University of Kansas

Five takeaways from KU football’s ‘Late Night Under the Lights’ - the Rick Ross edition

On stage with Rick Ross as he performs “One Nation Under God” Saturday night at KU.

Get up close and personal with rapper Rick Ross as he performs "One Nation Under God" Saturday night at KU's spring football game in Lawrence.
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Get up close and personal with rapper Rick Ross as he performs "One Nation Under God" Saturday night at KU's spring football game in Lawrence.

Kansas football coach Les Miles completed his first spring game Saturday night, as KU held its first “Late Night Under the Lights” event at Booth Memorial Stadium.

The night ended with flair, with rapper Rick Ross performing on the field.

Here are five observations from the team’s scrimmage, which resulted in a 45-7 blue team victory:

1. KU’s running back position could be deep. Dom Williams had the game’s most impressive play early, making a sharp cut at the line of scrimmage and breaking a tackle before sprinting 52 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. Williams, as it stands now, could be projected as the Jayhawks’ third-best back considering the guys on the roster now, with true freshman Amauri Pesek-Hickson also likely get some carries in 2019.

2. Ezra Naylor could be an impact player right away. Miles targeted big receivers with his first recruiting class, and one could see the potential benefits of that Saturday. Naylor — at 6 feet, 4 inches — was one of quarterback Thomas MacVittie’s most frequent targets, clearing space with his body twice for difficult catches even with cornerback Corione Harris draped on him. The second reception — a third-down, fingertips catch late in the first quarter — stood out as one of the game’s top plays.

3. Thomas MacVittie has some speed. KU’s projected starting quarterback has often been listed as a pro-style QB, but that’s probably not a perfect way to describe him, as the 6-5 junior has enough speed that he once played on the punt return team in his previous stop at Pitt. On Saturday, MacVittie showed some of his speed with a 26-yard scramble up the middle to get KU in the red zone on a first quarter possession, which eventually led to a Williams rushing touchdown. Passing-wise, MacVittie had some good and bad on a windy day, underthrowing a couple of receivers deep for incompletions while also fitting some into tight windows to Naylor.

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4. Davon Ferguson continued his strong spring. The sophomore safety, who redshirted last year after playing only four games, showed his potential again Saturday, intercepting MacVittie in the fourth quarter with a 73-yard return for touchdown. Ferguson also led KU’s productive secondary with three pass breakups. KU’s coaches have to like the potential at the safety position heading into the season, as incumbents Bryce Torneden and Mike Lee also return as seniors.

5. Les Miles appeared to create fan interest. When talking to Jayhawk Network TV during the spring game, NFL player Chris Harris commented that he saw more fans in the stands than the last four years at the spring game. “And it’s cold out here,” Harris added with a laugh. No question this was the biggest attendance for a KU spring game in quite some time, with the west stands filling in nicely with about 4,000 fans showing up for the football portion of the event.

Four-time Pro Bowler Chris Harris talked about why he came back to Lawrence for KU's spring game and gave his early impressions of new coach Les Miles. He spoke to reporters on April 13, 2019,

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