Kansas clears snow to start spring practiceAP , Associated Press
Mar. 4, 2013 7:12 PM ET
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas coach Charlie Weis had crews working all week to clear the snow from the field so the Jayhawks can start spring practice Tuesday — with the weather still making it feel very much like winter in Lawrence.
"I think it will get their attention in a hurry," Weis said Monday. "I don't think we'll have anybody standing around."
The Jayhawks went 1-11 last season, their first under Weis, and have only one conference victory the past two years.
"Any team who finishes the way we finished, you have no choice but to get better," running back James Sims said. "We've been in the weight room, we've been working hard and it is going to pay off."
Weis started laying the foundation for this season at the end of last one, taking players aside during the finale against West Virginia and challenging them to do better this year.
"Is that what you want to be associated with because it's not what I want to be associated with," he said.
Headed into spring practice, which starts Tuesday, those harsh words are still resonating with his players.
"Personally, I took that as a challenge," said running back Taylor Cox, who ran for 464 yards last season. "You have to take that as a challenge and do whatever you can to improve the team."
BYU transfer and former highly touted recruit Jake Heaps is expected to take over at quarterback for the Jayhawks. He should have a solid running game to work with as backs Sims, Cox and Tony Pierson return. Kansas was third in the Big 12 in rushing last season. Sims led the Big 12 in yards rushing per game last season at 112, and Pierson was seventh at 69.
The depth at tailback led to Pierson being used as a receiver last season, and he worked on those skills during the offseason with Heaps.
"It doesn't do a lot of good to have one of your best players standing on the sidelines for most of the plays," Weis said. "Which I felt with James and Tony was happening a lot."