Archive for Saturday, December 19, 2009

New KU defensive coordinator emphasizes speed

Kansas defensive coordinator Carl Torbush, shown in this 2009 file photo, has retired after recently being diagnosed with low grade prostate cancer.

Kansas defensive coordinator Carl Torbush, shown in this 2009 file photo, has retired after recently being diagnosed with low grade prostate cancer.

December 19, 2009


At his introductory news conference earlier this week, Kansas University football coach Turner Gill emphasized the importance of speed.

Friday, when KU’s new defensive coordinator, Carl Torbush, first met with the local media, he too talked about how critical speed would be to what the new staff wants to do at Kansas.

“Twenty-five or 30 years ago, you could get away with a slower guy,” Torbush said. “But I’ve really got a simple philosophy on that. If I’m a great football coach and I’ve got a 4.9 (-second) 40 (-yard) linebacker and you’ve got a 4.5-40 running back, I can be the best coach in the world, and I’m probably not going to win that battle.”

Agreeing on the need for speed is just one of the many ways in which Gill and Torbush seem to mesh. Add to it their common belief in the importance of morals, hard work and spirituality — things new offensive coordinator Chuck Long shares, as well — and it’s not difficult to see why Gill was so quick to announce the first two members of his staff.

Newly-hired KU defensive coordinator Carl Torbush talks with media members during a news conference at Allen Fieldhouse shortly after his arrival into town, Friday, Dec. 18, 2009.

Newly-hired KU defensive coordinator Carl Torbush talks with media members during a news conference at Allen Fieldhouse shortly after his arrival into town, Friday, Dec. 18, 2009.

“We’re going to have a staff that’s going to be very, very compatible,” Torbush said. “Turner Gill is going to put together a staff that believes in the same type of values and moral fiber that he believes in, and that’s very important.”

That’s not all they’ll share. Like Long, Torbush arrives at Kansas with a wealth of coaching experience.

He broke into coaching at Southeast Louisiana University as a baseball coach in the mid-1970s. Since then, he has held several jobs in football.

The 58-year-old Torbush spent the 2009 season as defensive coordinator at Mississippi State. During his career, he has held down key positions in three major conferences, including a head-coaching stint at the University of North Carolina and the defensive-coordinator title at Alabama, Ole Miss and Texas A&M.; It was at A&M; where Torbush and Long (then at Oklahoma) battled against each other.

“I’ve known Chuck a long time,” Torbush said. “I was very fortunate to be coaching at A&M; when we got our brains beat out by Oklahoma when he was the offensive coordinator there. So I feel sure that I’m going to get ribbed about that for the rest of my life.”

Although he did not unleash any cheap shots at his former opponent, Long said he, too, has great admiration for Torbush’s abilities. He also said that their current situation was a big reason he always had operated by two tried and true rules.

“I’ve known Carl a long time,” Long said. “I remember him when he was on Mack Brown’s staff (at UNC) years ago, and we’ve overlapped in the Big 12. This is a very close fraternity, and I always tell guys when you get into this deal, ‘No. 1, don’t ever burn a bridge. But also, always stay in touch, always make sure you’re very professional with guys and treat them the right way because, chances are, you’re either going to play against them or you’re going to work with them.’ And, in this case, Carl and I have gone from playing against each other to working together, and I think it’s going to be a great thing.”

The connections between the still-developing staff don’t stop there. Two of Gill’s assistants at the University of Buffalo played for Torbush at UNC. It was their testimony, along with the opinions Torbush has shaped himself, that led him to say yes to Gill and Kansas so quickly.

“I’ve known how he acts toward players and coaches and toward people,” Torbush said. “Anybody that’s ever been around him, there’s no fake about him. What you see is what you get. You’re getting a great, great human being. He’s the type of guy that I want to be around each day of my life.”

As for the specifics of what kind of defense he wants to be around, Torbush said he always had operated out of a 4-3 set, but that he anticipated throwing several other sets onto the field, as well. He mentioned multiple looks up front, a 3-3 formation and even a defense that employs six defensive backs, a clear sign that he’s aware of the challenge of keeping up with the Big 12’s spread offenses.

