Two-Minute Drill: The Little Things
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The pleasant, almost spring-like conditions of Thursday’s first practice gave way to a typical August day in Kansas on Friday.
No, the heat wasn’t intolerable, it was the heavy, humid air, coupled with a strenuous training camp schedule that took its toll on everyone involved in Kansas football’s second practice of the season.
The beginning of the workout emphasized explosiveness. Explode off of the ball. Hit the ball carrier with force. Finish the drill.
Within 30 minutes, the break-neck tempo of the session had each player breathing a little heavier, downing as much water as possible to avoid cramping.
Walking on the grass practice fields behind Anschutz Pavilion you wouldn’t have known it hasn’t rained in Lawrence in a few days. The grass-surface held significant moisture due in part to the humidity – and the combined gallons of sweat that dripped off of everyone in attendance.
Midway through the practice, the footballs began to acquire a slickness. That’s when the coaching staff – in their drenched Kansas football attire – began yelling in unison at anyone they perceived didn’t have the ball high-and-tight against their body.
“Do the little things every time,” offensive coordinator Rob Likens demanded.
Wide receivers coach Klint Kubiak joined in shortly after, building off of Likens’ orders. Executing even the smallest things, like keeping your wrist high when holding the ball while running back to the end of the line in a drill creates a positive habit. That’s what the coaching staff has emphasized from day one.
Do the little things every time.
Everyone’s spirits were lifted toward the end of practice. The tedious drill work had been completed for the day. It was time to bear down and showcase the offense versus the defense in a game-like 11-on-11 sequence of fast-paced plays.
Just as was the rule yesterday, substitutions weren’t an option until the coaching staff called for a group of reinforcements.
After a few series, the helter-skelter pace had several players needing to take a play off. That’s when the always energetic special teams coordinator Gary Hyman ripped the headset away from his hear and began demanding more from each guy.
“Twenty more plays to fight through,” Hyman jubilantly yelled to each player. “That’s how we’re going to win in September!”
Whatever motivational-magic Hyman and his coaching comrades spewed to the team seemed to work.
Both the offensive and defensive units not only gave 100 percent during each live play, during each substitution rotation that occurred they also gave it their all to hustle to-and-from the sidelines encouraging one another as… one team.