Jayhawks Hold Third Practice of the Summer

Aug. 6, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan. –

Kansas football held its third practice of the season under a fading sun Saturday at the practice fields adjacent to Memorial Stadium. Due to the high temperatures during the afternoon hours, the Jayhawks adjusted their workout schedule to practice during the evening.

The team continued to work out without full pads and completed 14 stations, ending with red zone sets. KU will hold two more practices without pads before going full contact on Wednesday, which will also be the team’s first day with two practices. The Jayhawks’ season opener is less than a month away as McNeese State will visit Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 3 at 6 p.m.

Following the third practice session, safeties coach Robert Wimberly met with the media to talk about the competition at the safety position as well as his recruiting philosophy.

Kansas Safeties Coach Robert Wimberly

On the differences between summer workouts at Kansas and at Buffalo:

“It’s totally different. At Buffalo, the year I was there, you were looking at (temperatures in the) 80’s. Both programs have field turf, but it’s definitely a lot hotter here in Lawrence.”

On if he notices a difference in the players reacting to the hot weather:

“I’m not going to say it’s a bigger challenge, but what you want to see is young men willing to push themselves through it and show mental toughness. So far, our young men have been willing to fight through it and not feel sorry for themselves.”

On his assessment on the safety position:

“I tell my young men that on good days when you think everything is going well, you watch the practice film and realize that you have a long way to go. On the days when practice has stunk, you watch the film and realize we’re getting better. It boils down to us being consistent to where playing at a high level is the norm.”

On the competition at safety:

“We definitely have competition, and that’s half the battle when you’re trying to build your program. You’re trying to recruit and develop young men that can bring competition to the group you already have. That way at practice (the players) know that at any time my position could be taken, because if I don’t make a play and the person behind me makes a play, then I’m at the mercy of the coach.”

On junior Bradley McDougald and sophomore Keeston Terry:

“They are proven. Both young men have been on the offensive side of the ball a majority of their careers, so we still have some bumps. They are definitely improving and they’re both willing to give the effort to be better.”

On junior Lubbock Smith:

“We don’t really have a set depth chart right now, it’s all competition. Lubbock has improved (from last year), and he’s proven that he’s a person who is going to fight. He’s a fighter. He’s taken it upon himself to say `I’ve got to be more focused if I want to see the field and give it all I’ve got.’ He’s been doing a good job of that.”

On if he has any freshmen that will contribute this year:

“Of course. If they can make plays, we’ll find a spot for them. Right now, we’re just trying to find young men who can make plays and understand our scheme and produce.”

On if being from Florida helps him recruit in that area:

“I think it does. I was born and raised in south Florida, so I can relate to those young men and know the neighborhoods that they live in and the high schools that they attend. That’s definitely been helpful to build a relationship with – not only them – but also their families. It’s definitely been a good thing overall.”

On if there’s an immediate bond, or if he has to talk about his experiences:

“My whole philosophy on recruiting is honesty. I’m not a sugar-coater; I’m not a car salesman. I just try to let (recruits) know what Kansas has to offer them and my goal is to get them to research how this university can be a great asset to them and their endeavors.”

On if he’s always had success recruiting Florida:

“You’d have to ask my head coaches about that. But there are a lot of young men who you thought were going to come in and be that great player, sometimes they didn’t live up to expectations. Then sometimes you bring in some young men who you kind of question coming in, but they go on to great careers. It all boils down to how a young man comes in and buys into the program and if he’s willing to work hard.”

On if the coaching staff is excited for the upcoming season:

“We’re really excited. Last year we were walking in here just trying to get a feel for the players, like they were trying to get a feel for us. Now the players know us, especially after going through a season like we did last year. I think the players saw that our coaching staff was not going to change on them. We’re not going to change the way we speak to them or change how we conduct ourselves around them. I think that created a better bond, because I think it helped the players say `hey, I’m going to give better effort, because I know these coaches aren’t going to turn their backs on me when the going gets tough.’