Campo, Cross, Linebackers Talk Defense Prior to KU Practice

Aug. 8, 2012

080812aac_283_6412468.jpegLAWRENCE, Kan. —Kansas defensive coordinator Dave Campo held a press conference Wednesday afternoon, followed by an interview session for linebackers coach DeMontie Cross and selected linebackers. The Jayhawks then hit the practice field for the team’s eighth workout of fall camp.

The following is a transcript of a portion of Campo’s press conference:

Kansas Defensive Coordinator Dave Campo

On the first five days of camp:
“Last night’s practice (first two-a-day) was not quite as good as some of the others, which is somewhat natural. It is a different schedule, with a little different set of circumstances. It was hot last night. You don’t really want to make any excuses about it, but it was hot. The second time through with a new schedule it was a little bit different. Overall, I have been extremely pleased with the way we are running to the football. For us to be successful, that is us, it has to be us. I have made that a priority from the start of spring football, guys hustling to the football and surrounding the ball. For us to survive in this league, which is a spread open league, we have to be able to tackle and get people to the ball. I think that is something that we have accomplished.”

On the improvement of team speed:
“I think some of the new players that we have brought in have brought a little more speed to the group as well. When I say speed I am not just talking about the defensive backs down the field, I am talking about the defensive lineman being able to run to the ball and linebackers running to the ball. I think as a team we are a little bit faster than we were in the spring and that just helps us. There are some guys that run full speed and by the time they get to where they are supposed tackle somebody, they are going a little less than that. I think if we get our guys running full speed to the football, then we’ll have a chance to compete.”

On freshman linebacker Schyler Miles:
“I think Schyler has done well. The one thing he does have is those instincts that we just talked about. He knows how to play football. Now it is just making sure he understands our scheme and what we are trying to accomplish. I think he has done a nice job to this point. I would say he will definitely see playing time and we will see how it goes from there.”

On if he has faced a turnaround of this magnitude before:
“We went 1-15 in Dallas the first year we were there. I can give you a great example. I am not comparing [Kansas to Dallas] because I don’t plan on being one-and-whatever the total is, but the one thing that we did with that group in Dallas was at the end of the year the defense was starting to show. Even though we were losing ball games, we were getting better every week. That is how we moved forward quickly to get to the Super Bowl in four years. We have some talent here. We have some talented players on defense, but at the same time, we have got to work as a total unit to get better. That is really where we are at right now. We are still a work in progress.”

On if junior cornerback Nasir Moore is behind compared with the other corners:
“He is. That is a legitimate concern, because he is almost starting from scratch. Normally you get a junior college guy, you hope he can move right in and help you. In some programs you need those guys to start right away. We need some guys to play right away, but we don’t need every guy to play right away. I think Nasir is learning an awful lot and learning it at a faster pace, because he is a little bit more mature than some guys coming from junior college, but he is on a learning curve for sure. We had to get some guys in here that could run and had some potential to be good players and some of our decisions are based on that. Others are based on `this guy could play right away.'”

Linebackers Coach DeMontie Cross

On what he’s seen out of the linebackers so far:
“One of the most impressive things is that guys have given everything they have. You don’t see guys holding anything back. We’re trying to emphasize running to the ball, pursuit to the ball and creating turnovers. The guys have really worked hard to this point. Last night, some of the guys were a little sore and fatigued, but overall it’s been a pleasant start out of the linebackers.”

On the progress of freshman Schyler Miles:
“Schyler has definitely come in with high expectations of himself and also from us as a staff. Overall, he’s picking up the scheme, but there are a few things that he’s had a tough time adjusting to. As a true freshman though, I’ve been very pleased at his progress so far. Physically he has good size and good movement. He has enough size to clang and bang with the big guys. Speed of the game is an adjustment for him; our offensive line moves fairly well and they are a true test of what he’s going to be seeing in the Big 12 Conference. He’s not being shorted in practice.”

On what is expected from senior transfer Anthony McDonald:
“We counted on him to come in here and be a physical presence, (contribute from) a leadership standpoint and then anything else he could contribute to us on the field from a football standpoint would really help us. He’s come in and done everything we’ve asked him to do. Again, he’s learning a new defense, but he’s definitely progressing well.”

On how the linebackers look now compared to the spring:
“(We’re) a lot better. We’re more confident; we’re playing with a lot more chemistry and guys are more vocal. I think just with the repetition and with some of the things the guys have been doing, the confidence is really spreading among the group. But then again, it’s hard to defend against Coach Weis with the schemes and the things he throws at us. It keeps us in the practice all the time so that we’re prepared for the little wrinkles all the time. Overall, it’s night and day for me comparing where it’s been and where it is now.”

Senior linebacker Tunde Bakare

On his role on the team this year compared to last year:
“It’s pretty much the same, but it’s more detailed now. I need to pay more attention to things that I have to correct.”

On if he’s noticed a huge difference in the conditioning program:
“(It’s made) a lot of difference. I can remember being out there during the summer, running when it was 100 degrees and we’re out there for three hours. It’s just been a grind. I just feel so blessed to have somebody of Coach Holsopple’s caliber here coaching us. He keeps me on my toes and I really look to him as a role model.”

On if the strength program helped the team mentally:
“It helps with mental toughness. That’s what we’ve been preaching every single day is mental toughness. Being out there and training for all of those hours, it’s hot and it’s uncomfortable. But we understand now that sometimes being uncomfortable is a good thing. Now we’re learning to be aggressive and not back down from a challenge.”