Thursday Football Notebook

On Saturday the offensive line played their strongest game of the year. They peaked in the secod half after Michael Cummings came in to the game. So what did the offensive line do differently this game?
To start, Kansas began running its base hurry up package in the fourth quarter soon after Cummings got in the game. Center Trevor Marrongelli said that package by design works well against a defense line like Oklahoma State's that uses lots of twisting and movement.
It's also package that Kansas worked on heavily during the spring and one that quarterback Michael Cummings and the rest of the offense knows better than most. The MIKE id calls are easier and Kansas used a lot of hurry up which kept Oklahoma State off balance.
"I felt like we went back to the basics in regard to our run game," center Trevor Marrongelli said. "I was talking to Tanner and a couple of other guys after the game and everyone felt comfortable. We were running our basic red ball package. Everyone just felt really comfortable running the plays and everyone knew what to do."
Another reason for their success is the continued improvement of the right side of the offensive line. Offensive line coach Tim Grunhard said the two players who have made the biggest progress are Randall Dent and Aslam Sterling.
Players have said the communication overall has gotten a lot better. An example of this when a sam linebacker is creeping up to the line of scrimmage, Sterling and Dent are reading the play correctly and communicating with the rest of the line so they know how to adjust. Sterling is also doing a better job of finishing plays stronger, especially on plays where he has to hold his block to create a cut back lane for the running back.
"Everytime they play together they get better" Grunhard said. "Those two are making some tremendous strides. By the time it is all said and done they are going to be the anchor of this line and you guys will be able to reflect back and see this thing building."
In season Conditioning
Since we are at the midway point of the season, we asked the players how conditioning during the season this year has differed from the previous years. On Sundays the players do more running and sprints this year to loosen up their bodies.
The biggest difference though is the players practice in half pads during the middle of the week compared to full pads last year. Players said wearing shorts and shells allows them to recover a little more during the week. Players said while the practices are still full speed, there is less emphasis on physicality and more on being mentally assignment sound and fully grasping the gameplan.
"It's not so much based on running up and smashing someone but making sure you have all your reads correct,' Huldon Tharp said. "You can definitely notice a difference."