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November 21, 2013

Notebook: Martin settling into starting role

Offensive guard Damon Martin has started the last two games on the offensive line. He has shown signs during his sophomore season he's ready to handle the starting job.

"I think he's turned the corner," said Kansas head coach Charlie Weis. "I said to people recently that have asked, it was never a question of whether he had ability because he's one of the strongest guys we have. His question was consistency because there were a lot of times he'd look really good and a lot of times he'd look really bad. But, as this year has gone on, he's eased into it."

Martin got his first start as a freshman last year against Texas. It appears he is settling into the starting role and could provide to be a solid part of the line in the next two years.

"It was nice having my first start last year and working in late this year to the starting lineup," Martin said. "It is good because I feel like we have all bonded pretty well as a team and an offensive line. It is nice to be able to get some more time in there with those guys."

Kansas strength and conditioning coach Scott Holsopple met with the media on Tuesday. When asked who the strongest player on the team was he wouldn't single out one player.

But Martin would certainly be on that list. Martin credits Holsopple with getting him where he is now.

"He is one of the best strength coaches out there," Martin said. "I can't imagine anyone being that is much better than him. The whole team has increased dramatically since he has been here. I like him, he is a good coach, and he wants is all to get better. It is nice to have them here."

The recent change up front has Martin starting at left guard and Ngalu Fusimalohi on the left side.

Martin has been listed on the depth chart at both sides.

"Before I was starting I was working at both right guard and left guard," Martin said. "So starting at one and still working at the other is not too hard. I have been doing it for a while now so if something happens to the other guard it is nice to know that we can work it out where someone will fit in there perfectly."


Energy level up for practice

The Jayhawks snapped a big streak against West Virginia finally getting a win against a conference opponent.

Those are things that can help build confidence from a team trying to rebuild. Running back James Sims said he can tell a difference with the team and now they want to get a win on the road.

"Now that the streak is over with and we won a Big 12 game we're moving forward," Sims said. "You can see all of the positive energy around and everyone is excited and ready to get another win. You can see it out in practice everyone is ready to go. It was that way before but there is something different now."


Ready for a cold one in Ames

The most recent forecast calls for a high of 22 degrees in Ames on Saturday. The low is supposed to be in the single digits during the evening.

Weis said the cold weather won't change the game plan, but the wind can.

""Wind affects game plans a lot more than cold," Weis said. "Cold doesn't usually change a game plan dramatically. Rain doesn't change a game plan dramatically and snow doesn't change game plan dramatically unless there's a lot accumulating on the field. Wind changes a game plan dramatically."


Other news and notes

- Saturday's game will feature two of the top tacklers in the Big 12 between Jeremiah George of Iowa State and Ben Heeney. George leads the conference in tackles per game and Heeney is third.

- The football team placed 19 players on the Big 12 All-Academic team. They were tied with Oklahoma for the most in the conference.


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