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August 3, 2012

Thoughts on Friday practice

The Jayhawks went through their second practice of fall camp. After getting a chance to watch the beginning of practice here are some thoughts and things to watch:

- Let's get started with what Charlie Weis called the million dollar question. The junior college transfers. Both Jon Shelby and Aslam Sterling went through drills. Sterling is the one I focused on the most.

There were a couple times when Tim Grunhard had to step in and correct him. And that is absolutely normal for a player who has been on campus for two days. Weis said Sterling could be "a cheeseburger shy of 400 pounds." He said that before Sterling arrived on campus.

Weis may not be too far off. The thing is he can move around pretty well for a big kid. What Sterling has going for him is his size. Many people always want to talk about footwork and quickness with a lineman. However, size is something you can't teach.

Several years ago Kansas was in the running for Phil Loadholt, a lineman from Garden City Community College. He ended up at Oklahoma and was a third round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings. People always questioned whether Loadholt could be a starter at Oklahoma and then the NFL.

A really good offensive coach told me once about Loadholt…. "When you are that big it is tough to get around you. Even if you don't have the best footwork you can slow a defender down with that size."

I have stood next to Loadholt. He might qualify easily as one of the biggest people I have ever seen. Sterling now fits in that category. Loadholt might have a couple inches on him but Sterling may have the body width.

I had a chance to talk with Riley Spencer today and he is not going to back down from the starting right tackle spot. It should be a good battle.


- Staying on the junior college subject my money says Jordan Tavai and Ty McKinney have a good competition on their hands when they arrive. John Williams looks physically like the legit Big 12 defensive tackles look like. I don't see Williams surrendering his spot without a fight.

He's already played against Big 12 competition. He's in great shape. The talk every summer is about all the new players that will arrive and take over starting jobs. Don't bet against Williams right now. Another great match-up is Keba Agostinho and Keon Stowers. Both look good physically and showed good athleticism going through drills.


-Three players that caught my attention that have changed their bodies the most are Williams, Pat Lewandowski, and Kevin Young. Several times in footwork drills Young got props from defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt. Lewandowski looked like someone else in a different body. He told me he's eating everything he can. He's put on 15 pounds and it isn't fat.

You can notice the difference in body shape with the offensive and defensive linemen the most. Weis said you may not recognize some of them and it is easy to see what he meant.


- Kansas fans should keep an eye on Peter Gallo who wears #99. Gallo hasn't been talked about much but he looked decent going through drills for a big man. He is a preferred walk on from Blue Valley North and was selected to play in the KC Coaches All-Star Game and the Shrine Bowl. He goes about 6-foot-2, 290 pounds. He was a first team EKL selection on the offensive line. He has moved to defensive tackle for fall camp.


- Josh Williams said he wanted to be a leader before he arrived in Lawrence. The transfer from Nebraska has been mentioned as someone by the player's who showed good leadership this summer in workouts. During Friday's practice he was always in the first group to start drills.


- It was interesting watching Dayne Crist and Turner Baty line up next to each other and go through drills. Crist has an NFL frame and arm. The both mirrored each other and threw the same direction. Baty's throws were right on line with Crist. Now remember these are drills. But the players take a drop and then throw to an equal distance.

Don't get me wrong here, Crist is the man. He's the starter. But Baty isn't a practice dummy. He led the CCSF to a national title and put up big yards. He throws a nice ball. The quarterback position is in good shape for the future. Oh, did I mention how the ball explodes out of Jake Heaps hand?

During the quarterback drills current Kansas commit Jordan Darling looked on.



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