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July 15, 2021

Lance Leipold

Arlington, Texas, USA

Kansas Jayhawks

Press Conference

LANCE LEIPOLD: Good afternoon. First of all, just like to take the time to apologize for not having the opportunity to be there in person. It's unfortunate we could not get clearance to depart Lawrence here this morning.

Nevertheless, extremely excited to be with you all today. Excited to be here at the University of Kansas. It's been an exciting few months with a lot to do in a short period of time.

Through that time, getting a chance to know our players, really come to appreciate their attitude and efforts in accepting this change, their excitement to turn the page and put Kansas football back on the track to be a consistent winning football program.

Our new strength and conditioning coach Matt Gildersleeve has done an exceptional job. Really because of the timing, so much has fallen onto his hands to implement culture, expectations on how we're going to go about running our program, also the main parts of our strength and conditioning program in and of itself.

Timing of taking this position is unique, but one that we fully embrace. I think for many of us in our past and our path to really the Big 12 Conference is one that we've had to work in different situations many times in our careers without spring football, without players around in the summertime.

Many of those things we look back on, and we're going to use those resources to kind of get us to work towards camp. Once we get towards August here, we know it's going to be critical in the first couple weeks of getting things taught, implemented, executed, creating that culture of competition as we have to have a short period of time to evaluate this roster and get us ready for opening week against the University of South Dakota.

We have two players that were scheduled to be with us down there today, Kwamie Lassiter, who is a super senior who has been just an outstanding young man who has worked extremely hard. His father played in this program. His brother's in the program. He's committed to the University of Kansas and Jayhawk football. I'm so proud of his attitude from the first time he walked in my office.

As well as Kenny Logan, starting safety. Again, these young men have gone through a lot of changes, the way they've embraced it, accepted change, but are really ready to lead this program into its next chapter.

With that, I guess I'll open it up for questions.

Q. What is it going to take to get KU football back onto the map?

LANCE LEIPOLD: I think there's no simple quick fixes in building a program or in rebuilding a program. Our approach is going to be consistent in what we're going to do, consistent in our recruiting methods, starting locally, again, spreading out throughout the nation within the Big 12 footprint.

Our expectation is we'll be very similar to other places that we've been. We're going to expect and want our players to continue to work on daily improvement. We have to be a program that's going to take care of the finer points of the game and continue to build consistency and confidence in each and every thing that we do.

Q. What are some lessons you've learned from Wisconsin and Buffalo that have help you?

LANCE LEIPOLD: Keep looking forward. I think whether it be success or when programs haven't had success, you can't spend any time looking in the rearview mirror. Look through the windshield, keep it a day at a time, don't get too far ahead of yourself or too far behind. Be where your feet are at and continue to work each and every day to be a little bit better than you were before. We've taken that when things have been going well for us and through tougher times.

The other thing I touched on here earlier, I think the stability and consistency within our staff that we've been able to have at both those previous stops have been very impactful to our young men, that they have the same voice within the same schemes of doing the same things. Our players, give them the best chance to be successful and continue to build and get better daily when they have the same consistent message.

Right now we're walking into some situations where a guy is on his fourth position coach. That's hard to build consistency when things are starting over. Again, that's going to be the plan. I'm very confident that we'll be able to do that with staff stability.

Q. What are your opinions of the quarterback competition?

LANCE LEIPOLD: I'm excited about all our quarterbacks. We have quite a few in camp.

The one thing I guess kind of going off the question from before about our last two stops is one of the things that we want within our program is the culture of competition. Our players know they're going to go out each and every day to compete.

The unique thing about this, about getting this job without spring practice, I was in town for the spring game, but as I've said before I think I didn't get a chance to really watch more than five plays in a row without shaking another hand or meeting somebody.

To really say I've had a chance to watch guys in person to get an evaluation has not happened. So whether it be Jason Bean or Jalon Daniels, Miles Kendrick, any of our young quarterbacks that we have, that will be in August.

We do feel that our practice model is going to give us a great opportunity to evaluate and make decisions, but we know that we'll have to do so in a fairly fast period of time.

Q. (Question about defense.)

LANCE LEIPOLD: Eventually preventing big plays. Especially when you play in an explosive conference like this is, everybody talks about the explosive play-makers. If you're not playing well on first and second down, you're not fundamentally sound. Giving up big plays on those downs, it's hard to get offer the field. Those are things that we're going to have to do a better job of fundamentally in a lot of different ways.

I feel that our defensive staff will start that on day one and we'll be a better defense by doing so.

Q. Will you be able to use your Division III pedigree?

LANCE LEIPOLD: I don't know, that Division III pedigree (smiling). I'd just like to say really my experiences in college football I like to use.

I think there's things along the way. I like to say it's just the way that you go about it each and every day in your preparation. I look at my time at the University of Wisconsin under Barry Alvarez, Frank Solich at Nebraska, I've had a chance to work under some outstanding football minds during my time.

Again, I would say, though, when you talk about the Division III pedigree and things like that, I think it's well-known, and rightfully so, the job that Matt Campbell has done at Iowa State. From his background and everything that he does, congratulations to him. There's many of those things that can be looked upon that we should be looking to install and probably will into our program. Whether that's Division III mentality or just going through things, we'll use all resources that we can to build this program the right way.

Q. Talk about Jacob Gall, what he'll bring to Baylor.


Q. Yes.

LANCE LEIPOLD: Yeah, Jake Gall was a young man who was a very versatile interior lineman to us at Buffalo. Hard-working guy. Blue-collar offensive lineman. I think Coach Aranda got himself a very fine football player there. We wish nothing but the best for Jacob as he moves forward.

Q. How important will Kenny Logan be this year?

LANCE LEIPOLD: Kenny is a key component to this program in many different ways. You talk about his athletic ability. He's one of the starting safeties returning. He's one of the leaders in the secondary communication-wise, a leader of the defense. He's an excellent kick returner. If you have a chance to interact with Kenny, you know he's got a great personality, a lot of charisma to him. He's going to need that or we're going to need that type of leadership and positivity in our program as we continue to grow.

Kenny was one of the first ones to come into my office when I was appointed head coach. He's a daily visitor. I just think in so many ways he is impactful, not just to our defense, our program, and really he can be to our athletic department in who he is with that personality.

I can't wait to see him on the field and get a chance to work with him in those regards here in the upcoming weeks.

Q. Can you describe the hunger of the players when you got there and how many want to buy in and be good?

LANCE LEIPOLD: That's an excellent question because having a chance to sit down with each and every player individually, that was one of the things we talked about.

What they're also looking for is consistency and the ways to get there. They're willing, they're wanting to be good. They want to know how to get there. They're accepting the change. We're going to need that desire each and every day as you go through some of the tough times, whether it be in fall camp or sometimes as you go through adversity along the way.

That's what we talked about with Kenny [Logan] and Kwamie [Lassiter] today. Today is a little adversity. We didn't get a chance to get down there in person with all of you. We've got to find a way to persevere through it. Again, our young men have been through a lot in a short period of time.

I'm confident that these 81 men, just like many of these young men across the country in this age group, they can persevere through a lot of things. I know this group is wanting and willing to do so.

Again, I want to thank you for the opportunity. I know this just didn't go as smooth as the rest, but if there's anything I can do, get ahold of our communications people, I'd be glad to answer any more questions. Thank you.

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