Posts tagged with Practice
Well, it looked for a while like KU wide receiver Daymond Patterson was set to go through a full practice on Wednesday, but it was not to be.
Patterson, a senior who missed last week’s game against Oklahoma because of a head injury, appears to still be dealing with the effects and, evidently, has not yet been cleared by doctors to return to practice.
For the second day in a row, Patterson ran through warm-ups and stretching, but when it came time to go to individual drills, he was sent to the exercise bike. It’s not as if Patterson isn’t trying to get back out there. At one point, as he stood in line to begin receiving drills, strength coach — and former Patterson teammate — Justin Springer pulled him out of line and walked him down to head trainer Murphy Grant to see if he had been cleared.
Evidently, Grant told them that he was not because Patterson quickly removed his helmet and hit the bike.
I’ve said all week that it’s probably a 50-50 deal with Patterson this week, but it’s definitely clear that the more time he misses the less likely it becomes that he will play against Texas at 11 a.m. Saturday.
At least it does look like Patterson is closer to a full return. We’ll see Saturday. My official guess here is that he’ll miss one more week.
Here’s a quick look at a couple of other things that caught my eye during Wednesday’s practice:
• Offensive lineman Damon Martin, who received extended playing time last week at OU and was praised earlier this week by KU coach Charlie Weis, was in fact working some with the first team offensive line. Weis opened up the spot at left guard, listing both starter Duane Zlatnik and Martin as first-team possibilities. We weren’t out there long enough to get a real look at how Martin has handled the mini-promotion, but confidence can play a big role in things like this and it looked, to me, like Martin was carrying himself with the confidence of a guy who believes he’s a starter. We’ll see how it plays out on Saturday. Unseating Zlatnik would be no small feat.
• I noticed that senior defensive end Josh Williams jumped out front and led stretches with the three captains today (Crist, Opurum and Hawkinson). I’m not sure if that’s new or not or if it’s an indication that Williams will be the fourth captain this weekend, but it did make me think of something. I know people had hoped that Williams would be this disruptive force and dominant pass rusher and that many are somewhat bummed out by his stats through seven games — 16 tackles, 1 for-loss, 1 pass break-up, 2 QB hurries, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 forced fumble. But I’m a firm believer that Williams’ presence has been a good thing for this defense. Not only has he been pencilled in — and performed — as a starter each week, but he’s also helped the younger guys understand what it means to work hard and helped them learn to take nothing for granted. Would it be better if Williams had six sacks right now? Of course. But I still think he proved to be a nice pick-up. I feel the same way about all of those fifth-year guys.
• Finally, the Coach Weis song of the day was “Runaway” by Bon Jovi.
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.
One of the more interesting moments from Wednesday’s practice came after the team wrapped up its stretching and moved on to individual drills by position.
Before they broke into groups, KU coach Charlie Weis called the whole team to the middle of the field for a quick talk. What he said was hard to pick up thanks to the wind — and I’m sure Coach Weis was trying to keep the volume down a little, too — but the bits and pieces I was able to make out were kind of interesting to here.
• “If you can’t run the play...”
• “Full speed.”
• “Now, let’s go to work.”
I know. Nothing groundbreaking. But when you throw those snippets into the context of understanding that Weis put together a whole new offensive gameplan just for this week’s game against Oklahoma, it was kind of interesting to hear.
I, for one, can’t wait to see what wrinkles Weis adds to the offense now that he’ll have both Dayne Crist and Michael Cummings in the mix at quarterback.
It could be subtle. It could be obvious. Maybe it’s something really cool that I don’t even know about.
Either way, it seems clear that the KU offense — coaches and players — has been working overtime this week to give the Jayhawks some kind of chance against the Sooners this weekend in Norman.
For those following along, yesterday my official stance was that Crist would start and Cummings would play more. It’s changed. I think Cummings gets the start and, if he does well, I’m not sure he’ll come out much. I’m not basing that on anything other than what’s in my own mind and a little over-analysis of the question at hand.
Check back tomorrow, and again Friday, as it’s certainly possible that my “gut feeling” could change yet again.
