Archive for Sunday, December 16, 2007

Kansas football won’t head south early

December 16, 2007

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Kansas University's football team will call Lawrence home for about 10 more days - but only after some serious consideration to take the show somewhere else.

KU coach Mark Mangino said he pondered taking the team south before Christmas to get some work in under more favorable weather conditions as his team prepares to face Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3.

But the Jayhawks instead will stay in town and try to make it work before heading to Miami.

"We weighed everything out," Mangino said Friday, a day before a snowfall blanketed Lawrence. "To move to a site down south somewhere, and to try to do all the logistics that come with it and move again to a bowl site : to do it just for four or five days, it wasn't worth it. We're better off being here."

The Jayhawks practiced Saturday after taking about a week off for finals. They plan to work out again today, one of the last "developmental" practices that will feature KU's younger players farther down the depth chart.

KU's coaching staff will start formulating a Virginia Tech game plan Monday while the players rest. Starting Tuesday, the Jayhawks will focus almost exclusively on Orange Bowl preparation in practice.

Of course, Mother Nature might make it tough, if Saturday's snowfall is any indication. But there are places to go even if the weather keeps Kansas indoors - Anschutz Pavilion has a full-length indoor practice field, though the hard artificial surface is undesirable.

That said, the Jayhawks probably will go outside to work if it's cold but bearable. That would assure a bit of culture shock when KU heads to Miami on Dec. 27. Temperatures could be around 80 degrees during the Jayhawks' week-long stay in South Florida.

"It'll be an adjustment, but we've adjusted well all season," sophomore Kerry Meier said. "It's another factor we'll have to get accustomed to."

The good news - sort of - is that temperatures could get into the 40s later in the week and stay that way until around Dec. 24, when the Jayhawks will go their separate ways for the holiday break.

True, 40-degree weather is no tropical heat wave. But when sizing up the alternatives, KU quickly found out that there weren't very many.

"We thought of a bunch of difference scenarios," Mangino said. "The best one was to stay here where we have all of our support staff with their equipment.

"We'll find a way. If it's just a little chilly out with no precipitation, we'll go outdoors. If there's precipitation, we'll practice indoors."

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