Most years, and with most teams, players focus their efforts and attention on cracking the first team on the depth chart.
But for this year’s Kansas University football team, at least the defense, new head coach Charlie Weis is delivering a different message.
“What I’m explaining to our defensive guys (is) they’re not trying to get into the one-deep,” Weis said. “They’re trying to get into the two-deep. Because all the two guys will be playing.”
There are many reasons for Weis’ desire to play both his starters and reserves with more regularity. Part of it stems from the need to keep fresh bodies on the field to compete with the Big 12’s high-octane offenses. And part of it makes a statement about Weis’ feelings about KU’s first-team talent.
“I believe in the Big 12 you better be able to play two deep,” Weis said. “Because the game is so fast paced, so many teams play the game at the line of scrimmage, that you have to be able to roll them through. And you can’t worry about who’s in the game. You can’t worry what your second defensive line’s thinking. You can’t worry about it. The game happens too fast. So you have to have enough confidence that you can play two deep at every position.”
With 27 newcomers reporting to preseason camp in a few weeks, and Weis and his coaching staff believing they have upgraded KU’s defensive talent, playing multiple lineups does not seem as scary as it might have during the past couple of seasons. Of course, scary or not, that’s the method Weis is planning on using in hopes of keeping his defense fresh and competitive for four quarters.
“It’s not like the quarterback,” Weis said. “The starting rush end is going to play and then the guy behind him, he’s gonna be playing, too. I don’t know if it’ll be 50-50 or 60-40, but they’ll both play significant snaps in every game.”
D-tackle likes Kansas
Port Arthur (Texas) Memorial High defensive tackle Matthew Romar, recently told Rivals.com that the Jayhawks had moved to the top of his list.
The Class of 2013 prospect, who earned all-area honors last season, has developed a strong relationship with KU defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt, and it’s Wyatt’s past ties to impact players Von Miller (Texas A&M) and Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska) that have the two-star lineman interested in KU.
“He’s a great man and has a great background,” Romar told Jon Kirby of JayhawkSlant.com. “He’s been to some good schools and coached some great players.”
Romar, who has received offers from Kansas, Iowa State, Utah, Tulsa, and North Texas, is in the process of planning an official visit to KU.
OU’s Grissom to TE
Former Hutchinson High standout Geneo Grissom has been moved to tight end during the offseason by the Oklahoma coaching staff.
Grissom, a four-star defensive end out of high school and one of the biggest names that the Jayhawks missed out on in recent years, was the No. 3 ranked player in Kansas in the Class of 2010 and was ranked as the 13th best defensive end prospect in the nation.
After picking OU, Grissom red-shirted in 2010 after suffering a foot injury before the start of the season. Last year, Grissom, 6-foot-4, 247 pounds, played in six games as a third-string D-end and finished the season with five tackles, including three against Ball State and one against Kansas State.
OU lost its top two tight ends from 2011 to graduation and watched another transfer, leaving the Sooners with no returning experience at the position and Grissom with a better shot at playing time.
Make it ‘Coach Johnson’
Former KU defensive lineman Richard Johnson Jr., recently joined the coaching staff at Fort Scott Community College.
Johnson, who hails from Jefferson City, Mo., graduated from KU last December and played in all 12 games last season — starting nine — and finished with 16 tackles, including two for loss.
In addition to his on-the-field coaching duties, Johnson will recruit Kansas and Missouri.