“We’re a multiple defense. That’s the great thing about what we’d like to do,” Torbush said. “But what we will do, I don’t know yet. We’ve gotta make sure that whatever we do is something our players can handle and we can get the best players on the field to be successful.”

A large factor in determining that will be recruiting. Torbush, who has recruiting ins that stretch to all four corners of the country, said he spent a heavy portion of his first week on the job doing just that, and he anticipated finding out quickly how successful he would be in bringing athletes to Kansas. Despite the week being dubbed as “a whirlwind,” Torbush said he had enjoyed every minute of it so far.

“There’s been no negatives,” he said. “We haven’t lost a ballgame, nobody’s scored a point, so we’re on an extended honeymoon right now.”

He also said he looks forward to learning more about his new job and his new home and has no desire to reclaim a position as a head coach.

“No, I really don’t,” he said. “I’d like to have the head coach’s money, but the thing I really enjoy the most in football is, No. 1, coaching the linebackers, which I’ve done all my life, and No. 2, coordinating a defense so that you play the checker game with the offense that you’re playing against.”


huskercarpenter 8 years, 5 months ago

if you take nick saban, bob stoops, mack brown and pete carrol and make one coach, you have a coach that is about half the coach tom osborne was and still could be if he wanted. now having made that clear, t.o. groomed turner to be a head coach. ku is who will benifit from that. turner will bring big 12 conference title to lawrence within 3 years!! now having said that, i want all the conference titles to come to lincoln. but knowing what t.o. did for gill that just won't happen. prepare yourselves for neb. and ku to dominate the big 12. it is a shame that they are both in the north division.

puddleglum 8 years, 5 months ago

I love the huskers-but comparing those coaches to captain Osbourne is unfair-because of the times.

Everybody wanted to go to Nebraska back in the 80's-90's....No TV coverage meant no little teams could compete in the recruiting department. Remember when they would just have one big 8 game on tv and it would be the 'big-8 game of the week'? typically ISU vs. OSU or something boring like that. KU was NEVER on tv, and Nebraska only seldom. I watched every husker game I could. Then listened on the am radio for the rest. I'll never forget the NU vs. Minnesota game where the rolled up 80 points on 'em: I was camping at a boy scouts deal and we had to have the radio on real quiet and whatever. anyway, T.G. has a long way to go to 'dominate' the north division. don't forget the man that eats elderberries and sh*ts tiffany cufflinks down in manhattan. I hear he has an escalade made of gold....

thebigspoon 8 years, 5 months ago

Tom Osborne twice the coach as Nick Saban,Bob Stoops,Mack Brown and Pete Carrol ? I guess Barry Switzer was a super coach then ? He use to beat the Huskers just about every year...How long did Nebraska go under Osborne without even a bowl victory ?

huskercarpenter 8 years, 5 months ago

puddleglum i agree that in the 80's there was little t.v. coverage. but in the 90's you are wrong espn and cable t.v. changed all that. i believe in 1995 that neb., ku, k-state and colo. ended the year in the top 10 and recall watching all of those teams on t.v. and yes compairing t.o. to those coaches is fair because he had to travel as many miles to recruit 1-2 of his players that these coaches have to travel to get 90% of their players. turner proved that he can do the same, by recruiting 11 players to buffalo, n.y. from texas (very few coaches can say they have done that). yes i do believe turner has along way to go, but i also believe that turner will make long strides quickly when others would take baby steps.

by the way i don't like elderberries and yes both programs will dominate!!! GO BIG RED, go jayhawks!!!!!!

huskercarpenter 8 years, 5 months ago

thebigspoon they went 7 years straight without a bowl victory. but those losses were all to national champions in each of those years. now can you tell me what happened the following 4 years? also can you tell me what happened in the 7th loss to florida state?

Rickyonealku 8 years, 5 months ago

Did Kansas just adopt some Husker fans????

Gregory Newman 8 years, 5 months ago

If this coach wants speed that of which I totally agree. Well then he needs to send the current players to a track coach because they appear to be the slowest in the Big-12 and I mean horribly slow. A 4.45 is slow against spread offenses for DB's

mcontrary 8 years, 5 months ago

Did KU hire coaches or evangelists? Seems to me we already have enough evangelists in this state. Spirituality? Give me a break!

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