The end of the week marks the time of summer when Kansas football players get a chance to go back home. The summer session ended on Thursday or Friday for the players.
Several players will head back to see family before fall camp starts. Keon Stowers is headed for South Carolina, Schyler Miles to Florida, and James Sims to Texas to get home cooked meals before the first team meeting in August. Those are just a few players that will take advantage of the 11 day break.
The players started lifting and summer conditioning right after spring football ended in April. Last summer was the first time they went through an off-season conditioning with Scott Holsopple.
"This whole summer has been the hardest grind that myself and most of the guys have been through," said linebacker Ben Heeney. "We are out there lifting and conditioning six times a week only one day off is Sunday. I think we are working harder than any team in the Big 12. This summer has been the hardest working summer we've had and help turn the season around."
Players keep arriving through the summer time
In the beginning of the summer Kansas head coach Charlie Weis said players would start arriving in waves. He's been right on the money. Early on players like Marquel Combs, Samson Faifili and Zach Fondal showed up and were able to go through summer workouts.
According to some of the players on Twitter wide receiver Mark Thomas recently reported. After making several calls this week expect more players to continue the trend. For example Hinds Community College holds summer graduation early next. Defensive end Andrew Bolton is currently attending Hinds this summer to complete his course work.
Players will complete their summer hours at different times.
Pearce Slater who recently signed a financial grant aide with Kansas is expected to arrive sometime between August 9-10. Slater told us his final class will be August 8 and then he will head for Lawrence.
"Some of these guys that aren't here yet are already done so they are already set to go you know they haven't been here yet but they are already done," Weis said. "Then we have guys that will be here at the first of August. Then you've got a couple stragglers that will come in after the report date but that's the nature of the beast when you're bringing in that many junior college kids in the same year you are dealing with."
Watch the competition at running back
James Sims led the Big 12 in rushing last year and he will have competition on his hands this fall. Usually the returning leading rusher would have no problem holding on to the top spot. Weis said Sims would start off at number one on the depth chart if the season started today.
Darrian Miller is on campus after transferring from Butler County Community College. Miller and Sims were locked in a tight battle two years ago for the starting job. Then you have Brandon Bourbon and Taylor Cox in the mix. It would be more crowded if Tony Pierson wasn't switched to receiver.
"What Darrian should be anticipating is beating everyone out," Weis said. "He's been there before, right? So if I were him I wouldn't be content being anyone's back up I would be trying to beat them out. For me I'm playing the best guy so right now James Sims is the best guy but James Sims knows the competition which has only toughened up with Tony and Taylor and Brandon Bourbon. But with Darrian the competition has only gotten better."
New jerseys with the helmets
Earlier this month Kansas revealed several new helmet choices. Five different colors to be exact.
After seeing photos from the players the new jerseys from Adidas have arrived. This week the players did a photo shoot for the upcoming season and wore the new tech-fit jerseys.
There doesn't look to be a lot of change with the design and style. But the new jerseys look like compression, tight-fitting ones schools like Texas A&M and UCLA wore last season. Kansas hopes the new look helps in recruiting and keeps the fan base happy.
"One thing you deal with is the fans and the recruits," Weis said. "The other thing you deal with is the tradition. So you have to understand sometimes when you're being innovative with uniform design and helmet design and things like that the traditionalist aren't very happy. So you have to try to find that happy medium that blend where you have enough options because trust me there will be a combination uniform that we put out there that people will complain more about the uniform than the game."
"I don't know what game that will be but mark it down now. That will happen. So I think that's the one thing… I think it's great for recruiting. Recruits love that stuff and at the end of the day it's about wining. So if it gives you an opportunity to get more players because they like that kind of stuff that's what you are suppose to do. But on the flip side of this you don't want the people that have been loyal supporters of Kansas for decades and longer than I've ever known you don't want to get them upset. That's why I say it's a little bit of a double edged sword."