Now that Dick Holt is back, the red-shirt freshman linebacker is making up for lost time in the Kansas football camp.
Surprisingly, the 6-3, 225-pounder is listed No. 1 at inside linebacker ahead of incumbents Steve Harvey and Larry Thiel.
"I guess it is surprising, but I don't know how long it's gonna last," Holt said.
Holt didn't last long last fall. Just after mid-season, the former consensus all-stater from Wichita Northwest abruptly quit the team.
What made Holt bolt?
"I left because I lost all confidence in myself," he said. "I didn't have the right frame of mind. I just didn't know if I had what it took."
HOLT HAD been a three-year starter in high school and now he was holding blocking dummies on the scout team because coach Glen Mason had decided to red-shirt practically his entire freshman class.
"It took an adjustment not being in the limelight is what it was," Holt stated frankly. "I've always been self-confident. Then when I got here I realized you just blend in because everyone has as much talent as you do."
In the fall of 1990, Holt was one of Kansas' most sought-after high school football players. In fact, he was probably the No. 2 propsect behind current KU defensive tackle Mark Allison.
Holt visited Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Southern Cal before narrowing his choices to KU and USC. Geography ultimately decided that tug-of-war.
"I really liked USC, but I guess I'm not much of the city type," Holt said. "There aren't any places to go huntin' out there. Also, my folks could come watch me play. And my brother is here."
OLDER BROTHER Jim, a former KU football player, is a senior working on a dual degree in philosophy and biology.
Hunting is what Holt was doing when he decided he wasn't content with his decision to quit football. While he was out shooting over the Thanksgiving break, he also blasted away at his self-pity.
"I realized I was basically a football player," he explained. "I got back to feeling like I used to. I didn't know what I'd be doing without football. I'd rather be playing football than out screwing around or laying around watching TV."
So he screwed up enough courage to go back to Mason and ask to be reinstated.
"Actually, it wasn't that tough," Holt said, "because when I left he (Mason) said if I change my mind to come back and talk to him. He was really understanding about what I was going through."
HOLT ISN'T unique. Since Glen Mason has been a head coach, he's been involved with a handful of similar cases involving freshmen.
"When he left he was confused," the KU head coach said. "Now he's unconfused."
You won't hear a contradiction from Holt.
"That," he said, nodding his head, "describes it."
Because of the Kansas Relays, this Saturday's Kansas spring football scrimmage will be at Arrowhead Stadium. It will not be open to the public because of an NCAA rule pertaining to off-campus spring workouts.