The first day of spring football practice at Kansas had enthusiastic third-year coach David Beaty perhaps even more energized than usual.
“The thing I was most pleased with that I come away with is I’m encouraged by the quickness we showed on offense today,” Beaty told reporters Monday after an afternoon practice that was moved inside to Anschutz Pavilion because of unseasonably cold weather.
“There’s some dudes that can run out there. There’s some real quickness going on out there. Those guys can go when they get it in their hands. We look quicker, which is exactly what you want to see as a coach.”
Beaty not only was impressed with the athletic ability of KU’s receivers and running backs, but also the guys putting the football in their hands.
Peyton Bender, a 6-1, 180-pound junior quarterback out of Itawamba Community College in Mississippi, and 6-2, 196-pound sophomore QB Carter Stanley had good days.
“It was fun to get to a practice and watch him throw the ball. Watching that thing come out, he has some juice,” Beaty said of Bender. “He can let that thing go, there’s no doubt about it. He has some talent. That ball can get out. It gets out quick. He’s ultra-accurate.
“He threw one ball today, I don’t know how he got it in there. He was hanging on it, hanging on it. I was wanting him to get off of it and get to the next read. He dropped it in there I think to Kwamie Lassiter. It was a heckuva throw. You don’t see those throws very often. He made a great throw … He knew he could get it in there. He put it in there. He’s got some zip man.
Beaty added of Bender, “The more he plays with our guys there’s some good things to see in the future. Just more time with our guys is going to be a good deal for him.”
Of Stanley, Beaty said: “I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the offseason Carter Stanley had. That dude worked his tail off. He had a terrific offseason. He threw the ball really well today. I thought he made some pretty good decisions. He had one tough throw early in the practice. He rallied, came back, he settled right down and went back to completing ball after ball and moving our team down the field just like he did late in the year.”
Beaty said he enjoyed watching new offensive coordinator Doug Meacham both on the field and running meetings for players on offense. Beaty also lauded several other first-year staff members and a batch of players on both sides of the ball.
“It was interesting to watch him work with a couple of pieces today that I don’t know I would have thought to use the way he did, which is what I love about ‘Meach,’ ” Beaty said. “He and I think a little differently sometimes. Just watching the way he used Ryan Schadler (a junior who has been moved from running back to receiver) today, that’s pretty darn good. He (Schadler) can fly.”
Junior linebacker Joe Dineen of Lawrence’s Free State High, who redshirted last year after suffering a leg injury early in the season, had a good practice, Beaty said.
“I hadn’t seen Joe smile like that in a long time. It makes you happy as a coach to see that,” Beaty said. “His presence there was big defensively.”
Beaty also indicated Schadler, a junior from Hesston, Kan., has made a remarkable recovery from serious internal surgery.
“He had a very major surgery. He looks great. I feel so blessed that kid came back healthy after that,” Beaty said, noting Schadler’s one of the fastest players on the team. “He said he felt he had the flu for a year (prior to surgery).”
Kansas will hold 15 practices as part of its spring schedule, highlighted by the annual Spring Game on April 15, which is set for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Memorial Stadium.