No offense to Kansas University's offensive players, but Tim Bowers sure would like to see the Jayhawks' ball carriers struggle during Saturday's spring football game at Memorial Stadium.
"We want to have a good showing on defense, to show we can stop the run this year," noted Bowers, a 6-foot, 225-pound junior outside linebacker from Columbus, Ohio.
Bowers is ticketed to replace standout Patrick Brown at outside linebacker next season.
"If the offense puts up 21 points (during regular-season games), they should be guaranteed the victory," Bowers said. "We want to show we'll be able to dominate long stretches in the game, including the fourth quarter."
KU allowed a Big 12-worst 235.6 yards a game rushing last season. The Jayhawks were 10th in the league in total defense (387.4 yards) and last in scoring defense (31.0 points).
Those numbers proved pivotal in KU's disappointing 4-7 season.
"It seemed the first year coach (Terry) Allen was here, the defense was holding people down, but the offense couldn't score," Bowers said. "Last year was the total opposite. The offense was putting up points (25.5 per game), the defense was not stopping people when it mattered. Every time the defense needed a big stop, we couldn't get it."
Bowers had several impressive moments last fall. He finished with 25 tackles, including 4.5 for losses. He returned a fumble 48 yards for a score in the Jayhawks' 33-17 win over Colorado.
"(Steve) Bratton jarred the ball loose and I happened to be there," Bowers said. "It had a good bounce. I hope to make a few more of those."
To make big plays, he knows he needs to rely on instinct and not think so much. That's difficult for him to do. Bowers is a pre-medicine major and four-time Jayhawk scholar who hopes to become a surgeon someday.
"I need to just go out and play instead of thinking all the time, trying to be two steps ahead all the time," Bowers said.
"It's kind of rough," he said of combining school and sports. "You've got to deal with it and take as much time as you can. I've spent a lot more time at the library the last two semesters as my classes have gotten tougher. I go to the library two to three hours, three times a week. I work on weekends so I don't get behind."
He's been drawn to a career in medicine a long time.
"It's something I wanted since seventh grade," Bowers said. "I want to go into sports medicine, orthopedic surgery. I couldn't do emergency room stuff. That's a little too hectic for me."
-- Gary Bedore's phone number is 832-7186. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org