LAWRENCE — Heres the newest form of Kansas math: The Jayhawks lost all four starters from last seasons secondary, and coordinator Dave Campo is still optimistic his defensive backs can make significant progress in 2013.
By RUSTIN DODD
The Kansas City Star
The calculation isnt all that complicated. KUs pass defense was among the nations worst last season, and a thin unit magnified the deficiencies especially late in games.
But of all the reasons for hope, perhaps the biggest one showed up late Monday night, when junior-college transfer Kevin Short finally landed on campus. Short, a 6-foot-2 cornerback from Fort Scott Community College, was one of the prize recruits in the Jayhawks large junior-college class. And before the start of fall camp, KU coach Charlie Weis suggested that Short could have been atop the depth chart at corner if hed been cleared by the NCAA on time.
It now appears that Short is good to go. And because the Jayhawks have a first-week bye on the schedule, Short will have an extra seven days to get integrated into the defense before KUs season opener against South Dakota on Sept. 7.
Hes starting from ground zero, Campo said. But let me say this: The corner position is one position where that can happen, because skill trumps technique.
For now, it appears that junior-college transfer Dexter McDonald has a hold on one of KUs starting cornerback spots. Campo is clear that there are ongoing competitions at all spots, but McDonald, a former Rockhurst standout, has been impressive in his return to the KU program. (McDonald left the program after the 2011 season for academic reasons.)
Junior JaCorey Shepherd and junior-college transfer Brandon Hollomon might battle Short for the other starting spot, but all four may figure into Campos plans in the secondary.
Im telling you right now, with the tempo of the game and 90 plays a game, you cant just play two guys, Campo said. And thats one of the things I did last year, because I had no confidence whatsoever in the guys that were in backup positions.
By Tuesday afternoon, Campo said Short had checked into the Kansas practice facilities. But hell probably need a short acclimation process before hes allowed to hit the practice field at 100 percent.
Hes one of those guys, in my mind, a little bit like Dexter McDonald, Campo said of Short. Hes a bigger athlete, and we wont know exactly what we have until hes out there going (full speed). So hes just one of those guys thats in the mix that we have to get ready as fast as we can.