McDougald Adding Defense To His Plate, Which Includes Offense And Special Teams

Oct. 22, 2009

Out of necessity, there were a few new faces and personnel changes on the field against Colorado to help boost the defensive unit against both the pass and the run.

To many fans, Bradley McDougald was known as one of the true freshmen that had made contributions to Kansas’ high-powered offense and special teams. Now McDougald may be recognized as the versatile freshman that made contributions in every facet of the game.

The Jayhawks’ true freshman is listed as a wide receiver, but listing him at one position doesn’t do justice to the role he plays on the team.

He was a two-way starter for Scioto High School in Dublin, Ohio playing running back and safety, but was recruited to Kansas as a wide receiver. In fact, at the time, when McDougald was talking to Kansas’ offensive coordinator Ed Warriner, the talk was strictly offense and there was no mention of defense.

With a handful of Division-I programs looking at him as a safety, including nearby Ohio State, McDougald had a hunch that down the road, he could see himself playing on the defensive side of the ball.

“Coach Mangino called me into the office, asked me what I thought about playing a little on the defensive side of the ball,” McDougald said. “He said the offense was going well and he didn’t want to take anything away from me from the offensive side of the ball, but he wanted to maybe add on a little bit of defense and see how that worked out for me.”

It took only a few seconds for McDougald to agree to added role.

“I think playing both ways will be exciting,” said McDougald. “It’s going to be a lot. I have to make sure I’m on top of everything because mistakes are very costly in Division I and now that we’re in conference play they’re going to become even more costly, so I just have to make sure I know what I’m doing.

In an attempt to keep competition within positions, the coaches worked McDougald around at corner and safety in practice and may have found his opportunity to make contributions at the safety spot opposite of senior Darrell Stuckey.

He still has offense on his mind.

“It’s about 75-25, with 75% of that working with offense,” McDougald said. “I’ll still be an offensive-minded player, and right now you can consider me an offensive player.”

Head coach Mark Mangino said that it hadn’t been as sudden of a change for Bradley McDougald as it may have seemed.

“We have worked him on defense for several weeks now in practice, giving him work each and every day on the defensive side of the ball,” Mangino said. “He’s still not ready to play every down and we don’t expect that, but he will be helpful.”

Unselfishness and the desire to win have McDougald open for whatever the coaches throw at him.

“We have great receivers, both the guys in front of me and the guys behind me, so wherever they need me,” said McDougald. “If it’s not on the offensive side of the ball and I’ll have a bigger impact on defense, then that’s just what I’ll do because we’re a hungry team, looking for a Big 12 championship. I’m just willing to do whatever.”

Although the true freshman hasn’t found the end zone yet, McDougald has contributed 226 yards receiving and an additional 157 yards off of kickoff returns, averaging 22.4 yards per return.

Last season, teammate Daymond Patterson also played as a true freshman and started on offense, defense and special teams.

Patterson was one of just three players nationally to start on both offense and defense. Although McDougald hasn’t made a start on defense, defensive coordinator Clint Bowen said he could be seeing more extensive time on defense.

No doubt, McDougald is a playmaker and could be one of the sparks that the Jayhawks’ secondary is looking for.

Bowen said McDougald was a kid that had a natural feel for the game of football and had some assets that could be utilized in the Jayhawks’ secondary.

In the Colorado game, McDougald played two or three snaps from the safety position on third downs. Bowen said his role on defense would continue with third downs.

“He’s a rare find,” Bowen said. “You want the best guys you can in position to help you win a game, and he brings some things to the table that can do that for us.”