Spring football kicks off at Kansas

With the memory of a disappointing 2010 season fading more quickly by the day, the Kansas Jayhawks took to the field Friday for their first practice of the new year. Afterward, Head Coach Turner Gill met with the media and gave his thoughts on an energetic start to 2011.

Head Coach Turner Gill

* It's good to have the team out and practicing again. He loved the energy today. They've changed the format a bit to give everyone more reps, and he thought everyone responded enthusiastically. Team is in pretty good shape, and the strength staff did a good job.

* As to position changes, they sat down as a staff and realized they knew a lot more about their personnel after a year with them. They're trying to find guys at certain positions and build depth at others. Bottom line, they want guys who can make plays for them.

* The goal this spring is to build depth at key positions, become more efficient and work on execution. They split up the staff a little bit to where they have two team groups working at once. Also trying to get more speed on the field, whether it's on offense, defense or special teams.

* They're definitely a young team, just 14 seniors on the roster. But they did have a lot of guys who played last year, and they've also got a bunch of guys who redshirted who he thinks will really benefit. They're bigger, faster and stronger and will be ready to play at a high level. He knows they'll be an improved football team this year.

* The year of familiarity has been big in a lot of ways. It helps the guys be able to anticipate what the coaches want and expect of them. The coaches have a better feel for where they're at and where they need to improve.

* Hard to really tell who the leaders are after one day of practice. After you get one or two scrimmages in, then you can see how guys will rise to the top. If he had to single out a leader, Tim Biere would be one guy who stood out on Day One.

* Quarterback is a position in question. They're going to evaluate each and every day. If need be they'll continue to evaluate going into the fall. There will be an opportunity for Brock Berglund to compete for the job in the summer.

* All positions are open. They don't want anybody to get complacent. They want competition. They'll take into consideration what you did last year, but it doesn't mean your place is etched in stone.

* One of the biggest differences in Jordan Webb and Quinn Mecham is the time they've put in in the weight room in the off-season. They're both bigger and stronger, which will help them in a number of ways.

* As to the strength and conditioning program, they sat down and talked about things. He wanted to make sure everything they did with the players was geared toward promoting explosive movement, getting stronger and also building mental toughness. They did a lot more running than they did the previous year as well. They just needed athletes who were better conditioned, in better shape and mentally tough. Mental toughness and explosiveness were the two things they really stressed, and he feels like they did that.

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