Archive for Thursday, July 24, 2003

Floodman driven to succeed after season-ending injury

July 24, 2003


Kansas University's strength and conditioning coaches have no problem getting Banks Floodman to work hard in the weight room.

Making the sophomore linebacker leave is another matter.

"There's some guys I have to pull the reins on, but that's a good thing," director of strength and conditioning Chris Dawson said of the football team's summer workouts. "It might be a pain sometimes, but those are the guys that are going to help us turn this around.

"Banks is one of the most competitive guys -- probably the most competitive guy -- on the team. He competes in everything he does. If I told the guys to put their shoes on, he would be trying to put his shoes on first and get on the field."

That's understandable, considering Floodman didn't get on the field much last season.

The former Wichita Collegiate standout played in all 11 games as a true freshman in 2001. He started the final two games and made 25 tackles against Iowa State and Wyoming.

He picked up where he left off in the 2002 season opener, making eight tackles in the first half at Iowa State before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, ending his season.

Floodman was somewhat limited by his surgically repaired right knee during spring drills, but that won't be the case when preseason practices begin Aug. 4.

"The knee is 100 percent," Floodman said Wednesday during a chat on "The brace is off, and I'm doing everything completely. I'm ready to roll."

The 6-foot-2 Floodman did more than rehabilitate his knee during the offseason. He's bulked up to 230 pounds.

"I've put on about 15 pounds," he said, "and I'm running better than I ever have."

The sophomore's work ethic was noticed by his teammates, who voted him team co-captain in the spring.

"He's a workhorse," Dawson said. "It's important to him. That's for sure."

Floodman will be looked to for leadership in a revamped linebacking corps. Seniors Greg Cole and Leo Etienne were KU's leading tacklers last season, and true freshman Nick Reid ranked fourth. Captains Cole and Etienne graduated, and Reid was moved to safety.

That leaves three starting spots up for grabs.

Pencil in Floodman at one outside linebacker spot. The other starting jobs are less settled, but the Jayhawks are excited about the arrival of junior-college All-American Gabe Toomey (6-4, 235).

"I feel great about the newcomers, especially Gabe Toomey and some of the other jucos," Floodman said. "I've seen them quite a bit this summer, and I think they're going to have an immediate impact."

Two other junior-college linebackers -- John McCoy (6-3, 250) and Zach Mims (6-3, 235) -- could be in the mix.

Kevin Kane (6-1, 220) and Brandon Perkins (6-1, 220) were forced into action as true freshmen last season because of injuries to Floodman and sophomore Nick Clapp (6-1, 220).

"I think the linebacker corps this year is going to be as good if not better," Floodman said. "I think our depth will be better this year. Last year we had a lot of freshman who had to step up and take over a lot of roles. With the juco guys, who have more experience, I think our linebackers will be a little better this season and our depth will be much better. I'm excited to see how we do this season."

Kansas opens the season Aug. 30 at home against Northwestern.

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