Kansas used its bye week to work on both fundamentals and also to start early game preparation against Kansas State. Veteran players who have been used to vigorous bye week practices under previous coach Mark Mangino were pleased that they had time to rest and recover from nagging injuries.
"I was surprised by how much time off we had," senior wide receiver Jon Wilson said. "Back in the day it was just all practice and full pads everyday but Coach Gill gave us some more rest and I think we needed that."
Preparing for Kansas State
Cornerback Chris Harris noticed the different look last year that Kansas State had under Bill Snyder compared with previous coach Ron Prince.
"Their identity now is to be a physical team and pound the ball," Harris said. "They did a lot of stuff before and well, they didn't really have an identity."
Defensive coordinator Carl Torbush said the Kansas defense is preparing for the unexpected this week when it goes up against the Kansas State offense.
"They will give you a great deal of different formations and personnel groupings to try to keep you off balance," Torbush said. "You wouldn't think they run a lot of trick plays but every week there will be one or two things that you probably hadn't seen. You have to be prepared that your scheme will take care of what you are going to do."
Willis turning heads
Every week Jayhawk Slant looks at a different player on the scout team. This week's player is linebacker Darius Willis, who may be the most talked about player on the team who isn't playing.
Willis followed Gill from Buffalo to Kansas during the offseason and is sitting out this season due to transfer rules. He will have three seasons of eligibility.
Willis started two games for Buffalo last year before suffering a season ending injury in the fourth game. He recorded 10 tackles with 2.5 for loss.
Cornerback Isiah Barfield is excited from what he has seen from Willis so far.
"That kid can play," Barfield said. "I am so glad that I have one more year left and have the opportunity to play with him next year because he is going to knock some heads. He can really play football."
Barfield thinks Willis could already be one of the better linebackers in the Big 12.
"Trust me, he can make an impact on anyone's team," Barfield said. "That is a true indicator of how good I think he is. He is a real physical guy who tackles extremely well. He has also got really good character. You never hear of him of missing classes or tutoring."
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