Football Fall Camp: Sunday Marks Fourth Practice, Defensive Coaches Talk
The Kansas football team conducted its last practice before putting on full pads as fall camp continued on the practice fields outside Memorial Stadium Sunday afternoon. Members of the defensive coaching staff met with the media to discuss progress and the upcoming season, with a grab bag of responses listed below.
Buddy Wyatt, Defensive Line Coach
On differences between the defensive line at this time last year to the defensive line this season…
“We definitely have a whole lot more numbers to work with this year than we did a year ago. It was a little slim pickins a year ago. Now we have a lot of competition, a lot of numbers. There’s a good nucleus of guys that are returning that have really to me improved on their stamina, on their conditioning, and on their skills. I’m really excited about those guys. Then the new guys that are coming in, obviously you see a lot of athletic ability, a lot of potential there because of their physical attributes and physical skills. It’s an exciting time, I’m a lot more fired up this year than I was a year ago.”
On versatility and depth at defensive line…
“It definitely makes my job a little easier. It makes us better as a defensive line, it makes us better as a defense, and obviously it makes us better as a football team. It’s good to have guys that can do a lot of different things, because now you’re more versatile. Also, God forbid somebody gets hurt, you’ve got some guys you can move around that will be able to help you.”
Clint Bowen, Linebackers Coach
On the biggest difference between Jake Love and Samson Faifili…
“They are a lot alike. Samson (Faifili) probably has some pounds on Jake (Love), a little bit bigger. They both have a lot of the same attributes, though. They are both tough, they can run, they are pretty athletic, and both are good football players.”
On what linebacker has transformed their body the most in the offseason…
“I would say Victor Simmons. He moved to the linebacker spot and was able to put on a lot of muscle mass, without putting on any body fat. He has probably improved the most in terms of complete muscle.”
On the difference in game-planning between the secondary and the linebackers…
“I am more heavily-involved with putting the defensive packages together. I am in charge of the different fronts and coverage’s and more of the decision-making on how to tie those things together. When it comes time to actually calling it on game days, we can make those calls.”
Dave Campo, Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Backs Coach
On how defensive plays will be called this season…
“It is going to be a single-call system, but it is not going to be just one guy making those calls all the time. The only thing we are doing is signaling to each group differently. If we want a guy to press on the move in a certain situation, we will be able to signal that to him. It is similar to how we did things when I was with the (Dallas) Cowboys. The biggest thing is that we have a lot of experience on our defensive staff; some of the experience is more geared to this style of offense than mine is. When we put it all together, we are in a community situation where we are using everyone’s abilities. Last year, it was me telling everyone what to do. This year, we are listening to each other to make these decisions. I believe this is the best way for us to compete and be efficient with our calls.”
On the lack of game experience in the secondary…
“That is one of the issues that we have. When we line up against the teams that we are playing against, we are going to be, athletically, better than we were the year before. How quickly we can get those guys integrated is going to be the difference-maker. That is going to come down to how we restructured things a little bit because I am now able to spend more hands-on time with the secondary which I felt was a problem last year. I felt we gave up way too many big plays, and there were a lot of situations where we could have controlled the game better than we did. I feel like this group is more athletic than last year, and now we just need them to get experience. We don’t have great depth right now, but I like the parts we have.”
Scott Vestal, Assistant Defensive Backs Coach
On replacing Bradley McDougald…
“We’ve got a lot of new guys coming in. Guys that are playing safety and playing nickel, the positions that Bradley played, and I really feel good about Dexter Linton. He’s got a lot of experience, and he’s been here a long time. He understands our system very well and I think he’s going to have a very good year. Overall, the carryover from spring has been something I feel very positive about and I feel we have a chance to be even better.”
On his mentality in practice…
“You’ve got to compete every day. You compete against each other, but you’re really competing against yourself. We just try to get the mentality out that, ‘Can you bring the best you every day?’ There’s no tool or technology that can measure what’s on the inside of you. Only you know if you gave it your best, so every day is an audition. You’re auditioning against yourself every day to see if you can be the best that you can be.”
In the Pros
It was a pretty slow Saturday and Sunday for the Jayhawks in the professional ranks with most of the action happening late last week. Thirteen Jayhawks are vying for playing time in NFL camps and a few other former Kansas players are playing professionally in Canada. We touched on Jon Cornish’s big night for Calgary Friday night in yesterday’s report, but as Mark Stephen from CFL.ca reports, the former KU running back’s performance was record-setting.
“The four rushing touchdowns were a franchise first, as no player in team history had rushed for four touchdowns in a game. The four touchdowns were also the second most by a player in team history. Earl Lunsford holds the record with five. Cornish became just the third player in team history to record four touchdowns in a game. The last player to record four majors in a game was Hall of Fame Stampeders receiver Herm (Ham Hands) Harrison in 1970.”
Cornish, who was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian last season, is used to breaking records, having rushed for a single-season best 1,457 yards as a senior at KU in 2006.
A new week doesn’t bring any changes to the schedule for Monday, but Tuesday marks the first two-a-day practice as the Jayhawks shift out of the acclimatization period and into more contact and full speed drills.
On Friday, 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 KUAthletics.com.
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