Kansas hosts Spring Football Showcase
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas football hosted its Spring Football Showcase Saturday at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. With sunny skies overhead, the Jayhawk practiced for an hour and half, spending the final 45 minutes in an 11-on-11 team setting. Kansas head coach David Beaty met with the media following the showcase to discuss the spring season and Saturday’s practice.
A video of the press conference can be seen on the Kansas Football Facebook Page and a transcript is below.
DAVID BEATY: Just want to congratulate Dorance Armstrong on being selected by — man I’m a big winner because he got selected by the Dallas Cowboys. We were so excited about that. It was right before we went out for stretch, and we got him on FaceTime, and that was a pretty cool moment. Enjoyed that.
And then we have a trainer right now, Sean Love, who just had two new fresh twin little girls that are gorgeous, Slate Berkeley and Decker Lane, so we want to welcome them to the family.
What a great day. Excited about the weather, which was outstanding, and really great atmosphere out there and just thanking our local fire department and all the people that put on that event out there for the kids in our community. That was really cool.
First time we’ve had great, great weather in a long time on this day, so that was good. I’ll take some questions.
Q. Were you able to say anything to Dorance in particular or did he say anything to you guys that stuck out?
DAVID BEATY: You know, I think he was pretty moved when he saw our guys jumping up and down. We couldn’t even talk to him because everybody was screaming, and he was just smiling. He had the biggest smile on his face. When we got finished, of course all of us Dallas guys were telling him how he gets to move to the better city in Texas now as opposed to being in Houston, so that was fun to do, and he’s excited. We’re going to help him with all the good places to eat and places to hang out there in Dallas, which is good. Daniel (Wise) got to talk to him. I know that was a big deal for him. I know Mike Lee got to visit with him, as well. He’s got some really close friends on our team. That was a cool moment down there, really cool, to see how excited our guys were, it was like they got drafted. It was really cool.
Q. From a recruiting standpoint, how helpful is it to keep feeding guys from Dallas, especially when you’re recruiting so heavily out of Texas?
DAVID BEATY: I think that’s all big. The more guys you can help accomplish their dream, the better off you are. I wish we could tell you when we recruited Dorance that I saw a true bona fide NFL guy, but he was only 212 pounds. We knew he had a good first step, but we’ve seen a lot of those, and we knew he was long. He’s a true guy that worked himself into it. The thing I love with Dorance’s situation and that the Cowboys are going to find out is they got a terrific guy in addition to a great player. He is going to be a guy that keeps his life together, so it’s going to make him a better player. He’s one of those guys that truly lives by how you do anything is how you do everything. He got a great guy.
Sometimes when you’re dealing with the D-line, you’re talking about some really flamboyant personalities, and he’s just a worker. He is just a worker. I think they’re going to love having him.
Q. Are you familiar enough with the Cowboys personnel to know how he’d fit in there?
DAVID BEATY: You know, I really don’t. I just know he’s going to be happy to fit in wherever they want him. I think he’s pretty versatile. He’s got enough speed to be able to play at that outside linebacker spot or play a D-end in a four-down front. But I know the guy didn’t run a great 40, but I’m just here to tell you, he is definitely a way faster guy than a 4.82. That’s a misnomer. They got a steal because the dude is a fast guy. Very quick. He was just carrying a little bit too much weight probably when he went through those workouts. But that dude can run. You guys have all seen that. They really got a steal out of him at that point in the draft.
Q. Did Peyton Bender have a good afternoon?
DAVID BEATY: You know, it was a little bit hard to see because we kind of had a practice format, and I’m watching a little bit more than just the QB during that time. I can watch him a little bit more on video. But I saw a lot of completions out there, which was good, taking what they gave us. I saw a lot of plays, balls that were thrown three or four yards downfield that turned into eight-yard plays on 1st down, got you 2nd and medium, 2nd and short and you’re in a lot better situations for second downs when you’re in those situations, and I thought our guys did a good job of doing that.
