Big 12 Media Days - Final News and Notes

Big 12 Media Days have officially come to a close, and was on-hand in Dallas at the Westin Galleria for all the action. The Kansas Jayhawks were at the microphone today, and we've got a few final impressions before we hit the road.

* Let's start with a few more position changes. In June, Weis said that two defensive tackles would be making the jump to the offensive side of the ball. He revealed one - Pat Lewandowski - but said the media would have to wait for the identity of the other. Turns out it is defensive tackle Randall Dent, who has been moved to guard.

Additionally, freshman Tevin Shaw, recruited late from Piscataway, N.J., has been moved to safety from running back. Shaw was an all-state performer on both offense and defense, so it's hard to go wrong.

* This is something that gets said every year to different degrees, but it needs to be said again - the attitude around the team is vastly different. Every single player in attendance - Toben Opurum, Dayne Crist and Tanner Hawkinson - mentioned it. When pressed to elaborate, they said it started with Scott Holsopple and the strength and conditioning programming, which from the sound of things has been absolutely brutal. We'll see first hand if the fruits of their off-season labor have been as dramatic as some of the players have indicated when camp opens next week.

* Charlie Weis is, for the most part, a very direct individual. Ask a question, get an answer. Simple. If he doesn't want to answer he won't. So when asked today why he believed he could turn Kansas around, his answer followed suit - because Kansas State and Missouri have done it. There's no reason, in his mind, Kansas shouldn't be able to do the same.

* Dayne Crist's journey from signee to captain in just a couple of months is one of the more intriguing story lines of this year's team. With such a high profile name coming in, it would have been easy for him to make a splash - in the wrong way. Instead, he quietly assumed a leadership role and earned his teammates' respect.

Opurum said there wasn't anything vocal about the way he went about things. He just put his head down and worked hard, and his teammates followed his example, much as they do with Opurum and Hawkinson, the other captains.

* Newcomers who have made an impression on Opurum thus far include Keon Stowers and Josh Williams. Stowers, a D-Tackle, earned praise for his quickness and size, while Williams' experience and veteran presence has been invaluable.

* Understandably, neither Opurum nor Hawkinson wanted to elaborate on the differences between this staff and the previous one when asked. Crist opened up a little bit more, saying it's like night and day from the stories he's heard, but after that he declined to go into deeper detail as well - beyond saying that discipline and accountability appeared to be the two biggest factors which had changed.

* The team understands why it is picked last in the Big 12. Weis sees it as a psychological advantage. So brutal is the league that he knows opponents will look at the Kansas game as essentially a week off. They can use that. The goal, of course, is to become one of those teams on the other side of the equation. But for now they use what they can get.

* Two JUCO prospects have yet to arrive - presumably Ty McKinney and Jordan Tavai. They could arrive as late as Aug. 9, if their JUCO classes don't get over in time. Weis said they won't be penalized for something out of their control, and both are going to play. He even mentioned the possibility of one earning a spot in the starting lineup.

* For Dave Campo, defensive coordinator, fall camp is going to resemble spring football to a degree because there are so many new faces.

Many more features and news to come in the days ahead! Top Stories