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Cliff’s Notes: Dave Campo press conference, 4/17/12
Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas defensive coordinator Dave Campo's comments at his press conference today.
• Turnovers have been a mainstay in almost every defense Dave Campo has been involved in. If you look at the statistics that mean the most, Campo would say that turnovers are at the top of the list. KU's coaches are stressing it. If you look at the year the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl, their defense was probably middle of the pack, but they forced lots of turnovers.
• If KU has players that buy into the program and buy into the fact that the only way KU can make up ground is by playing hard ... if KU gets those types of guys on the field, then it's going to get turnovers. If KU can come out this spring knowing the guys it can count on, then it will come out ahead.
• Linebacker Michael Reynolds is the type of athlete that KU needs to get on the film if he's the right guy. He's athletic, can run and can play in space.
• Campo says his linebackers run OK. Part of that might be because they are a bit undersized compared to other linebackers in the Big 12.
• Campo says he's nervous about the guys being able to compete at this level against the guys they have to compete against. The coaches came in knowing this was a challenge. KU ranked around last in defense in Div. I last year. When Campo came in, he felt like the players KU was recruiting could compete in the Big 12. This is a spread offense league, so you've got to have the guys out there that can move in space.
• The first thing everyone told Campo when he moved from a job with the Miami Hurricanes to a job with the Dallas Cowboys was that his players were too small, because he had small 4-3 linebackers. Dallas was faster than everyone else, though. KU's defense will have to sacrifice some size for speed. As long as the players run to the ball, that's all KU's coaches can ask for.
• Campo felt like the offense won the scrimmage that KU had last week. But Campo felt like the defense won a 7-on-7 drill the team had last week.
• Campo has told his group that no one on campus should think that a freshman or junior-college guy is going to go to third-string just because he's new. If he's the best player, he's going to line up No. 1. A lot of places, the guys coming in are immediately third- or fourth-string. This is a different scenario. Campo likes a lot of the guys here, but this is a tryout situation for them right now.
• Campo feels good about KU's secondary as a whole. There are some players there. KU has three DBs coming in that can run, so it's going to be a competition still. Campo feels better about that position than the others on defense.
• Campo thinks the guys' enthusiasm is better now than at any time. The players realize they have to take the field with the attitude that they're going to be a four-quarter ballclub no matter what. The guys are excited about the newness and change and also about the philosophy of the people talking to them.
• When he first got here, Campo didn't think his team ran as well as it needed to. Some guys do. It's not all about running, though. Otherwise, you would only put track athletes on the field.
• No other players have switched from offense to defense in the last two weeks. There are some guys the coaches feel like could be two-way players. The coaches are going to try to get the best 11 guys on the field on offense and defense no matter who it is. The New England Patriots do some of that in the NFL, putting guys on both sides of the ball if it helps the team.
• Campo believes you learn more about your guys when they go live, so the Spring Game will mean something. It's an individual evaluating tool, rather than a group evaluating tool. KU's coaches will go back and see which players perform well instead of looking at which position groups do well. KU is playing more base defense this spring than it will all next year, just because the coaches want to make it easier to evaluate and see which players can perform.