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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

KU aide shrugs off Tiger taunts

LB coach Demontie Cross happily traded Wisconsin for KU

Kansas linebackers coach DeMontie Cross watches over drills during a morning practice on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas linebackers coach DeMontie Cross watches over drills during a morning practice on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at Memorial Stadium.

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Every time Demontie Cross set his cell phone down on his desk, it would buzz again.

“Traitor,” one text message said.

“Benedict,” said another.

“How could you?” was a third.

Right after word had broken that Cross had accepted the position of linebackers coach at Kansas University on Jan. 19, his old Missouri football teammates weren’t about to let him live it down.

Cross just chuckled as the 20 or so text messages piled up, not responding to most of them while thinking of a comeback.

“I just told them by the end of it all,” Cross said, “I’ll have them in red and blue.”

Cross, who played free safety at MU from 1994-96, mostly remembers the physicality from his team’s games against KU, which included quite a few hits after the whistle.

Even with Cross’ history at a rival school, he knew he had to listen this offseason when KU football coach Charlie Weis approached him about the possibility of joining KU’s staff.

“It was the right fit for the right time,” Cross said, “and that’s why I’m here.”

Cross spent last season as the special-teams coordinator and safeties coach at Wisconsin — a team that finished with an 11-3 record and appearance in the Rose Bowl.

So why would Cross leave a successful program in the Big Ten to switch to a rebuilding team in the Big 12?

One reason was that he’ll once again be in charge of his own position group.

“There’s just nothing like it,” Cross said. “Having met with the guys, I feel alive again. I feel refreshed.”

Cross also comes to KU with previous NFL experience after spending 2006-10 in different coaching positions for the Buffalo Bills.

In 2010, he was promoted to inside linebackers coach.

During his time with the Bills, Cross worked with recognizable names like Paul Posluszny, Kawika Mitchell, London Fletcher and Takeo Spikes.

Interestingly, he and a few of the veterans were about the same age.

“For me as a young coach at the time, they really helped bring me along fast and well,” Cross said. “I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”

Cross also wants KU to develop the same type of work ethic he saw at Wisconsin.

There were times when Wisconsin coaches had to kick players out of conference rooms to have a meeting themselves, as the UW players would review practice and game film every day.

“The kids there, they run that program, and they hold each other accountable,” Cross said. “They do all the things right off the field. ... So when you can get it like that, you’ve got something good going.”

When he first arrived, Cross told his linebackers at KU they were all coming in with a clean slate.

His biggest emphasis with his players will be getting them to play aggressively.

“A lot of big plays are made when people take plays off,” Cross said. “For the linebackers, just getting them running to the ball, getting them physical and being able to tackle — not only in close quarters, but in space as well, because the game is such a spread-out game nowadays — that’s my goal.”

Cross also doesn’t hide his enthusiasm for the linebackers who will be arriving this summer.

That includes Schyler Miles, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound inside linebacker from Tampa, Fla., who was ranked as the 27th-best linebacker in his class by Rivals.com.

“He has enough size on him to be able to come here and play right away,” Cross said. “He’s a kid that’s very exciting. He’s a guy that we hope can lead our defense in the future for years to come.”

If Cross is able to help improve KU’s defense in the next few seasons, he promises the same teammates who lit up his phone in January will be the first ones to support him.

“At the end of it all, it was always, ‘Congratulations. I’m happy for you,’” Cross said. “If we can get back to some winning ways and doing some good things around here, I guarantee I’ll have them sitting in the crowd cheering for us as well.”

Comments

741hawk 7 years, 9 months ago

“I just told them by the end of it all,” Cross said, “I’ll have them in red and blue.” That would be "Crimson and Blue." He's obviously still learning.

Everyone who makes an unfortunate decision deserves a second chance. Looks like Cross has "seen the light." I married a Tigger and converted her. She wears her crimson and blue the day of every KU football and basketball game. It can be done. Welcome back from the dark side, Demontie.

JayHok 7 years, 9 months ago

Two newest people taken off the bad list---your wife and Demontie.

Still on the bad list---Brassmonkey Pinkel, Buymesomeplayers Haith and the handshaking/hugging referee from Columbia.

