Kansas Football Hosts Media Day

Aug. 9, 2010

‘;// –>

More Video: Gill | Pick | Webb | Biere | Opurum

Head Coach Turner Gill

Opening comments:

“I appreciate people coming out today and it is good to see great interest in KU football. I first want to comment on our strength staff. They have done a tremendous job in our off-season program this summer. In the last four or five days of practice, I can see our strength staff did a great job of getting the players in shape. Our guys have done a great job coming together as a team and I see a great bond forming. We are moving ahead in the right direction and have been moving well in the first week of practice. The players are in good shape thanks to our conditioning staff.”

“Our position coaching staff has done a great job so far by putting guys in the right place and seeing them move faster. You have to play at game speed, but it all depends on if your players are in shape and also if they have studied the play book. We threw a lot at them in the first few days to stretch their minds. I think when you stretch their minds it makes them concentrate a little bit more.”

“I have seen progress that was made over the summer. Obviously, we still have things we need to improve on before the first game, but I know we still have some time.”

“Unfortunately, Huldon Tharp has a foot injury and he will be out for the season. Tertavian Ingram has a foot injury and he will probably be out for three to four weeks. Also, Rell Lewis has a knee injury and he may possibly be back in two to three weeks. We are going to miss Huldon Tharp, but the other two guys should be back on the field and ready to play at some point in time.

On the quarterback battle:

“I think Jordan Webb, Kale Pick and even Quinn Mecham have done some good things. We are going to go another week and strongly evaluate everything. I am not saying we are going to make announcement in a week, but I want to go through at least two weeks of practice and then see where we all stand. I like where we are at and I can see that they have improved. What I have seen in the first four or five days lets me know that they worked hard over the summer. They have come back and have been a lot sharper. We wanted everybody to be better than where they were at in the spring and we have made progress.”

On team captains:

“We are going to have a vote, but I am not going to have the freshman vote. There will be seniors on the ballot unless there are issues that have come up. In that case, I will personally take their names of the ballot. As far as under classmen, we are going to discuss that as a staff. There might be one or two guys that we believe are deserving of it. However, we are going to let the football team decide. The only way an underclassman will be on the ballot will be by me putting him on there and believing that he has a chance.”

On the running back position:

“The running back competition is still up in the air. We have quite of few running backs with a lot of different styles. I don’t care what their personal style is. However, I do want them to be a physical runner, to be athletic, make people miss and hopefully we have a home-run- hitter that has the speed and can go the distance. We are still evaluating and trying to figure out the best fit for our running game. We won’t have a true answer until we are in game situations, but once we get into some games we will be able to see what our guys can really do; who are the strong blockers and what guys can really get it done. We are in a strong evaluation phase and there is not a leading guy at this point.”

On the strength at the wide receiver position:

“All of the wide receivers have had some great opportunities to show some great speed. Actually John Wilson has done some great things. He isn’t the fastest guy, but he has run some great routes. He has done an excellent job at catching the football. We have a solid receiving core. Daymond Patterson has done an outstanding job, moving over from defensive back to receiver. Brad McDougald is a steady guy. Chirs Omigie, Erick McGriff, Chris Matthews, D.J. Beshears have all done a great job as well. We have six or seven different guys we feel very good about. We have some guys that can make some plays.”

On defensive concerns:

“I want to have a faster defense with more speed. I am going to recruit more speed in all positions. We have some speed, but I want 14 or 15 guys that I can put on the football field that I know can run. I am not trying to knock my own football players or anything in the past, but ideally, I would like to see more speed.”

On defensive lineman Kevin Young:

“I think one guy who has come along very well is defensive lineman Kevin Young. I hope to see him to continue to escalate his play and continue to improve. He hasn’t played at all on the football field, but I see him being a guy that will be able to get in and some things for us.”

