Jayhawks Prepare for Opening Weekend
Aug. 31, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas football held its second practice of the week in preparation for its first game of the regular season on Saturday against McNeese State. The Jayhawks will take on the Cowboys at 6 p.m. in a game that can be seen on Jayhawk All-Access at kuathletics.com.
Following practice, head coach Turner Gill met with members of the media for the final time before Saturday’s game. Below is a transcript of his interview.
Kansas Head Coach Turner Gill
“I do like how our guys responded to the heat today. They’re still moving around really well and ran around and made plays and I saw them staying focused. So there is a difference in our football team from last season as far as what they have done to react to this type of weather. I think we have better leadership; I think that’s probably been the biggest difference is guys are talking more and they’re taking charge. It’s good to see your players start to have ownership of the football team.”
On the intensity level as they started preparing for Saturday’s game:
“I don’t think the competitiveness has stopped at all, I think it’s just a little more thinking because now you’re trying to fit into what their schemes are and figure out what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. But that really isn’t much of an issue; I haven’t seen any lack of competitiveness as far as on offense or defense as we’ve started preparing for a specific opponent.”
On how much potential to start drives on the right end of the field:
“I’m excited about that. We definitely feel good about our returners as far as punt return and kick-off return; the guys have the potential to take the football the distance and that’s what you want to have is big plays. We’re talking about playmakers and we’re talking about making plays, we’re talking about being more explosive and I think we’ll see that out of our returners on the defensive and offensive side.”
On specific matchups being important for the McNeese State game:
“I think our linebackers and safeties being able to tackle well and I think if they do that then we’ll have a great football team. I think they’re going to run the football and pass it too but I just think they have some good running backs, so we’re going to have to tackle well and if we do that they I think we’ll be successful.
Now, I think our offense versus their defense – I think they do a variety of things – usually the first game, people will have some different things they haven’t done the year before, but we’ll be ready for that. I think they’re going to blitz more and we’ll be ready for those things if they do so we need to able to capitalize and execute when they do blitz.”