Curtis Stutz 7 years, 9 months ago

Something tells me if MU had offered him a positions coach job he would have taken it, so I guess his buddies can blame their own program. I kind of look forward to the rivalry between KU and MU dying out honestly. I might even root for them against a couple SEC teams next year. I think it would be hilarious if they swept UK and UF in basketball. Don't get me wrong though, if MU gets worked over I won't be upset.

Anyway, sounds like Cross has a good attitude, and I like his push for aggressive play from the linebackers. I just want to see KU defenders looking to hit somebody, visualize and attack! If you go for the hit and get juked so be it, but I can't stand it when a guy gets burnt 'cause he was straight up and not moving in for the tackle.

danmoore 7 years, 9 months ago

I’m glad they are gone. They have made their intentions known for some time. If it didn’t happen this year they would be dangling threats in front of the conference every year so it is better they leave.

If K-State becomes our chief rival by default I think it sets the bar higher. They are better in football and basketball than Missouri.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 9 months ago

He was both the Chuck Bednarik and Dick Butkus Awards as the College Defensive Player and Linebacker of the Year in 2005, along with a host of other awards..

kesmithstl1 7 years, 9 months ago

I believe it's the little girl from My Girl.

JHawk06 7 years, 9 months ago

Who are the bird turds? I thought he coached at Kansas!!!...

BillSelf4Prez 7 years, 9 months ago

Looks like your guy's athletics will be doing fantastic in the SEC! Not to mention you guy's year in year out have one of the finest academic institutions in America and send out thousands of geniuses to contribute to our society!

Now back to reality. Misery will not win an SEC title in one single sport and you guys have to be some of the dumbest inbreds on this earth.

JayHok 7 years, 9 months ago

To MU's credit, 75% of their fanbase didn't want to go to the SEC just a week before their board agreed to go. 50% wanted to after the SEC agreement was struck. After the most recent Champions bowl contract was signed between the SEC and the Big 12 that would be a highly interesting poll to see. The silent majority often comes out in these polls. I would guess that the numbers would be back to 75%, considering three of the biggest reasons the insecure MU fans wanted to leave was instability, inequality with the big 12 contract tiers, and an overall loss of power in the big 12 when compared to the Big 10.

Look especialy now MU fans with half a brain know this move was a major mistake.

I didn't think it was possible to feel any empathy towards the Tigers, but somehow I do---mainly because their board and president made this major decision that changed 121 years of history against the will of most of their fans. Three weeks after the decision was made, the Big 12 had their contract Tiers every bit as equal as the SEC does. Within 5 months, a Champions bowl contract had been signed with the Big 12 highlighted by the SEC commish publically declaring the ongoing power of the Big 12 which flew in the face of everything the MU board tried to brainwash the MU fans into believing---the MU fans were lied to by their own board and their own president. 121 years of history flushed because of it. Want to travel to see the Tigers play a road game? Good luck.

It really does have to suck to be a Tiger right now. Somehow I have empathy for the silent Tiger fans who wanted to stay pat in the Big 12, which is most of them.

ku_foaf 7 years, 9 months ago

I have heard much the same. I do know some MU people that were very much against the SEC move.

Ron Prichard 7 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Benjamin Piehler 7 years, 9 months ago

Youre still here? I think someones a closet Jayhawk fan!

yovoy 7 years, 9 months ago

Looking at your log-in, and avatar, I'd say there are a great number of things you don't understand.

ahpersecoachingexperience 7 years, 9 months ago

I hope these guys weren't texting from work. I've heard Burger King has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to texting on duty.

jayhawkjed 7 years, 9 months ago

Cross is the only mu grad who isn't on a pole or delivering pizzas

danmoore 7 years, 9 months ago

What’s the big deal, the rivalry is over. Let bygones be bygones.

I will actually be rooting for MU for the same reason I wanted Nebraska to do well last year. Even though they are in different conferences they are still representing the Big 12 their first season.

lv_jhwk 7 years, 9 months ago

No, no, no, and no.

If you are putting our rivalry with Mizzou on the same level as our contests with NU, then may the ghost of Fam haunt you forever!

danmoore 7 years, 9 months ago

Not sure how you came up with that interpretation. What I'm saying is, I want those schools who left our conference to succeed in their new conference initially because it would reflect badly on the Big 12 if they fail.

nuleafjhawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Agree totally.

I want MU to lose at football, basketball, baseball, rowing, tiddlywinks, badminton, darts, golf, chess (oops - never mind - requires thinking), lawndarts, cow-chip throwing and anything else that could remotely be considered a sport.

Randy Bombardier 7 years, 9 months ago

I will never, ever root for Mizzu in anything. Yeah, I sorta wanted NU to do well in the Big, but every time I saw that they lost I couldn't help but have some glee. What these schools could have done to Kansas, K-State, Iowa State and Baylor is hard to let go. I always liked CU but now I like to see them dead last in the PAC. Somebody needs to come out with a T that has NU, CU, aTm, and MU that reads "Bottom Feeders Forever".

JayHok 7 years, 9 months ago

You do know what Mizzou did publically for two years before leaving the Big 12 right?

As bad as we should feel for the Mizzou fans who now want back in the big 12 because they were lied to by their board and President---as Jayhawks it really shouldn't be possible to root for a team that tried underhandedly to sabotage their own conference. This entire waterfall effect started when Mizzou went public two years ago and kept going public.

Our interim commish could have fixed this if Beebe could have been released sooner---But don't ever forget what Mizzou underhandedly tried to do to the Big 12---done for the purpose of getting enough fans and board members a reason to leave. All politics. Risking---supposedly---the Jayhawks livelihood in a future conference. Surely the MU board and president must have laughed--thinking of the all powerful Jayhawks in the MWC. Haha!

Now their fans know they were lied to. Feel sorry for their fans. But root for the Tigers after what they nearly did to the Big 12? Never. Each game the Tigers win makes their President and board smile and allows job stability for crooks.

Root for the Tigers after they tried to burn down Lawrence again? Never.

ku_foaf 7 years, 9 months ago

They did start the conference breakup with talk of joining the Big 10(12). Texas was behaving like it was The Big UT +11, true, but they backed off by the time Missouri decided to split. TAM I blame a little less - but only a little - they were tired of everything revolving around UT. A common complaint is that TAM doesn't have a law school, so the politicians are are UT grads!

Luke Kay 7 years, 8 months ago

I can't say +1 enough. I have been saying the same thing for years. Whats even funnier is now you get those brainwashed MU fans that act as if them openly courting the B1G never happened since they were snubbed. LOL

danmoore 7 years, 9 months ago

If 90 percent of tiger fans want to continue despising us then it speaks to the arrested development mentality we have come to know over a century of competition. IMO it only makes them look small and petty and if we reciprocate it makes us look small and petty. The way in which they left and then try to play the innocent card in the court of public opinion gives us justification to despise them but I fail to see how we can continue to loathe one another if we no longer play each other. The Hatfields and McCoys have patched things up and we are on good terms with Japan and Germany. We will actually play K-State next year, let’s learn to despise them instead.

JayHok 7 years, 9 months ago

No reason to manufacture hate through our local Ag school or anybody else. Lawrence had a special reason to hate Columbia as did Abe Lincoln. Neither Abe's spirit nor we should feel guilty about our feelings about Missouri.

Respect all the rest of the big 12 because they too put up with what Mizzou did for two years--- we Jayhawks need to put our focus on strategy and building a football team---just like we've always done in basketball.

No reason to ever let go of our feelings for what Missouri has done over the last 150 years. Keep in mind if Kansas felt the way Missouri did back then--the United States of America to this day very well could be slave country.

That's how important the rivalry between Kansas and Missouri was. It was about what kind of country the United States would become. Don't ever let a Mizzou fan try to tell you different.

Hank Cross 7 years, 9 months ago

I have nothing against CU and wish them the best. NU and a&m can win or lose - don't care. I want Mizery to lose more games than they play. Hope UK beats them by 100 in BB and LSU and Bama do the same in FB.

danmoore 7 years, 9 months ago

The opposite if hate is indifference. Hold a grudge if it makes you feel good.

Randy Bombardier 7 years, 9 months ago

On another topic why does the headline refer to a Coach as Aide?

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