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The secret behind the Jayhawks’ historic season

Uncover how humor unites the Kansas team, creating unparalleled chemistry on and off the field.

3 min read
Kansas cornerbacks Kwinton Lassiter (8) and Mello Dotson (3) joke around during KU's bowl practice on Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023 in Phoenix ahead of the Dec. 26 Guaranteed Rate Bowl against UNLV. [Guaranteed Rate Bowl photo]

With the best statistical season since the 2007 12-1 team, the Kansas Jayhawks are on the brink of making history this season, but have you ever wondered what binds this team together? 

The answer is not what you may think.

But first, let's dive into the players' expressions at the Guaranteed Rate Bowl Media Day to give a clue.

Smiles, laughter, and togetherness were all on display between the likes of linebacker Rich Miller, quarterback Jason Bean, tight end Mason Fairchild, running back Devin Neal, and safety Kenny Logan Jr. 


You read that right. Having a sense of humor and being able to make your teammates laugh are the hidden ingredients to the success of the Jayhawks this season. 

“I’m saying we had a lot of fun,” Miller said. “We probably got the funniest team on Earth.”

KU wideouts Quentin Skinner and Keaton Kubecka chat during a break in practice this week in Phoenix. [Guaranteed Rate Bowl photo]

That’s a bold statement from Miller, but that seems to be the case with the rest of the team.

“Everybody’s got their own personality, like everybody has a sense of humor,” Miller said. “It’s really funny to talk about certain things, like when everybody is thinking it but no one wants to say it, like that type of thing.”

Miller isn’t the only jokester on this Jayhawk team.

“You got guys like Kobe (Baynes) and OJ (Burroughs) and those guys sit and clown all day long,” Logan Jr. said. “We always try to make each other laugh because that’s how our team operates. We just have to make sure we have the most fun.” 

The loose, free-flowing spirit was on display with not only the players but also head coach Lance Leipold.

Leipold took a microphone from one of the reporters, did a reverse, and started interviewing a reporter in the middle of the conference room. Neal, Bean and company, along with the rest of the reporters, burst out laughing while this was all going down.

Not only was Leipold acting as a reporter today, but so were Bean and Neal. They had no shame in taking the microphone and walking around the various stations to ask their teammates and Leipold questions amongst the crowd. 

The lack of uptightness makes this group stand out. The constant smiles and laughing were seen throughout the media day interviews.

“We believe in humor,” Neal said. “We’re not going to be too uptight. We laugh so much, that’s how tight we are as a group. These are guys that will be a part of our weddings one day, so it’s really cool.”

KU cornerback Kwinton Lassiter laughs during a break in practice this week in Phoenix. [Guaranteed Rate Bowl photo]

Neal even believes that he is one of the team's funniest and contributes a great portion to making the team laugh, but Bean has other thoughts and emphasizes how funny this team is.

“We have some really, really, really funny people on our team (but) probably Trevor Wilson or Rich Miller (laughs the most),” Bean said. 

Not only do the guys just joke around off the field, but they do on the field, too.

“There’s always going to be adverse moments in games (and) there’s always going to be tension, but to calm that down with a joke here and there to just relax and refocus, is helpful,” Fairchild said. “That cohesion goes a long way.” 

This togetherness and brotherhood bonded through making each other laugh has shown what this team is all about. This loose spirit allows them to have a chemistry that opponents cannot match, making this team unique.

This week's KU Football Coverage:

• 'A little bit of everything and everybody' - Jayson Gilliom's return to action

• Quarterback Jason Bean ready for his last dance with the Jayhawks

• 5 KU bowl records that could fall in Phoenix

• Rising Kansas football program seeks bowl game redemption

• Jayhawks' star eyes win and family joy in Phoenix

• Ten Jayhawks who have a shot of winning MVP honors on Tuesday

• Photo Gallery - Arrival, Media Day & Outreach event

• Final tune-up for bowl game includes outreach event in Phoenix

— For tickets to all KU athletic events, visit