Football Fall Camp: Third Practice, Offensive Coaches Speak with the Media
The Kansas football team took to the practice field for the third time Saturday afternoon, donning shoulder pads and shells (light pads) for the first time. The team continues to work in its acclimatization period with full contact and pads on the horizon in the near future. Pearce Slater, a junior college transfer arrived at KU on Saturday and made an appearnace at practice. The offensive coaching staff was made available to the media Saturday and selected quotes are available below.
Jeff Blasko, Tight Ends Coach
On how have the tight ends been working over the summer…
“It’s one of the hardest working groups on the team. Collectively, they had a great summer.”
On how the players have grasped the system going into the second year…
“It is very noticeable our guys are playing faster because they are more comfortable with what they are supposed to do from an assignment standpoint.”
Rob Ianello, Wide Receivers Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
On the importance of summer workouts…
“To be a really good college football player, and to play at a high level, you have to have a great summer.”
On the expectations for the receivers this fall…
“My hopes for all the receivers are to help the offense out on a consistent basis. I am not sure we did that a year ago, but we are very optimistic on what we can do this year.”
Reggie Mitchell, Running Backs Coach
On competition and bond between players at the running back position…
“It’s a combination. Number one they know they have to compete against one another, and two they’re going to pull for one another. I like to say we are only as good as the worst guy in the room, and we are all in it together, and we are going to leave our egos at the door, and we are going to help one another. There’s not going to be any jealousy or anything like that, and the best guy is going to play. But they have to buy in, and to their credit they’ve all bought in.”
On expectations for running game this year collectively and individually…
“I try not to get into it individually with them, but collectively we would like to be one of the better running back groups in the Big 12, and in the country. Our goal is to be the best we can be week in and week out, and that’ll be measured by productivity. Some weeks that will mean being more effective and efficient in the passing game in some instances, and some weeks that may mean we need to run the ball a little bit more, but just how productive we are and if we are carrying our load.”
Tim Grunhard, Offensive Line Coach
On Pat Lewandowski playing center…
“He’s very athletic, he’s smart, he plays with good leverage, he gets his hands inside well, so he’s got some of the things. He’s just got to learn how to play in there because there’s a lot going on and there’s a lot of people in there and there’s a lot of feet. When he starts to feel more comfortable I expect him to get better exponentially.”
On Jake Heaps influence on the offensive line…
“I think Jake is his own person, but the thing we really like about him is that he demands excellence from everybody around him. He’s tough on those guys and if they’re not doing the right thing he’s going to let them know about it. He’s a great leader when he goes into that huddle there’s a presence about him. Jake is his own guy and it’s going to be fun to watch him this year and then the next year.”
In the Pros
Former KU runningback Jon Cornish scored four touchdowns and ran up 175 yards as the Calgary Stampeders rolled past the Saskatchewan Roughriders 42-27 in a Canadian Football League heated rivalry game at McMahon Stadium Friday night. Cornish, last year’s CFL Most Outstanding Canadia, ran for three of his scores and 115 yards before halftime and has helped the Stampeders to a 5-1 record and top spot in the West.
“Jon is an animal,” Calgary teammate Nik Lewis told the Calgary Herald’s Vicki Hall. “As receivers, we’re dedicated to going out and blocking for him. The O-line does what they do, and we can block down field. Once he hits holes, he’s so strong. He’s so powerful. He just hits it and goes.”
The New England Patriots knocked off the Philadelphia Eagles, 31-22, Friday evening with former KU star cornerback Aqib Talib recording one solo tackle in limited action. Talib started for the Pats and played just two series before giving way to the reserves. His former KU teammate, linebacker Mike Rivera, also action for New England, but did not record any statistics.
Safety Bradley McDougald had a strong performance in his first NFL action, despite his Kansas City Chiefs falling short, 17-14, in preseason action versus the New Orleans Saints. McDougald finished the game with five tackles, all solos, and one pass breakup. His pass breakup came on a crucial third down for the Saints, as McDougald was able to knock down a pass intended for New Orleans’ All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham. Toben Opurum, who was also seeing his first NFL action, saw some action as a fullback late in the game, but did not record any statistics.
Defensive lineman Josh Williams recorded two tackles in the Chicago Bears, 24-17, loss to the Carolina Panthers. Included in Williams’ two stops was a one-yard tackle-for-loss on Panthers’ running back Tauren Poole in the fourth quarter.
The Jayhawks will practice for the fifth time Sunday afternoon, following the same schedule as the previous four days. Sunday’s media target will be the defensive coaching staff.
Next Friday, Kansas Athletics and the KU Alumni Association will join forces to host the family-friendly KU Kickoff pep rally presented by First National Bank at Corinth Square (83rd & Mission Road in Prairie Village, Kan.). Starting at 6 p.m., Kansas football head coach Charlie Weis, women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson and track and field coach Stanley Redwine, who was recently named National Coach of the Year, will each address the crowd.
Kansas will open the 2013 football season by hosting South Dakota on Saturday, Sept. 7 in Memorial Stadium. Game time is slated for 6 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by contacting the Kansas Ticket Office at 1-800-34-HAWKS or via the web at KUAthletics.com.
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