Jayhawks Open 2011 Campaign With First Official Practice Thursday

Aug. 4, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan. –

College football is officially underway for the 2011 edition of the Kansas Jayhawks as the team participated in its first official practice here Thursday afternoon. KU head coach Turner Gill and his squad took to the practice fields adjacent to Memorial Stadium for a midday workout that lasted just under two and a half hours.

“I was very excited about getting practice underway for the fall,” said Gill, who is entering his second season at the helm of the program. “I was proud of how everyone did today. They came out with great focus, and showed a lot of passion. Our strength staff did a great job of preparing our players to be able to compete at a high level.”

KU opened the day with a morning slate of meetings before breaking for lunch. The team returned to meetings in the early afternoon before heading outside to the practice fields. Working out in shorts and jerseys, the Jayhawks benefitted from much cooler temperatures surrounding the Lawrence area following a morning rain.

Once on the practice fields, the team worked through individual drills for the period of practice before working on some one-on-one drills. Next the Jayhawks did some 7-on-7 work and then the team focused on special teams. The day concluded with some situational scrimmaging.

The Jayhawks will return to practice Friday for the second day of practice. The Jayhawks will again don shorts and jerseys as they work through the NCAA mandated “acclimation” period.

Following practice Coach Gill met with the media and released the following information:

Regarding freshman quarterback Brock Berglund:
“Brock Berglund reported for pre-season camp yesterday, very much looking forward to preparing for the upcoming season. He received a call later in the day, however, regarding the legal issue he has been involved in over the past few months. After discussing the matter, he and his family reluctantly determined that Brock should go home to address the issue. He will return to Lawrence as soon as circumstances allow. We very much look forward to his return so that he can help himself and his teammates prepare for the season.”

Regarding signee Jason Hensley:
“Jason Hensley, a player who signed with us in the spring, has decided to not play football anymore. He is just going to stay back in Arkansas. He has talked about just going to school at the University of Arkansas. He will not be a part of the Kansas football program.”

Regarding position changes and awarding a scholarship to a walk-on:
“We have moved Ed Fink from linebacker to fullback, Michael Martinovich, who is an offensive lineman, we have moved him to defensive tackle, and lastly, we announced that Ted McNulty has been offered a scholarship – he was a walk-on who is now on scholarship. He has been an all-around great player for us.”

Kansas Football Quotes
August 4, 2011

Head Coach Turner Gill
Opening Statement:
“I was very excited about getting practice underway for the fall. I was proud of how everyone did today. They came out with great focus, and showed a lot of passion. Our strength staff did a great job of preparing our players to be able to compete at a high level.

Jason Hensley, a player who signed with us in the spring, has decided to not play football anymore. He is just going to stay back in Arkansas. He has talked about just going to school at the University of Arkansas. He will not be a part of the Kansas football program.

Our staff talked about ways to continue to move our program forward, somebody brought up the issue of Twitter and how it can be a distraction. We are not allowing our student-athletes to have Twitter accounts because we believe that (players using Twitter) will prevent us from having enough preparation for our football program.

Regarding Brock Berglund, I got a call today addressing his legal issues. He and his family discussed the situation and determined he needs to go back home to deal with the situation. He will miss practice tomorrow. We hope that he can get back as his circumstances will allow.

We have moved Ed Fink from linebacker to fullback, Michael Martinovich, who is an offensive lineman, we have moved him to defensive tackle, and lastly, we announced that Ted McNulty has been offered a scholarship – he was a walk-on who is now on scholarship. He has been an all-around great player for us.”

On how he thought his quarterbacks performed on the first day of practice:
“I was definitely glad to see Jordan Webb, especially on the first day, to be where he was in spring football. He has looked extremely sharp and confident. He is also throwing the footballs where they need to be. I saw that his decision-making skills were extremely sharp, so I was very glad to see that.”

On what he saw from running back Brandon Bourbon:
“He did some good things. It was very good to get him back out there. It will be good for him to look at the tape and see how things went.”

On moving Ed Fink to fullback:
“We just wanted to get some depth at that position – fullbacks are going to have a lot of collisions, and we just want to make sure they will be able to last the entire season. We wanted to make sure that we’ll be able to have depth at that position to make sure everyone is fresh throughout the game, and throughout the season.”

Senior Wide Receiver Daymond Patterson:
On if he believed that using Twitter was a distraction to the team:
“I don’t think it was, but even if something wasn’t a distraction, if you eliminate it, then you can concentrate on something more. We’re here to help the football team win games, and whatever can help us concentrate more, we will abide by it.”

On what he has seen throughout the summer from Jordan Webb:
“Jordan has done a lot of positive things during the past few months, so I really like what I’ve seen. He has really stepped up as a leader, and we really like what we’ve seen from him. All of our quarterbacks are really competing against each other and that has really helped us. All of our quarterbacks know what it takes, and that is helping the entire group.”

Junior Defensive End Toben Opurum
On if he feels as though he is in better shape this year since he knows what position he’ll be playing:
“Absolutely – last year I was still coming off of an ankle injury from the year before, and I was never able to go full tilt until later in the season. For me, I am in the best shape I’ve been in since I’ve been at KU. It’s a lot easier for me now since I’m fully healthy.”

Sophomore Quarterback Jordan Webb
On if he feels that the quarterback competition is still open going into camp:
“I really can’t say for sure, Quinn (Mecham) and I both go out every day and try to get better, at the end of the day, whoever takes the reins gives us the best chance to win at the quarterback position.”

On if it was easier to compete last year once he learned the entire playbook:
“We weren’t doing so hot when I took over last year, and like any competitor I was trying to do too much on the field – and that’s just not me as a player. Coming into this year, I understand what I’m supposed to be doing more. For example, there were times I would keep the ball and run instead of pass to a receiver; now I know that it won’t work out every time.”