Lance Leipold: Former Buffalo players helping KU football's transition to new era

Head Football Coach Lance Leipold talks with media members on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at the Anderson Family Football Complex.

Head Football Coach Lance Leipold talks with media members on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at the Anderson Family Football Complex.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Six of the newest players on the Kansas football roster already know what it’s like to play for head coach Lance Leipold and the assistants who followed him from Buffalo to Lawrence.

And much in the way Leipold envisions staff familiarity helping the Jayhawks in his first year in charge of the program, because Leipold also is aware of what he can expect out of the UB transfers, KU’s new head coach thinks their presence will play a crucial part in the transition, too.

“I think it’s been very beneficial already,” Leipold told the Journal-World. “Just how they’ve come in and first of all how much the current players have accepted them and how they’ve fit in.”

Senior defensive linemen Eddie Wilson and Ronald McGee, junior center Mike Novitsky, junior linebacker Rich Miller, sophomore receiver Trevor Wilson and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Michael Ford Jr. all officially joined the roster this summer, as courses and workouts began for the Jayhawks.

Leipold said another reason he’s glad to have them on board is because he and the new coaches, who didn’t start until spring football at KU had concluded, are limited in what they can do with the players this time of year. Leipold noted that the team’s new director of sports performance, Matt Gildersleeve, who also led Buffalo’s strength and conditioning programs the past two years, is “doing a great job” of introducing the team’s returning players, as well as incoming freshmen, to the head coach’s expectations.

Having Eddie and Trevor Wilson, McGee, Novitsky, Miller and Ford around, Leipold added, assists that process.

“So they’ve been an extension of kind of the culture and terminology and things that we’re going to do,” Leipold said. “And they’ve really embraced that role.”

As the new players from UB get acquainted with the Jayhawks who have yet to play for or even practice under Leipold, the former Bulls naturally end up sharing details about what KU’s returning players can count on from the new staff members.

Leipold said the UB transfers can put concepts in players’ terms, even with simple details such as what daily and weekly schedules will look like.

KU’s new head coach also pointed out the former UB players decided to join the Jayhawks without any guarantees about playing time or what kind of roles they will have as they move from the MAC to the Big 12.

“For those guys to want to take the opportunity, and maybe it’s a risk, whatever it may be, their desire to still remain with that coaching staff that’s come here, I think says a lot right there,” Leipold said.

“And I think that’s also going to help us as we take the steps in building this program.”

Former Buffalo players on KU football roster

No. 11 — Eddie Wilson, sr. DL; 6-4, 325

No. 95 — Ronald McGee, sr. DL; 6-3, 285

No. 50 — Mike Novitsky, jr. C; 6-5, 295

No. 30 — Rich Miller, jr. LB; 6-1, 230

No. 7 — Trevor Wilson, jr. WR; 5-11, 190

No. 64 — Michael Ford Jr., RS-fr. OL; 6-3, 285