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October 27, 2011
Players say they need to step up
Ready for Texas trip
As the week of practice started to come to an end Kansas coach Turner Gill said his players were ready for their trip to Austin. There are several players who make their home in Texas so they will be playing in front of family and friends. Gill liked the energy he saw in practice.
"They're all upbeat and they're ready to go out there and perform," Gill said. "They're ready to go out and play. That's what you want is for our guys to continue to go out there and practice hard and continue to visualize what they can do. Now it's a matter of taking it from the practice field and putting it out on the game field on a more consistent basis."
Toben Opurum grew up in Richardson and graduated from Plano East. He said he has a lot of family and friends that will be at the game. He also knows several players on the Texas team. One of them is running back Fozzy Whitaker.
"We talked a lot last summer when we went to a Big 12 leadership retreat," Opurum said of Whitaker. "We got pretty close. I know a few players well on their team. It will be a lot of fun. I have a lot of family and friends coming back. I know a lot of people from my high school that go to school at Texas that will be there.
"They have a big stadium and a ton of fans it will make us want to play. Hopefully we can play well and keep the crowd out of it. The best sound on a road game is the silence of a crowd."
Opurum was a teammate of Texas linebacker Keenan Robinson in high school. He also played against Jackson Jeffcoat who went to rival Plano West.
Players have to step up also
The players admit they have seen shots the Kansas coaching staff has taken in recent weeks after subpar performances. Some of the recent talk has centered around comments that practice wasn't as intense late in the week before the Kansas State game.
Starting cornerback Greg Brown said the blame shouldn't be placed solely on the coaches.
"It is up to coaches to keep us revved up but they're not the ones on the field," Brown said. "They set forth what we have to do but we are the ones that have to go out and execute. The coaches have a point of emphasis on how practice will go but a lot is on the players to get the job done."
Opurum agreed with Brown that both coaches and players have to work together and keep focused. Opurum said Gill has gone out of his way to try and keep everyone into practice.
"Coach Gill actually brought us together at the end of practice on Thursday and said nobody knows but you if you are giving your hardest," Opurum said. "Some of us have been athletes all of our life and we know if we gave our best. It's something the coaches can stress more, but really it is on yourself. As a player you have to play each rep like it is your last one."
First Big 12 game on the Longhorn Network
This will be the first Big 12 game shown on the Longhorn Network but Kansas fans won't know the difference. The broadcast will have a Jayhawk feel to it with Gary Bender and Rich Baldinger. It will be shown throughout the state of Kansas.
Big 12 teams make a little over $400,000 for an ABC appearance. The Jayhawks are expected to take home a check very similar to an ABC broadcast.
This was a smart move by the Kansas athletic department. Not only will Kansas pad the pocket book but the game likely would not have been chosen for television. With other good match-ups this weekend it locked up the fact Kansas fans can watch the game.
Who would have thought there may be more people watching this game on TV in Kansas than Texas? With the Longhorn Network off to a slow start the game could be viewed on more TV sets in Kansas.