I thought our defensive backs played really well. We didn’t do a whole lot back there, and they still broke up a lot of passes. I thought our corners did some decent things today because we tried to attack them a little bit downfield, and they held up pretty good. There was a couple of them that we got behind him, but Kyle Mayberry continues to impress me. I thought he had a good spring. In the last few days, he’s had several picks, and he’s done a good job. I’ve been impressed with him.
Q. The play that Corione (Harris) was able to make on that deep ball, and then what’s your general takeaways on him this spring?
DAVID BEATY: As I watched him today, the thing that just continued to stick in my mind is he’s getting beat, but he has recovery speed that not many other guys have, right. That’s where he’s different than maybe some of the other guys. He got beat two or three times today, and I mean, we might need to get the ball up a little bit faster and it might have helped a little bit, but he still was recovering. He’s got some closing speed. He was in there joking with Pooka (Williams) a while ago, who’s here today, about how Pooka, you can’t run with me, because he can, he can run now, and Pooka can fly, too. That’s kind of what stuck out to me about him. He’s got some closing speed that you don’t see around very often.
Q. When you do this spring practice format versus a game, how much do you lose from an evaluation standpoint?
DAVID BEATY: We lost absolutely nothing. I mean, we saw everything we needed to see throughout the spring. We had several situations that were going to cause lots of distractions for them throughout the spring. That was good for us. You know, when you’re in a spring game situation, I turned on the game last week, and I saw almost no names that I recognized from a team that is very nationally recognized, and the reason that is is because those guys have played a lot of ball. I’ve heard guys like Urban talk about a 2,000 rep count where that guy doesn’t have anything left to prove, and we don’t want to get him hurt this spring, so — I mean, you can take that as whatever you want to take it as, but the point being is we got exactly what we needed to get out of it by being very creative this spring. I think you guys seven offensive linemen that we were able to really use in a full-speed setting today. But the good news is all those guys that were hurt, they practiced. You saw it today. They practiced. We weren’t able to use our arms and all that, but we didn’t waste spring on those guys. They practiced all spring, which was good.
Q. The injury on the opening kickoff, was that concerning to you? Obviously we want to get some in-game action but maybe tone it down a little bit, bring back the reins when we think about the potential of injuries?
DAVID BEATY: Well, you always worry about this day, and we’ve all — if you’ve been in this long enough, you’ve lived through this day. But we also know that you’ve got to do a certain amount of things to get yourself ready to go from a physicality standpoint. You’ve got to did that, and you’ve got to be able to tackle. It’s not the same when you’re not taking guys to the ground. So you’ve got to learn to be able to do that, right, and it’s not the same on special teams, either. It’s the same thing, it’s a space tackle, it’s very difficult to deal with that space. Kenny Perry did a terrific job with our special teams all spring on extracting those movements, playing better in space.
The thing that I saw in that is I saw Denzel (Feaster) do exactly what we wanted him to do, cross space, near foot compression, hit across the ball, knock the crap out of the guy, which is exactly what he’s supposed to do, right, and I saw Quan (Hampton) play at full speed so he didn’t get hurt. When you start slowing down, you get hurt sometimes. He did a good job there. I know the NCAA and the NFL, they’re trying to eliminate that play, and I get it, it’s dangerous, but until they eliminate it, we’ve got to learn how to play it.
Q. Can you see the benefits of maybe flying under the radar and maybe sneaking up on some people as opposed to having those expectations?
DAVID BEATY: I think there’s always something to kind of being the underdog and living that underdog lifestyle, flying under the radar when you don’t have anything to fly over the radar on right now. When we produce something to have an above the radar team, then we’ll let people decide that on the outside.
From our standpoint we just worry about who we are this next play, who we are from a toughness standpoint, are we a tough team, are we a smart team, are we a physical team, do we give ourselves a chance to win or do we not. I don’t put a lot of stock into that, but I understand where you’re going. Talk gets you exactly nowhere. You have to go out there and do it, and we said before we started last year that the momentum coming off the end of the season previous, all it did was give us a chance, right; all the work we did in the off-season, that just gives you the chance. You don’t do that, you have no shot. Everybody is doing that. Then it comes down to who executes it best, who plays best, who’s smart and who commits the most to be able to accomplish their goals, right.