Here’s what else caught my eye at Wednesday’s practice:
• Still no Daymond Patterson. The senior wide receiver has been dealing with the effects of a head injury this week and the longer things go with him not practicing the less likely it becomes that he will play this weekend, especially when you consider that they’re adding a new look to the offense. As a side note, I think it's going to be real interesting to see who steps up if Patterson can't go. With him and D.J. Beshears both out, there's an opportunity out there for someone to raise his game. True freshman Tre' Parmalee did that against Oklahoma State, so he might be the most obvious choice. That said, I think Kale Pick is in for a huge game against the Sooners. There just seems to be some kind of special between Pick and Cummings.
• Tony Pierson looked good today, but he was once again held out of some of the heavy contact drills. They didn’t go as easy on him today as they did yesterday, but he was still limited in some capacity. Most likely just a precaution. If there’s a chance he can play, I’m betting he’ll play. It’s gonna take all of KU’s bullets to hang with OU.
• Finally, the Coach Weis song of the day was “No Apologies” by Bon Jovi.
Not a ton of news from today’s practice, but since KU is in the middle of figure out its quarterback situation, I spent most of the day watching the way things unfolded at that position.
I didn’t get to watch them run any live offense or anything like that, so this will not be a breakdown of what Michael Cummings can do or did versus what Dayne Crist can do or did. Besides, don’t we know that by this point?
It will, however, be a breakdown of how these two are handling what KU coach Charlie Weis dubbed earlier today “a distraction.”
In a word — well.
There did not appear to be any animosity or anything different between Crist and Cummings today. They went through drills the same way, worked together, laughed at times and even seemed to help each other out whenever possible. We’ve heard all year that this is a close team and that these guys are genuinely interested in how they can help the team, regardless of what specific role they play. Crist and Cummings are proof that those words are not just lip service.
By now, I’m sure you’ve all heard or read that Weis plans to play both QBs this weekend at Oklahoma. He did not divulge who the starter would be and kept a tight lid on how the snaps would be divided. But, reading between the lines, I have to believe that Weis has a doozy of a gameplan in store for the Sooners this weekend, one with all kinds of new looks and wrinkles.
For most of the week, I had been leaning toward the vibe that Cummings would get the start, but now that I know — or at least have been led to believe — that both WILL play, I’m leaning more to Crist.
If he starts Crist, he knows what he’s getting. So do the rest of us. I’m sure the thinking is, ‘Why not see if he’s hot and can move the ball in the first and second quarter the way he did against Kansas State or even, at times, Oklahoma State. If he doesn’t, then you go to Cummings, who already has shown what kind of spark he can provide off the bench.
If Weis starts Cummings and he struggles, I’m not so sure going back to Crist would provide the same lift.
So, as of 5:37 p.m. CST Tuesday, put me down for Crist starts but Cummings plays more. I’m sure I’ll be updating this position throughout the week.
Now, as for what else caught my eye at Tuesday’s practice, here’s a quick look:
• As expected, senior wide receiver Daymond Patterson was nowhere to be found. Weis said earlier in the day that DP would not practice today and that he was questionable for Saturday because of a head injury. Senior wideout D.J. Beshears also was absent. Beshears is out for an extended period of time because of a shoulder injury that required some type of medical procedure Monday.
• Good news on the injury front came from sophomore running back Tony Pierson, who looked closer to full-speed and went through drills with a much smaller brace on his left elbow. Pierson remains a question mark for Saturday, but it looks like he’s closer to playing than he was a week ago at this time. The “brace” that he wore today was merely a small flap that covered the joint and some type of small wrap above and below it.
• As for how Crist and Cummings handled reps, I was not allowed to stay for that, but Weis said earlier in the day that Cummings would lead off one drill and Crist would lead the next and that both would get equal work in each. Not the grandest detail, but interesting nonetheless. One other thing that’s interesting is that it sounds as if the team knows what the gameplan will be with these guys. As expected, Weis has been very clear in explaining to them that they are not to discuss it with the media this week, so don’t expect anything to leak that way. I’m not.
• Finally, the Coach Weis song of the day was “Dancin’ in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen.
