Kansas Football Opens Fall Practice Wednesday

Aug. 4, 2010

Video: Coach Gill |A. Quigley | J. Wilson | J. Springer

The Kansas football team held its first practice of the fall season Wednesday afternoon at the practice fields adjacent to Kivisto Field at Memorial Stadium. The team worked out without pads for the first step of the 2010 season.

Prior to practice Kansas head coach Turner Gill addressed the media, while a handful of players were made available after practice. Below is a transcript of Wednesday’s interviews:

Kansas Head Coach Turner Gill

On how he feels on the first day of practice:
“It’s great to be out here. It’s an exciting time for the staff to come out here and actually to see what the guys did over the summer. We are going to have some fun today. We’re excited to get the 2010 practice season going.”

On what his message was to the team was before the start of practices:
“I told them we are going to enjoy the college football experience. We’re going to start today and have some fun but we’re also going to work. We expect them to be ready to go because they worked hard and trained and they knew what the expectations were going to be when they came here.”

On how his expectations are different now than from the spring:
“We expect more today, no doubt about it. They understand how we go about our business and our practice format. And what our expectations are from each coach. They know the terminology so there shouldn’t be too much hesitation. There will be from some of the new guys, obviously, but the guys that have been here in the past, we expect them to be further along on some things.”

On what he is looking forward to as the season officially begins:
“Its exciting to teach young men the game of football, something I’m passionate about and that I love. And I have great staff, that’s what makes it exciting for me is the people I was able to surround myself with. The coaching staff, they are all tremendous people, that’s No. 1. No. 2, they are outstanding coaches. They have track records that talks about and has experience with championships. That is what we are here to do, to have an opportunity to win championships here at the University of Kansas.”

On how much of his system he incorporated during the spring:
“We had anywhere from 70 to 75 percent of the things we wanted to explore. Obviously some of those didn’t have a whole lot of reps, but we wanted to get some things at least once or twice on tape. We’ll put in about another 25 percent as we go along the rest of this preseason camp and then we will be ready to go on Sept. 4.”

On when he will have his starters chosen:
“I don’t have an exact science. Ideally, you’d like to have it as fast as possible, but we’re not going to force it. If we have to win a ballgame at any position whether it’s the offensive line, the tight end, quarterback, anything, we want to make sure that when we are making a decision that that guy has earned it. And if we believe that he can help us to win as many games as possible then we are going to start that guy.”

On how the freshmen can stand out:
“If they have some talent and make plays. If there are maybe one or two or three plays that we see that they can make that maybe somebody on the team has not been making from the spring or here in the preseason. They have to be consistent. But I think more importantly if they can show us that they have some big play ability whether it’s defense or offense it really doesn’t matter, it may even be special teams. If they can bring something together and do some things really well on two to three teams we’ll look at that and probably go ahead and play them. But again, this is the first day so we have a lot of things to evaluate and assess. Right now it’s just great to be out here and evaluate our players.”

On what he expects to see in the first week of practice:
“I expect to see some guys who have improved from the spring. We weren’t able to watch them or do anything with them in the summer but we hope that they have done some things in the summer and now hopefully that will show. I think once we get in the pads here in two days we’ll have a chance to see how these guys made improvements. That’s all we’re asking these guys to do, just be better than the last time we saw you. If we continue to do those types of things then I think the University of Kansas will continue to be successful.”

On how he will choose his starting quarterback:
“I think (Kale Pick and Jordan Webb need to) consistently make plays and not turn the ball over. (They need to) show confidence in their body language and how they go about doing things in the huddle. But I think just making plays and making them consistently, that’s probably the biggest thing. Are they going to move the ball down the field on a consistent basis? And maybe when things don’t go right how do they respond to that. That’s the situation that’s going to separate the two.”

On what offense they will run:
“It doesn’t matter. We know that (Kale) Pick and (Jordan) Webb are little bit different in terms of style but that’s not going to determine anything as far as this or that. If they can be productive as far as in their own style and what they’ve been blessed with in their talents to do, we’ll do that. So we can be a drop back team if we have to do that to be successful. If we have to have someone with a little bit more mobility we can do that, too. Chuck Long (offensive coordinator) and myself, we can do anything we want to do as far as offense as it pertains to our talent that we have.”

