When Clint Bowen first came back to the Kansas University football program this past offseason, his focus was on reconnecting with his hometown and the joy of seeing some familiar faces on a daily basis.
Now, it’s time for football.
“For me, personally, I’ve invested a large part of my life into this program,” Bowen, KU’s special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach, said Saturday. “I was looking through the media guide today, and I think it’s something like 17 of the last 19 years that I’ve either been a player or a coach in this program.”
Because of his past — and the passion associated with it — Bowen is as excited as anybody about the current direction of his alma mater.
“(Our goal) is to get this thing back to where we all know it should be as Kansas fans and Kansas people,” he said. “We have an elite university, we have great facilities, we have everything in place that we need to get this thing where it should be. That’s what we’re working toward doing.”
Throughout his career, Bowen has worked with a lot of demanding head coaches. Working under new KU coach Charlie Weis falls in line with that, and Bowen said the best part about Weis’ presence is that everyone knows what’s expected every day.
“The bar’s set high,” he said. “And our kids understand the bar’s set high and it’s time to go.”
With KU’s starting secondary pretty well set, Bowen said the coaching staff felt good about the experience and savvy of cornerbacks Greg Brown (senior) and Tyler Patmon (junior) and safeties Bradley McDougald (senior) and Lubbock Smith (senior).
“All four of them are not shy guys,” Bowen said. “All four of them are more than willing to open their mouths and take control of things.”
Speaking of the starters, Bowen was asked for his input on which members of KU’s secondary were the fastest, smartest and top-instinct guys. After pausing and admitting that “those other guys are gonna kill me,” Bowen gave his answers.
“Every one of them would fight that they are all of that,” Bowen began. “If you did the old, line ‘em up in the street and say go, I’d take Greg Brown. If we had to go on Jeopardy to win a million bucks, I’d take Tyler Patmon. Best instincts, ooh, probably Bradley. Bradley’s a pretty natural guy.”
One of the most popular parts of offseason football is the ongoing tracking of interceptions by defensive backs. At KU, it’s no different.
“I had two, Bradley had two, Lubbock had one, T-Pat had two,” said Brown, breaking down the standings after summer seven-on-seven drills. “Oh yeah, we kept track. We always try to compete and see who’s getting the most picks. In the fall, me and Lubbock are leading so far. We both have one.”