On last weekend’s scrimmage:

“We tried to get a certain amount of repetitions in to see how they would handle the heat. We also learned how and when our guys could push through and when they couldn’t push through. We pushed the limit on some guys. We tried to get somewhere between 35 and 40 repetitions in, but that is only half a football game. We saw where our guys were conditioned and who couldn’t take it. We forced them to stay in there, but we wanted to push people through. We learned about some guys who have a ways to go before they will be able to get in 40 snaps. It is early in camp, but I wanted to know where we are at and what we need to focus on. My priority is getting them ready for Sept. 4, but I know we aren’t ready to play a game tomorrow. I know where I need to get them for Sept. 4 as well as focusing on executing. We need to be able to execute better than our opponent.”

Sophomore wide receiver Bradley McDougald

On Head Coach Turner Gill:

“I wouldn’t say it’s any easier; it’s in our beliefs that he expects great effort all the time, because that’s one thing a player can control. He’s just got to give 100 percent. He’s just like any other coach; he wants a player to give that 100 percent every time.”

The past receivers impact:

“After playing under them (Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe) last year, that helped me more than anything. I learned the different route techniques and blocking schemes that they do. Just watching them and playing under them definitely helped my play and helped me to propel myself for this year.”

The difference in the competing quarterbacks:

“I would say Kale (Pick) is more athletic in terms of his running abilities, on the ground and when we do different option reads. (Jordan) Webb reminds me more of a Todd Reesing because of his agility and how he side steps. He uses time in the pocket to find receivers down field.”

Senior wide receiver Johnathan Wilson

Impact on Daymond Patterson’s move to receiver:

“That’s his natural position. He’s a sly guy, fast, quick and can beat you off the top with his feet.”

On the effects of heat:

“It wasn’t a big factor until yesterday. Yesterday it was scorching. It was really hot out there, but we made it. Coach Gill gave us a little break in between our reps (repetitions) to get watered down.”

On the heat in game situations:

“The heat actually brings out your emotions, so you have to control yourself under the heat. Yesterday I kind of got frustrated, but I just calmed myself down. It was just the heat making me frustrated and making me mess up just because I was hot. You just got to think and focus whether it’s hot or not because there’s going to be hot games that we will have to play in.”

On good team leaders:

“Myself, I’m trying to be a leader. First, I’m trying to lead the wide receivers because that’s my position. As far as the team, Jake Laptad is a good leader, Chris Harris is a good leader and Brad Thorson is a good leader. Also one of our quarterbacks is going to have to step-up and be a good leader. I expect one of those guys to step up to the plate. I think we have some good leaders on the team.”

Sophomore offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson

On summer workouts:

“We kind of just worked on the little things, like technique, past sets and just taking the right steps. We watched film and reviewed a lot of things from spring. We knew we had to work all summer.”

Improvements on the offensive side:

“We have to be able to run the ball a little bit better. Last year we weren’t really a run heavy offense, we were pass oriented. We definitely need to work on the running game a little bit. That just comes along with the little things from techniques to taking the right steps.”

Senior defensive end Jake Laptad

On his shoulder injury:

“It’s just a torn labrum, which I had last year, and it’s doing pretty well now.”

On how the first five practices are going and who has been standing out on the defensive line:

“It is just great to get out there. I sat out the whole spring and it feels really great to get out there and start hitting some people.”

On if he could do anything during the summer, or if he was just rehabbing:

“It was all about rehab. I rehabbed every day – even twice a day sometimes. I saw my trainer everyday; he did a great job, and got me back to 100%.”

On who has stood out on the defensive line the first few practices:

“You’ll have to talk to Coach Gill about that one. Richard Johnson and Pat Dorsey are both doing well at defensive tackle; at the other end you have Keba (Agostinho) and Kevin Young who are both doing really well. Some freshmen are getting in there and getting a few reps to see how they will respond – but they’re going out there and working hard.”

On Defensive Carl Torbush:

“It is going great, he’s a great guy. It’s a new defense, so I have to learn everything again, but I’m doing really well with it.”

Freshman quarterback Jordan Webb

On the worst part about training camp:

“It’s hard to say. The heat is definitely one part of it, we’re all in it together and working hard – you can’t focus on the negatives during training camp, or else you won’t have a good one.”

