ways away in figuring out the whole QB position. It's hard to know exactly what that meant, but he said he was hoping to give all of those guys a little more time so the coaching staff can make a full evaluation. Cozart continues to be the unquestioned No. 1 guy during drills and Carter Stanley and Ryan Willis seem to be rotating at that No. 2 spot right now. Willis had held it down more regularly during the early part of camp, but Stanley got in the mix there a little more on Friday. During one drill, which worked receivers down the seam and on the back shoulder on the outside, Willis and Cozart stayed at one end while Stanley and Deondre Ford went to the other end. Who knows if that means anything, but I'm betting it does. If I had to rank the QB depth chart right now, I'd say it goes: Cozart, Willis, Stanley, Ford. I'm guessing the bulk of what they're trying to sort out is who the immediate back-up is to Cozart, not who the starter is. There's still more than half of camp left, though, so there's no telling what could still happen.

• The last thing that jumped out at me on Friday was from the O-Line station, where coach Zach Yenser was really requesting that the scout guys get after the first and second stringers. He kept talking about being physical, playing tough and really getting after them. That's the kind of stuff these guys are gonna see on Saturdays — and then some — so it was good to see Yenser asking for more.

• KU is set to run through a live scrimmage on Saturday. Media members are not invited to the scrimmage but you can bet some details will leak on Twitter, Facebook and message boards from those who are able to attend as well as the players and coaches themselves. We'll be back out there on Monday and have plenty of stories planned for the site over the weekend so be sure to check it out.


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