LAWRENCE — The Kansas football program is set to begin fall camp on Thursday morning with a 5 a.m. conditioning test, but KU coach Charlie Weis may have to wait another seven to 10 days before he has his full squad on the field in front of him.
As Weis indicated at Big 12 media day last week, junior college defensive linemen Jordan Tavai and Ty McKinney have been delayed from arriving on campus as they finish summer courses.
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“There’s nothing they could do,” Weis said. “They’re going nuts. Because they wanted to be here for the start of camp.”
For now, Weis estimates that Tavai, a transfer from El Camino Community College in Torrance, Calif., could arrive “inside or outside of a week." And McKinney, a transfer from Trinity Community College in Texas, should arrive shortly after that.
McKinney was listed as battling for a second-string nose position on the Jayhawks’ preseason depth chart, released Wednesday, while Weis says Tavai could play inside or outside on the defensive line.
“I’m not sure whether (or) not Tavai is going to play tackle or defensive end,” Weis said, “because to be honest with you, it’s all going to depend on the competition that occurs before he gets here, however it plays out with the people that are practicing.
“If we look better at defensive tackle, then he’ll be a defensive end. If we look better at defensive end, then he’ll be a defensive tackle.”
… Weis also said that junior offensive tackle Aslam Sterling, another junior college late arrival, was set to arrive on campus on Thursday morning.
Temperatures are expected to be in the triple-digits in Lawrence during the first three days of camp. As a result, Weis said, the players are being advised on how to handle the blistering conditions.
One of the key points: Don’t forget to eat enough food. And, yes, that set up Weis for a pitch-perfect punchline.
“I’ve never had to be encouraged to eat in the heat before,” Weis said. “Maybe that’s a novel concept. Supposedly people don’t eat as much when it’s hot out. I didn’t get that email.”
Weis announced a few tweaks to his coaching staff on Wednesday. Kevin Green, who served under Weis as director of head football operations at Notre Dame, has been hired as director of football operations. Green replaces George Matsakis, who is now working as an assistant to the athletic director.
Weis promoted former KU linebacker Justin Springer into a role as the program’s third strength and conditioning coach. Springer replaces Juney Barnett, who took a similar job with the Baltimore Ravens.
In addition, Weis has hired Matt Shula, son of former Bengals coach Dave Shula and grandson of Hall of Fame coach Don Shula, in a quality control (recruiting) position.