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What caught my eye at Day 7 of Fall Practice

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KU strength coach Scott Holsopple stalks the Jayhawks during pre-practice stretching Wednesday.

KU strength coach Scott Holsopple stalks the Jayhawks during pre-practice stretching Wednesday. by Matt Tait

Call me crazy, call me an optimist or call me accurate, either way, I’m telling you that I’m starting to notice some improvement in this year’s Kansas University football team.

My football mind is not sharp enough to know the ins and outs of position-by-position techniques, nor is our allowed time at practice long enough to actually see any drastic improvements in terms of picking up the playbook or fixing something that was broken the day before.

But in terms of the little things like footwork, quickness, number of reps it takes to get a drill right and those types of things, I have seen improvement. This is particularly true with the defensive backs, who looked much, much quicker during a variety of drills today than they did a week ago.

There may be a couple of explanations:

  1. They may have gotten quicker.

  2. They may just look quicker because they’re more confident and more accustomed to what a Charlie Weis practice is like.

  3. They may have been working particularly hard today because, as defensive coordinator Dave Campo told us this morning, last night’s practice was not a good one.

Whatever the reason, it was cool to see and certainly a good sign for KU fans.

Here’s a quick look at what else caught my mind at Wednesday’s practice:

With the bucket hat to block the sun, linebackers coach DeMontie Cross definitely looks like one of the most comfortable coaches on the practice field. He also looks like he could still play.

With the bucket hat to block the sun, linebackers coach DeMontie Cross definitely looks like one of the most comfortable coaches on the practice field. He also looks like he could still play. by Matt Tait

• Earlier today, linebackers coach DeMontie Cross praised senior linebacker Tunde Bakare’s for his recent improvement and, after watching Bakare a little more closely today in practice, I can see what he’s talking about. Bakare has always been the kind of guy who plays all-out, but that relentless style now looks like it has more purpose. He takes fewer steps to get places yet still goes 100 percent on every rep. If he can keep that up, it’s going to be hard for the coaches to keep Bakare on the bench, especially in the Big 12 against all of those spread offenses.

Senior linebacker Tunde Bakare.

Senior linebacker Tunde Bakare. by Matt Tait

• Speaking of the linebackers, I watched an interception drill for about five minutes in which they hop over bags in varying manners and then try to catch the ball as Cross rips it there way. They didn’t catch them all, but, overall, I think this unit has pretty good hands. It’s different in a game, of course, but it all starts in practice. The best hands I saw — at least today — belonged to Darius Willis and Prinz Kande.

KU linebackers coach zips a pass toward freshman Dom Bickus during an interception drill.

KU linebackers coach zips a pass toward freshman Dom Bickus during an interception drill. by Matt Tait

• Another player spent the early portion of practice riding the stationary bike in the southwest corner of the practice fields today. This time it was receiver-turned-safety Brian Maura. It’s still hard for me to tell if this is an injury thing or a discipline thing, but, again, it doesn’t look too serious either way.

• Finally, the Coach Weis song of the day — and, by far, the weakest effort to date — was “We Weren’t Born To Follow” by Bon Jovi. It’s a 2009 song, which might explain things a little bit since most of Bon Jovi’s best stuff came a little earlier than that. It was followed by Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train,” though, and, I’m told, that was for Weis, too. Not only does that seem like a fitting song for a football practice soundtrack, it also helped make up for the Bon Jovi selection.

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