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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Time to man up: Kansas D-backs embrace challenge

Kansas cornerback Greg Brown tips deep pass away from Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011 at Kivisto Field.

Kansas cornerback Greg Brown tips deep pass away from Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011 at Kivisto Field.

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A few months ago, Kansas University defensive coordinator Dave Campo told his defensive backs that they needed to keep running hard in their conditioning drills and that they couldn’t get tired, as KU was going to run a lot more man coverage this season.

The words “man coverage” put a smile on Greg Brown’s face.

“Everyone’s more comfortable with that,” the senior cornerback said. “Just the gray area ... you don’t have that gray area of having to play slower, just in case somebody does this. You can just have guys locked on their man.”

Campo later confirmed KU’s intention to play more man coverage at another defensive meeting. Immediately after the get-together, Brown and junior cornerback Tyler Patmon started talking about how excited they were to accept the challenge.

“We love that,” Patmon said. “It puts us out there on an island, and if a ball gets caught, it’s our fault. No discussion on who messed up or what we know. It’s on us.”

Last season, KU’s defense allowed 8.9 yards per pass attempt, which ranked next-to-last nationally. The Jayhawks also surrendered eight passing plays of 50 yards or more (tied for 111th nationally), with many of those blown coverages followed by KU players talking on the field, trying to figure out which defender had messed up his responsibility.

With man coverage, the hope is that everything becomes more simplified: Line up in front of a receiver, stay with him, and use other defenders to bring additional pressure on the quarterback.

“If someone catches something, you know who it is. You know what you messed up on.” Brown said. “It’s not too much of going back to the board and seeing, ‘What do we do to fix here?’ It’s like, ‘Hey, guard your man.’”

Playing additional man coverage is risky, as there is the possibility that a cornerback gets beat for a long gain.

“That’s what all those corners want to pretend to be is the lockdown guy,” KU defensive backs coach Clint Bowen said with a smile. “When you start getting into the real action, you find out if it’s true or not, and you’ve got to have a short memory. But they’ve embraced it. They’re working hard, and it’s something that we can use in the fall to help us.”

In practices, KU’s safeties also are coming toward the line of scrimmage and being asked to play press coverage.

Senior safety Bradley McDougald said that KU’s switch to more man coverage was the biggest difference he’d noticed this year compared to last.

“Coach (Charlie) Weis and coach Campo together, they both want to bring a lot more pressure than we did last year,” McDougald said. “We sat back in a lot of zone (last year), and this year, we’re getting up in people’s faces.”

Though KU probably won’t implement as much man coverage in the regular season as it has in early practices, part of the reason for using it is to see which players have the ability to stick with a man.

With a new staff, that can be used as part of the evaluation process.

Already, Brown believes his technique is improving with the help of Campo, who has spent the greater part of the last 25 years coaching secondary in college and the NFL.

Patmon, who is trying to earn a starting cornerback spot after playing the last two years at nickelback, said Campo told his defensive backs early on that he was going to put the pressure on them.

“When he said we were going to be playing a lot more man, we fell in love with it,” Patmon said. “You’re not dependent on anybody else. You can’t blame anybody else. It’s all us, or it’s nobody.”

Comments

Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 12 months ago

Seriously, who is the dummkauf at Liberty U. marketing that thinks putting their stupid ad on the hometown site (kusports.com) of the university that just got burned for $10mil will generate any, ANY positivity for them? Just Emm-Effin wow! Can they confirm "stupid" any farther than hiring Derp-per-se? Yep, place an ad in Lawrence, KS...true brilliance, and not of the lord...(hyena-like laughter...).

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Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 12 months ago

Oh, boy! As soon as I finish the above comment...what do I see? ...A flashing ad for Liberty University (the-next-sucka...). Are they friggin' stupid? (Yes! -why ask the obvious.) The only question that remains is this: Is Liberty University $10million-stupid like Lew was? I'm sure Gill will teach them alot about "liberating" (some $$$). Let us pray. (for an epic fail, part deux...). Now where is that voodoo doll of mine, dressed in a 1981 Cornhusker uniform? Check. Found it. Now where is that .45Colt of mine...hmm, will a Marine sabre do? (pardon the picturesque colloquialisms, but y'all get the point, as shall the doll...)


