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What caught my eye at Day 14 of Fall Practice
Wednesday marked the final day of two-a-day practices for the Kansas University football team, and that appeared to be on the minds of the players during the morning session.
It certainly was on the minds of the coaches, who, continually implored their guys to go harder and stop going through the motions. After each time, the different position groups would respond with a few good reps, but it definitely seemed as if these guys were ready for camp life to be over.
That’s not a knock on the players at all. It’s been a grueling camp and, according to the feedback from the coaches, it’s been a good one. It seems to be human nature for the light at the end of the tunnel to bring on these types of practices. And, like in anything, you can’t hit a home run every time out.
For the second time this week, another media member and I got an extended look at practice because of the low turnout. But even at that, we only saw the first 45 minutes, so for all I know the rest of practice could have been much better and filled with intensity. Same goes for this afternoon’s session.
Enough about that, though, here are a couple of things that caught my eye during Wednesday morning’s practice:
• Still no Ty McKinney. He might be here later today, he might be here next week. KU coach Charlie Weis made it very clear on Monday that he did not know for sure when McKinney would arrive and also made it clear that McKinney was still coming and had done the work he needed to do to get here. He simply was waiting on that work to be graded so he could take the final. It’s a bit of a raw deal and Weis said it has been tough on McKinney, but a few months from now, we probably won’t even remember he was late.
• Shortly after stretching, the same group of first-stringers that it has been for the past week or so jumped on the sled. They were: RT - Howard, RG - Dent, C - Marrongelli, LG - Zlatnik, LT - Hawkinson, TE - Ragone, TE/FB - Smiley, QB - Crist, RB - Pierson, WR - Pick, WR - Patterson. This time, however, I got a good look at the No. 2s and they were: RT - Aslam Sterling, RG - Luke Luhrsen, C - Dylan Admire, LG - Damon Martin, LT - Lewandowski, TE - Jordan Smith, TE - Charles Brooks, QB - Michael Cummings, RB Taylor Cox, WR - Chris Omigie, WR - D.J. Beshears. I thought it was interesting that both Brooks and Smith were running with the second team here. Could just be for that drill, but it could also be indicative of their play. Weis said the other day that he had four tight ends that were all interchangeable, and, with Jimmay Mundine, riding the bike for the start of practice, it made sense that Brooks and Smith were out there. Cox, we know, has the lead for the back-up role to Pierson and Cummings, we also know, has the lead over Baty for the back-up role to Crist. No big surprises there. Nothing settled yet, either.
• Speaking of the bike, Mundine was joined by the same two guys who had spent a good chunk of the week riding the stationary bikes, linebacker Anthony McDonald and safety Brian Maura. All three appear to be day-to-day.
• Spent a fair amount of time with the linebackers today and I noticed a couple of things immediately. First, Prinz Kande was working with the ones, along side Ben Heeney (Mike) and Huldon Tharp (Will). Kande looks bigger and has always had good speed. He could factor in here. The No. 2s, at least during the drills I watched were: Courtney Arnick (Will), Schyler Miles (Mike) and Tunde Bakare (Sam). Nothing set in stone there, either, but if Kande’s playing with the ones in practice, he’ll probably at least get some snaps this fall.
• Finally, the Coach Weis song of the day was “Prove It All Night” by Springsteen. Could just have been next up in the Springsteen playlist, or, it could have been a subtle message from Weis and the coaching staff to the players, who have to continue to prove themselves in order to earn their spots. Even though camp’s about over, the season’s still a couple of weeks away and the depth chart could see a lot of movement in that time.