Kansas kicked off the season with it's first practice on Wednesday. Coach Turner Gill addressed the media and several players spoke following the workout.
Thoughts, quotes and notes from day one.
quotes courtesy KUAthletics.com
Turner Gill on how much of his system he incorporated during the spring:
"We had anywhere from 70 to 75 percent of the things we wanted to explore. Obviously some of those didn't have a whole lot of reps, but we wanted to get some things at least once or twice on tape. We'll put in about another 25 percent as we go along the rest of this preseason camp and then we will be ready to go on Sept. 4."
Turner Gill On what offense they will run:
"It doesn't matter. We know that (Kale) Pick and (Jordan) Webb are little bit different in terms of style but that's not going to determine anything as far as this or that. If they can be productive as far as in their own style and what they've been blessed with in their talents to do, we'll do that. So we can be a drop back team if we have to do that to be successful. If we have to have someone with a little bit more mobility we can do that, too. Chuck Long (offensive coordinator) and myself, we can do anything we want to do as far as offense as it pertains to our talent that we have."
- Based on this and Chuck Long's comments reported elsewhere, it might be assumed that the additional 25% will be dictated by who wins the battle at QB. Long pointed to the fact that depending on whether it is Pick or Webb will help determine if the team is more read option heavy or pass oriented.
Turner Gill On the depth of the offensive line:
"I think the depth is a little bit tough at this point in time. As far as we lost (Jeff) Spikes for the whole season and (Brad) Thorson is a little bit banged up, but he's going to be fine and ready to go. It just gives guys more reps. So from that stand point we are able to get guys a little bit better reps and see what they can do. Down the road it probably will help us in the long term."
- A good followup to the question posed last week into the level of concern on the line. Gill clearly knows that the depth isn't great. From what I'm hearing Gavin Howard, Riley Spencer and Chad Kolumber can all expect to see reps at tackle until the staff feels more comfortable about the situation up front.
Senior Linebacker Justin Springer
On how his health is right now:
"Right now I am in good health. I have no injuries. Hopefully that stays the same throughout the whole season. I feel good, my body weight is good, so I should play good."
On the linebacker's goals this season:
"To be the best in the Big 12. That's our first goal, to be the best linebacker group in the Big 12."
On if its possible to become the best linebacker group in the Big 12:
"It is very possible. We have everybody coming back that played last season. Drew (Dudley) is really good, (Huldon) Tharp is really good and so is Steven Johnson. Chea Peterman, a guy that not many people have heard about, is playing really good right now so I think we have a good chance."
- I'm excited to see Justin Springer back in a place where he feels confident. Two years ago Springer was viewed as the next leader at linebacker and a player that brought size to the middle linebacker spot where Joe Mortensen had not. This seems like a player that has the chance to help Kansas exceed expectations at linebacker. As far as the goal to be the best in the Big 12, it's good to have goals, but that road may be getting a little bumpier very soon.
Senior Running Back Angus Quigley
On the first practice with the new staff:
"I think the attitude of the team is different. There's more of a want to do things, more people are motivated. We've been having a lot of fun. There has been a lot of things that (Coach Turner Gill) has done that made the team happy and I think that's important for team bonding and for us as players. It can turn into a job and just be work. You have to know how to mix it up to be fun and work and I think (the new staff) has done a good job with that."
On playing without past players:
"I came in with Kerry (Meier) and Todd (Reesing). I came in with Kerry when we were working out over at the grass fields and doing those types of things so it's different. It's real different for me but I've grown closer to other teammates that are fourth and fifth-year guys on the team."
On watching the freshmen in practice:
"I can tell it's a world apart. Their minds are going 1,000 miles an hour. For me, I look, I get my signal and in the meeting room I polish up on things. But they're trying to learn. At this level, it's hard for a running back to just come in and get the signals and the pace of the game. Everything is faster. It's easier for me because I'm so far ahead of them in what I know, but I know they'll catch their stride."
- What strikes me about Quigley is he is a player who has never been able to put all the pieces together and this is an opportunity and a fresh start that comes once in a lifetime. He comes across as a mature player that's been there before. If he can manage to take the positive attitude along with his experience and put the pieces in place it could become a great story regardless of how the season ultimately turns out. Sometimes it's tough to remember that these are amateur athletes and in Quigley's case, we're talking year six of a tremendous amount of sacrifice.
Kale Pick On the team's depth at wide receiver this season:
"I think we have great depth and a lot of athletic ability (at receiver). John Wilson had a great day today. Christian Matthews has a lot of ability, which is just kind of raw right now. He's going to be a great one down the line. Bradley McDougald had a good day today, and we're good at the tight end spot; Tim Biere had a great spring and we're expecting big things from him this year."
- It's one day, but Pick does mention Christian Matthews who we just discussed here at RCT a few days ago. And I think his thoughts on Tim Biere are just another in a long list of those expecting a great year from the tight end.