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What caught my eye at Tuesday's practice: Oct. 23
Short and sweet for today’s practice recap.
Let’s get right to it:
• First off, I noticed that senior wide receiver Daymond Patterson went through warm-ups and stretching — and looked pretty comfortable doing it — but once the individual drills began, Patterson jumped on the exercise bike. KU coach Charlie Weis said earlier today that Patterson was still questionable with a head injury and his status for this weekend’s game against Texas would not be determined for a few days. I took today’s progress as a good sign considering the fact that Patterson was not on the field at all last week during the portions of practice that were open to the media and, of course, he did not play against OU.
• Although he has fallen into the role of back-up quarterback, senior Dayne Crist continues to take his job as team captain seriously. Crist looked energized and focused during today’s practice and often was seen jumping to his usual spot at the front of the line to lead off drills. Based on what I’ve heard and learned about Crist in the short time I’ve known him, this isn’t a surprise in any way. The guy’s a competitor and he wants to be out there, but he’s also a team player and, more than anything, he wants the team to win. Props to him for handling this whole deal with a good attitude.
• Weis said during today’s news conference that defensive coordinator Dave Campo told him that last Sunday’s practice was as good a practice as he’s been through during his entire time at KU. The reason? Lots and lots of individual attention and emphasis on guys getting better. It seems Campo picked up where he left off, as I noticed an extra bounce in his step while working with the safeties and cornerbacks. Campo always has a lot of energy, but what I saw today was even more detailed than normal. He was talking about little things like proper footwork, stepping the right way with the right foot and getting in and out of breaks faster and quicker. When guys messed up, he jumped on them. These coaches aren’t messing around. They’re working these guys hard and they believe in their abilities as coaches. I’m not at all surprised by that either, but, at 1-6, you never know how that’s gonna hold up.
• Having said all of that, I still noticed great attitudes from the Jayhawks themselves. Most guys were out there busting their butts and having fun while doing it. Sometimes we get so focused on a team’s record or their failures but we forget what all goes into each week. These guys have struggled through a lot of down times during this season as well as the past couple of seasons, and I think it’s a real testament to each one of them as well as the team’s leaders — coaches and players — that they still show up to work every day ready to get better and have fun. I know that may come off as a little cheesy, but it’s an important part of this whole rebuilding process and one of the reasons that I still think this team has another win in them this season.
• Finally, the Coach Weis song of the day was “Roll of the Dice” by Bruce Springsteen.