By Rustin Dodd
LAWRENCE | Charlie Weis is still in his first spring as the Kansas football coach, just barely into his second 100 days in Lawrence.
On Thursday morning, Weis and his team convened for a 6 a.m. practice inside Memorial Stadium. The media was invited to watch for the full practice.
Even by spring standards, it was a pretty quick workout. In a little more than an hour on the field, the Jayhawks stretched, worked in their own position groups, did some one-on-one drills on offense and defense, and spent most of the last 30 minutes working on special teams.
But perhaps the most interesting moment came during the last 10 minutes. The Jayhawks’ field-goal unit had worked on reps for a few minutes, and finally, Weis ended the hour by pulling the old “Put the kicker on the field by himself and make him hit a ‘game-winning’ kick” move.
The following video picks up right as junior kicker/punter Ron Doherty attempts the first kick. Spoiler alert: He misses.
If you didn’t watch, yes, that’s Weis going into full-coach mode at about 1:30 in the video — after Doherty makes his second attempt. Here’s the transcript (the sound is a little muffled at times).
Weis: “I can tell you guys aren’t used to winning. (Pause) Hey. Hey, fellas. OK. Winning a football game is not supposed to be an uncommon occurrence. I know that’s a novel concept around here.
“OK. When you win a football game, there’s supposed to be a celebration that looks like a celebration. And that was a pile of crap.
“I believe in practicing everything, including winning. That’s what this is all about.
“This isn’t about you guys jacking around over here.
“This is about, third game of the season, you’re sitting here 2-0. You’re playing TCU, you haven’t won a conference game in about eight years. (bells) … and you hit a field goal to win the game. Act that way!”
It is, of course, worth pointing out that this speech came at the end of the only practice this spring that the media was allowed to watch for more than 20 minutes or so. So there’s that. And in truth, Kansas’ last conference victory actually came against Colorado on Nov. 6, 2010. But Weis has also taken a blunt and honest approach during his first spring. The goal, he said earlier this spring, was to break his players down so he could build them back up. We’ll know more about how this approach has worked in the fall.
Other practice notes: The Jayhawks are working with a relatively thin roster this spring; a major infusion of transfers, juco players and freshmen will arrive this summer. So it’s hard to take too much from an hour of practice at 6 a.m. in the spring.
But a couple things stood out:
– Senior quarterback Dayne Crist is substantially taller than fellow transfer quarterback Jake Heaps, who’ll sit out this year. That’s not groundbreaking — Crist is listed at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, while Heaps is closer to 6-1 and 205. But both former top recruits showed off their arms Thursday, throwing a handful of tight and accurate deep balls during one-on-one drills between receivers and corners.
– Senior receiver D.J. Beshears and sophomore receiver Ricki Herod each made athletic catches on deep balls in the end zone.
– During special-teams drills, seniors Beshears and Daymond Patterson, and sophomore Tony Pierson appeared to be getting the most reps in the return game. Beshears led the league in kick-return yardage last season. (Of course, he also had a lot of opportunities.) Senior defensive back Bradley McDougald also rotated in on some kick returns.