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Archive for Thursday, October 19, 2000

Allen cracks down on Jayhawks’ sideline

To keep players focused on field, coach cutting down on unnecessary hangers-on

October 19, 2000

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Last week Kansas University's football team circled the wagons.

This week the Jayhawks are driving off the cattle.

"We have a little bit of a sideline problem. We're trying to eliminate some of the numbers on our sideline. This team plays best when there's total concentration and not a lot of distraction."

KU coach Terry Allen

In the interest of toughness and team unity, KU coach Terry Allen instituted physical game-week practices, trimmed the travel roster and overhauled the travel itinerary leading up to last Saturday's 38-17 rout of Missouri.

Allen's going to apply the same changes this week, when the Jayhawks play host to Colorado for Saturday's homecoming.

Kickoff is 11:38 a.m., with a live regional telecast available locally on channels 4 and 13.

The tough practices will continue this week, and KU's sideline Saturday should be much less crowded in terms of players and other hangers-on.

"We have a little bit of a sideline problem," Allen said Wednesday at his regular weekly press conference.

"We're trying to eliminate some of the numbers on our sideline. We've had an infiltration of people on our sideline."

Some of the overcrowding stems from the number of players KU suits, and Allen will address that by dressing 70-some players, trimming the team area by 10-15 players.

The rest of the bodies are a mystery to Allen.

"I look up," he said, "and there are people standing on our sideline and I don't have any idea who they are."

It might seem a minor issue, but it weighed heavily enough on some of the players they approached Allen and asked if he could cut down on the distractions, mainly from red-shirt freshmen paying more attention to the activity in the stands than on the field.

"We felt it needed to be done," KU junior wideout Harrison Hill said. "Guys on the sideline weren't paying any attention to the game. You need guys who can focus and want to win."

Amen, Allen said.

"This team," he said, "plays best when there's total concentration and not a lot of distraction."

Allen expects KU will need plenty of the former and little of the latter against Colorado, which enters with a deceptive 1-5 overall record and with one loss would be eliminated from postseason consideration.

While the Buffs are battered and reeling, the Jayhawks are healthy and brimming with confidence.

No wonder Allen's worried.

"The things we need to guard against are the things that caught Missouri by surprise," Allen said. "We caught Missouri a little flat-footed."

In Allen's eyes, the Tigers were resting on the laurels of a close game at Nebraska and a convincing victory over Oklahoma State.

"They started to think they were a little better than they were," he said. "For one time this season, that's one thing we have to guard against."

One way to guard against it, Allen said, was to remind the Jayhawks of their last meeting with CU. Colorado manhandled the Jayhawks, 51-17, last year in Boulder, Colo., in coach Gary Barnett's Big 12 debut.

"Last year, they outplayed us, outcoached us, outeverythinged us," Allen said. "It was really a red-letter game for them. It was Gary's first Big 12 game against a team that beat them the year before. I don't think Kansas is a red-letter game for them this year. Now our players have redemption on their side."

The Jayhawks (3-3, 1-2) entered the week as touchdown underdogs, but the line has plummeted to 2 1/2 points, in part due to the Buffs mounting injury problems.

"Since we're at home, seeing what we accomplished last week, we have every right to win that football game against Colorado," Allen said. "(The spread) doesn't surprise me. I wasn't cognizant of that. I haven't checked it out. I stay away from the line. But we've done nothing but beat Missouri."

Allen is skeptical about the Buffs' purported injuries. Barnett reported 11 players from the two-deep depth chart missed practice this week and as many as six starters could miss the trip to KU.

"We'll see," Allen said. "That's more media talk than anything. It might be a little bit of CYA (cover your, uh, behind)."

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