Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Laptad a coach’s dream


Given the assignment to create in his basement the perfect football brain, Dr. Frankenstein would have made a man who speaks exclusively in clichés, does not question authority and does the same things with his free time as coaches have him doing at practice.

He would have created a brain indistinguishable from that of Kansas University’s Jake Laptad, 6-foot-5, 258-pound defensive end from Tulsa Jenks High, a perennial Oklahoma power.

Laptad chewed up the quarterback during a 49-3, season-opening victory Saturday against Northern Colorado and spit out clichés afterward. A coach’s dream.

Crash Davis, the catcher in the film “Bull Durham,” taught young pitcher Nuke LaLoosh how to speak in clichés, but he couldn’t teach Laptad to say anything he can’t say better. If everyone talked like Laptad, bulletin-board manufacturers would all go out of business.

“It was a lot of fun getting out there and finally getting to hit someone else for a change,” Laptad said, delivering the line delivered by at least one player in every locker room in America in Week 1 of every football season.

And then Laptad topped himself.

“We’ve got to take it one game at a time to be able to get better and practice every day,” he said.

Yes sir, the Jayhawks will take it one game at a time. There are no doubleheaders in football.

Some players bring stress to their coaches. Laptad brings peace by constantly becoming a more violent football player.

“He’s a serious student of the game,” KU coach Mark Mangino said. “He puts a lot into it. He does. He’s big in the weight room. He works hard on his fundamental drills on his own time, as well as what we do together. He’s really getting better, and he’s a lot of fun to coach because he’s into it. It’s really important to him.”

Laptad was named to the Sporting News All-Big 12 freshman team and as a sophomore earned All-Big 12 honorable-mention status and was named KU’s Most Improved Defensive Player. He gets a little bigger, a little better every year. His weight was listed at 223 pounds his freshman season, 249 as a sophomore.

“You couldn’t have enough Jake Laptads,” defensive coordinator Clint Bowen said. “He’s one of those kids who just works hard, has some toughness about him. Every single play he plays the way you want all your players to play, 100 mph, and he does everything you ask of him. He’s one of a kind. If you know Laptad, you know he doesn’t say very much, but he’s one of those ones who would be carrying a big stick. When he does open his mouth, you can see the other guys on defense listening to him. He’s an intense person, and that does have some carryover.”

Reserve defensive end Quinton Woods, making the adjustment from junior-college ball, could benefit from Laptad’s rugged intensity rubbing off on him.

“Quinton’s athletic and can move,” Bowen said. “It’s a big jump from where he was a year ago. He needs to continue to get bigger and stronger, but as far as pass-rush ability, he has some very natural ability.”

Laptad needs a defensive end on his opposite side to emerge and more penetration from tackles to have a big season. He can’t do it alone.


NebraskaJayhawk 12 years, 4 months ago

Good article, and no doubt we the rest of our D-Line to step it up a notch.

Michael Leiker 12 years, 4 months ago

I was happy to see that NU had -0- sacks this weekend and that Ndamakong Suh was being somewhat critical of his defensive tackle counterpart. I think D-Line is a big strength this year for KU.

And somebody tell me how Max Onyegbule is not just killing people. That guy had to put on 35 lbs of muscle in the offseason, and looks like an NFL DE. Maxwell, just hit somebody already...guy could and should be a freaking beast.

CasperCorps 12 years, 4 months ago

Laptad could be the next Jerrod Allen..

okiedave 12 years, 4 months ago

The Laptad family attends our church in Tulsa and they are a wonderful family and raised their kids right. On another note, when I moved my family from Lawrence to Tulsa, the thing that amazed me is how serious Oklahoma takes it football. Parents start their kids playing football in one of several organized football clubs at 8 yrs. You pick which club you want your kid to join and he is assigned to a team, with each team having a coach, several assistant coaches and a regular schedule of games throughout the Fall and Winter. The parents take it serious. The Peewee coaches take it competitively. High schools compete for kids. Employers offer fathers or mothers jobs in their school district to get them to move in order to get a promising 11-13 year old speedster in their district. It is not uncommon to have a High School be penalized for illegal recruiting violations and have to forfeit games. Football is an obsession in Oklahoma (and Texas). MM knows this. There is a wealth of football talent in Oklahoma and it is only a 4 1/2 hour drive from Tulsa to Lawrence. We just need kids to visit the K.U. campus and Lawrence and they would be sold as Norman and Stillwater can't compare to the splendor of the K.U. Campus and Lawrence.

KGphoto 12 years, 4 months ago

Hey, we have The Two Jakes (3 if Schermer ever gets famous). Keegan. An article please. You can pick who gets to be Nicholson, and who gets to be Keitel.

Jake: You've got your cliches down. You've announced your presence with authority. You aren't a lollygagger. But the rose goes in the front big guy.

MitchumMan 12 years, 4 months ago

Does anybody have any info on Dave Clark, a committed DB from Independence Community College? He is now showing as a 4 star recruit on, but before he never had any stars. Thanks!

kugrad2009 12 years, 4 months ago

Mitch. I think Clark tore his ACL. Rivals had a headline saying that, but you can't see the full article unless you are a subscriber. It says he's still leading the program, so maybe he's coming off the injury. If he's healthy, he has the same size and speed as Aqib Talib did, so we will have to see.

mikehawk 12 years, 4 months ago

I couldn't agree more OkieDave. I live in Tulsa and don't really like the emphasis on football down here that you described very well. But it is what it is, and I think with the continually improving facilities at KU, it makes the beautiful campus and great college town of Lawrence seem even that much more special. The folks down here in Oklahoma have no idea how wonderful our school and campus really are.

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