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Archive for Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ryan Wood’s KU football notebook

April 15, 2008

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Spring game showcases team for eager fans

It's been three months since the Kansas football team knocked off Virginia Tech and was crowned Orange Bowl champions. Tonight at Memorial Stadium, the Jayhawk faithful caught their first glimpse of KU for the 2008 season. Enlarge video

Fans flip from hoops to football

Over the past 24 hours many Jayhawk fans have turned their attention from the hardwood to the gridiron in what has been a seamless transition from one season to another. Enlarge video

Crawford watches

Decked out in KU gear, incoming running back Jocques Crawford watched the spring game Monday from the stands.

"Watching the spring game kind of hurt," Crawford said. "I wanted to be out there bad."

Crawford is finishing up at Cisco (Texas) Junior College and will move to Lawrence on June 1. KU coach Mark Mangino has said more than once he expects Crawford to make an immediate impact. Crawford said Monday he's shooting for the starting job.

"I really like my chances," Crawford said.

No Larson

KU defensive end John Larson did not suit up Monday because of illness. Junior Maxwell Onyegbule played defensive end on the Blue team along with Russell Brorsen.

In addition, the three regular starters who missed the entire spring were dressed out but didn't play. Center Ryan Cantrell, linebacker Joe Mortensen and safety Justin Thornton all are recovering from leg injuries, but all walked around on the sideline.

Punt-return duties

Considering KU's season-long struggles with punt returns, it's no surprise that two new faces were fielding kicks.

Freshmen Rell Lewis and Ryan Murphy both worked on catching punts. But there was no chance to return - KU's traditional spring game rules call for no live special teams to minimize injury risks.

Both players, however, dropped at least one fair catch.

Other roster notes

Reserve offensive lineman Jason Hind no longer is listed on the roster. : Gary Green lined up as a wide receiver and caught five passes for 34 yards. He played cornerback in 2007. : Sophomore Phillip Strozier was working at safety. : Arist Wright had 10 tackles and a pass break-up in the end zone, after missing the Orange Bowl due to injury.

In attendance

Several former players were at Monday's game, including James McClinton, Marcus Henry, Jeff Foster, David Ochoa and Chip Budde.

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