Thursday, August 29, 2013

Vestal turns up volume on KU football staff

New Kansas University defensive backs coach Scott Vestal works on footwork with red-shirt freshman safety Tevin Shaw during a spring practice on March 9, 2013.

New Kansas University defensive backs coach Scott Vestal works on footwork with red-shirt freshman safety Tevin Shaw during a spring practice on March 9, 2013.


When Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis promoted Scott Vestal into a role as a full-time assistant during the offseason, Weis knew he was turning up the volume.

“He is exactly what I thought he’d be,” Weis said. “He’s wired for sound.”

At times, when Vestal reached deep into his lungs and began belting out instructions as if a bullhorn were attached to his face, Weis hit him with verbal jabs.

“We can’t hear you,” Weis would joke.

There’s a reason that Vestal, who spent a season with Weis at Florida and also was a part of KU’s support staff in 2012, has been so comfortable flexing his vocal cords during his first season as the Jayhawks’ assistant defensive backs coach — confidence.

“I’ve got a great relationship with coach Weis,” Vestal said. “He’s a guy that, through two years of relationship-building with him and working with him and for him, I felt very good that if there was an opening on the staff, I’d be the right fit.”

That was exactly the scenario that unfolded last winter, when linebackers coach DeMontie Cross left for TCU. When he first heard Cross was leaving, Vestal, who served as KU’s assistant director of football operations in 2012, said he felt good about his chances of a promotion. A few days later, the feeling was validated, and, as soon as it was, one thought raced through his mind.

“To be really honest, it felt natural,” Vestal said. “I was very, very pleased, but my first thought was, ‘I gotta make a lot of recruiting calls. It’s time to roll up the sleeves.’”

In elevating his status with the Jayhawks to full-time assistant, Vestal not only can have a more hands-on approach during practices and games but also will be counted on to use his energy on the recruiting trail.

“Knowledgeable, student, well-received by the players, tough, energetic, high-vibing when the time’s appropriate,” said Weis, listing Vestal’s top traits. “I think he has a chance to be really good. Don’t tell him that.”

Unlike most coaches who slide into new jobs, Vestal needed little time to adjust to his surroundings. Not only did the Jayhawks already know him, but they also appreciated the fact that he knew them as well.

“That’s invaluable,” Vestal said. “All these players, all these coaches ... they say you build trust and you earn faith. Well, the trust and faith is already there with the coaches and the players. I think that gives me an inherent advantage just because I know their strengths and weaknesses.”

That history is not lost on the players.

“He’s a great coach,” said red-shirt freshman cornerback Greg Allen. “I’ve been learning from him ever since last year, and he always points out the little things that really count. From last year to this year, he’s just really fit in, and it’s been an easy transition.”

Vestal’s coaching philosophy is simple and revolves around the idea that there are three types of mistakes players make.

The first is a physical mistake like a technique error, a missed tackle or something similar.

“That’s my fault,” Vestal said. “It’s my job to teach you.”

The second is a mental mistake like a blown assignment, a bad read or something similar.

“That is also my fault,” Vestal said. “If you don’t know what you’re supposed to do, that’s my fault.”

The final category has to do with effort, and Vestal is not about to take the blame for bad effort.

“The third one’s yours,” Vestal said. “That’s the one that’s unacceptable, and that’s the one where I’ll get upset.”

Mistakes happen, and Vestal’s defensive backs certainly made a few of them this offseason. But with his first fall camp now behind him and the 2013 season right around the corner, Vestal can’t help but feel thrilled about his new gig.

“I’m pumped,” he said. “Coach Weis gave me a shot that I won’t forget.”


HAWKS1 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Peyton Newell is a Cornhusker, dang-it!


Joan Kalivoda 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Building a team with JUCO players is the way to go. That's how Bill Synder did it and look at the results, Mark Mangino did the same thing and look where KU went( Orange Bowl) with a win. Of course KU has a difficult time keeping good coaches as we and seen and hiring poor coaches (Tuner Gill) . They listened to Tom Osborne and look. where that got them. Ku ended up being the laughing stock of the nation and hasn't really pulled themselves out of the hole. When football is mentioned, Kansas ST. is the name that comes up and now with basketball they have it all. Watch out for Wichita ST. basketball, Ku will be the last name anyone mentions when people talk about sports. Kentucky now has a good football coach and it appears that Ku will lag behind them in sports.


BayPark 7 months, 2 weeks ago

How do so many of you know how this player or that player is going to play without ever having seen them play D-1 football? Not even the coaches know for certain how they will react on game day--even those who played some the year before. Rocky Long (SDSU head coach) made this point in yesterday's San Diego U-T, saying in so many words that, until he sees them playing in a real game, he doesn't really know how they're going to react and has to be prepared to make adjustments just for this reason.

Short, Hollomon, Johnson, Sendish, et al. may end up being good players, but chances are that not all of them are going to pan out.


Janet Scott 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Wall Street Journal yesterday gave KU football a dismal rating: Weakling and Embarrassing. Ummm. Must be leftovers from Turner's days on Mt. Oread. I immediately dismissed the assessment when I saw our beloved brethern, Mizzou, highly rated as Strong and Admirable. The author of this article must have sucked up a pack of reefers before putting pen to paper.

A demonstration of in-depth journalism re the above LJW article would have explored Vestal's potential and possible link and relationship to the "pile of crap" comment by Charlie.


kj_hawk 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Is it just me or does Vestal look a lot like John Malkovich in that photo?


Jim Stauffer 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Quick comment on Goodman. While he is not the fastest guy on the planet, I believe he has excellent technique for pass rushing. The comment on TV last night at the Vandy-Ole Miss game on the new guy, Nwengdhe (sp) and his pass rushing was interesting. They said when he learns to hit the lineman on one side or the other instead of just a straight on bull rush, he will be terrific.

Goodman does not have his size or speed but has better technique and does not stick to blockers. This will help him bring pressure to the QB.


clevelandjayhawker 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Are we behind in recruiting? We are at 7 for next year and seems like we have been there for a while.


Jim Jackson 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Anyone else hoping Bolton plays this year? Even if he is not 100% until Mid-October, want that guy out there; our pass rush have been anemic for the past 4 seasons; we need him.

We can recruit another talented D End this year out of JUCO..



Keith Hummel 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Being a defensive backs coach in the Big-12 has to be one of the most stressful and thankless jobs you could find, but it sounds like Vestal is doing a great job so far. We're gonna miss McDougald this year, but with that possible exception I think are better athletically at every single DB position.

8 days, 10 hours, 48 minutes, 27 seconds

letsgo #kufball


Jason Keller 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I can't wait to finally see some big scary looking defensive backs on this team. It sounds like all of them are 6 foot + and can run. People talk about having a pass rusher on the line. Forget that, give me 2 big corners who can press and play man coverage on anyone and I will be happy sending as many as it takes to put the QB on the ground.


Brett McCabe 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Liked his three-part approach to coaching. You can't yell at kids all the time and get results but you also can't be a pushover. Sounds like a good balance of responsibility to me.

On another subject, I watched one of the clips from the programs they are running on Metro Sports and a comment from Reggie Mitchell about Darian Miller just stunned me. He said that Miller left KU without ever meeting Weis (doing my best Scooby Doo head shake right now). Would love to know more about that whole break-up and how they fixed it.


Fortesque Beagleton 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Humbleness lacking, but seems like a good coach.


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