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August 19, 2011

Notebook: A change of speed






The opposite of Toben

When the Jayhawks are bringing pressure from the edge one of the players will be Toben Opurum. With a new scheme coming to the defense the question will be who comes off the other edge.

It is likely going to be a mix of players. In the 3-4 scheme it gives defensive coordinator Vic Shealy the option of sliding over a bigger defensive end of creeping a linebacker up on the edge.


"I think you will see guys like Tunde (Bakare), Darius (Willis), or Keba (Agostinho) getting back there," Opurum said. "There will be different players. Tunde is really fast and Darius can get a good pass rush. I think you will see Keba in the backfield a lot."

This week Agostinho told us he is right at 260 pounds. He will line up in different positions on the line after playing a traditional defensive end in the 4-3 last year.

"I can be anywhere," Agostinho said. "It depends on what the defense does. I could be head up on a player or lined up on the outside. Most of the time when I am inside it comes natural because I played inside in high school. Last year I played outside so I am comfortable doing either one."


Secondary starting to take shape

When Keeston Terry and Bradley McDougald arrived at Kansas they were both receivers. Terry was quickly moved to safety and started there as a true freshman. McDougald committed to Ohio State out of high school as a safety.

The spring season was the first time both of them got a chance to play in the defensive backfield at the same time. Terry missed a lot of the season after suffering an injury and McDougald was switched to safety late in the year.

Fall camp has given the two time to jell and Terry can see things starting to come together.

"The adjustment has been good," Terry said. "Me and Bradley have been picking up the communication and we are flowing pretty good. I think we bring athleticism and knowing the quarterback. It makes it easier because we know how they throw routes and we can pick up things the offense may be doing."

After missing the last nine games Terry says he has fully recovered and expects to be part of a defense that is much faster.

"I'm 100 percent," Terry said. "I went through it during the spring and most of last year. I'm looking forward to seeing our defense play. We have a lot of potential, athleticism, and speed. I think it will be an improvement from last year. Hopefully we can create some turnovers."

When asked what young players have caught his attention Terry mentioned one on offense and defense.

"JaCorey Shepherd is going to be a really good player at KU once he gets in the system," Terry said. "Chris Robinson has been doing good at corner. I know he's not a big guy but he plays with a lot of heart."


Patmon ready for any position

Tyler Patmon was best known last year as the nickel back. In passing situations he was on the field as an extra defensive back. This year he could see action as a corner or nickel. Being the son of a coach Patmon says he's always prepared and doesn't care what position he plays.

"I don't know whether I will play corner or nickel," Patmon said. "That all depends on coach (Vic) Shealy. But no matter the situation I am ready to play both."

There are similarities in the two positions but they bring different responsibilities. Patmon talked about which one he thinks is tougher.

"Nickel you are by yourself and there is all that room and corner you are on an island," he said. "I really think nickel is harder. A lot of people think corner is but I think nickel is. In nickel there are so many ways and so much room the receiver can run on you."

The common theme over the last two weeks is the defense will be much faster. Patmon likes the scheme Shealy is using and says it is fun to be in as a player.

"We love it," Patmon said of the defense. "There is more movement and so much more speed. Sometimes you can see on film there are 10 guys near the ball at the end of a play. That's a big improvement. The speed overall is changing our whole defense. There is a lot of speed on the field."


We asked Patmon what new players on defense have stood out.

"We have Tunde at linebacker and I mean he can run," Patmon said. "Some have said he can run a 4.3. I like what I have seen from Ben Heeney, he can run too."


From quarterback to all over the field

At this time last year Kale Pick was in a battle to win the quarterback job. Now he's got a chance to do the same at wide receiver. Pick has been one of the players that has been mentioned by the coaches as having a great camp.

Last year he was playing at 205 pounds and this summer he put on muscle which has helped him make the transition to receiver.

"I came in at 217 (pounds) and right now I'm at 213," Pick said. "I'm trying to stay at 215. It helps more in blocking and makes more of a target."

Pick and Daymond Patterson have been two players that have been playing several different positions at wide receiver. There is a lot to learn but his former days as a quarterback have helped him in the transition.

"It helped that I was a quarterback before so I know the routes," he said. "I have been moving between inside and outside receiver. The difference is the different kind of routes you run and the players you go against. As the inside receiver you have to go against linebackers and mostly safeties. On the outside you are against corners and faster guys."

Pick used to throw to Patterson and now the two are sharing a lot of time together.

"One thing Daymond and I do nicely is mesh well together," Pick said. "We both can go to the inside or outside and we can flip-flop at any time. That makes it nice when we are out there."

One area the Jayhawks need to someone to step is the spot that requires a bigger body. There has been a lot of talk about Patterson, Pick, and D.J. Beshears. The roster is filled with several receivers 6-foot-3 and taller and that is a spot up for grabs.

"I think Christian (Matthews) has stepped up the last few days and done some good things," Pick said "He's being a lot more physical than he used to and been better in the blocking game as well."



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