What caught my eye at Day 13 of KU football's 2015 preseason practices


Thursday's practice started with a bit of patriotism for the Kansas University football team, as rear admiral Mark W. Darrah of the United States Navy spoke to the Jayhawks about leadership and the importance of operating as a team.

Although the guest speaker sounds like something that would be right up first-year coach David Beaty's alley, it was actually Darrah who requested the opportunity to address the Jayhawks.

Back in the area for a series of speaking engagements, the Shawnee Mission Northwest High and Ottawa University graduate reached out to Beaty about attending a practice and talking to the team while he was here.

“I thought it went well,” Darrah told the Journal-World at practice. “I just talked about the need to be a team and how having success isn't about the individual. I also told them that the tone that coach Beaty has set is the right tone.”

That tone, as has been well documented, is based on effort, discipline, accountability and energy. Lots and lots of energy.

Darrah, who was decked out in his white Naval uniform and given a pile of KU gear before he left practice, reminded the Jayhawks that in good times and bad their energy can mean a lot to a lot of people.

“There are people out there sitting on the edge of their seats bleeding with them and wanting them to win,” Darrah said. “Guys in combat zones all over the world are tuning in to see if their team is winning.”

Darrah, who will serve as an honorary captain at Friday's Kansas City Chiefs exhibition game, said the last message he wanted to leave the team centered on how a lot of the lessons he learned as a high school and college athlete helped pave the way for his decorated career.

“Some of these guys will wind up in the military after they're done playing here,” he said. “And hopefully they'll take the lessons they're learning today with them. I just spent a few minutes out there listening to (Beaty), but I can see it and hear it in his voice. He's got it.”

Here's a quick look at what else caught my eye at Thursday's practice:

• I watched a pretty fun drill with OC Rob Likens and the quarterbacks for a little while. It was a simple one-man drill in which the QBs simulated a snap, executed a little zone read handoff and then rolled to their left to throw at a net with three targets. As they rolled out, Likens called out which target they were supposed to hit and then offered commentary on their throws. I didn't see any of the QBs actually hit any of the targets — top right, middle or bottom left — but there were plenty of throws that came close and Likens seemed to have a blast messing with them during and after the drill.

• Speaking of quarterbacks, Keaton Perry was wearing a Go-Pro camera on his helmet for Thursday's practice. We'll try to get ahold of some of the footage and post it here or in a different blog later. I'm sure it looks pretty cool.

• It's too hard to know what any of this meant, but there were some new tackles working with the first team offense during the fast-start, 11-on-11 action that unfolded right before we left. Clyde McCaulley (previously the back-up to Jordan Shelley-Smith) and walk-on Larry Hughes (the second string right tackle on Wednesday) played left and right tackle, respectively, with the first unit on Thursday. Shelley-Smith went through position drills at his normal spot earlier in the day so maybe this was just a way to give him a rest or a way to give these guys a chance to work with the lead group in case the need arises during the season. Either way, both dudes certainly looked decent as the first-string offense got the best of the D when they were out there. The winning play in the drill came on a sweet fade pass from Montell Cozart to Tre' Parmalee for 25 yards. On the next possession, Deondre Ford hit Quincy Perdue for a first down to the give the offense back-to-back victories in the drill before the defense stood tall and sacked Cozart in Round 3 (don't worry, no actual hitting was done) and forced a drop by tight end Kent Taylor on a very good looking throw by Ford in Round 4.

• Speaking of Cozart and Parmalee, the Bishop Miege connection appears to be alive and well with those two former Stags. Cozart looks for Parmalee a lot, which makes sense given the fact that Parmalee is often open, runs reliable routes and catches everything throw his way. I know Parmalee isn't going to excite the masses, but he may turn out to be a solid contributor this season based on his veteran status and tireless work ethic alone.

• It's a 10 a.m. practice on Friday and the media is invited to attend the entire thing. We'll be out there so look for an extended practice recap tomorrow afternoon sometime.


Dirk Medema 6 years, 10 months ago

It would be nice if Tre' could remain healthy this year. I think that would be a first.

It's not very encouraging that none of the QB's could hit the target in any of the attempts. Not encouraging at all. In fact, it's downright scary and sounds so much like 2012's flip a coin performance.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 10 months ago

Matt - Any word on when a depth chart will be released? It's got to be pretty soon yes? Only 1 more week to game week.

Greg Ledom 6 years, 10 months ago

The video clip of the QB drill that was posted sure had them hitting the target a fair amount. But they were rolling out to the right and not the left. If we're this far in and Cozart isn't the guy, we should start one of the others and go.

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