Wednesday, June 1, 2011
KU finds its new defensive coordinator
By David Ubben
Kansas has found a new defensive coordinator after Carl Torbush retired Tuesday because of a prostate cancer diagnosis.
The Jayhawks didn't have to look far after they named cornerbacks coach Vic Shealy Torbush's replacement. Shealy will be joined by defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt as co-defensive coordinator.
Coach Turner Gill, who called Tuesday a "difficult day," and Torbush answered questions from the media, but Kansas still needs a replacement for Torbush's duties as linebackers coach.
"It is with great regret that I am retiring, but I feel in my heart after a lot of thought and prayer that this is what is best for myself and my family at this stage in my life," Torbush said.
"I have no doubt that Coach Gill will lead the KU program to many wins and get this team going in the direction everybody wants to see it go. I think the best statement I can make is if I had a son who was a Division I prospect, there is no question that I would want them to come to Kansas and play for Coach Gill and this coaching staff for many reasons besides just football."
Torbush has spent more than three decades coaching college football, and has been the defensive coordinator at Ole Miss, North Carolina, Alabama, Texas A&M and Mississippi State before coming to Kansas with Gill in 2010.
He also served as North Carolina's head coach from 1997-2000 and Louisiana Tech's head coach in 1987.
“I was a little bit shocked and surprised. When you’re talking about health, you have to put all the other selfish stuff away," Gill said.
He added that he plans to replace Torbush, and hopes to have a new linebackers coach by the end of the week.
After last season's struggles, though, Torbush is encouraged by the defense's growth heading into the fall. He cited a lack of depth that required some players to take the field for as many as 100 snaps a game for some of Kansas' problems.
"We’ve got a lot more depth than we had before. We’re faster than we were," Torbush said. "We’re still going to be pretty young on defense. One day after practice we told the seniors to step forward and there were only about six out of all of them that stepped forward. That’s not many seniors, but the great thing about it is that it’s going to be the same guys for several years to come. The experience the secondary got last year will help them this year."
Next season, in addition to that depth, the Jayhawks new coordinator says knowing what he has to work with will pay off too.
"The process when we came in a year ago of trying to evaluate talent. Trying to take Carl’s base approach to defense and trying to fit those players structurally and philosophically into what he was wanting to do was a challenge," Shealy said. "But from about mid-season on you began to see a shift and we began finding out what players’ strengths are and put them in those positions more often to be able to show that strength."
Shealy will need that to continue next season for the Jayhawks to rebound from a 3-9 season in Gill's first year at Kansas.