Defensive Leaders Speak on Third Day of Camp

Senior defensive tackle Keon Stowers beat the heat during a hydration break at fall camp.
Returning Defensive Stats from 2013
Category Returning Total PCT.
Tackles 659 860 77%
Tackles For Loss 54.0 73.0 74%
Sacks 17.5 21.0 83%
Interceptions 14 14 100%
Defensive Leaders Career Stats
Name Tot UT AT TFL Sacks INT
B. Goodman 55 36 19 11.0 4.0 1
B. Heeney 208 127 81 23.5 3.0 3
J. Love 94 54 40 11.0 1.0 0
D. McDonald 46 30 16 0.0 0.0 2
M. Reynolds 52 33 19 14.0 7.5 0
C. Sendish 68 47 21 1.5 1.0 0
J. Shepherd 60 41 19 3.0 1.0 2
V. Simmons 79 52 27 7.5 2.5 0
K. Stowers 33 25 8 2.5 0.0 1

Fall Camp Central

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas football team conducted its second practice of the season Saturday, once again wearing helmets and shorts. Prior to practice, nine of KU’s designated ‘defensive leaders’ were made available to speak with the media at the Anderson Family Football Complex following lunch.
Experience will play a key role in the upcoming season on the defensive side of the ball, and the nine players selected to participate in Saturday’s interviews all have started and been key players in previous seasons. Speed, leadership and past production can be found at all three levels of this edition of the Jayhawk defense.
The second level will be patrolled by Preseason All-Big 12 pick Ben Heeney whose blend of speed and athleticism make him an impact player from anywhere on the field. Heeney realizes that for this junior and senior led defense it’s their last chance to make a positive impact.
“I think right now things are in a very good place,” Heeney said. “I can tell it’s night and day compared to previous years. I think the leadership we have is a lot better, because a lot us of know this is our last go around. If we don’t succeed, we are not going to. We have a lot more pressure.”
In the trenches, senior defensive lineman Keon Stowers will lead a talented defensive front that looks to plug holes in the run game and disrupt the pocket on passing downs.
“We know our expectations for this defense,” Stowers said. “We really don’t need any approval from anybody. We know what we expect out of our team, and out of our defense, and we’re ready to show it on the field.”
A player who made the transition to join Stowers on the defensive line from the BUCK position, a hybrid defensive end/linebacker, is 6-3, 250-pound junior Ben Goodman. Goodman hopes his move to the line will give him and his teammates an athletic advantage over offensive linemen.
“I expect a lot of athletic ability, production and pass rushing,” Goodman said. “We are more athletic and not as big as we were last year. No offense to the guys last year, but we can move a little bit better.”
A player who is very familiar with Goodmans’ old position, senior BUCK Michael Reynolds –  who led KU in sacks a season ago, anticipates speed and athleticism won’t just be on the defensive line.
“I think we’re pretty fast,” Reynolds said. “Me, (fellow senior BUCK) Victor Simmons, (junior linebacker) Jake Love, Heeney, (junior safety) Isaiah (Johnson), Goodman, everyone is really quick and athletic. Even our big guys, Keon, he’s pretty quick for his size.”
The last line of defense for the Jayhawks will be their group of defensive backs in the secondary. Senior cornerback JaCorey Shepherd believes the players around him in the secondary make up the deepest and most versatile part of this defense.
“We have a lot of players back there,” Shepherd said. “Especially veteran guys who can make plays. Obviously you have a good linebacking corps, and a good defensive line. But the secondary is the strongest and has a bit-more depth.”
Senior safety Cassius Sendish is focused only on team success. Individual accolades are things that he is going to keep to a secret. Sendish pointed out that everyone on the defense, especially in the secondary, brings something unique and different and that is what will make this team better.
“I’ve got personal goals, but I’d rather keep them to myself,” Sendish said. “As far as the team goes, we just want to go as far as we can take it. We take every day and put 110-percent into it. Yesterday, we brought it up before we even got to the practice field, whatever you bring to the table – make sure you bring all of it.”
Looking Ahead
There will be no media availability or open practice scheduled on Sunday for Kansas’ fourth day and third practice of fall camp. Interviews will kick back off on Monday as the ‘offensive leaders’ take their turn in front of the press, followed by the team’s fourth practice at 2:40 p.m.
To stay up to date during fall camp follow the Jayhawks online via 2014 Fall Camp Central and on Twitter @KU_Football. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.