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Friday, July 13, 2012

Defensive depth a focus for Weis in fast-paced Big 12

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Most years, and with most teams, players focus their efforts and attention on cracking the first team on the depth chart.

But for this year’s Kansas University football team, at least the defense, new head coach Charlie Weis is delivering a different message.

“What I’m explaining to our defensive guys (is) they’re not trying to get into the one-deep,” Weis said. “They’re trying to get into the two-deep. Because all the two guys will be playing.”

There are many reasons for Weis’ desire to play both his starters and reserves with more regularity. Part of it stems from the need to keep fresh bodies on the field to compete with the Big 12’s high-octane offenses. And part of it makes a statement about Weis’ feelings about KU’s first-team talent.

“I believe in the Big 12 you better be able to play two deep,” Weis said. “Because the game is so fast paced, so many teams play the game at the line of scrimmage, that you have to be able to roll them through. And you can’t worry about who’s in the game. You can’t worry what your second defensive line’s thinking. You can’t worry about it. The game happens too fast. So you have to have enough confidence that you can play two deep at every position.”

With 27 newcomers reporting to preseason camp in a few weeks, and Weis and his coaching staff believing they have upgraded KU’s defensive talent, playing multiple lineups does not seem as scary as it might have during the past couple of seasons. Of course, scary or not, that’s the method Weis is planning on using in hopes of keeping his defense fresh and competitive for four quarters.

“It’s not like the quarterback,” Weis said. “The starting rush end is going to play and then the guy behind him, he’s gonna be playing, too. I don’t know if it’ll be 50-50 or 60-40, but they’ll both play significant snaps in every game.”

D-tackle likes Kansas

Port Arthur (Texas) Memorial High defensive tackle Matthew Romar, recently told Rivals.com that the Jayhawks had moved to the top of his list.

The Class of 2013 prospect, who earned all-area honors last season, has developed a strong relationship with KU defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt, and it’s Wyatt’s past ties to impact players Von Miller (Texas A&M) and Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska) that have the two-star lineman interested in KU.

“He’s a great man and has a great background,” Romar told Jon Kirby of JayhawkSlant.com. “He’s been to some good schools and coached some great players.”

Romar, who has received offers from Kansas, Iowa State, Utah, Tulsa, and North Texas, is in the process of planning an official visit to KU.

OU’s Grissom to TE

Former Hutchinson High standout Geneo Grissom has been moved to tight end during the offseason by the Oklahoma coaching staff.

Grissom, a four-star defensive end out of high school and one of the biggest names that the Jayhawks missed out on in recent years, was the No. 3 ranked player in Kansas in the Class of 2010 and was ranked as the 13th best defensive end prospect in the nation.

After picking OU, Grissom red-shirted in 2010 after suffering a foot injury before the start of the season. Last year, Grissom, 6-foot-4, 247 pounds, played in six games as a third-string D-end and finished the season with five tackles, including three against Ball State and one against Kansas State.

OU lost its top two tight ends from 2011 to graduation and watched another transfer, leaving the Sooners with no returning experience at the position and Grissom with a better shot at playing time.

Make it ‘Coach Johnson’

Former KU defensive lineman Richard Johnson Jr., recently joined the coaching staff at Fort Scott Community College.

Johnson, who hails from Jefferson City, Mo., graduated from KU last December and played in all 12 games last season — starting nine — and finished with 16 tackles, including two for loss.

In addition to his on-the-field coaching duties, Johnson will recruit Kansas and Missouri.

Comments

Mike Hart 1 year, 9 months ago

Couldn't disagree more. A rather retarded analysis from your standpoint

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CrimsonAndBlueForLife 1 year, 9 months ago

My concern about this Romar kid is that he's received offers not only from us, but from other lesser schools such as Iowa State and Utah and non-BCS schools like Tulsa and North Texas. What does that say about the kind of players we are recruiting? I mean, it's tough to compete for recruits with Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska, but shouldn't we be aiming for the kind of recruits who would be considered by those guys?