What caught my eye at Wednesday’s practice, complete with a mini-reaction to the recent KU-UDK showdown
First thing’s first... Let me just tell you that there were two reporters from the University Daily Kansan present at today’s practice and, at least from where I stood, there did not appear to be too much bad blood floating around between them and the football program over the fiasco that has emerged regarding the Kansan’s KU football coverage and KU’s response to it.
I’m not going to get into it too much because it has nothing to do with me or the football team that I cover, but I will say that I think a little of the blame falls on both sides for the way this thing has been handled. And it seems certain to me that both sides are remorseful about that.
Do I think KU coach Charlie Weis is bullying UDK reporters? Absolutely not. Do I think things could have been handled better? You bet.
Whether the Kansan reporter in question was called aside by KU officials out of a courtesy to him or as an intimidation tactic, here’s hoping all parties involved — and even those not involved — learned a valuable lesson here and can move on without any ill feelings.
OK, back to practice...
Just a couple of quick things that caught my eye today and the most relevant of them all was the giant brace on Tony Pierson’s left elbow.
Weis has said all week that Pierson should play this weekend against Oklahoma State and it certainly looks like that will be the case. But I do think there’s at least some pain still associated with the elbow and that Pierson will have to overcome some potential pain to be effective. Fortunately for the Jayhawks, Pierson’s biggest weapon is his speed and a bum elbow does nothing to hurt that.
I noticed that Pierson was treated a little differently during some of the drills at practice today. For instance, in the drill where the other running backs bash the guy with the ball with pads as he runs through the line, Pierson ran through untouched. And when the rest of his teammates did cut blocking drills by diving on the turf, Pierson sat out.
It’s not a huge deal — likely more of a precaution than anything. But I think it’s safe to say that Tony won’t quite be 100 percent when KU takes on OSU this weekend. Oh well, though, right? Tony Pierson at 88% is still a lot better than most.
• Quickly, I kept a closer eye on back-up QB Michael Cummings today and a couple of things stood out. I focused mostly on his throwing motion, but it should be noted that what I watched came during warm-up drills and not live action. That said, aside from being more on the short side (he’s listed at 5-foot-10), Cummings appears to have a long wind-up and releases the ball a little later than most QBs. Most of what I watched came with Cummings lined up next to Jake Heaps, who went through the same drills at the same time. Heaps is a little taller than Cummings (6-1) but seems, overall, to have a more fluid throwing motion.
There’s a lot more that goes into the decision to put Cummings on the field than his throwing motion, with his understanding of the offense, experience and size all being relevant. But since what I watched today was a throwing drill, I figured I’d offer up my amateur critique of the way he wings it.
• Finally, the Coach Weis song of the day was “Bad Medicine” by Bon Jovi. Great song.
You asked for it, and you got it.
In yesterday’s comments, someone mentioned that they were tired of hearing that the Coach Weis song of the day was either Bruce Springsteen or Bon Jovi every single time.
It was again today, as the Jayhawks once again practiced in Memorial Stadium, but it was preceded by a good six or seven minutes of the Kansas State fight song playing on a loop.
At one point, Weis stopped the music to explain to his players why they were hearing the song over and over and over. He said something to this effect: “I just wanted to get used to hearing it because those guys over there (the Wildcats) are expecting to hear it a lot on Saturday.”
The song, as most are, is played after KSU touchdowns and Weis clearly wanted to make the point that he did not want to hear it much this weekend and therefore would need his defense to limit KSU’s touchdowns.
It’s just one of many, many motivational tactics that Weis figures to use during his time here, but I got the feeling that it really struck a nerve with the KU players, who were yelling repeatedly during its playing.
We’ll see if it makes any difference.
