As Clint Bowen assumes command of the Kansas football program, he’s wasted no time putting his stamp on things. Starting with the first practices this week, Bowen’s Jayhawks are working like some teams of the past.
His energy is everywhere to be seen and is infectious and there’s considerable time now spent on player development and teaching. Instead of straggling out onto the field, players now congregate near the bronze Jayhawk statue near the entrance to their practice facility before running out onto the field led by Bowen.
“There are many ways to do things in the football business and not one is right and not one is wrong. Our style, yes our style will be different. We have a philosophy of where we believe that these are college kids that need developed on a daily basis,” Bowen said.
“The practices need to be structured so that they’re developed. In the past, the people I’ve been around, we always talk about the whole method where you’re going to do a drill that’s going to focus on your run fits and kids will focus on run fits. Next, you’re going to do a 7-on-7 that focuses on their pass drops, then you’ll do a drill that allows them to focus on their blitzes and pressures and then you’ll put it all together in a team format. So yes, we will do things in a way that I feel comfortable, that we as coaches have talked and feel comfortable about it to work on giving these kids a chance to develop their fundamentals and to work on the things that will make them successful on game day.”
There’s also been time spent reminding the players of those that came before them and what they mean to Kansas football. Wednesday presented such an opportunity, as former quarterback David Jaynes returned and spoke to the player about what it means to be a Jayhawk. Bowen pointed to his name on the program’s Ring of Honor to get the players attention.
“In our way, we’re going to invigorate the KU family again,” Bowen said earlier this week. “Former players, anyone that hears this, we want them back. They are welcome at our practices, they’re welcome in this facility. We want to see those people. The people that helped KU become what KU is as such a great place, we appreciate that and we want to show that we appreciate it and things are going to be open for those people. The former players mean everything to us and the people that have paved the way.”
As, Kansas prepares for Saturday’s game at West Virginia, the change in pace has been quick and it’s been a lot for the players to digest, as they ready themselves for the first game of the Bowen era. But, the hope is that the new design of the game week routine will help aid that process and speed it up as well.
The change will help, as they will face a Mountaineers team that is both fast and physical and looking for payback for last season’s 31-19 loss in Lawrence. Still, with all the change, there’s Bowen, who has seen it done at Kansas time and again and has immediately put his stamp on the direction of the program, knowing he has the right formula for Jayhawk success, starting with the preparation.
“Our practices, they'll be quick, they'll be efficient,” Bowen said. “They'll be physical when they need to be physical, but we'll be intelligent with how we handle those guys and how much -- it is week four into the season, but we're going to practice at a very high tempo with enthusiasm, get them in, get them out.”