Q. A lot of pro guys back today, Chris (Harris), Bradley (McDougald), all those guys. Why is it important to you to have those guys back?
DAVID BEATY: Well, all of them really. We had so many Jayhawks here this weekend. We had a great party last night with those guys over at the Jayhawk Club. Thanks to the Fritzel family, they were able to help us host that, and it was a great, great deal. We had a great golf tournament yesterday. A lot of them were coming back.
I think it’s important for those guys to see inside of their program, number one, and see what we are doing because it’s real easy just to kind of not be involved in it and kind of draw your own conclusion, but when you’re inside, I think you might be able to draw a little bit more of an educated conclusion. That could still be bad, it could be good, but at least you get to see it.
So him being — those guys being around here was big. And when our guys see guys that are doing it at the highest level, Bradley just signed an unbelievable contract that he earned, right, and for him to be able to do that and be a picture or living proof of what it can be like if you work, man, that does nothing but help our guys. And then they watch him come up here and Chris and go get a workout in before they come out and watch them practice. They’re in the weight room with them, and that’s what pros do, right. They don’t come in and jack around. They come in and get their work done. That’s how they last in the league. If you’re jacking around, you’re not going to last. They’re going to cut you.
Q. A handful of guys that are now freshmen, Cooper Root, Sam Schroeder, guys like that, Joe Gilbertson, what are you seeing from them, and have any of them stuck out this spring?
DAVID BEATY: Those guys and a lot of other guys because of some injuries got a lot of reps this spring that was really good for us. I’m not sure they would have got as many as they were forced to get, which is something that helps you because those guys are working their way into becoming contributors, and you can’t do that without having enough experience to do it, and they got a ton of different expectations, different situations this year that are going to help those guys. Cooper Root is going to be a great player for us. I’m excited about his growth. Joey is — he is a mean — he’s a wrestler, right, and those dudes that I hung out with in college that were wrestlers, they were crazy nut cases, and he’s kind of like that. But I like that. I like that in an offensive lineman. He brings a little bit of a different mentality. But he’s got a lot of stuff he’s got to work on. He’s got a long way to go, but he’ll get there.
Nick Williams, a freshman out of St. Louis, who is a giant. He’s going to be a good player. We certainly hope we can keep the shirt on him, but he is a big kid. He’s just got a long way to go, but he’s got a bright future.
Toby stuck out to me with his versatility this spring. He’s tough. Soso (James Sosinski), he’s rounding out his game. We got him the ball a few more times again today. Caperton Humphrey, a guy none of you know about, is just quietly doing everything we ask him to do and making plays.
(Kezelee) Flomo, you’re seeing the light come on. It’s a different thing playing on the scout team where you put a card up there and you just take off running, and when you call a play and you actually have to react. He’s doing a good job.
Kerr Johnson just has been a consistent player for us. Evan Fairs is another guy that’s emerging. Clyde McCauley, becoming more versatile, that is helping us. Malik Clark is developing, as well. It was a good spring for those guys.
Kyle Mayberry, Bryce Torneden, better in coverage, better in leadership, both sides – Osaze Ogbebor, another guy that’s growing in his fundamentals and really enjoying watching him. Willie McCaleb and Najee Stevens-McKenzie, those guys are flashing and they’re gaining weight, which is good. KeyShaun (Simmons), just continuing to be a steady guy, living under that radar, which we kind of like that.
Codey Cole is going to provide us a lot of depth and I like his demeanor. Nick is going to be a good player. Stephon Robinson is going to be a good player. He’s got a lot of speed. He can help us.
Corione Harris, going to be a good player. Jeremiah McCullough, he’s going to be a really good player, and Davon Ferguson. Those are all brand new guys that are here that we feel like we hit on that’s going to help us. A lot of them will challenge to play next year. Some of them won’t but a lot of them will.
As I leave spring, that’s what I look at some guys that you — normal names you wouldn’t hear that you might ask about, who did what this spring. These guys kind of stuck out to me as we went through spring. Doesn’t mean they’re going to be anything special yet, but they’ve got a chance if they move forward. You guys go enjoy the rest of this sunny day, all right? Thanks a lot.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports