Practice Notes: Aug. 8

Battling temperatures more commonly found in a boiler room or Native American sweat lodge, the Kansas Jayhawks took to the field Wednesday afternoon as fall training camp marches on. Allowed access to the first 20 minutes, today Phog.net focused on the linebackers.

* First-year linebacker coach DeMontie Cross does a ton of hands-on coaching, just like every other coach we've seen thus far. He's constantly correcting, praising and teaching. He's a young guy, a former All Big-8 and All Big-12 free safety at The School Which Shall Not Be Named, and the players seem to be responding to him well.

* The first unit through drills read as the depth chart indicated - Huldon Tharp at WILL, Anthony McDonald at MIKE and Tunde Bakare at SAM. The second unit consisted of Schyler Miles at MIKE, Ben Heeney at WILL and Prinz Kande at SAM.

* If there are any lingering effects of injuries to Huldon Tharp (missed two games last season) or Tunde Bakare (bumps and bruises kept him from practicing through stretches of 2011) they weren't showing it. Both moved very quickly and have earned praise from Cross.

* Schyler Miles is extremely physically impressive, particularly for a freshman. Anthony McDonald is, as Charlie Weis would say, a rocked up dude at 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds, and Miles gives up just seven pounds to him while sharing his height. He's feisty, too, as during drills he tried to jump in with the first group before Cross switched him out for McDonald. He's going to play.

* Dallas native Courtney Arnick's film was so tantalizing out of high school with his speed and quickness, but his slender frame is a stark contrast in this linebacker group. He weighs just 195 pounds now, and while it's not as if anything is set and stone (Weis will make that call, obviously) he looks like a redshirt candidate. When he adds another 10-15 pounds though, watch out. He looks as if he were made to play the SAM spot with what Campo and Cross have in mind for the position at Kansas.

* As usual, the drill work was more up-tempo than what we've seen in the past. Cross put them through a standard bag drill - using quick feet and high knees to move through a series of bags placed at regular interviews - with a twist. He'd fire footballs at them for interception practice in no set pattern, so each player had to go through with their head high and on the lookout for a pass.

* The S&C program has done its work here, too. Tharp is weighing a rock-solid 227, Heeney is at 225, Bakare heavily muscled despite weighing just 205 - the list goes on.

* It's unclear how much, exactly, the SAM is going to play yet. Obviously they're practicing in a three-backer personnel grouping, which would put Toben Opurum or Michael Reynolds - the rush backers - on the line of scrimmage as DEs.

Opurum and Reynolds spend the bulk of their practice with defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt from the look of things, but Cross said in situations where they believe a team will load up and try to run against them either one of those two will shift back to the SAM to give them a bigger, more physical presence on the field.


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