LAWRENCE — Diagnosed with COVID-19 last Thursday, Les Miles nevertheless intends to be in attendance at Kansas football’s next contest, an 11 a.m. Saturday tilt at West Virginia.


That said, in the event the second-year Jayhawk head coach can’t make the trip to Morgantown, at least one member of his coaching staff has a contingency plan.


"I’m going to get a little bobblehead coach Miles and put him on my shoulder," joked offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon during a news conference Monday. "That way I feel like he’s still talking in my ear right there."


There may not be a need for that not-so-socially-distanced prop as KU (0-3, 0-2 Big 12) looks to be on track to have the real deal on hand.


Miles on Sunday night tweeted a video update on his current health status.


"Just wanted to thank all of you for your prayers and your support as I fight through this virus," said Miles, 66. "I am quarantined in my house and my health is pretty good, so I am thankful for that. Our football team is in good hands. I am still able to get to Zoom meetings as we prepare our West Virginia game plan.


"I can’t wait to get back to our players and our coaches as soon as it is safe to do so."


Miles ended his update with a "rock chalk."


Regardless of whether Miles makes it to the matchup with the Mountaineers (2-1, 1-1), the Jayhawks will have gone at least one week with the national championship-winning head coach performing his duties remotely through Zoom.


That, Dearmon acknowledged, has been a peculiar experience.


"Anytime the captain of your ship, any time your leader isn’t visible, it’s different. But we’re going to do everything we can to make it as normal as possible," Dearmon said. "There’s no issue at all. There’s no controversy. Our team knows Les Miles is the captain of this ship. Every coach, every player, everybody within the facility looks up to that guy and everything he brings to this football team. So (we’re) doing everything we can to bring him and get him involved in his situation."


Defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot reiterated that Miles is planning to be live and in person at Milan Puskar Stadium, but if he can’t, the Jayhawks will be without a coach who brings "tremendous poise" to game days, Eliot said.


"Coach Miles is never rattled," Eliot said. "And so having coach Miles with us has his experience and his wisdom and his poise. I think the players see that and the coaches see that and we feed off on that week to week."


Dearmon echoed his defensive counterpart’s remarks on Miles’ steady hand.


"I’m a young, emotional guy, probably too fiery at times, so every now and then he gets in my ear and tells me ‘calm down,’ tells me those types of things in a great way," Dearmon said. "So he’s been a great mentor to me."


Eliot said Miles’ remote coaching is "not as odd" as one would think as the program, like so many across the country, has been utilizing Zoom and other socially distanced technologies since March.


Special teams coordinator and running backs coach Jonathan Wallace said Miles has a "special connection" with his players, a bond retained even through long-distance interactions.


"Our kids play hard for him. They sell out for coach Miles," Wallace said. "I think as a head coach that’s the way you want it to be. I’m extremely, extremely grateful to have coach Miles."


Eliot confirmed that Miles is "truly a players’ coach."


"So (Miles’ absence) has kind of motivated (the players) to make sure that while he is away they stay the course and that they continue to work and prepare for West Virginia," Eliot said. "I think Thursday we had an excellent practice, and I’m not so sure some of that wasn’t motivated by coach Miles not being there. I think we’ll continue to have that type of approach this week and our guys will be ready to play on Saturday against West Virginia."


KU has not revealed which assistant would serve as head coach on a one-game interim basis should Miles remain sidelined. Again, though, that may be a hypothetical the program never has to address.


That certainly seems to be the hope among Miles’ closest advisers.


"He’s rocking and rolling and he’s going about his day — he’s just doing it virtually over Zoom," said tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Joshua Eargle. "And so he’s got us lined up and he’s got us all trained up. We know our responsibilities and we’re all digging at those to the best of our ability. But we do miss him here. We miss him in the building and we can’t wait to see him again on game day at West Virginia."


Kendrick to start versus Mountaineers


Miles Kendrick will start at quarterback against WVU, with all indications that the junior will receive every opportunity to hold that role from the opening kickoff to the final whistle.


"We gave Miles Kendrick the nod, we told him he’s our guy this week," Dearmon said. "We named him a captain because of the way that he practiced last week. He’s doing a great job. It’s not that the other two are not doing a good job, it’s just that Miles Kendrick has earned a spot this week, so we’re going to go with Miles Kendrick."


Senior Thomas MacVittie, out with a shoulder injury since the Jayhawks’ season opener, has returned and is a "full-go" at practice. True freshman Jalon Daniels, meanwhile, appears to still be limited from an injury sustained in the team’s last contest, a 47-7 defeat to Oklahoma State on Oct. 3.


Dearmon said that, in his ideal world, he would "like to play one" quarterback, though he noted none of the three signal callers have locked themselves into the starting job.


"In three games we’ve played all three of them, and because of injury, because of other reasons, I don’t think anybody’s lost the job, but what I tell them every day is nobody’s really went out there and won the job. I think that’s the fairest evaluation of that situation," Dearmon said. "I think we’ve had some pretty good plays. We’ve had some things we can build on. We’ve had situations the last two weeks where we’ve had guys showing leadership, we’ve had guys building a little confidence. I like the direction we’re going with those three."