Vantz Singletary Gets Settled in

June 6, 2011


New linebackers coach, Vantz Singletary took time out from camp to talk to the local media for the first time. Here is what he had to say.

On how he first met Head Coach Turner Gill:

“Coach is an outstanding person. About three years ago I got the chance to first meet him. I got a phone call out of the dark one day when I was out on the road recruiting and he said he’d heard a whole lot about me. Then he asked me if I would be interested in the Buffalo job and I said `sure’ and it just took off from there.”

On his experience working with his uncle (Mike Singletary) for the 49ers:

“Mike and I always wanted to work together. Mike and I grew up in the same house in Houston. We went to the same high school. Mike is seven years older than myself and, of course, we’re uncle and nephew but we’re more like big brother, little brother.”

On his first impressions of the University of Kansas and the football team:

“I just want to get in and really go back to the basics. Teaching, motivating, getting guys to believe in themselves and playing the game fast are the goals I have put in place.”

On what attributes he’s looking for in the linebackers at KU:

“Being smart, understanding concepts, understanding what teams are trying to do to you. I want to keep it real simple where they can fly around and make plays. To me, I think it goes back to the basics. I had a chance to work for June Jones over at Hawaii for seven years and we had a program that didn’t win a game in two years prior to us arriving there. They were the laughingstock of the country and one of the things we did that had a great deal of success was basically going back to the building blocks. When you look at it and you say what is this really all about? Well it’s about alignment, assignment and technique. That was a large part of getting those guys to win a whole lot of football games in Honolulu.”

On whether he prefers a four-three defense or a three-four defense:

“I’m not sure there is really a whole lot of difference. It’s about fundamentals and technique. In all honesty I’m not sure which one is the best because if you don’t have the basic fundamentals and technique it’s hard to execute those schemes. We had many of those conversations in San Francisco. Did we want to be a three-four or a four-three? With a guy like Patrick (Willis) I think he was more in favor of playing a four-three, but he knew the bottom line was his technique has to be right.”

On what he knows of the personnel he has at KU:

“I haven’t really studied them a whole lot on film. Just like going to San Francisco or Hawaii or Buffalo, I think once I get a chance to sit down with each guy one-on-one it really gives me a better idea of some of the things I need to get them to understand. It’s about building a relationship and then teaching them the defense.”

On his idea of a perfect linebacker:

“A guy that has a whole lot of passion and more than anything loves what he does and does it at one speed. He loves being coached. He’s exciting and that’s kind of what I see in linebacker play. Patrick (Willis) would be that guy because I don’t know if there is a guy on this planet that plays the way he does. You look at Ray Lewis. He’s been in the league 13, 14 years and plays at a high level. Takeo Spikes is another guy I coached in San Francisco that has played for 13 or 14 years and still plays at the highest level. They are students of the game and passionate about what they do. If their pictures were in the dictionary it would be next to `linebacker’.”

His thoughts about the city of Lawrence:

“I love Lawrence. My wife had a chance to come in and visit as well and help me make my decision. We have four girls so I’m outnumbered five-to-one so it was her call that really made a difference. I thank God she was able to come and meet some of the other wives and visit some of the local high schools in the area that our kids would be going to. To me that was special and was the clincher.”

On if it was a difficult decision to take the coaching position:

“It was a no-brainer because of my previous relationship with Turner (Gill). I felt like I owed something back to him because I only got to be with him that one year at Buffalo and ideally you would like to stick around for three, four, five years. The National Football League called and it was a call from a very special person. It was Mike Singletary and it was an opportunity to go coach one of the best linebackers in all of the National Football League, which was Patrick Willis. So to me that decision was real easy and it was something that Mike and I always talked about. It gave me the idea that I would like to coach in the League and I enjoyed it. But, college football is something I really love and I’m passionate about. I wanted to take my time and really find the right fit because I had some offers and I wasn’t real excited about some of them. I didn’t want to just pick up and go anywhere with my family. So when I got the call from Turner, I thought he had a whole lot to offer. So the decision to come here was good.”

On if he had a player he idolized while growing up:

“I really didn’t. I loved the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jack Lambert, who was probably one of my favorites. Robert Brazile was a guy I really enjoyed and I would be remiss not to mention Mike Singletary.”

On recruiting in Texas, since he is a Texas native:

“Everywhere I’ve been the coaches have put me in Texas because it’s home and a hotbed. When you think about recruiting, you think about relationships. When you think about Dallas or Houston, the name Singletary is synonymous. I’ve been in that area for a long time so I know a lot of the high school coaches. When you think about football players in general, there are a lot of great players in Texas.”