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What caught my eye at Tuesday's practice: Oct. 2
Earlier during the day Tuesday, Kansas University coach Charlie Weis explained how the Jayhawks did not simply kick their feet up during last week’s bye but instead hit as hard as they had all year each day in practice.
That, Weis said, was the only way to toughen the team up and that, he added, was one way to help these guys learn to finish games.
That heavy hitting did not exclude the quarterbacks, who dropped the red jerseys that signaled no contact and ran through live-action, full-speed football throughout the week.
Apparently, that concept carried over into K-State week, as Dayne Crist, Michael Cummings, Turner Baty, Blake Jablonski and Jake Heaps all wore white jerseys during Tuesday’s practice, which took place inside Memorial Stadium.
Baty was the most interesting of the group, considering the fact that he traded in not only his red jersey but also his No. 6 jersey to wear the No. 7 worn by KSU quarterback Collin Klein. Weis said Baty would run a lot of the scout team offense this week, which, I’m sure was just fine with him. For starters, it’s more action than normal, even if it is with the scout team. And, what’s more, 7 is Baty’s number. He’s worn it most of his life and started wearing it because his dad was a teammate of John Elway’s at Stanford, where Elway wore the number before donning it in blue and orange with the Denver Broncos.
KU senior Kale Pick has the number now, of course, but look for Baty to make the full-time switch next season.
Anyway, here’s a quick look at a few other things that caught my attention during Tuesday’s practice.
• Junior running back Taylor Cox was out there and appeared to go through every drill without much trouble. Weis said earlier that everyone who had been banged up was on the “go” list for this week’s game, except, of course, for the guys like Prinz Kande and Riley Spencer who have been deemed out for the season. Cox did not appear to be 100 percent all the time, but he looked good enough to be able to play and I expect he will.
• Quarterback Jake Heaps joined offensive lineman Sean Connolly on the exercise bikes today, but only at the beginning of practice. Heaps then rejoined his teammates while Connolly stayed on the bike. The good news here: Senior linebacker Anthony McDonald was nowhere near the bikes and he continues to take steps forward toward having a bigger role on the KU defense. Lubbock Smith also was off the bike and it looks as if he’ll be ready to go Saturday, too. He once again reclaimed his spot at the top of the depth chart at strong safety, with Dexter Linton sliding down to second string again. Linton filled in admirably for Smith during the two games he missed.
• Lots of energy out there today, even during the so-called warm-up drills. This makes sense considering it’s K-State week and I heard people yelling “K-State” more than a few times out there today. But it also seems to indicate that the bye week did these guys some good, not only in returning them to full health but also in recharging their batteries and preparing them for the Big 12 grind that’s ahead.
• Finally, the Coach Weis song of the day was “Keep the Faith” by Bon Jovi. Don’t think for a second that the selection was a coincidence.