Two-Minute Drill: Physical

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Tough, contact, of body, needing strength; the word physical can be defined in multiple ways, each evident in Tuesday’s full-pad Kansas football practice.
“Anybody can get through the first few practices with just helmets and shoulder pads,” assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Clint Bowen said Tuesday afternoon in a media session. “When full pads come on and practice turns physical, that’s when the special players stand out. The ones who embrace pain.”
Those words started out as a saying to a crowd of reporters, but come 5 p.m. when the pads came on, they turned to fact. Practice got faster, players got faster and embracing the pain became all that more important.
Two helmet acclimation days followed by two shoulder pad acclimation days, and the Jayhawks entered practice No. 5 with a renewed spirit. It was time to put the pads on and go to work.
It may have seemed like shoulder pads would have done the trick to simulate game-like conditions, but once suited in full pads, practice changed. The speed was different and the players embodied a tough mentality, almost like a chip on their shoulders.
Even against their teammates, the Jayhawks didn’t shy from contact and took each play to the whistle, if not further. In fact, it was down right chippy. The linemen played with heated aggression on both sides and the defensive backs and wide receivers talked the talk and walked the walk. It was a whole different ball game.
Of body.
Junior quarterback Montell Cozart took it to the next level. The physical specimen showed his athleticism and found a way to place almost every ball he threw right where he wanted it, even under pressure, and led the offense to a touchdown near the end of the final period of practice.
His performance Tuesday evening showed a player who has bounced back after going through adversity a season ago. He exhibited all the qualities of a veteran under center; sound mind, calm presence, accuracy and intensity. Each play No. 2 exerted full effort and pushed those around him to do the same, qualities of a true leader.
Needing strength.
Much like Bowen said prior to the start of practice, toughness would separate the boys from the men once the pads came on. One can’t be tough without having some strength to back it up. Never more important is strength than at the linebacker position.
Having lost Ben Heeney to the NFL Draft and two others to graduation, there are a lot of question marks within that corps. However, junior Marcquis Roberts answered some of those with his performance Tuesday evening.
The Powder Springs, Georgia, native used his brute strength to break through the line on every blitz he was on, shed blockers and make the tackle. Reminiscent of the Kevin Kane and more recently Heeney days, Roberts can play; he was all over the field.

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8/5 – Football is Back!
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8/7 – The Little Things
8/8 – Media Day
8/8 – Thru the Lens
8/8 – Back to Work
8/11 – Physical
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