LAWRENCE, KS – The spring is considered the “down-time” of the football season. Professional teams sign free agents and draft new talent, colleges recruit their next stars, but the Kansas Jayhawks have been hard at work this off-season, preparing for a 2018-19 campaign that head coach David Beaty is optimistic for.
Following the “Blue vs. White” scrimmage at Memorial Stadium Saturday afternoon, Beaty explained how, coming off of a 1-11 regular season, most people are expecting next to nothing from the Jayhawks. This, however, is a driving motivation for a team that boasts multiple four and three-star recruit signings.
“There’s always something to flying under the radar,” Beaty shared in his press conference. “We are fine with being the underdog.”
Beaty was also quick to praise the leadership of defensive backs Bryce Torneden and Kyle Mayberry. Both of whom will be seniors in the upcoming campaign. The duo were strong pieces in a defensive unit that, aside from two drawn-up field goals from senior Gabriel Rui, didn’t allow the offensive side to score.
The annual contest began with a bang as redshirt junior Denzel Feaster absolutely flattened the return-man on the opening kickoff, bringing the crowd to their feet. Peyton Bender trotted out to lead the first team offense, the first of four quarterbacks that would take snaps.
The “Blue Team” then proceeded to rattle off 20 pass plays in a row to start, completing 14 of them despite an interception from fiery safety Mike Lee. The few times the offense looked to run the ball, the defense was a brick wall, barely allowing more than a couple of yards per carry. Along with Bender, Kansas also saw work from sophomore Miles Kendrick (transfer from College of San Mateo in California), returning senior Carter Stanley, and redshirt-freshman Miles Fallin.
Amongst all four QB’s, the defense was repeatedly challenged by the deep ball, with only a couple landing in the hands of receivers for big gains. Most, however, were defended well by Torneden, Mayberry, and many others getting their shot at first team plays.
One defensive strongpoint that Coach Beaty pointed out after the game was freshman cornerback Corione Harris, who was on the field for most of the game.
“We saw everything we needed to see out of these new guys,” said Beaty on the depth of his team at this point in the season. He explained that in some full-length spring games, coaches are fearful that players will be injured and some won’t get enough time on the field to impress the coaches. “With this,” he continued, “we’re able to get everyone some time, and it’s really beneficial to the program.”
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