KU coordinators Reagan and Bowen weigh in on 2014 Jayhawks
Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis wasn't the only member of the staff to address the media Thursday morning, marking the start of fall camp.
New offensive coordinator John Reagan, who assisted at KU from 2005 to 2009 and spent four seasons at Rice (three as O-coordinator) was joined by defensive coordinator Clint Bowen for a brief press conference, too.
Below are some of the topics the pair of coordinators discussed the day before the first practice of the 2014 season.
• Reagan is excited to see new WR Nigel King (just announced today as a transfer from Maryland) and find out what he can bring to KU's offense at camp. King hasn't been here for the spring and summer. But he isn't new to college football. He won't have the adjustment issues that others do.
• Adding speed to KU's roster has been important for Weis and is critical to KU's potential going forward. "It's kind of like money: you never think you have enough. You end up wanting more."
• Looking across the country, regardless of the system, it is important to have a QB who can keep plays alive with his feet. With where KU is at as an offense, it is probably even more important, and sophomore QB Montell Cozart fits that mold.
• As an offensive coach, you're trying to find the player in conflict on defense, and hopefully you'll have the matchups you need to be productive. You have a philosophy and that is what you do.
• Pace of play is different for every team. Some teams are trying to run as many plays as possible. That probably won't be the case for KU. Doing that might lead to fights between Reagan and D-coordinator Bowen.
• KU's receivers are better than Reagan thought when he first got to Lawrence, from Rice. He is excited about that. They will have to help the guy who is throwing the ball and they are capable of that, too.
• New summer time availability for players helps the coaches teach. … Reagan hopes it helped Cozart tremendously.
• Weis has allowed Reagan to do what he needs to do. The head coach, after giving up coordinating duties, simply sits back and asks philosophical questions. It has been exactly what Reagan hoped it would be.
• Reagan ran versions of the spread even back in 2005 and '06… Some of the adaptations that are made come week to week. Major ones come in the offseason.
• Looking at an offense, if you have a QB that is good enough to play, you better have a scheme to fit him. But nothing affects the value and explosiveness of an offense quite like the QB and the O-line.
• Reagan isn't Cozart's position coach, but he can tell the sophomore has key attributes — studies the game and is a very personable guy. They both have a good feel for each other. They'll learn more about Cozart's ability in game-week preparation this fall.
• There has to be spoken and unspoken communication on the O-line if it's all going to fit right. The '07 KU line had that. They made mistakes but they had something special about them. … KU has a guy in Ryan Cantrell (assistant direct of operations and former KU center) who can tell the current players how that worked.
• "I'm extra-concerned about a lot of positions right now," Reagan said, when asked about his concern at center. (KU opens camp with junior Keyon Haughton at the top of the depth chart and red-shirt freshman Joe Gibson listed second.) The center position is key, but there can be four other guys on the O-line who can help with communication.
• Last year, the Jayhawks gained a lot of experience at a lot of positions on defense. On the D-line, some of the new faces like junior Andrew Bolton and junior T.J. Semke are definitely in the mix. They hope to have a solid six guys to rotate in on the line.
• As a defensive coach, you always start with the opposing QB when formulating a game plan. The opposing QB's skill set dictates how the KU defense prepares.
• Spread offenses put defenses in binds. The good spread teams mix it up and don't just throw the ball. Offensive coaches in football today are doing a great job with that. It has taken schematics to a higher level. It is all about putting defenses in conflict in open space.
• Bowen doesn't think fast-paced offenses and not having the ability to substitute leads to injuries necessarily. It just takes time in your preparation — that's the primary concern.
• Junior cornerback Kevin Short has "a very high" upside. He has a lot to learn. But he is a long, rangy DB (6-foot-2, 190 pounds). He can run and has good instincts. They are very excited about what Short could develop into.
• There are some guys in the secondary with the talent to play in the NFL. They all physically have that body type and have the ability to step up.
• After switching things up last year defensively, the staff just works together for what's best for the players and the programs.
• First-string senior "buck" Michael Reynolds is a proven pass-rusher. There are candidates for a second guy. Reynolds could have a special season. Senior "buck" Victor Simmons has come a long way at a new position for him. WIthin the scheme, KU's coaches will plug in guys who can rush — the Jayhawks especially need two coming off the edge to change third down.
— Hear the full press conference audio: Bowen and Reagan discuss KU football team's potential