Ready for Sunflower Showdown
Turner Gill remembers these type of games as a former player at Nebraska. He's even been caught up in the action this week getting ready for Kansas State.
"It's The Sunflower Showdown," Gill said. "We're ready for this one. It's one of those things that gets me excited and makes myself want to play. Last week was kind of similar, too. You play in those big ball games and you get excited. As a former player you want to throw on a uniform."
One area that could give the Jayhawks an advantage is playing at home for a rare, second straight year. When the Big 12 changed the schedules when Nebraska and Colorado left some teams had to go back on the road to same place.
"I want to thank our fans," Gill said. "I think they've had great support for us. I hope they continue to wear their blue this next weekend and come on out and support our football team. I think it's going to be a great game for us and I want our fans to continue to support us."
Reynolds had choice, picked Kansas
True freshman Michael Reynolds had several schools recruiting him. Both Kansas and Kansas State offered him a scholarship. In the end it was a two-team battle between the Jayhawks and new Big 12 member TCU. Reynolds said Kansas had the upper hand in his recruiting over the Wildcats.
"I had a better relationship with the coaches that recruited me," Reynolds said. "I just felt more comfortable at Kansas."
Being from Wichita he knows the importance of the game. Reynolds said he has friends that play for Kansas State and others that attend school in Manhattan.
"It means a lot growing up and watching as a kid," he said. "Being recruited by both of these schools its great just getting a chance to get out there and go play."
Reynolds has shown good athletic ability on the kickoff return team. He is usually one of the first players downfield. Last week against Oklahoma he saw more action on defense and will likely see an increased of playing time.
"It's been great to get the experience and get adapted to the speed of the game," Reynolds said. "I've been working real hard to get bigger and stronger to take on those offensive linemen."
Webb says health no issue
In the Georgia Tech game Jordan Webb went off limping on his right knee. Over the last few games there have been signs it may be bothering him. Against Oklahoma he could be seen favoring it. The sophomore quarterback says it is nothing more than normal bruises.
"I'm feeling great," Webb said. "Our medical staff is tops in the country. They are taking care of me every day. It is just little things you get in the middle of the season. It's that time of year and you just have to fix a couple of nicks."
The team studied Kansas State film on Monday. One of the strengths of the Wildcats defense is their front seven. Webb pointed out their last few opponents have been spread offenses that don't focus on running the ball. The Kansas State defense is near the top of the Big 12 rankings, but the plan is to run first.
"They're definitely active but we feel we have a great offensive line and we want to be able to run the ball at them," Webb said. "They haven't played many physical teams in the Big 12 they have been more finesse. So we want to get downhill and run it at them. They are one of the more disciplined teams you will see. They seem to be in the right place at the right times. That comes from being well coached."
More news and notes:
- It might depend on what part of the state you live in, but one of the great topics is whether the Jayhawk's main rival is Missouri or Kansas State. Over the years we have learned when you ask people in the Kansas City area they will lean to Missouri. But if you are from any area west of Kansas City the opinions have more disparity.
"Since I'm a Kansas kid, I know quite a bit about this rivalry, so you could definitely say I've been looking forward to this for quite some time," said wide receiver Kale Pick, who is from Dodge City. "I remember watching it and remembering how competitive the games were. I have an uncle in Manhattan, so I was over there watching K-State games every once in awhile, then I would come to Lawrence and watch some Kansas games. Knowing both sides of the fence, it's a big game."
- There is a lot of focus on struggles the team has encountered in the second half. Some point the finger to strength and conditioning but Shealy says that's not the issue.
"We condition pretty hard," Shealy said. "We run the snot out of them on Sunday. Then we run them hard in the early part of the week. We are also high tempo in practice. Last Thursday in practice our first and second team offense took over 80 snaps on defense. We don't let them loaf during practice. That should get them in shape instead of just always running a few gassers."
- The linebacker spot is starting to thin out with injuries to Huldon Tharp and Jake Farley. Tharp suffered a rib injury and his return this week is questionable. Farley hasn't played since fall camp in August.