LAWRENCE (KSNT) – Topeka’s Ky Thomas is helping the KU system, while learning the system.

This is his first season with the Jayhawks. Thomas, a running back, is learning the playbook, his new coaches and teammates. At the same time, he’s helping the defense improve.

“Ky Thomas takes a handoff and boom, boom, boom, leaves one of our guys grasping at straws,” defensive coordinator Brian Borland said. “That’s good, right? I think that helps make us better. To have to go against those guys every day, little by little, that all stacks up and makes a difference in the long run.”

Thomas’ impact extends beyond the field.

“I’ll just go out in Lawrence, walk down Mass [Street] and people recognize me, asking me how I look forward to the season,” Thomas said. “I don’t think it hit me until I actually got here. It’s time to work now.”

This is all the game-type action KU gets until the season starts on Sept. 2. Both sides of the ball are trying to give each other a taste of what’s to come against opponents.

“When you start to have [competition], offense versus defense, receivers versus DB’s… that’s when your quality reps and development starts to grow exponentially because you’re taking a rep against a good football player,” offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki said.