Here’s the rest of what caught my eye at Wednesday’s practice:
• Speaking of making a difference, it’s quite clear that a huge chunk of what the Jayhawks’ are focusing on this week in practice is inspired by K-State quarterback Collin Klein, the menacing runner who is tough to bring down and even tougher to rattle. Several of KU’s linebacker drills on Wednesday focused on stopping the run, with LB coach DeMontie Cross imploring his guys to use their hands to avoid the cut block and then hit and rip. Pretty standard stuff, of course. After all, it is football. But there appeared to be an extra emphasis on those types of fundamentals because that’s what the Jayhawks will encounter this weekend. Another LB drill took place on the sideline and after several of the first- and second-string guys missed tackles and failed to use the sideline as another defender, Cross sent them into a session of up-downs. After that, things looked much better.
• One other thing I noticed in watching Cross work with his crew was the constant screaming of “Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers,” coming from his mouth. K-State rarely beats itself, but it’s clear that the Jayhawks are emphasizing that aspect this week.
• A couple of depth chart tweaks I noticed that I meant to mention yesterday. After all that talk about moving him inside and putting weight on him, Keba Agostinho is listed as a second-string defensive end this week. That, too, could be because of Klein, with Weis believing that he’ll need a little more size on the edge to help handle Klein and tailback John Hubert. Keon Stowers also made his way back onto the depth chart as a No. 2 defensive tackle. Could be that size thing again.
• Took a closer look at Lubbock Smith today and he looks pretty good. I wouldn’t call him 100 percent, but he definitely looks sharp while going full speed. It’s after the action stops where he looks a little gimpy. That’s to be expected, of course, and reminds me a little of how things looked for wide receiver Kale Pick a couple of weeks ago. As long as he looks good at full speed, that’s the most important thing. And I’d say he looked 90-95 percent while going all out.
• Finally, the Coach Weis song of the day was “Last to Die” by The Boss.
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.
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.
To be fair, I received a copy of KU’s updated depth chart at Charlie Weis’ news conference earlier this afternoon.
But just because I had a head start did not mean that I didn’t notice quite a few of the new looks during Wednesday’s practice.
Rather than leading with a couple of nuggets about how sunny it was or how focused they looked, I figured we’d start this one out with a quick look at those depth chart changes.
In all, I circled 10 significant pieces of information on this week’s depth chart, by far the most of any so far this season.
So, without further ado, here’s a look at the changes, followed by a couple of quick practice tidbits:
In — Randall Dent
Out — Aslam Sterling
• Sterling is now listed as the back-up at both right guard and right tackle and Weis said he would be involved in a three-man rotation with Gavin Howard and Dent at those two spots.
In — Andrew Turzilli
Out — D.J. Beshears
• Simply put, Turzilli is performing better at the moment, as evident by his 100-yard game last week.
In — James Sims as an “Or” option with Taylor Cox for the back-up spot behind Tony Pierson
• All three guys will play Saturday and all three bring different elements to KU’s offense.
In — Kevin Young
Out — Jordan Tavai
• Tavai is now listed as the starter at defensive tackle, as Weis said he wanted to find Tavai a home he could settle into instead of playing him all over. This move also bumped John Williams up to the lone second-stringer behind Young.
In — Jordan Tavai
Out — Keba Agostinho
• Again, Weis was looking for a home for Tavai. This is not a reflection on Agostinho, who still remains a front-line guy when the Jayhawks play “big” and kick Toben Opurum out to Sam linebacker.
In — JaCorey Shepherd as a back-up to starter Tyler Patmon
Out — Greg Allen
• Not only has Shepherd worked his way into this spot, but I’m guessing Allen has emerged as a strong red-shirt candidate. Win-win.
In — Dexter Linton
Out — Lubbock Smith
• Lubbock is still battling an injury that kept him out of last week’s game and Linton has done a nice job in his absence.
In — Justin Carnes
Out — Trevor Marrongelli (short snaps) and Reilly Jeffers (punts)
• Weis said Carnes would have to earn his spot back after returning from a three-game suspension, but it seems like a safe bet that he’ll be able to do that. This should help KU’s struggling kicking game.
In — Tre’ Parmalee
Out — D.J. Beshears
• Weis said he was very disappointed in the kick return game last week and simply wanted to see if getting someone else out there could give KU a lift. Parmalee has earned it.