On the depth of the offensive line:
“I think the depth is a little bit tough at this point in time. As far as we lost (Jeff) Spikes for the whole season and (Brad) Thorson is a little bit banged up, but he’s going to be fine and ready to go. It just gives guys more reps. So from that stand point we are able to get guys a little bit better reps and see what they can do. Down the road it probably will help us in the long term.”

On when he will have his starting quarterback chosen:
“It could go into the last week (of camp), it could go right up to the day before the first game. Chuck and I don’t have a deadline or a timeline to make a decision. I think our players know if there is guy out there we know is going to productive they are going to put their trust in the staff that we are going to make the best decision for the football team. Its all about the team and we are going to play the best guys.”

Senior Linebacker Justin Springer

On how his health is right now:
“Right now I am in good health. I have no injuries. Hopefully that stays the same throughout the whole season. I feel good, my body weight is good, so I should play good.”

On the linebacker’s goals this season:
“To be the best in the Big 12. That’s our first goal, to be the best linebacker group in the Big 12.”

On if its possible to become the best linebacker group in the Big 12:
“It is very possible. We have everybody coming back that played last season. Drew (Dudley) is really good, (Huldon) Tharp is really good and so is Steven Johnson. Chea Peterman, a guy that not many people have heard about, is playing really good right now so I think we have a good chance.”

Redshirt-Freshman Quarterback Jordan Webb

On the competition at quarterback between him and sophomore Kale Pick:
“We definitely push each other. We’re really competitive, both of us. We both want the spot so we’re both just doing our best. Whoever gets (the starting spot) is going to give us a great chance to win.”

On if he likes to run the ball in addition to passing:
“I’m not afraid to run the ball or anything; I like to run the ball. But it’s a little different playing Big 12 teams as opposed to teams in high school. I know my strengths and my arm is definitely my strength.”

On how the wide receivers looked at the first day of practice:
“They are looking pretty good. John Wilson had a pretty good day today. I think they are really going to surprise some people. We lost Dezmon (Briscoe) and Kerry (Meier) last year but we have some guys who can come up and make some plays and definitely make some things happen.”

On if he has taken on more leadership since the departure of former quarterback Todd Reesing:
“Obviously (Kale Pick and I) both don’t have the experience Todd had but we’ve both taken on a leadership role a lot more than in the past with Todd here.”

Senior Running Back Angus Quigley

On the first practice with the new staff:
“I think the attitude of the team is different. There’s more of a want to do things, more people are motivated. We’ve been having a lot of fun. There has been a lot of things that (Coach Turner Gill) has done that made the team happy and I think that’s important for team bonding and for us as players. It can turn into a job and just be work. You have to know how to mix it up to be fun and work and I think (the new staff) has done a good job with that.”

On playing without past players:
“I came in with Kerry (Meier) and Todd (Reesing). I came in with Kerry when we were working out over at the grass fields and doing those types of things so it’s different. It’s real different for me but I’ve grown closer to other teammates that are fourth and fifth-year guys on the team.”

On watching the freshmen in practice:
“I can tell it’s a world apart. Their minds are going 1,000 miles an hour. For me, I look, I get my signal and in the meeting room I polish up on things. But they’re trying to learn. At this level, it’s hard for a running back to just come in and get the signals and the pace of the game. Everything is faster. It’s easier for me because I’m so far ahead of them in what I know, but I know they’ll catch their stride.”

Sophomore Quarterback Kale Pick

On being comfortable with the playbook:
“I’m really comfortable. Coach (Chuck) Long gave us assignments in the offseason to watch film. As a quarterback, you always want to go in there and know the playbook to be able to tell the other guys what to do if they don’t know.”

On his offseason work:
“I worked on the things Coach Long thinks I should be getting better at. My confidence level (since the spring game) is the same. I worked on footwork, timing with the receivers – you always have to have timing. If you don’t go out and play 7-on-7 for a month it’s just like golf. You’re not going to go out there and have that timing; you can’t just pick it up. And keeping repetition with the receivers and tight ends, that was a big thing this summer.”

On if he was in-sync with his receivers on the first day of practice:
“You can tell that we got smoother throughout practice, but that’s going to happen on the first day. I thought our timing was good. We had a good practice today.”

On the team’s depth at wide receiver this season:
“I think we have great depth and a lot of athletic ability (at receiver). John Wilson had a great day today. Christian Matthews has a lot of ability, which is just kind of raw right now. He’s going to be a great one down the line. Brandon McDougald had a good day today, and we’re good at the tight end spot; Tim Biere had a great spring and we’re expecting big things from him this year.”