Kansas Football Completes Fourth Practice
Aug. 7, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
With threatening weather rolling through the Lawrence campus on Sunday afternoon, Kansas football once again practiced under the evening skies as the team completed its fourth workout of the season at the practice fields adjacent to Memorial Stadium. Sunday’s practice marked the final workout in half pads as Monday the team will be full contact.
The Jayhawks completed 17 stations Sunday afternoon, utilizing the final practice of the week to complete 7-on-7 drills as well as a pair of special teams sessions. In the stations of offense against defense, KU employed as many as six different tailbacks with the first team offense. The practice concluded with the No. 1 offense against No. 1 defense in different situations with down and distance.
KU will hold their first scrimmage of the year on Monday as the team prepares for its season opener on Saturday, Sept. 3 against McNeese State at 6 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.
Following the practice, Offensive Line Coach J.B. Grimes held an interview session with the media.
Kansas Offensive Line Coach J.B. Grimes
On who has caught his eye so far on the offensive line:
“All five of those guys who are starting right now (with the No. 1 offense) have performed really well. There has been a tremendous amount of carry-over from the spring. This is the second year (with this coaching staff) where you have the opportunity to talk in the same language. A year ago at this time, I was talking in French and they were hearing in German. Now we’re all talking in the same language. I’ve always said ‘the mind will tie the feet up’. What’s happened now is their minds are clear, so they’re able to operate more efficiently.”
On who has made the biggest leap from this time last year:
“There’s no question that Jeremiah Hatch has really made a tremendous leap from this time a year ago. He’s bought into what we want; he’s bought into Coach Gill and his philosophy. he’s bought into everything we’re trying to get him to do as far as losing some weight and staying on the field. At this time a year ago, he wasn’t starting in our opening ballgame; he just wasn’t ready to play. Now he is and that’s a tremendous advantage to us.”
On the team needing to build around its ability to run the football:
“It’s something that we emphasize every day. I’ve said this before, but when you have an offensive line that comes over to the sideline and hollers ‘hey, we need to throw it more,’ you’ve got the wrong offensive line. You need guys that want to embrace the toughness aspect of our game. It’s a tough game played by tough people. There’s nothing easy about it. Football is defined by going from one uncomfortable position to another. Running the football is something that isn’t comfortable, but it’s something that great offensive lines take pride in.”
On how long it takes guys to fully recover after coming back from injury:
“We call (Memorial Stadium) the big field. There’s nothing like going out on that big field and playing in that game when there are people up in the stands. You just don’t know what they’re going to do when they get out on the big field. Fortunately with a guy like Jeff Spikes, who is coming off a year with an Achilles problem, he’s been on the big field before. You have a little bit more of an idea about that. But you’ve got to play your way back into it, you don’t just all of the sudden snap your fingers and you’re doing all the things that you need to do.”
On what he thinks needs to improve in the offensive line this year:
“We gave up far too many sacks last year. There is absolutely no question about that. We were handcuffed a little bit in the running game, because we didn’t really know who our back was going to be going into the season. But we’ve got to do a better job of protecting the quarterback. That’s one thing and then we’d like to run the ball better. We need to run the football better. There are a lot of things we’d like to improve on from last year, but those are the things as an offensive line that if we can quit giving up those sacks and hurries and lost yardage plays, then we have a chance.”
On if any of the young guys on the offensive line have made an impact yet:
“Not yet, but part of that is that we haven’t given them a lot of opportunities just yet. We can already that a couple of those guys have a chance to be pretty good. I don’t think we missed (with recruiting them). They’re tough guys; they’re big guys. The thing that you really like is that they have size right now. Do they need a lot of work? Absolutely. They need to get in the weight room and need to do all of those kinds of things, but you can’t coach them big the last time I checked. They’re either big or they aren’t. You’ve got Luke Luhrsen sitting there at 299 pounds; you’ve got (Travis) Bodenstein sitting there at 320 pounds; you’ve got (Bryan) Peters sitting at 316 pounds; you’ve got (Damian) Martin at 297 pounds and Dylan Admire at 283 pounds. That’s a pretty good sized high school offensive line, because you have to remember these guys were all high school kids last year.”
On the decision to move Tanner Hawkinson to right tackle:
“It’s really been a positive move for him. He’s a young guy that was thrown into a situation as a freshman with (Todd) Reesing here. To be honest, I think Todd Reesing got Tanner out of a lot of trouble. That guy was a magician. Tanner had created a lot of bad habits over there on the left side. We were able to identify a lot of the bad habits, but we couldn’t break them. So sometimes, you have to turn the computer off, unplug it, reboot it, get all the viruses off and then start it up again. That’s basically what we did with Tanner by moving him over to the right side. He had developed a lot of bad muscle memory over there on the left side. It’s hard to change some things. So we just moved him (to the right side) to restart him and it’s been a positive move.”