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What caught my eye at Wednesday's practice: Sept. 19
The Jayhawks practiced inside Memorial Stadium today and, during the time I was there, I watched junior running back James Sims pretty closely.
Here’s what I saw:
• Lots of energy and excitement
• He was eager and willing to jump to the front of the line to lead off a drill
• And he looked very shifty and much quicker than I remember. Part of that could have been the nature of the drills they were doing, but even during the basic drills, it was obvious that he’s carrying a fewer pounds than before and seems to be a different back.
With that said, I’m expecting that we’ll see a lot of the same things from Sims. His vision was always above average and his nature is to take what’s given and not try to be too flashy. That will bode well for this team and his place on it.
A lot of people are curious about what Sims will do this weekend. I’m right there with you. My best guess is that he’ll get around 12 carries and he’ll make the most of each one.
Running backs coach Reggie Mitchell said Tuesday that Sims is faster and that his new-found speed was not just benefiting him on breakaways but also in getting to the holes quicker and making guys miss.
It’s certainly going to be fun to watch, as Sims is one of the most pleasant guys I’ve ever covered and deserves to bounce back from his mistake in a positive way.
Here’s a quick look at what else caught my eye at today’s practice:
• Since I watched Sims for a while, I also caught a good look at what the running backs were up to. Most of it was normal stuff, but I did notice an emphasis on catching passes. And I’m not just talking about the nice, easy-to-snag lob passes that QBs throw on screens. Charlie Weis Jr. operated as the quarterback for the drill and he was absolutely zipping the ball at these guys from less than 10 yards away. Mostly catches. So that was a good sign. I wouldn’t read too much into that being a part of the gameplan, though. I think it’ll be in there, but I don’t think it’s their secret weapon or anything like that. If it were, there’s no way they would’ve worked on it while we were there.
• Offensive lineman Sean Connolly was the only guy on the exercise bike today and even he spent a little bit of time off of it. Bad news for him, though. When he wasn’t riding the bike, he was walking the steps at Memorial Stadium, with his hands tucked behind his back. Try it. It’s harder than it sounds, especially at his size and in pads and a helmet.
• Finally, the Coach Weis song of the day was “I Believe” by Bon Jovi.... No comment.