Jayhawks Notebook: Deep in the Heart

By Aaron Cede�o

To college football coaches, the state of Texas is what one might describe as a “target rich environment.”�

Every year, the Lone Star State produces more FBS football signees than any other state, and as a result, is an important pipeline for many programs throughout the country � particularly the Big 12.�

The University of Kansas is no exception. In recent years, many of the Jayhawks’ top playmakers have called Texas home, including Aqib Talib, Anthony Collins and Dezmon Briscoe.�

Kansas opens conference play Saturday with a tilt in Waco, Texas versus the Baylor Bears. It’s the only time the Jayhawks will play in the state this year, but Head Coach Turner Gill downplayed its importance from a recruiting standpoint during his weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon.�

“I think it’s important to play well any time,” he said. “Because of today’s technology, you’ve got a lot of things you see on TV and you can see a lot of games. I think you people are watching things and seeing it all over the place, no matter where you play at.”�

Many current Jayhawks have reason to be excited about the trip, however. 38 team members hail from Texas, and for them the game is a rare chance to play in front of friends and family who are able to make the trip.�

“It’s not too far from home, (so) a lot of friends and family are going to come here,” said junior wide receiver Daymond Patterson, a native of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. “Some of our coaches from pee-wee, middle school and high school, they’re going to try and make it. So I think this is a really good game just for a lot of people to come and see you, that haven’t been able to come see you since you left high school.”�

Of course, there’s a potential speed bump in that added excitement, Gill noted, and part of the coaches’ job this week is making sure the team stays focused.�

“That’s a thing that, obviously, we have to address with our players and our team, to not let that be a distraction from what we’re trying to get accomplished, as we go and travel into Texas,” he said. “Because there’s a lot of our guys that are from there and they’re going to have a lot of family (in attendance), and so making sure we stay focused on what we need to get done.”

Get more Jayhawks news at Phog.net.