Jayhawks Conduct Second Spring Practice

By: KU, posted by Kinch O'Kelley
By: KU, posted by Kinch O'Kelley

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas football team took to the practice fields for the second of 15 spring practice sessions Thursday afternoon. The Jayhawks worked out for nearly two and a half hours, and worked on individual drills as well as implementing new offensive and defensive schemes.

Following the late afternoon practice session, requested offensive staff members and players met with the media:

Kansas offensive line coach Tim Grunhard

On the changes that are taking place this year:

“I think it is a different atmosphere this year as opposed to last year. Nothing against the last regime, but there is a lot more emphasis on discipline and there is a lot more emphasis on doing the right thing. The guys are working really hard and that is the first step. You can get the guys to buy in and do the right thing. Right now we are working really hard and trying to find who we can trust and who we can’t trust.”

On if he is seeing good progress so far:

“The three seniors (Tanner Hawkinson, Duane Zlatnik and Trevor Marrongelli) are as good as it gets. All three of them are very good football players, good people and they are smart. The one thing I was really impressed with when I got here was how smart these guys are. They can make adjustments and do different things. Some of the questions that they asked are really advanced and we are really happy with that. We ran an over defense, we ran an odd defense and we were doing all of these different things and they didn’t even blink an eye, they did a great job of being able to adapt. I was really proud of the way they have been working. We will see what happens when they get pads on.”

On how much of his coaching style is different since he came to KU:

“Obviously Coach Weis has set the tone, and we told the guys that the minute we don’t talk to you anymore is the minute that we don’t care about you. Some of these guys who are fifth-year seniors were around when (KU was) winning a lot of football games. If they can’t handle a little bit of pressure by the coaches, then what are they going to do when we are playing Oklahoma in Oklahoma? If you put a little pressure on them now, you can see how they react. Some guys react better to hard coaching and some guys don’t. The reality is that we are not going to change. Either they are going to adapt and get better at it, or they are going to have to find a way to take the criticism. It’s not personal at all, we care about them and we want to make sure that they can play the best that they possibly can.”

On if the offense is progressing faster than the defense:

“I would think that is a fair statement. The first two days, (Dayne Crist) has been as cool of a character as I have seen in a while. I have been with a lot of great quarterbacks, and Dayne has some of the same tendencies and traits. He is cool, he is calm in the pocket and he is a leader. I tell the offensive line that if they keep him healthy, then we will win a lot of football games, and I think they are taking a lot of pride in that.”

Senior offensive lineman Trevor Marrongelli

On the zone blocking schemes:

“It is the same offense pretty much anywhere you go, and (Coach Weis) likes to do a lot of outside zone stuff. It is pretty well balanced and I like it.”

On the offensive playbook:

“I feel like the way we are installing things is coming out pretty easily. We are going against certain defenses on certain days and we are putting in certain plays to go against those defenses. The coaches are giving it to us where it is not too hard to install and we are learning it pretty well.”

On if he has noticed Coach Weis using the same offense from the other places he has been:

“That is exactly what he has been doing, and I think it is working perfectly. We start out basic and then each day we are adding a little more. We can go back to stuff we have already learned and we will review it again. It is working out really well; we are doing basic inside and outside zones and then we are taking it a step further each time.”

Senior offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson

On the types of offense the team is running:

“The plays we’ve put in so far, like outside zone, and we have another one called basic outside zone is a play we’ve put it as well. We haven’t put in a ton of stuff quite yet but for the most part that’s what we’ve been doing.”

On if there was a different focus in the winter conditioning:

“It went real smooth and it was really structured; they had a plan for every workout and we obviously followed that plan. They held us really accountable; if guys were missing or guys were late, they had it coming and had some type of punishment that went along with it. For the most part though, it was really structured and ran really smooth.”

On what offensive line coach Tim Grunhard is doing different to enforce the first two days:

“He’s just been emphasizing technique a lot and whatnot; he told us he would be coaching us like he liked to be coached when he was a player and obviously he had a pretty successful career. He just emphasizes on the technique these last couple of days, having us do some footwork drills and make sure we’re taking the right steps.”

Senior offensive lineman Duane Zlatnik

On how nice it is to be on the same side as Tanner Hawkinson on the line:

“It’s really nice because we’ve played by each other for a couple of years now, so we know each other and know what the other one is going to do. There’s not a learning curve there where you have to get to know the person beside you; we know each other pretty well and I guess we don’t really have to talk much, we can just go.”

On coach Tim Grunhard:

“He’s a really enthusiastic guy; he gets us motivated to go practice hard and finish hard every day.”

On if Grunhard is easy to look up to knowing that he’s been successful:

“Definitely; he played in the NFL for 11 years so he definitely knows what’s going on and he knows the techniques we need to know to be successful.”

On how nice it is to have a quarterback who already knows the system:

“It’s really nice. You know Dayne (Crist) knows the offense; he’s a great player so him coming in here just helps everybody. He knows who to ID and knows where the ball is going to go so that helps everybody out because we don’t have to learn all of that; he knows what he’s doing.”


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