UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
August 9, 2018
DAVID BEATY: How we doing? Everybody good? No nap taking in here.
The first few days, one of the greatest things is we've had -- I'd call it near perfect weather, which is great. It's been hot, 95 percent humidity, which is exactly like we like it. I think it's great training situations for our guys. Seriously, it's been near perfect for us. We've really been excited about the weather that we've had. It's been really good. We're going to have to be able to handle it in all kinds.
It was good to see Bill Self out there at practice today. He was out with us for a while. I just love that guy. He can football coach any day. He's a special guy. It was good to see him out there. His staff was out there yesterday. Those guys are around and IвЂ™m just thankful they come out and hang out with us. Really, really good guys over there.
Just a quick note on Jacobi Lott, obviously, due to privacy concerns at this time, the only thing we can share is Jacobi is stable. He's responding normally and continuing to be evaluated. Jacobi's parents are here. They got up here last night, and they're with him now.
As I've said many times before, our players' health and well-being, that's our top priority, and it always has been. That's somebody's family treasure. We look at it that way, and it's our family treasures too, every single one of them, all 115 of them. Jacobi is in great hands. Not good, I'm talking about great. And if we're able to share more information, we will do so, I can assure you.
I'm unable to disclose any more information regarding him, but like I said previously, if we can, we will get you the details. That's what we can share right now.
A couple other things that might be on deck to talk about. We are excited about the arrival of our new associate AD that's going to be in charge of football for us, Mike Vollmar. He actually knows a bunch of guys on our staff. He's either worked with them or worked in conjunction with them before. I've obviously seen his resume. I know a lot about him just by the number of times that we've come in contact through the guys that we work with. We were actually going to bring him here a couple of years ago just to do some consulting with us as we were kind of building our program.
So really good to have him here. He's got great experience. I know he's going to help us move the program forward. Man, I'm looking forward to working with him. Our conversations have been terrific. I know he's excited to get here. He's been down there in Florida, and he'll be up here pretty quickly. I'm assuming next week is when we can get him here.
Q. With his (Vollmar) experience, what do you guys initially think he's going to be overlooking?
DAVID BEATY: Just in talks with Jeff (Long), just initially about this -- about him, he just went right back to removing the road blocks, and him being down there, down here, hopefully with us on a day-to-day situation is going to be very, very helpful to help us do that.
Man, his experience, he's been at Michigan, he's been all over the place, Tennessee. He's been at places that they've already done some of the things they need to do with regard to removing road blocks. So his experience is -- it's so valuable. I will just speak from my own experience, being at Texas A&M when we went through a $450 million remodel, I can't tell you how much I learned there. I mean, I learned so much. So I can only imagine what he's learned in a few different spots where they've done that.
So having him there, and you can just tell he's a selfless guy. He just wants what's best for our program and our kids. I'm excited about him being here.
Q. Is the quarterback position still a three-player race?
DAVID BEATY: We've got a scrimmage Saturday. This is our second day in pads. After Saturday, we should know a whole lot more. It will be about a 135, 140-play scrimmage. We'll know a lot more after Saturday.
Q. You talked a little bit about how it won't really matter if the offensive line doesn't progress. How heavily are you going to consider the progress of the offensive line when you make whatever decision you choose for the quarterback?
DAVID BEATY: Well, I think it all kind of goes hand in hand. Each one of them have their own unique skill sets, that they may do one thing a little bit better than the other. I don't know that the offensive line -- when that shakes out, it shakes out. They're not going to give us any more. Those are the ones we have.
I am delighted to say that we have a lot of them here. So far, I've been impressed with that group. A lot of depth, a lot of good looking kids, a lot of guys that are fairly new. They've been with us for a little while, probably longer than maybe most know, and their understanding of what we've been doing offensively has impressed me so far. So I'm excited about that.
But I think what we'll do more of than anything is try to play to the strengths of that quarterback. And then from that point forward, going forward, we're going to have -- there's certain things that offensive line, they're just going to have to do. They have to do it. Our job is to get them to do it better.
Q. Is the hope is to trim it to two after that scrimmage?
DAVID BEATY: We'd like to do that. Like I said, we won't trim it just to make everybody happy. We're going to trim it when it naturally occurs. It's not about happiness. It's about doing the right thing. It's about doing the right thing for that Jayhawk on our chest. We can't work off emotions and just perception. We got to work off reality. I feel pretty comfortable Saturday will help quite a bit. So hopefully I got some more news for you.
Q. How many times do you plan to scrimmage between now and the opener?
DAVID BEATY: We'll do -- we'll probably have two full scrimmages, and then we'll have another probably two half scrimmages, and then we'll have a couple tackle days in there where we'll have situations where we'll be able to get physical and hit. We hit a little bit more today, which was good. Not a lot, but we had a couple of live period, goal line, short yardage days today. That was really good. It was really good stuff for us. It was an area of concern for us last year. I thought we improved in the actual production of it, but we had some unforced errors throughout the season that we really had to address.
So being able to make sure that we as coaches put them in a good position, those were things that were critical for us to get started on early in camp. Today was great. It was terrific situational work for us in those situations.
Q. Have you heard from Dorance (Armstrong) at all in training camp?
DAVID BEATY: We message back and forth. Really we're on the field all the time, but I know that Katy Lonergan talks to all of them all the time for us. He's always hitting me on my social media and back and forth. I saw a picture of him yesterday. I think it was on Instagram, on his Instagram.
