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August 4, 2010

KU Football: Back to work

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As Kansas began training camp on Wednesday, the same storylines that surrounded the team during the spring were still present. The battle for the starting quarterback job is still in the air.

The offense is still adjusting to a more balanced attack. And players are still learning that bad plays don't end with obscenities from the coaching staff.

But before we jump too far ahead, lets take a quick look back at the first summer under Turner Gill at Kansas.

"Things had definitely changed," running back Angus Quigley said.

Under previous strength coach Chris Dawson, the summers had a heavy emphasis on running and cardiovascular activities. Players say that while they still did their fair share of running this summer, new strength coach John Williams has them focusing on different workouts.

"We put a lot more effort into the weight room," Quigley said. "Last year we were one of the smallest teams in the Big 12 so we focused more on strength and a lot of guys were really lacking in that area."

The extra weight and strength will especially pay off on the offensive line, where Kansas hopes to implement more of a running attack to compliment the passing game than they have in the past. Of course, the always relevant question when talking about the run game: who is going to be the starting running back?

Quigley left spring practices at the top of the depth chart and should be pushed by a healthier Toben Opurum. The two freshmen - James Sims and Brandon Bourbon - should move their way up the depth chart in time, but right now they are still trying to wrap their heads around the playbook.

"Their heads are going about 1,000 miles per hour right now," Quigley said. "They don't really know what college football is all about yet."

For the two quarterbacks, Kale Pick and Jordan Webb will likely have to compete until the end of camp before they know who the starter is going to be.

During the spring practices, Webb surprised coaches with his arm strength and his ability to play under center, while Pick finished with a strong performance in the spring game.

"We obviously both want to know but I think the competition will pay off in the long run," Webb said.

On the defensive side of the ball, defensive coordinator Carl Torbush noted that depth was going to be an issue at certain spots - mainly defensive line and linebacker. Although a few bright spots emerged over the summer.

"Greg Brown has changed his urgency and his work ethic," Quigley said. "Quintin Woods has also really changed his habits in the weight room."

Of course, the real test will come in the ensuing weeks when the August practices grow more intense. Right now though, players are still enjoying the more inspirational coaching style of the new regime.

Webb said Wednesday's practice was a little more positive than the first practice last year.

"Players just have a little more confidence now than in the past."


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