Since the spring the depth chart at defensive line has gone through a lot of changes. One thing that stands out is the fact there will be several new names and young players that have to step up.
Two players that were expected to contribute are no longer with the team. Of the eight players listed on the depth chart only Richard Johnson Jr. and Jake Laptad have earned more than two letters.
All defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt can ask is for quality effort and that's what he's been getting.
"They've been working hard and I'm encouraged about their work ethic," Wyatt said.
One of the biggest additions since spring football is Laptad, who was limited with an injury. Laptad, who has played in 38 career games, brings the most experience to the line. He was a welcome sight for Wyatt after missing the spring.
"It's been good to have Jake back," Wyatt said. "We didn't have him in the spring but he's out there working hard and leading the group."
The other defensive end spot appears wide open. It has turned into a three-player sprint with Kevin Young, Tyrone Sellers, and Quintin Woods. Only Woods, who signed with Michigan out of high school has played in a game. All three are locked in a battle and bring good things to competition.
"Kevin Young has been consistent in the spring and so far through the fall," Wyatt said. "A guy that has made the biggest improvement from the spring until now is Tyrone Sellers. He's been doing some good things so I have been impressed. Quintin can really come off the edge and brings some athletic ability."
On the interior there is a good mix of bodies rotating around with Johnson and Patrick Dorsey emerging as the top two. Both players have started at the Big 12 level and have kept their status with the number one unit.
"Dorsey and Johnson have been doing a great job," Wyatt said. "They have both been steady in there. We just need more than two bodies and I think we will get that."
News and notes:
- Although Darius Parish isn't listed on the depth chart he isn't going away. Expect to see Parish keep pushing for playing time. After moving to offense he's now back on defense and has the tools to help.
"I don't think he understands how dominant he could be," Wyatt said of Parish. "He's a big, strong athletic guy. He's still trying to figure it out, but once he does he's going to be an outstanding football player. We're just trying to get him to play a little bit lower and polish up some things."
- One of the biggest surprises of the entire camp is Keba Agostinho. The true freshman didn't even report with the original group in June. He has made a quick impact and is listed number two on the depth chart behind Laptad. He was recruited and listed as a defensive tackle, but is playing at end.
"Keba is the one who is stepping up as far as freshmen," Wyatt said. "He's showing some real promise. We are playing him at end and he's moving around real well. He's moving better than we anticipated."
- Last season Wyatt coached the defensive line at Texas A&M. He coached Von Miller, who led the nation in sacks. Miller is listed as a linebacker but comes up to the line in pass rush situations. Expect the Jayhawks to have a similar package as they search for the right combination.
"We're still trying to develop that secret weapon," Wyatt said. "We have some guys with that ability. We're just trying to get them to figure that position out. Once we get into conference play we'll have somebody that has that confidence to rush the quarterback. You got a couple guys that have shown that pass rush promise so we are excited."
- Williams reported to came slimmer than last season when he weighed 325 pounds. Right now he is listed at 295 and it was tough to recognize him when the media was allowed to watch the beginning of practice. He had an injury to his shoulder and the off-season conditioning program helped him keep the weight off.
"Some girl must have told him he looked so he keeps dropping weight," Wyatt said with a laugh. "He's moving really well. He's had great change of directions. It's good to have John back. I've got to worry about him thinking he's a linebacker."