On how much he is looking forward to the first game of the season:

“It’s definitely something to look forward to, it’s very exciting. It will be a packed stadium; hopefully a lot of people will be there.”

On the quarterback battle:

“We’re both approaching it the same, we both want to be the starter, but one of us isn’t going to be; whoever wins will give us a great shot to be successful.”

On what his and Kale Pick’s biggest strengths are:

“I think my strength is my arm strength. I think Kale can make plays with his feet. I feel like I’m a pretty good passer, I can throw the ball pretty well. I’m more of a pro-style guy; I like to sit back there and read the defense and just see what we have to work with.”

On replacing Todd Reesing:

“Obviously we have big shoes to fill, Todd (Reesing) was one of the greatest to ever play here, so Kale (Pick) and I will have big shoes to fill.”

Sophomore quarterback Kale Pick

On the quarterback battle between he and Jordan Webb:

“It’s going pretty well, both of us are competing every day, working hard and showing leadership for our team.”

On if it helps that he will be playing for a coach who was an All-American quarterback:

“I think it will help us a lot. (Coach Gill) gives great advice – he’s been there and done that. Obviously as a quarterback I’m going to listen to him and (Coach Chuck Long) who were both great college quarterbacks.”

On if he will be looking back to last year thinking about what happened:

“Not at all. It’s a new coaching staff and we’re looking forward to this season.”

On the change since Todd Reesing left:

“You just have to come in here and compete every day. The job is on the line and you have to show your leadership. Show the players and the other coaches that you have been working hard in the offseason that you have been trying to strengthen your weaknesses, just coming in and competing every day.”

On how the quarterback competition will make him better:

“Just getting an opportunity to come in and compete every day – be the last one off the field, the first on the field, and the first one in the weight room. We’ve come a long way, not just me, but my teammates too.”

Senior cornerback Chris Harris

On goals for this season:

“I want to go out with a bang. I expect to have a great year this year, a breakout season. I definitely expect to have some Big 12 accolades at the end of this season. That’s part of my goal to have a successful season.”

On what he’s learned about himself after watching video:

“I critique myself and try to compare my game to the guys in the NFL. I have to have a mindset that I’m playing in the NFL now and critique myself now because it will help me in the long run.”

On helping the younger team members:

“They didn’t know what to expect and what’s going to happen. They’ve been getting better everyday and that’s what everyone’s been asking me.”

Junior wide receiver Daymond Patterson

On being back at the wide receiver position:

“I’m really excited. It’s the position I’ve always played growing up, it’s the position I wanted to play in college. I’m just glad to be back. The coaches have given me a chance and I’m taking those opportunities and making the best of them.”

On the difference between quarterbacks Kale Pick and Jordan Webb:

“To be honest, there’s really not that big of a difference. They both have good velocity on the ball and good accuracy. When one is in, you really can’t tell a difference between who’s in or out, so I think that’s going to help us in the long run. They have their differences but they both bring a high level play out there.”

On other receivers who have stood out:

“Johnathan Wilson, he’s a senior this year and he had a real good summer. I could really see him working hard throughout the whole summer and it’s starting to show. During these two-a-days, he’s made a lot of plays out there. Chris Omigie, he’s a redshirt sophomore and you could see his progression throughout the spring until now. I’m impressed with what D.J. Beshears is doing. He has a lot of strength and speed that he brings to the field and a visible edge and I really like that.”

Senior safety Phillip Strozier

On the atmosphere that Head Coach Turner Gill has brought to KU:

“The atmosphere is having fun and being confident. There’s a big difference between being confident and being arrogant. The most important thing is to have fun and that’s why we’re here; to have fun and to win. As long as we’re having fun and winning, then everything else will fall into place.”

On the adjustment to the new defensive coordinator:

“Coach Torbush is more aggressive; he likes us to be aggressive and gives us the opportunity to make more plays and just to be more confident in ourselves. He preaches confidence to us too; the more confident we are, the more aggressive we’re going to be.”