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Benjamin Piehler 1 year, 9 months ago

I expect major improvements in defense over last year; but its tough to perform worse.

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Michael Maris 1 year, 9 months ago

Charlie knows what is going on (for sure). When I lived in Wichita back in the late '80's, I remember listening Coach Mason (on his HawkTalk Show) always talking about the 2nd String guys need to be prepared and ready to go in at any given moment. Coach Mason repeated that statement over and over on his radio shows.

Coach Mangino defensive units (under Coach Bill Young) were the same way. When the trio of Floodman, Reid and Kane were backed-up by Rivera, Springer, Holt, Mortensen. Those guys were prepared and ready for any task thrown their way.

So, Weis is looking at all aspects of the game (not just the offensive side). I won't deny, I did support Gill. But, the correct decision was made (even though it is a costly one). The decision to remove Gill (and the majority of the staff) and bring in Weis and Campo (who would've ever thought that was possible at Kansas Football?) was the RIGHT decision.

I'm fully convinced that with Dr. Sheahon Zenger running the Kansas Athletic Dept., all head coaches will be held accountable for their respective sports. I hope that Dr. Zenger stays in Lawrence for a very long time.

By the way, Kudos to Andrea Geubelle for winning the Triple Jump in Mexico (while she was ill (from the Mexican cuisine, water, etc.......). Yes, I'm related to her.

Rock Chalk.

1

Linejudgemick 1 year, 9 months ago

I believe this is an optimistic, but still realistic hope for the defense this year. The offense is improved enough this year that we are not constantly putting the defense back on the field after 4 plays (or less). Our defense is not constantly starting with such horrible field position. The defense has not been so hopelessly out of position that the game has been decided before half time (or earlier). Finally that our defense does not surrender a come from behind victory late in the game because of a very evident lack of conditioning.

If these things happen and I think/hope they will - then they will be in games. Then... if they are in games, they can win games. If they stay in and then win some games their confidence could really grow. Confidence can be strange player in a game. Both for the Hawks if they gain it because they "think" they can win now, and for their opponents if they "think" they can loose now.

Am I trying to say this WILL happen - no, but do I think it CAN happen - yes. If it happens will the Hawks be bowl eligible this year? Who knows, but if it happens they'll be much better on the field and fans should be encouraged they are on the right path.

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Mike Hart 1 year, 9 months ago

This whole line of posting seems stupid. Our defense was fine last year. We were dominating people last year. What games were YOU guys watching? Rock Chalk Gayhawk...

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jhawkrulz 1 year, 9 months ago

Last year ranked 120 out of 120 for the second worse defense of all time.

I'm hoping for around 75. If we hit 75 in the Big XII that is drastic improvement because of the prolific nature of the NFL offenses.

I also believe that if it is 60 or below we are in a bowl game.

100 or above and we have 2-3 wins on the season.

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Cameron Cederlind 1 year, 9 months ago

p>KUSports.com . . . meaning sports at the University of Kansas. Geneo Grissom? The only thing in there is that we missed out on him. I'm sure we've missed out on a lot of good players from Kansas.

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shelleysue 1 year, 9 months ago

I have been and still remain cautiously optimistic. I am looking forward to good things happening but not looking for miracles. If I'm not depressed while driving TO the games, I will consider it a pretty successful season.

3

troutsee 1 year, 9 months ago

Our D will be better. Playing two-deep the same amount of time makes a lot of sense. A second teamer is better than a first teamer when the first tearmer has his hands on his hips.

We will be better at the QB position.

We will be better at linebacker.

Our D backs will be playing more man up

Look for KU to be a force to be reckoned with in the B12 this year.

The cake walks are over.

