Kansas opens Big 12 play this week against Baylor, which means the defense is gearing up for a battle with Baylor's versatile quarterback Robert Griffin. Kansas linebacker Steven Johnson compared Griffin with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. Johnson said while both quarterbacks have the ability to make plays with their feet, they are also proficient passers as well.
"I am an Eagles fan and everyone thinks Michael Vick just will run it but he has been slinging it and Robert Griffin reminds me a bit of him," Johnson said. "Griffin's got a great arm and he plays with a lot of confidence. We are just going to have to get out there and rattle him."
Johnson said he has already spent several hours in the film room watching clips of Griffin and once he gets his scouting dvd on Baylor's offense he plans to stay up late this week taking even more notes on the Baylor quarterback.
"My emphasis this week in practice will just be to fly from sideline to sideline," Johnson said. "I know we do little team runs and the wide receiver has to sprint 20 yards after the catch. Usually they blow the whistle and the play is over for me but I am going to make an emphasis for myself to run until I touch him.
"If I do that then maybe my teammates will do that and on Saturday we will have 11 Hawks flying to the ball," he added.
Kansas defensive coordinator Carl Torbush says while Griffin has improved as a passer, his team will respect Griffin's scrambling ability.
"You always got to be concerned if you are covering real well that he can take off down the field," Torbush said. "That happened to us a couple of weeks ago against Southern Mississippi where we let the quarterback scamper three times for 10 yard gains.
"This week those 10-yard gains will turn into 30 or 40 yard gains and we can't let that happen," he added.
Torbush evaluates Jake Laptad
After four games, senior defensive end Jake Laptad only has eight total tackles and is still looking for his first sack. Defensive coordinator Carl Torbush said the numbers don't tell the whole story with the defensive lineman.
"He understands gaps and when he is going to get a single blocker or a double block," Torbush said. "Even though stat wise it isn't showing it, Jake is having a very solid season for us.
"Everybody wants 5 or 6 sacks, and I want that too but if you ask me where he is at as a football player then I think he is having an excellent football year," he added.
Each week Jayhawk Slant will get veteran players thoughts on some of the different freshmen who are redshirting. This week linebacker Steven Johnson talks about freshmen linebackers Ed Fink and Jake Farley.
Johnson on Farley: "I really his work ethic and his will to learn. I remember in the summer he was writing out our entire playbook so he would know it. On our day off on Mondays I will see him in the weight room doings squats and he is the only player working out.
"He kind of reminds me of myself when I was trying to work my way up and he has a great work ethic," he added. "Once he learns it he will be great."
Johnson on Fink: "His locker is a couple lockers away from mine and he keeps us up beat because he is always talking about how great it is to play Division I football and how awesome it is.
"I mean he is just excited to get team clothes," he added. "He is like a little kid out there and we really like him."