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Archive for Sunday, August 13, 2000

Jayhawks trying to beat heat at football practice

KU establishes ‘cool zones’ to deal with oppressive heat, humidity

August 13, 2000

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If you can't stand the heat of Kansas University's sun-drenched preseason football practices, you don't have to get out of the kitchen.

All a player has to do is go to a "cool zone."

Tents have been set up at both ends of the practice fields, and plastic garden wheelbarrows full of water and sponges have been strategically placed so a player who needs to cool off can soak his head and neck.

"We've tried to be innovative and create a better environment," coach Terry Allen said following Saturday's two-a-day sessions in near equatorial heat on the grass fields south of Anschutz Pavilion.

"Yesterday it was 100 degrees on the practice field with 60 percent humidity," Allen said. "Today it was 106 degrees on the field, but with only 35 percent humidity so, believe it or not, it was better."

On Friday, three players tight end Jason Gulley, wide receiver Termaine Fulton and running back Reggie Duncan suffered severe cramping during and after practice and were held out of Saturday's drills.

On Saturday, heat cramps weren't a problem. The only injury occurred when senior running back David Winbush went down. Winbush had caught a pass during a dummy no-tackling drill and, while trying to keep from falling, tweaked his right hamstring.

"It scared him and that's understandable," Allen said, "but the doctors checked it and didn't feel any type of damage."

Also held out of Saturday's work was wide receiver Byron Gasaway, who had suffered a slight ankle injury during Friday's work.

Allen shouldn't have to worry too much about the effect of heat and humidity on his players today. A low-key, walk-through session in the late morning at Memorial Stadium is the only item on the agenda.

On Monday, the Jayhawks will resume two-a-days. On Tuesday, full pads will go on for the first time.

All the while, Allen will pay close attention to the weather. Coaches like hot weather for conditioning purposes, but

"This is scary hot," Allen said. "Because you want to stay away from cramping, you don't run between drills. Guys are virtually walking. You have to change your practice tempo."

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