Football Fall Camp: Defense Takes Center Stage Friday

Kansas took to the field for its second practice of fall camp Friday, but not before selected defensive players were made available to the media at the Anderson Football Complex shortly after lunch.

Cassius Sendish, Jr., Defensive Back
On the decision to switch from base to nickel defense…
“It is not something that is foreign or new to me. I am really enjoying it; I usually find myself in a position to make a lot of plays. It keeps us up in the same pace as the high-tempo offenses the Big 12 is known for producing. I am looking forward to it.”

On what game you are most looking forward to…
“I am looking forward to every single game; non-conference, conference, it doesn’t matter. I am ready for every game. There is no particular receiver I am looking to guard or anything. I am just ready to go out every game and shutdown my assignment, regardless of who it is.”

Ben Goodman, So., Buck
On how he knows he is ready to take on a significant role with the defense…
“I put in all the hard work. I have been praying on it and just leave everything else to God. Everything happens for a reason and I believe in myself and my team that it will all work out for us. I have been working out every day, trying to better myself each and every day and I feel I am ready.”

On what he has learned since he has been at KU…
“I learned a lot, but you can never learn enough. From Josh Williams, Toben Opurum and working out with Coach Weis, they kept me under their wings and taught me a lot of different things. They blessed me with their knowledge, and now, the opportunity is presenting itself so I am looking to forward to making the most of it.”

Keon Stowers, Jr., Defensive Lineman
On the biggest difference from last year to this year…
“I think we are more comfortable now, we are comfortable with each other, and we are confident with Coach Weis. We are more comfortable with the system to the point we have some swagger with what we do. Players are not as edgy, not as afraid to make a mistake because we now know what we are supposed to be doing.”

On being the ‘unsung heroes’ of the defense…
“Our job up front is to clog the holes and occupy the guards and the center. As an interior defensive lineman, you have to be unselfish because you have to sacrifice your own personal stats to help another teammate get their stats. It makes me feel better when Ben (Heeney), Darius (Willis) or Jake (Love) are getting their tackles because that means I’m doing my job.”

Dexter Linton, Sr, Safety
On replacing Bradley McDougald…
“Bradley was a great player but we were a bad team, so I want to help change the way around here. I want to help win games, and when you win games, everything is easier. That’s my main focus.”

On working with Dave Campo…
“He likes to talk about Deion Sanders. He always refers to his ex-players, because they’ve been there and he’s been there. He also gives us the mentality to come to work every day, that every day is an audition. He won’t let anyone be lackadaisical; he’s good at getting us motivated.” 

Darius Willis, Sr., Buck
On Dexter Linton…
“I’ve seen a lot of progression from him this summer. I watched him break down film, and work hard to make himself a better player. He’s doing all the little things that he might have gotten away from at times. I’ve seen him really working his tail off to get to where he wants to be.”

On playing Buck…
“It’s pretty much like playing defensive end and linebacker at the same time – it’s just more on the edge. It’s not too much different than rushing the passer. (The pass coverage aspect) is pretty natural for me. It’s something I’ve worked at over the summer and got a lot better at.”

Ben Heeney, Jr., Linebacker
On his personal success last season…
“Last year was obviously an unsuccessful season for us. But as far as me personally goes, I made some tackles, but tackles only mean so much when you’re (not) winning games.”

On his game…
“Well last year was my first time (starting on) defense since my junior year in high school, so a lot of last year I was just going on instinct. I would see the ball and go make a play. But this year I have a year of starting under my belt, so I have that experience and I think that will make me a lot more comfortable.”


Cassius Sendish: “Team unity” RT @PastorBundy: where is the strength of this years defense? Besides Defensive Backs 🙂

— Kansas Football (@KU_Football) August 9, 2013

Kansas nose tackle Keon Stowers on the KU defense: “We have guys on the second team that started last year; we got depth on top of depth.”

— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) August 9, 2013

In the Pros
Anthony Collins (OL, Cincinnati Bengals)  and Tanner Hawkinson (OL, Cincinnati Bengals) helped Cincinnati to a 34-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the team’s preseason opener Thursday night on ESPN. Collins and Hawkinson helped paved the way for 434 total yards, including 230 on the ground. Hawkinson, who saw snaps at both guard and tackle positions, was carted off the field late in the game with an ankle injury. Tim Biere (TE, Atlanta Falcons) did not record any stats.

Steven Johnson (LB, Denver Broncos) recorded a tackle late in the third quarter, stopping San Francisco’s Vance McDonald after a completed pass from Scott Tolzien. The drive would later stall and the 49ers were limited to a field goal in the 10-6 loss to Denver. Greg Brown (DB, San Diego Chargers) also logged a tackle Thursday night, bringing down the Seahawks Spencer Ware prior to the two-minute warning in San Diego’s 31-10 loss. Darrell Stuckey (S, San Diego Chargers) also played in the game, but did not record any stats.

Dezmon Briscoe (WR, Washington Redskins) played in Washington’s 22-21 win over the Tennessee Titans Thursday night but didn’t record any catches.

Bradley McDougald (S, Kansas City Chiefs), Toben Opurum (FB, Kansas City Chiefs), Mike Rivera (LB, New England Patriots), Aqib Talib (S, New England Patriots), and Josh Williams (DE, Chicago Bears) will all see action in NFL exhibition contests Friday night.

Looking Ahead
Weekend? The Jayhawks aren’t taking any breaks and will steam into Saturday with an identical schedule to Friday – morning meetings followed by lunch, media availability (this time for offensive coaches), and practice No. 3 in the afternoon. 

A week from today, Kansas Athletics and the KU Alumni Association will join forces to host the family-friendly KU Kickoff pep rally presented by First National Bank at Corinth Square (83rd & Mission Road in Prairie Village, Kan.). Starting at 6 p.m., Kansas football head coach Charlie Weis, women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson and track and field coach Stanley Redwine, who was recently named National Coach of the Year, will each address the crowd.

Kansas will open the 2013 football season by hosting South Dakota on Saturday, Sept. 7 in Memorial Stadium. Game time is slated for 6 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by contacting the Kansas Ticket Office at 1-800-34-HAWKS or via the web at The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.