But there's a lot of competition at Dallas right now. I was looking at that. We were doing a little study with our guys, talking about the reality of it. We looked at the Cowboys roster, and I believe each team is able to bring 90 guys in, I believe. I think that's what it is. Don't quote me. Of their 90 guys, I think we counted 57 vets. And there's only going to be 53 make it and only 48 of them are going to dress. That means there's 57 guys that have played in the league. I mean, it's difficult. It's going to be difficult, even for a drafted guy nowadays. Very, very difficult.
So I know him. He's a guy that's going to be prepared for that, and he's certainly not going to let anybody outwork him. So I'm excited to see him play in that first preseason game. I think they're playing this weekend if I'm not mistaken or fairly soon. Hopefully, he'll get some meaningful snaps.
Q. How were you able to get Dirk (Wedd) out of his retirement, however long it lasted, because it was quick?
DAVID BEATY: You know, I was certainly not going to talk to Dirk before he made his announcement because I didn't want to sway his decision, but we had a plan for Dirk for a long -- from a long ways back, and I wanted him to come to that decision on his own. We've never spoken about it. I think he was caught completely off guard when I called him, to be honest with you. But I purposely set something back for him so, when things were done with him, we could bring him aboard. He's been a really nice asset to the staff. He's funny as all get out. So he brings a lot of light, jovial stuff to the staff.
He's also -- you know, he's been very, very helpful with just some things he's bringing to the analyst table. I know it's a different position for him, but he seems like -- I mean, he's really adapted to it really, really well. And he's been around here so much, we know him so well, it's been great to have him around. He's going to be a great addition.
Q. You spoke so much about player safety. I just wondered what it's like when that happens and the ambulance has to show up. What the impact is on players, teammates, coaches? Something like that kind of stops your preparation on a certain day?
DAVID BEATY: Well, it certainly has an impact, there's no doubt about it, because if you care about people, then it better have an impact. If it doesn't and you're just going to the next play, then I think there's something wrong with the platform that you have. And I certainly -- the way I look at it, it's not ever going to be moving on to the next play. It's going to be making sure that, before we do, that the kid is in good condition and he's stable and that his well-being is taken care of because our kids are affected by that type of stuff too.
You know, you always hope that a lot of -- that they come out and turn out to be false alarms. Fortunately, a lot of them do, but some of them don't. So we take all of them with the highest level of precautions when it comes to what takes place with these young men.
You know, I said before, I've got two little girls, Avery and Alexa, and I'm not going to drop them off with just anybody. And you better be thinking about them like I think about them because, if something happens to them and it didn't have to happen, I'm not going to be okay with that. And I think that is the way it should be.
Now, now that I'm up here giving my editorial about how it should be, but that's how we do it in our family. Those are our babies, and when they hand them over to us, they entrust them to us, and the number one thing is health and safety. We already play a game that's inherently got dangers involved, so we try to be very, very cautious with those guys, and we're very mindful of what our other players are seeing when something like that maybe happens.
Q. Was it tough for the other offensive linemen to get right back to what they're doing when something like that happens?
DAVID BEATY: I was proud of them. You know, I think those guys were able to refocus and get back on the job at hand. I can't really say much else about the injury, guys. I don't want to really get into it too, too much more than that, but I was really proud of our players. They were able to bounce back, but we constantly updated them on the situation. I think the whole thing for us is make sure we communicate and then over communicate and then we always make sure we over communicate more so they know what's going on. There's no guessing about what's going on with their brother.
One of the things I've loved about this camp is just watching our player-led effort here, and that's something that's been really fun to watch. And because of that, those guys are invested in each other. It's truly a family. It's been fun watching our culture continue to develop. It's based on hard work and commitment and commitment to one another. And then player-led teamwork, player-led team stuff is something we were looking forward to. So we make sure we communicate with them so they can kind of guide us.
Q. I don't want to speak for you either. Calling an ambulance sounds scary, but it sounds like when you guys talk about precautionary, it's something you're going to do if there's any question, right?
DAVID BEATY: Absolutely. We have a plan for anything and everything that goes on with anything, particularly and including their health, and any kind of situation that goes on. I'll say this. I was amazed at our sports medicine team and our doctors and how they handled it, and I don't know that I can go much further than that, but just watching the organization and how they operated that situation, watching Owen Stanley and watching the person that was responsible for loading the 911 call, it was impressive. I mean, I'm sitting there going, wow, this is really, really impressive. And then watching those guys work together was really good.
Q. How are things shaking out with the situation at punter? Have any of those guys kind of won your trust yet?
DAVID BEATY: Kyle's (Thompson) the guy that I think everybody probably thought was kind of going to be the guy. We brought a kid, a junior college guy in (Donovan Gagen), and I call him gangnam style because his last name is Gagen, and he's a great kid. He's funny as all get out. He's done a good job for us. He's done a nice job. He's created good competition over there. We had a competition in practice today that dealt with directional punting with Kyle. Putting him in those heated situations.
Coach (Kenny) Perry has done a terrific job with those guys, and we put him in some heated situations to make sure he's ready, and I did a great job. The guy's got a cannon. He's got unbelievable talent. We've just got to make sure we put him in enough situations to where he's comfortable when he gets out there on the field.
I think the big thing for me is watching Coach Perry working with all of our special teams, the mental aspect of it has been interesting to watch.
Thanks a lot now. You all have a good one.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports