Just over two weeks from their season opener, the Kansas Jayhawks held their annual media in Lawrence. The difference this year is the energy around the program, something that can be attributed to new coach Les Miles.
Friday was Miles’ first team media day even since his final season at LSU in 2016. Despite the multiyear layoff from these events and a couple of widely panned public appearances since his hiring (including his introductory press conference and his time at Big 12 football media days), “The Mad Hatter” brought more of his typical energy this week.
“I like the direction of our team,” Miles said. “It’s been a good, tough team, a good, hard camp up until now.”
The quarterback battle has been the focal point of most on-field discussions pertaining to the Jayhawks throughout fall camp, with redshirt senior Carter Stanley and junior JUCO transfer Thomas MacVittie competing for the starting job. Miles has previously indicated that MacVittie had some kind of edge in the head-to-head battle, but has simultaneously remained firm that the competition will be decided organically when one passer earns it over the other.
“I like [how] they’re progressing, they’re not perfect but they’re making all the throws,” Miles said. “I think they’re doing the things they need to do, period.”
Miles added that it’s possible a starter isn’t named until Week 1, and that he commonly waits until the last moment to name a starter.
Outside of the quarterback intrigue, running backs have been and will continue to be a focus for the Jayhawks this year, as that position group is both one of the most talented and experienced groups on the roster. Senior left tackle Hakeem Adeniji spoke about the trio of senior Khalil Herbert, junior Dom Williams and sophomore Pooka Williams, saying that it’s exciting to block for them and that they’re some of the best backs he has ever blocked for.
The defense was also in focus on Friday, with defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot explaining the importance of developing a large group of young players and also addressing the process of getting players ready for the season.
The Jayhawks will kick their season off at home against the Indiana State Sycamores on Aug. 31 at 11 a.m. This will be the first meeting between the two programs since 1985, when KU won 37-10.
Click below to hear what Les Miles, Les Koenning, D.J. Eliot and the rest of the Jayhawks had to say at KU football media day: