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Originally published August 20, 2013 at 01:14p.m., updated August 20, 2013 at 11:28p.m.

Short window: Delayed juco corner Kevin Short arrives, must catch up fast

Kansas cornerback Kevin Short angles himself during drills as he works out with his fellow position players during practice on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013.

Kansas cornerback Kevin Short angles himself during drills as he works out with his fellow position players during practice on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013.

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After a long wait, Kevin Short finally made it to campus.

The Kansas University cornerback from Fort Scott Community College, who spent the past several weeks waiting to be cleared academically, was in the building Tuesday morning and took part in his first KU practice later that afternoon.

Although the 6-foot-2, 185-pound athlete who originally hails from Florissant, Mo., missed the first three weeks of fall camp, the fact that he’s in Lawrence now has KU’s defensive backs coaches smiling.

“I saw him for the first time this morning,” Dave Campo, KU’s assistant head coach for defense, said during a meeting with the media. “Very happy to have him. He’s a bigger athlete. We won’t know exactly what we have until he’s out there going but hopefully he’ll be one of those guys in that mix that we can play and feel comfortable with.”

Short certainly has some catching up to do and NCAA practice rules will curb how quickly he can make up ground. But both Campo and assistant defensive backs coach Scott Vestal believe Short will have a chance to work his way into a prominent role on the KU defense by the season opener on Sept. 7.

“He’s starting from ground zero right now,” Campo said. “But the corner position is one position where that can happen. Skill trumps technique. Obviously, they have to know when we’re gonna roll ‘em up and do something, they have to be able to do that. But the more athletic and the more talented you are, the less technical you have to be so he can catch up fairly quickly because we don’t ask those guys to do a whole lot of different things.”

Vestal also got his first look at Short at the football complex Tuesday morning. Asked if he thought the 2012 juco All-American was ready, Vestal flashed his excitement.

“In a T-shirt and shorts, yes. I feel very good,” Vestal said. “He’s a good player. Him coming in late, it’s gonna be more of a challenge for him, more mentally than physically. But he’s a good-looking kid.”

Although the coaches would have preferred for Short to be in camp from Day 1, Vestal said there may be a silver lining to Short’s late arrival.

“It’s a sink or swim deal,” he said. “At this point, there’s no Plan B. You have to get ready and you have to take the extra time. There’s meetings all day. There’s workouts all day. But he’s gonna have to get in the playbook, he’s gonna have to ask those questions. He’s really gonna have to tighten his focus and I’m confident he’ll do it.”

Campo said there was more to Short than just his ability to play cornerback.

“He’s been an excellent return man,” Campo said. “So he’s got some things to bring to the table and we’ve just gotta get him out there as fast as we can and see where we’re at.”

Short practiced in a helmet, shorts and jersey Tuesday, and will go in a helmet and shoulder pads today and Thursday before donning full pads on Friday, which is scheduled to be KU’s final two-a-day session of camp.

Hurry-up unfair?

Throughout the offseason, the KU football defense focused on getting faster and being more flexible in an attempt to handle the up-tempo offenses that have dominated the Big 12 in recent seasons.

Tuesday, Campo expressed his frustration with how the pace has changed the game.

“I know the offensive coaches around this league are going to be mad when I say this, but they’re cheating,” Campo said. “The game of football is not football; it’s fast-break offense. And all they’re doing is, a lot of the offensive teams, I truly believe, are trying to outdo the other offensive team on how fast they can run a play and how fast they can get things done. And it’s all misdirection, so they’re trying to get guys out of their gaps and not be in the right spot. They’re taking the rules, and they’re bringing it right to the edge of the rules and cheating, so you have to be ready to cheat right along with ‘em.

“I’m a Nick Saban fan. Nick Saban said it’s ruining football. For the fans, I think it’s great. I think if you really look at it — high-powered, a lot of things going on, things happening, guys moving around, things happening fast. I think it’s good for the fans. But as far as defensive coaching, it’s not real good because it kind of negates some of the technical part of the game that coaches have prided themselves on for the whole time I’ve been in the business.

“Now, am I going to complain about it? I’m kind of facetious when I say they’re cheating. I’m not going to complain about it because it’s what we have to do. We have to move with that same pace, and we’ve got to be able to keep up with it, and that’s really the way it is. We have no choice.”

Competition ongoing

While fall camp is coming to a close and the season opener is drawing closer, Campo said the battles at cornerback remain ongoing heading into the final two weeks of the preseason.

“It’s still all a competition at this point,” Campo said. “We’ve got to find three or four corners that can play. And that’s kind of the mentality at this point. We’ll make those official decisions as we get a little closer to the first game.”

Dexter McDonald and JaCorey Shepherd opened fall camp as KU’s No. 1 cornerbacks, but Short, Brandon Hollomon, Greg Allen and Nas Moore all remain in the running for playing time.

“We’ve got some talent,” Campo said. “We have got some guys who can run.”

Steps forward

As far as the defense as a whole, Campo said he liked what he saw on the practice field this camp better than what he saw last year at this time.

“I feel good about the progress we’re making,” he said. “I think we’re improving. I think we’ve made significant progress in certain areas. But we’ll find out when we open up against South Dakota how much progress we’ve made.”

One of the things that has made life better is the presence of depth at just about every position, and Campo said having options to turn to in place of the first-string guys was a welcomed luxury.

“With the tempo of the game and 90 plays a game, you can’t just play two guys (at cornerback),” he said. “And that’s one of the things I did last year because I had no confidence whatsoever in the guys that were in back-up positions. When the game was on the line in the fourth quarter, we had tired players out there.”

Comments

Jim Jackson 8 months ago

Anyone know who the QB is Jayhawkslant listed as a possible transfer?

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edmondjayhawk 8 months ago

Totally agree with you Rawkchawk about Campo's comments. "I'm not going to complain about it, because it's what we have to do." If that's not complaining about it, then what is it. Yeah, Saban has come out and complained about it, but his defenses have the ability to stop it when and if they ever face it. My suggestion is to quit complaining about it and do something to slow it down. I'm pretty certain that after Gundy, Stoops and the other hurry up offenses in the Big 12 read these comments, they'll make sure and NOT cheat when they play KU and make it a fair playing field. Quit whining and get better.

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Charles Logan 8 months ago

I know the offense has an advantage in practice. And I know that the QB is protected from contact. That's why the problems with Crist last year weren't noticed until actual game play. I'm just saying watch and see if our defense can close the gap of how far the offense is ahead of them. Our defense was pretty good last year. I remember all the takeaways they had at the beginning of the year. All the take aways they had against TCU. I'm still shaking my head about that game. I wasn't saying they were going to be last in the conference. I said if the defense can't compete with our offense we could end up in the cellar. Personally I'm having a glass of Kool-Aid. Because I think the defense will be better. And I don't even like Kool-Aid! :)

1

Adam McEwen 8 months, 1 week ago

"If you ain't cheatin, you ain't tryin" Come on Campo, no whining, it is what it is, now find a way to improvise and overcome!

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actorman 8 months, 1 week ago

Regardless of what else happens with the defense this year, we should be able to at least safely assume that they won't have to give 10 yards of cushion to every receiver they go against. That alone should be a HUGE improvement.

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Randy Bombardier 8 months, 1 week ago

Remember the Hee Hah tv show and this song?

Gloom, despair and agony on me, Deep, dark depression, excessive misery, If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all, Gloom, despair and agony on me.

I think of that song every time I read some of the nay-saying posts on this site. As for me I am going to be an optimist. I have never left a football game early, ever.

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Bewareofthephog Fifety-Five 8 months, 1 week ago

I just found out he was an All-American. Great news for our secondary.

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Charles Logan 8 months, 1 week ago

Everyone pay attention. As the defense goes, so goes the Hawks season. If our defense can't stop Jake Heaps (who they see at every practice) how are they gonna stop Oklahoma State, Baylor, or even .....Rice? Look for improvement against Heaps in practice, and you will see improvement in actual games. If the defense can stop Heaps in practice ie, interceptions, batted down passes, flushing him out of the pocket, hurrying his passes without being able to hit him (because it's practice). Just think how good they will be when they actually get to hit in a live game!

Right now Heaps is torching the defense which is not a good sign. Pass rush or not, some of those passes should be knocked to the ground at least. UNLESS Heaps is really that good! If he is then Kansas shouldn't lose, and we have a Heiseman winner!!!

But seriously. Until our defense can compete with our own offense they will be the same 'ol Jayhawk defense, and we will be 9th or 10th again in conference.

I personally think they are better than that. I want them to be UNdefeated at home, and I predicted them to beat Oklahoma this year remember?...

So COME ON DEFENSE!!!!

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jhawklifer 8 months, 1 week ago

Re Pearce: Homesickness is a bitch, especially when Cali is home...

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Jim Jackson 8 months, 1 week ago

I know this question is getting redundant; but still no word on Pearce Slater? We need all the horses we can get so I am hopeful all is well on his front.

Tait, any thoughts?

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namohcan_99 8 months, 1 week ago

Short is taller than I expected.

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Tony Bandle 8 months, 1 week ago

Tall, fast and mean goes a long way toward learning "technique'!!!

If Kevin is a true, 6 plus footer with speed, our defense just improved ten percent!!

Now if we could just find another corner named Long...well, you know the rest!! :)

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Joe Joseph 8 months, 1 week ago

CHAMPIONSHIP! Lock it up!

lolz, just kidding.

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Kent Fisher 8 months, 1 week ago

Credit goes to Coach Clint Bowen for securing this commitment. Rock Chalk!

1

KGphoto 8 months, 1 week ago

Finally! Enough CBs to fill out that 3-1-7 defense we’re gonna see so much of.

DL: Quel/Keon/Keba

LB: Ben

Secondary: Shep/Cash/Dex/Saiah/Dex/Vic/...aaaannnd Kev.

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fearthephog512 8 months, 1 week ago

Sounds like he's not short on talent ...

Thank you, I'm here all week. Rock Chalk!

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nuleafjhawk 8 months, 1 week ago

“In a T-Shirt and shorts, yes. I feel very good,”

I feel good in a T-shirt and shorts too.

3

clevelandjayhawker 8 months, 1 week ago

Great news and welcome.

I feel pretty good about our Def, just have questions at OL, WR and K that I would like answers to.

Would love to see some bump and run on the outside, pressure up the middle and Cassius playing center field with the safeties to create some turnovers!

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