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Jim Jackson 1 year, 9 months ago

I agree with the poster speaking on the lack of conditioning. I have no idea what that clown of a S&C coach John Williams was thinking, but our D was on the field for so long, you would've thought they would have put more emphasis on it. Then again, "Big" John was not in very good shape himself and was fired from Baylor for his incompetence.

With 5th year transfers like Josh Williams from Nebraska and Mcdonald from ND in addition to the JUCOs, our D will defninitely be better. These guys have had extra years in the weight room. I also like our DBs Mcdougald and Brown.

Campo knows what he is doing, unlike Shealy who was not prepared to be a Big 12 D coordinator.

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 9 months ago

If our defense goes from dead last to middle of the pack, Coach Dave should be given the Assistant Coach of the Year Award.

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Keith Hummel 1 year, 9 months ago

He doesn't need my endorsement, of course, but Coach Weis is so right about the two-deep. Time and again last season other teams exposed our lack of depth on Defense by running no-huddle, hurry-up offenses. You could almost count on it happening, especially in the 3rd and 4th quarter when they knew our first-stringers were gassed. Our coaches tried desperately to rotate players, but more often than not we would get caught in the middle of a switch or our guys would end up confused and out of position. While better conditioning and better coaching will solve some of that problem, we are still going to be awfully thin at a lot of positions. I agree that we are going to be better at every position this year, but I think we need to temper our expectations overall. You simply can't go from having the worst defense in D1 to having a good defense in one year. It's gonna take some time.

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clevelandjayhawker 1 year, 9 months ago

Maybe our corners won't play with an 8-12 yard cushion. That would make me happy.

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Doug Cramer 1 year, 9 months ago

KU Nation - please temper your expectations regarding our defense this year. We are coming off of a season in which our defense was ranked dead last.

Campo tried telling reporters this very thing during one of his spring post practice pressers.

The additions on the line might help a little...but from an overall talent perspective...were still super thin on defense.

1

Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 9 months ago

Actually, I won't be surprised if there isn't that much more talent. We weren't thin--we were almost without roster fills. It was incredibly bad and I don't know how much that can be improved upon without completely new players. Whatever happens defensively this year won't be the current staff's fault, but it will be their daily problem.

I hope that these men, who have experienced a lot of success won't bail in a few years with a good laugh behind them because if that happens, we'll have hit rock bottom.

The Gill experience has left me looking at "what if" not in terms of the good that could happen, but the bad.

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Bangkok_Jayhawk 1 year, 9 months ago

The defense will be significantly better because there is a coaching and talent upgrade.

Coaching: Not a knock on Vic Shealy, you just can't really replace your D-Coordinator like that at the last minute. Having a guy like Campo as our DC is incredible.

Talent: It would be hard to argue that we are not more talented at every position. The fact that so many guys return a year wiser and stronger means the talent will increase. The biggest weakness, the DLine, has been addressed with several JUCO guys and Williams from Nebraska.

Certainly not predicting a return of our Fort Worth or Orange Bowl defensive level, but I feel there is a strong case that this defense can belong in the Big 12 and limit embarrassing point differentials.

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Bangkok_Jayhawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Geneo Grissom as a tight end?

I understand the appeal of playing at a place like OU, but Grissom would certainly have been more of a focal point of our defense. It is a shame to see so many Kansas kids go elsewhere and end up buried in depth charts. In 2010, the year our recruiting class collapsed, 3 Kansas kids signed with Oklahoma. Nothing is to say they all would have signed for Kansas, but pretend for a minute that they would have all signed... Think they would be better off?

  1. Geneo Grissom: Buried in the depth chart at the wrong position.
  2. Justin McCay: Transferred to Kansas after a difficult time at OU.
  3. Blake Bell: Nice "wrinkle" to the offense but will waste a lot of talent and eligibility behind Landry Jones. Could at least make the case that Bell may be a starter someday.
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DrGraydog 1 year, 9 months ago

I am looking forward to watching the defense this year. Expecting large steps forward and to being in games late where in the past we were not able to get it done....

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