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April 4, 2013When Scott Vestal made the move into the full-time coaching coach at Kansas the transition went smooth. One reason is Vestal was already familiar with the system installed under Charlie Weis.
Weis brought Vestal to the Kansas staff last year from the University of Florida. Last year he spent the season as the assistant director of football operations.
"It was great to be here last year," Vestal said. "Being here last year gave me a lot of familiarity with players and coaches. It is a tight-knit group. For me to get a shot here under Weis, Campo, it's a realization of a long time goal and I am going to make the most of it."
Learning the college game
Vestal got a good taste of the college game under Will Muschamp. He was the defensive quality coach for Muschamp at Florida and Texas. Before that he was a graduate assistant at North Texas, SMU, and Louisiana Tech. At SMU he learned under Phil Bennett.
"I feel like in those years it is like getting a PhD in football," he said. "At Florida and Texas, being in Big 12 before, working with those coaches, building relationships, seeing how they recruit, how they teach it's been awesome. There are a lot of good coaches here at Kansas. So I have been around a lot of good ones."
Getting back in Texas
When Vestal was in Texas he made good connections with several high school coaches. Now he is rekindling those relationships and building new ones. Getting back in the recruiting flow has been something Vestal is working on.
"There hasn't been any adjustment from the coaching aspect but more from the recruiting," he said. "As far as being in the meeting rooms and being on field that feels natural. I'm going to recruit a large portion of Dallas/Fort Worth and spot recruit the state of Florida. I have a lot of ties in DFW. There has already been a lot of relationship building with people I didn't know."
Vestal said he use to attend a lot of conventions and clinics which helped him to get know a lot of high school coaches in the Lone Star state. He's putting a lot of time into recruiting when the coaches meetings aren't in session.
"I've spent almost every waking minute when we aren't in football meetings calling coaches and building relationships. I've been renewing ties with the ones I do. The recruiting has been a bigger change for me."
Working with the safeties
Clint Bowen moved up to take the linebackers leaving the safeties. Vestal has taken over the safety group as well as a role on special teams. He has a lot of young players he is trying to groom in the defensive backfield.
"Dexter Linton looks really good," Vestal said. "He's a real stabilizing force. There are some guys back there that don't have a lot of playing experience. We are getting through the learning curve. I feel like the attention in meetings and on the field has been greater. With these young guys we are creating some good habits."
The Jayhawks lost Bradley McDougald and Lubbock Smith to graduation. But there are players waiting to get their turn and will get their chance this spring.
"Alex Matlock has done some good things," Vestal said. "Greg Allen and Tevin Shaw are good athletes. There is a new walk on Deron Dangerfield who has been busting his tail. I am pleased through practices we've had, but we are not where we need to be."