Let me rephrase the bitterness and damage done: 3 years after an OrangeBowl win, we are the absolute laughingstock of Div.1 BCS programs. A Div2 school's defense would have done the same or better. Could you ever imagine those 50+point beatdowns of a KU team?!? Zenger is a football guy and he knew something had to change. My thanks to all the fellow alumni&donors who stepped up to make the nightmare stop. And thanks to Sheahon Zenger for having the guts required to do the right thing.

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Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 12 months ago

Pass-savvy offenses simply sat back and tore up Gill's "soft zone". Did I say "soft"? At least with legit coaches, we can maximally extract what we can from the talent we have...ala, Self & the '12runner-upHawks. Man2man defense got the D-backs excited, and enthusiastic motivation about a specific football defensive scheme/philosophy is very exciting to me (as opposed to the kumbaya-inspiration-outta-the-sky-bull$hit of the last 2yrs). Thank you for being here, Coach Weis+Campo+Bowen+Holsopple+Grunhard...

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HAWKS1 1 year, 12 months ago

oops. Not sure how this got posted to this article. Was intended for the article about Bob Davis. Sorry!

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HAWKS1 1 year, 12 months ago

I haven't cared for Bob Davis for a looonng time. Especially his football broadcasts. If you walk into a room and the radio is on, it's hard to tell who has the ball by his level of excitement. He gets just as excited, if not even more excited, when the opponent makes a good play as when KU does. As much as I dislike KSUcks, I would take Wyatt Thompson any day over Davis! (Kevin Harlan would be the absolute best choice if we could have anyone we wanted imho)

Mitch Holthus has to be the WORST announcer in the NFL. (Although, the SD Chargers announcer is pretty darn poor also.) Sounds like a backwoods hick with his dumb little sayings. He is the master of the obvious in his analysis and over-estimates his knowledge of the game. Len Dawson must have nearly chewed his tongue off by now biting it when Holthus makes one of his stupid comments. Is announcing sort of like teaching? Once you get hired and get a few years in you gain tenure and you're there until you decide to retire?

Davis and Holthus can both BE retired as far as I'm concerned.

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plotku 1 year, 12 months ago

Speaking of DB's I have been trying to figure out whatever happened to Charles Gordon after he broke his leg? Did he play again? Anyone???????

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Randy Bombardier 1 year, 12 months ago

All I can say is I can't believe it has taken this long to get back to what seems obvious to me, that playing a zone in a pass-happy conference is suicide. That your best chances for picks are man coverage vs. zone coverage. Zone can be a once in a while tool, but the rule needs to be man coverage.

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KGphoto 1 year, 12 months ago

Am I mistaken or is this more like the defense that Bill Young runs. Tons of pressure, all over the field. If nothing else, it's fun to watch.

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edmondjayhawk 1 year, 12 months ago

Greg Brown quote..."you don't have that grey area to play slower"...they did indeed play slower last year.... Slower than their opponent..... Tyler Patmon quote..."it puts out there on an island"....That's a scary thought.

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Displayhawk 1 year, 12 months ago

Be careful what you ask for..............You just might get it!

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bville_hawk 1 year, 12 months ago

This makes football articles 3 days in a row (by my count). Way to go Jesse Newell! Keep 'em coming!

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Jason Keller 1 year, 12 months ago

Hahaha this picture brings back memories. Remember the defense Gill ran? It was as if the only thing he was trying to stop was the big play but, they got a big play anyway. Good times.

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Doug Cramer 1 year, 12 months ago

Still think Weis should of hired a defensive line specialist. Buddy Wyatt doesn't cut it...and Campo is a secondary guy.

Any recruiting rumors on getting some decent D-line guys for next year's class ?

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