Jayhawks Display Focus At Thursday's Practice

Aug. 25, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas head coach Turner Gill was enthused by his team’s sense of focus out on the practice fields adjacent to Memorial Stadium here Thursday afternoon. The Jayhawks are completing their final week of Fall Camp before moving into game-week preparations Sunday.

“The defense did some good things today,” said Gill. “They were active and I noticed them making a few more plays. The defensive line showed up a little better than they have been so that was a good sign. Offensively, our tempo was good. Overall, it was good to see our guys come out with some focus. They were focused throughout practice and that is what we like to see as coaches.”

Kansas will return to the practice fields Friday and Saturday to close out 2011 Fall Camp before beginning preparation for its 2011 season-opener versus McNeese State. The Jayhawks will host the Cowboys at Kivisto Field at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 3. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m., and the game will be streamed live on Jayhawk All-Access.

Following Thursday’s practice, Kansas Co-Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach David Beaty met with the media. The following is a transcript of the interview:

Co-Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach David Beaty

On if he has already begun to prepare his players for the first game:
“We’re starting to get to that period now. We had a little bit on McNeese State today.We’ve had some film study all throughout camp on them. Our kids are already familiar with them. I’ve even looked at them a little bit in the spring with my guys. We’ve just been getting familiar with their defensive scheme and getting familiar with some of what they do with their blitz packages. Now we’re starting to move into the physical part of it and today was one of the first major steps we’re going to take as far as getting ready for them.”

On how the objectives in practice have changed now that the first game is approaching:
“When you get into game preparation your practices do change quite a bit because you’re not going against your defense all the time. At this point you’ve already evaluated your players. You already have a pretty good idea of who your first and second team guys are going to be for the most part. Now you’re just trying to piece together the game plan and really trying to focus in on making sure they’re seeing the right looks. You only get a few days to prepare. So you’re packing a lot of things into a very short period of time. Right now we’re really trying to narrow in on what we want to try and do offensively and make sure we’re giving our players the right looks that we think they’re going to see so they can make good decisions.”

On how the receivers have been progressing during recent practices:
“It’s really been the same kind of song. Kale Pick has really done a nice job for us in all phases. Not only in the receiving aspect but he’s done a really nice job of blocking the perimeter for us. Daymond Patterson, our returning lead receiver, has had a fine camp. Last time I looked at our catch chart he was our lead receiver throughout camp. He’s done a great job for us. D.J. Beshears is another guy that continues to stick out to me. You always feel him on the field when he’s out there. He’s a very strong and explosive kid. He practices as hard as anybody I’ve ever coached before. I think another guy that has really stuck out to me is JaCorey Shepherd. He’s got a really nice skill set and he’s a fast guy. Chris (Omigie) has gotten a little dinged up and has been battling little pains here and there but he was really doing a good job for us before he got to that point. Christian Matthews is another guy that has a chance to do some really good things. All those guys have developed a workmen’s attitude and that’s the point we’ve been trying to get them to.”

On if he is comfortable putting his smaller receivers on the field at the same time:
“Coaches are usually looking for a certain type of receiver that fits the mold height-wise, but you don’t always have the luxury. You wind up finding the type of guys with the skill sets you need and we’re fortunate that our guys fit it. Daymond (Patterson) is extremely quick, a very smart player, and a very experienced guy that knows how to get open. D.J. Beshears is probably the strongest receiver I’ve ever coached. He’s like hitting a brick wall. I don’t even like slapping hands with him because it hurts. He is a strong guy. So even though they may not fit the mold height-wise I like having them on the field at the same time.”

On what he has been emphasizing most as far as developing players:
“What you have to do when you’re trying to develop players is you have to put them in every possible situation and see how they react. That’s the thing that tells us whether they’re ready or not. It’s not about just going out there and moving the ball. We try to put our guys in as many situations as possible to see if they lock up, or if they can handle it. That tells us where their playing maturity is and if they’re ready to step onto the field.”

On how the younger players have responded through training camp:
“I’ve been pretty pleased with our young guys. I think they have a pretty high football IQ. Which is always good. That’s probably what has caused the competition level to be so heated. I’ve had some guys that have done a pretty good job and there’s been a pretty good battle in there for spots. They’ve mentally handled it and that’s one of the biggest things for us so far this year.”

On Kale Pick’s adjustment to the receiver position:
“He’s really adjusting to the position well. He’s got really good hands. He runs very good, crisp routes. He’s very strong on the edge perimeter blocking. That’s one of the things I’m really excited about. He’s a very smart guy. He does a great job of leading our guys and he understands the full scheme. Being a quarterback gives you that luxury, you have to learn what everybody is doing. He also really understands spacing well because he knows what routes are on top of him, below him and next to him and how they’re distributed throughout the field. That’s just one of the things that have made his transition much smoother. I think also watching Kerry Meier go through the same thing was huge for him. He really has been a lot like Kerry Meier. I hope he can continue to be that way because we all know how that story is going.”