• OK, so there you have it.... A quick look at the depth chart changes and why they might have happened. As for the guys who are coming back from injury, Lubbock Smith certainly still looks a little hobbled out there and I’d guess it’s 50-50 whether he’ll be able to play this weekend at Northern Illinois. Kale Pick looks a lot better and Weis said he’d be shocked if Pick didn’t play. The good news is Pick looks close to 100 percent while running through drills and making cuts. Away from the action, though, you can still tell he’s favoring that left leg. Both Pick and Smith are wearing braces on their afflicted knees.
• Alex Matlock, Sean Connolly and Brian Maura were on the exercise bikes at today’s practice. Other than that, the rest of the team looks like it’s preparing to play in this weekend’s game, except, of course, for Prinz Kande (out) and Riley Spencer, whom Weis said earlier today would miss the rest of the year in order to “get his knee fixed.”
• Finally, the Coach Weis song of the day was “Cover Me” by Bruce Springsteen. A message to KU’s defensive backs, perhaps?
Today’s Kansas University football practice carried with it the same upbeat energy and fast tempo as Tuesday’s, but one thing that caught my eye was that a lot of it was coming from the coaching staff.
Sure, that’s their job, to motivate, encourage, even intimidate these players into working their butts off every minute they’re out there, but I was surprised that so much of the hootin’ and hollerin’ came from the coaches.
During the preseason, the players were much more vocal from start to finish and the coaches’ voices merely served as accompaniment.
Now, there are a few ways you can read that, and most of them are good.
The players are locked in. There’s no need to yell and scream when you’re so focused on that task at hand because anything extra might serve as a distraction. Could be.
The players are working so hard that they don’t want to waste the energy getting everyone else hype. If you’re not hyped up for No. 16 TCU coming to town in three days for what could go down as the biggest game of your season, a little barking probably isn’t going to get you there anyway. Could be.
They players are still shaking off the shell-shock and disappointment from their loss to Rice last weekend. Doubtful. Their energy and performance doesn’t indicate that’s the case.
Remember, I’m not out there the entire practice so all of this could have changed the minute I left. But, even during the time we were allowed to watch during camp I saw — and heard — a lot more talking from the players than I did today.
Definitely not something to make a big deal of, just one of the more interesting things I noticed.
Here are a few others:
• I kept an eye on the linebackers for a few minutes today — mostly to see how Anthony McDonald looked — and I continue to be impressed by how hard Tunde Bakare works. He’s always flying around, always going 100 percent, not afraid to leave everything he has out there. It’s typical of a senior who’s hungry to make a name for himself, but still impressive nonetheless. As for McDonald, he looked good. I didn’t see any signs of him playing tentative or easing up. Coach Charlie Weis said earlier this week that McDonald was ready to play and I’m guessing we’ll see him out there plenty this weekend.
• One other thing I noticed while watching the linebackers was the presence of defensive coordinator Dave Campo. It’s not that Campo has never worked with this group, more that, during the early portion of practice he usually works with the DBs and today he was with the linebackers. Could be an indication that KU realizes it’s going to have to bring a little extra beef this week to handle TCU.
• Speaking of not getting cheated, tailback Tony Pierson is another guy who doesn’t hold anything back during practice, and if there’s one guy who could probably get away with it, it’s Pierson. I’m sure the coaches don’t want the 5-10, 175-pound speed back adding practice bruises to the pounding he’s already taking on Saturdays. Even still, Pierson goes all out on every drill, including blocking drills that involve pushing the sled or diving into linebackers to pick up the blitz. There’s a reason Pierson is getting a lot of love as KU’s best offensive player. Two words — hard work.
• With Kale Pick on the exercise bike and his status for Saturday’s game still up in the air (Pick was joined by Brandon Bourbon, Lubbock Smith, Ray Mitchell and Sean Connolly on the bikes on Wednesday), I wondered if that meant JaCorey Shepherd was back with the wideouts for the day. Didn’t look like it. Shepherd still had on white and spent the first part of the day working with the cornerbacks.
• Finally, the Coach Weis song of the day was “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi.
• Oh, and just so you know, I'm well aware that today's photo is one of my worst. Cut me some slack. I'll bounce back next time!