Archive for Monday, April 24, 1995

KU SCRIMMAGE

April 24, 1995

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Julius Bruce took the handoff, cut once and followed his block through the line before he was gang-tackled after a short gain.

Kansas football coach Glen Mason wasn't impressed.

"Three yards ain't enough," Mason barked as the KU offense lined up again.

Little did Mason know any offense was a bright spot Sunday, as the Jayhawks conducted a 90-minute situational scrimmage at Memorial Stadium. KU ran more than 100 plays, and the defense dominated the vast majority of them.

"I was impressed with the intensity and the hitting," Mason said afterward. "I was really impressed with the defense, the way they're running to the football. Our defense is ahead of our offense right now. Our second-team defense is way ahead of our second-team offense.

"Right now, our defense is a little better than I anticipated. But I'm not worried about the offense. The defense just looked good in all situations."

The scrimmage covered numerous situations, from red-zone plays to third-and-long drills. First downs and touchdowns were rare.

"They only gave up a couple of big plays," Mason said. "But I was impressed with the ability of our offense. I thought Mark Williams looked good. So did June Henley and L.T. Levine."

Williams, the incumbent at quarterback, figured in most of the big plays. He found Ashaundai Smith -- actually, Smith dove out ahead of double-coverage -- on a 45-yard bomb. And Williams connected on three touchdown passes -- two to Matt Vandree and another to Bruce -- in quick succession late in red-zone drills.

Henley, a junior tailback, also had a couple of big runs, including two of about 20 yards and two touchdowns. Bruce scored the only other TD of the day on a five-yard run.

Other than that, the day pretty much belonged to the defense.

"I don't know that we dominated," said oft-injured senior linebacker Dick Holt. "They put in a lot of new things on offense. Defense is all reaction. Offense is all timing. We were definitely flying around on defense, getting to the ball well. I think we looked pretty good."

For that, Holt credited the new defensive coaches -- coordinator Mike Hankwitz and secondary coach David Gibbs -- as much as their new schemes.

"I think the difference between the coaches is, the new coaches are more relaxed," Holt said. "They can take more risks. They're not really that much different. But they are more relaxed, and they've got people flying around. It's nothing against the coaches we had before, but I think the players here, now, are reacting to this style better."

The Jayhawks are scheduled to practice Wednesday and Thursday. The annual spring game is slated for 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

  • Injury update -- Defensive lineman Brett McGraw, who injured his foot and did not play in the last scrimmage, returned Sunday. However, tight end-turned-defensive tackle Dewey Houston III missed Sunday's drills nursing a twisted ankle. "He's OK," Mason said. "We just didn't play him."

  • Quarterback corps -- Statistics were not kept. However, Williams led the quarterbacks by completing 13 of 19 passes, unofficially. Junior college transfer Ben Rutz connected on nine of 20 passes, and Matt Johner hit four of nine with the day's only interception.

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