Early Practice Notes

The Kansas Jayhawks took part in a practice only open to media members Tuesday morning. The full-padded practice is the first of three open practices this fall, with media members invited to another media-only session on Aug. 19, and fans able to attend Fan Appreciation Day.

None of the coaches were available immediately following the practice, as today is KU Media Day, and they'll be available later today. We'll have more on that up later today and through this week.

Until then, here are some quick practice notes:

* This year, perhaps more than in any other year, it was difficult to discern a clear depth chart. The reason for this is that the Jayhawks have a number of players who substitute in on a situational basis, or a number of players who rotate through the various positions. A guy like Travis Stephens seemed to see the fewest snaps out of the six defensive tackles the Jayhawks played, though he did get a few reps with the ones.

* Two of the most impressive players on the day were middle linebacker Drew Dudley and cornerback Anthony Davis, both of whom are working with the first team. Davis showed great versatility, at one point making a diving swat to keep the ball away from Dezmon Briscoe and at another moment dropping Tim Biere with a great tackle. It's easy to see why the coaches are so high on the 6-foot 192-pound sophomore. At the same time, Drew Dudley was also greatly effective, showing fantastic athleticism from the middle linebacker position. In pass-coverage drills, he was able to shadow quick scatback Rell Lewis, and in the scrimmage, he sacked quarterback Todd Reesing on one of the early plays.

* Linebacker is one of those spots where you see a lot of guys rotate through. The starting three right now consists of Dudley at middle linebacker and flanked by Arist Wright and Angus Quigley on the outside. Quigley and Dudley stayed on the field when KU went to a 4-2-5, with Quigley showing talent as a blitzer out of that set. On three of the first four or five early plays, Quigley blitzed, and on two of them, he came away with a sack. The second-team linebacking unit right now is Steven Johnson in the middle with freshman Huldon Tharp and Justin Springer on the outside. Tharp and Johnson played in the nickel set. Jake Schermer also rotated through.

* Chris Dawson's work was pretty evident with the players walking around. Hawkinson appeared to be between 285-290 pounds, while new offensive tackle Darius Parish (who replaced Lueken as the second-team right tackle) is visibly slimmer and is listed at 314 pounds. John Williams is also quite a bit lighter and is listed at 309 pounds.

* The starting front four on the defensive line appeared to be a mixture of Caleb Blakesley and Duane Zlatnik at one tackle spot and Richard Johnson Jr. at the other spot, with Jeff Wheeler and Jake Laptad on the ends. Wheeler held up well against the run, though backup defensive ends Quintin Woods appeared to supply an excellent pass rush.

* Dez Briscoe and Tertavian Ingram rotated at one receiver spot, while the other three spots went to the guys who had them coming out of the spring, John Wilson, Kerry Meier and A.J. Steward. The second team consisted of Bradley McDougald in the slot, with Isiah Barfield, Erick McGriff, Chris Omigie, Reece Petty and Willie O'Quinn rotating through.

* Meier also received extensive snaps at quarterback. Kale Pick did as well, with Jordan Webb then taking up most of the remaining ones. All of them were effective, and Christian Matthews did make a couple nice throws in limited snaps. He's awfully quick as well.

* Those wanting to see a bright future saw a great play in the scrimmage. McDougald beat Ryan Murphy on a post route and Webb laid up a perfect deep ball for a touchdown, getting McDougald an attaboy from Mangino. McDougald made several other plays, including one pass where he skied over a defensive back and came down with a tough catch.

* Other newcomers to see time included Calvin Rubles on the second team and Prinze Kande, Dexter Linton and Tyler Patmon, who are on the third tier of the defensive backs. Toben Opurum seemed to be fourth in line at running back behind Rell Lewis and Daniel Porter, but he received several carries and looks like he'll play a big role on special teams.

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