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August 8, 2011
Players follow predictions
The summer time is when magazines and websites release their preseason predictions. That's usually the slow time for college football.
Outside of summer football camps not much is going on. So the release of preseason rankings bridges the information gap until the season finally starts.
The Kansas players are well aware what the so-called experts are saying. Some of them use it as motivation. Anytime senior linebacker Steven Johnson is out he will read what they have to say.
"I like paying attention to it and I like paying attention to it on purpose," Johnson said. "I go to Walmart and all of those magazines will be out and I want to look at them. I know nothing good is going to come out of those magazines because everything about Kansas is negative."
It has been a consensus whether it is a person or computer giving their early thoughts the Jayhawks are picked at the bottom of the new Big 12 format.
"I kind of like it, actually," said tight end Tim Biere. "You have nothing to lose at that point. You have everything to prove. I'd love to go out there and prove everybody wrong and finish way better than 10th this year."
Then there are some players who don't pay attention to the early polls. Starting center and Rimington Watch List candidate Jeremiah Hatch is in that group. Last season was enough to have him ready to go for his senior season.
"Not at all," Hatch said when asked if preseason predictions motivate him. "What motivates me is 3-9. That's what we take after every workout we do, every run, every lift. Anytime we move a weight 3-9 is sitting there. Somebody picking us last, the only opinion that matters is that of the guys in that locker room."
If Hatch takes a trip to Walmart with Johnson he might leave with a different feeling. Johnson said he feeds off the people who predict negative things about the Kansas program.
"I have a big chip on my shoulder and I'm ready to go out and show people what we can really do," Johnson said.