Wednesday, August 25, 2021

KU football D.C. Brian Borland and other new staffers feel prepared for 1st season in Big 12

Kansas defensive coordinator Brian Borland takes the field with his players for practice on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas defensive coordinator Brian Borland takes the field with his players for practice on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021 at Memorial Stadium.


In just a few weeks, Kansas football head coach Lance Leipold and the assistants he brought with him from Buffalo will lead the Jayhawks into a Big 12 Conference game for the first time.

Defensive coordinator Brian Borland expects the new staff members will be abundantly prepared for their first taste of what the league has to offer.

“Honestly, we had every Big 12 opponent watched before we showed up here,” Borland said of the scouting work he and other former UB assistants did to familiarize themselves with the Big 12 as they left the MAC behind.

“Since we’ve been here, over the summer as a staff we’ve watched every opponent throughout,” Borland said of their further offseason preparation, which included putting together preliminary game plans and scouting reports for the Jayhawks’ Big 12 slate and three nonconference matchups.

Asked during KU football’s media day earlier this month whether he would tailor his defensive approach to the types of offenses the Jayhawks will see in the Big 12, Borland said the preseason had more to do with what his players needed to master right now.

Borland didn’t think preparing defensive play calls in August for a team KU will face in October was the proper approach.

“We’re really still trying to put together the basics of the defense we’re trying to run here as a core,” he said.

Although Borland spent the past several years at Buffalo preparing for MAC opponents such as Miami (Ohio), Bowling Green, Kent State and Toledo, Leipold’s longtime defensive coordinator doesn’t expect the Big 12 slate ahead will include vastly different styles and schemes than what he’s used to seeing.

“It’s just probably a higher caliber of person doing it,” Borland said of the quality of athletes that play for Big 12 offenses.

While Borland utilizes a 4-3 base defense, there is some adaptability within the scheme. KU linebackers coach Chris Simpson, who worked with the D.C. each of the past six seasons at UB, explained that Borland’s defense includes sub-packages, so the Jayhawks won’t have to stay in a seven-player front when taking on an offense that spreads the field.

“We’re going to get the best guys on the field to help us in the situation that we’re in,” Simpson replied, when asked how realistic it is to use a seven-player front and only four defensive backs versus some Big 12 offenses.

“Whether it’s schematic or personnel wise, we always want to have options and answers for things like that,” Simpson said.

As the revamped staff prepared this offseason, Borland said the coaches who were retained from the Les Miles regime proved to be “very helpful” as he went through the process of putting together those preliminary scouting reports and game plans for Big 12 opponents.

Leipold’s defensive staff includes holdovers in cornerbacks coach Chevis Jackson, defensive line coach Kwahn Drake and defensive ends coach Jake Schoonover (who was hired by Miles early in the offseason), as well as former safeties coach Jordan Peterson, who is now a senior defensive analyst.

“They know about players and know about even coaches sometimes,” Borland said.

KU’s new D.C. also found himself “really impressed” by the analysts and quality control staff members within the program, and said that’s been one of the perks of working at the Power Five level, where budgets and staffs are larger than what he’s accustomed to.

“And what they do, the in depth-ness of what they do and the information they can provide, some of the minute details of things, and about opponents has been really outstanding,” Borland said. “I’m really going to rely on those guys.”


Andy Godwin 1 year, 3 months ago

Analysts are a true perk (from recruiting to game planning) and something KU athletics had not really invested in until the Miles hire when the athletics budget increased substantially. I imaging coaches coming from programs not used to these “extra” positions on their staff will find them a true luxury. In comparison most other BIG 12 teams (power five programs) have been supporting these allowable positions for years (I believe Beaty had one part time analyst for the entire football program during his tenure but could be wrong).

Brett McCabe 1 year, 3 months ago

David Beaty lost the home opener to Norfolk in his fourth year as coach. He had superior facilities, his own roster, superior administrative support, a superior budget, and his career was on the line. It’s amazing how much wasted time is spent making excuses for the worst college football coach in history.

Analysts don’t win games. Good coaches, coaching good players, win football games.

We hired four coaches in a row with major question marks. Gill, unproven. Weis, proven failure and no staff. Beaty, a weaker resume than Gill and no staff. Miles, many issues. No staff.

We’ve done a lot of things wrong with football. But it starts and ends with epically bad hiring of the coach, four times in a row.

I listened to Gary Barnett this morning and he said that Leipold is one of the most respected coaches in football. Credit to Goff for getting a proven winner, with a staff, to come to Kansas. Credit to Girod for being a the lucky blind squirrel.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 3 months ago

I’m recalling one person commenting that Miles was doing almost everything right. Hmmm. Admittedly, that wasn’t during his winless season. I’m also recalling an article when LM was starting indicating that we were as far behind the rest of the conference in support staff as we were on the field. Realistically though, the budget most of us never consider was so small we weren’t even paying the coaches a competitive wage much less spending on support staff.

It is true that Beaty wasn’t a head coach when he was hired, but there probably aren’t any D1 coaches that are willing to work for $800k. It was obvious and commonly recognized that he would need to grow into the position. He didn’t and needed to go. Unfortunately, our history is full of a long line of coaches that needed to go.

It is also true that players win games, but increasingly well documented that the best recruiting and the best player development correlates with the best support. It has been really encouraging to hear about Coach Leipold and his staff beyond the customary introductory hype. They have a history together which I’m not recalling happening here or many places at all. They also have a history of developing players that should continue with the players we have as well as better recruits in the future.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 3 months ago

I’m also recalling a “starts and ends” comment during the hiring process that no coaches from the previous regime were worth keeping. They should all be thrown out and start over. So glad Coach Leipold isn’t coming here for advice.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 3 months ago

There was an interesting E*** article a few years ago documenting the support staff race superseding the facilities race when Saban went to Bama and others followed suit as he turned that program around. I think they were pretty mediocre before he got there and brought the nfl model of support with him.

I was wondering how much staff was retained from the Miles years beyond the 5 coaches. Maybe worth an article in the future?

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