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What caught my eye at Day 8 of Fall Practice
Thursday morning brought with it the beginning of the second day of two-a-day practices for the Kansas University football team.
And there were a couple of good things about it for the Jayhawks.
First, it was not too early. Practice did not begin until just after 9 a.m. Second, it was not too hot, as the morning temperature hung around 70 degrees before the sun started climbing and heating things up.
Pretty much business as usual in terms of what we were able to see today, but my focus took me to the offensive line, where I was impressed by a lot of what I saw.
First, as a whole, these guys look to be in very good cardio shape. Even after doing back-to-back-to-back-to-back drills with O-Line coach Tim Grunhard bearing down on them, you could hardly see them taking a breath.
As expected, projected starters Duane Zlatnik, Tanner Hawkinson, Trevor Marrongelli and Gavin Howard led off most of the drills, but the other guys are right there with them working their butts off.
Here are a couple of tidbits I saw from observing the O-Line:
• While newcomer Aslam Sterling moves great on his feet for a man his size (6-5, 360), he has some work to do in the conditioning area. That’s no big secret and head coach Charlie Weis even made mention to the fact that the coaches were going to ease Sterling into things before they made him take the full conditioning test that the rest of team had to take on Day 1.
• Former D-Lineman Pat Lewandowski is the ultimate chameleon. I mean, he’s been with the offensive linemen for what, a few weeks now, and he already looks the part. Long, lean and in solid shape, the weight Lewandowski has added to bulk up for the O-Line appears to have been good weight and he looks like he could play tackle today.
• I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears mentioning again. It’s so impressive to watch Grunhard coach these guys. There’s not a single minute where he’s not coaching or yelling or screaming “faster, faster, faster” at his group. That’s far from it, though. The former NFL veteran is not afraid to break into a stance and show proper technique if he thinks his guys need to see it. I said it earlier in the week, but, again, KU is very fortunate to have this guy on the coaching staff.
• Nothing else really stood out to me today. I was able to get confirmation that the exercise bike routine at the start of practice is used to get guys loose and not to punish them. Makes sense, since something tells me any punishment would be a lot worse than riding a stationary bike. D-Back Brian Maura was back on the bike today, but it seems like that’s just to get loose since he rode the bike yesterday but looked fine during drills.
• Today’s Coach Weis song of the day was “Out in the Street” by Bruce Springsteen, but it was hardly the only song that popped. Right out of the gate, “Still Not a Player” by Big Pun and, right after The Boss, Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy” had KU players and coaches alike bouncing around a little more.