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LJWorld.com weblogs Tale of the Tait

KU football captains react to new roles

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Tuesday night, Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis announced the results of a team-wide vote for this year's captains.

Under normal circumstances, Weis' teams typically have two captains — one for offense and one for defense — but with this year's offensive vote being so close between quarterback Dayne Crist and offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson, Weis chose to allow both seniors to become captains.

The timing of Weis' decision to select team captains coincides directly with a couple of recent off-the-field issues that led to suspensions or dismissals.

Following Tuesday's practice, all three captains spoke to the media. Here are a few more nuggets from those interviews that did not make today's main story:

Tanner Hawkinson on Dayne Crist:
“He’s worked himself into a position to be a leader of the team. Obviously, you always look at the quarterback position as being a leader and he did a really good job with that. He came in and worked his tail off and people kind of saw that and he slowly gained the respect of the guys.”

Crist on having 3 captains instead of 2:
“It’s great that you can get multiple voices saying the same message. I think that just kind of helps reach out to all the guys on the team, especially with off-the-field stuff.”

Hawkinson on the role of KU’s captains:
“I think we need to be those guys, not only for the young guys to let them know what’s expected, but also for the rest of the team to make sure they’re doing things right.”

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Toben Opurum on being named a captain:
“It’s really an honor that the guys are confident in me to lead this team, along with Dayne and Tanner.”

Hawkinson on experienced players such as Daymond Patterson, Kale Pick and Bradley McDougald:
“To me, they could easily have been chosen as captains, as well. Just with the experience they’ve had and how they’ve grown over the years.”

Crist on Opurum:
“He and I just very well, just naturally, even off the field. We’ve got a cool relationship and he’s a good guy so it’s nice being around guys like that. We bounce stuff off each other all the time. We bounce stuff off each other all the time and we’re always picking each other’s brains so it’s nice to have a guy on defense as a counterpart that you can kind of go at and talk kind of some upper-level thinking.”

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Hawkinson on Opurum:
“Toben’s been great on defense and he’s going to be a great leader for the defense. He’s a great player and a great competitor.”

Opurum on if being a captain for Charlie Weis brings more pressure:
“A bit, but that’s something that I’ve always done naturally. I haven’t had any off-the-field issues and if something’s about to happen I’m usually there to stop it, whether I’m a captain or not.”

Crist on Hawkinson:
“He’s a leader. He’s absolutely a leader on and off the field. A guy who has been here for a while and seen a lot. He’s been through multiple coaching changes and has been a team guy always and I have a ton of respect for him. Obviously, the team feels the same way.”

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ku_fbc_ou_jy_002.jpg

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