Final KU football practice of spring used to set Jayhawks up for summer success

Kansas head coach Les Miles works with offensive lineman Api Mane on Thursday, April 4, 2019 at the indoor practice facility.

Though it may have seemed from the outside that the Kansas football program’s spring schedule culminated with this past Saturday night’s scrimmage, what with approximately 70 recruits in attendance and a Rick Ross performance capping the evening, Les Miles’ team wasn’t done with spring football quite yet.

The Jayhawks’ calendar officially concluded on Monday, with their 15th and final practice of the spring.

It’s up to a head coach to decide where the spring game falls on a team’s schedule, and Miles wanted to have a final wrap-up practice after the offseason’s marquee event.

So what good did it do the Jayhawks to have another session when they weren’t rehearsing for a big stage like they had been the previous five-plus weeks?

While everyone involved with the program will tell you spring practices are really about getting ready for games in the fall, the final teaching period also dealt with what the players need to get accomplished between now and the start of preseason camp — the next time KU can practice as a full team again.

“We took the 15th practice and we kind of went through how they should look at working together in the summer,” Miles explained.

KU’s head coach said while the spring’s closing practice also involved some situations he and his assistants hadn’t previously covered with the players, their primary objective was to prepare the Jayhawks for the drills and on-field work that they will have to organize and execute on their own, without the coaches’ presence, during the offseason.

As examples, Miles pointed to pass-rushing, seven-on-seven situations, work involving the entire team and one-on-one reps.

“If our guys buy in, and there’s no reason for me to expect that they won’t,” Miles said, “we’ll have a really good summer. We’ll have an elite summer.”

KU’s veteran leaders, such as senior left tackle Hakeem Adeniji, have over the past couple of weeks expressed how pleased they’ve been with the progress the program has made so far under Miles.

But Adeniji made it clear the team’s leaders all know the end of spring can’t mean a respite in growth.

“I think we’ve still got a lot of things to do and a lot of things to get better at,” Adeniji said. “But overall, like the basic scheme and a lot of things and techniques that our coaches wanted us to learn, I think we got like the gist of that. And we’re just improving upon that.”

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