Good guy Carl Torbush — you hear him talk, you feel like you’re in a rocking chair on a porch just waiting for a line that’s going to crack you up — will be missed by the Kansas University football program.
We’re told the outlook is good for a full recovery from impending prostate-cancer surgery for the hard-driving coach blessed with an abundance of charm that suited him well on the recruiting trail. Torbush will get back to full speed as fast as humanly possible because that’s who he is. Throughout his time in Lawrence, he could be seen jogging daily. The smart money says he’ll be back playing in an adult baseball league soon.
As for how head coach Turner Gill will replace him, he already has an experienced defensive coordinator on his staff, and a perfect fit passionate about KU and now working elsewhere to slide in as a defensive position coach.
Gill’s cornerbacks coach, Vic Shealy, is among the most respected defensive football minds in the business, which is no surprise considering he’s the son of a football coach, Dal Shealy, whose resume included assistant coaching positions at Auburn and Tennessee. (Vic started at quarterback for the Auburn High Tigers.)
Vic Shealy came to Kansas from Richmond, where in 2009 he was defensive coordinator, the same position he held at UNLV the four seasons before that. He coached the secondary at Air Force (1999-2004) and was named NAIA National Coach of the Year during his time as head coach of Azusa Pacific.
In Shealy’s one season as Gill’s cornerbacks coach, Greg Brown made huge strides, showing star potential, Tyler Patmon became a playmaker and Isiah Barfield, burned repeatedly early in the season, showed significant improvement.
Gill pulled off as smooth a transition as possible when he lost wide receivers coach/recruiting standout Darrell Wyatt to Texas by bringing David Beaty back to Lawrence to replace him. Some coaches might have been too insecure to bring back an assistant from the staff of the previous coach whose ouster was unpopular with the fan base. Not Gill. He can be a hard man to read, but one easy call on him is that he doesn’t have an ounce of insecurity. He believes what he does is right and doesn’t seem to be influenced by opinions outside the program.
So if Gill believes bringing former Lawrence High and KU football player Clint Bowen back to Lawrence strengthens his staff, he’ll do it. After losing his job along with the rest of Mangino’s staff, Bowen served a year as defensive coordinator at Western Kentucky and now holds the same position at North Texas.
Bowen’s personality makes him a great recruiter — he recruited a Miss Kansas winner, the former Kristie Knox, to be his wife — and he would believe everything he said to a recruit about KU being a great place to go to school and play football. With all the experience he has coaching defense, handling linebackers would not be a problem for Bowen, even though most of his position-coaching experience has been in the secondary.
Having an experienced coordinator as a sounding board for Shealy wouldn’t hurt. With Torbush only a phone call away, Shealy would have two of them.