May 14, 2020 1:40 AM

Chiefs' Kelce, Charlton, Clark talk football

Posted May 14, 2020 1:40 AM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Chiefs players talked football with the media on Wednesday. Following are their comments.

TE TRAVIS KELCE

Q: How has it been as a World Champion? Has it been everything you thought, more or less?

KELCE: “I think for the most part, it’s still been pretty surreal. I think the quarantine as made it almost like it was a dream because we haven’t been able to go out and be with our family members and visit everyone like we would if it wasn’t like this, but all in all, the biggest thing is that it’s very motivating. It’s very motivating to be able to do it again. I’ve already got the competitive mindset to gear up and start this thing all over again, to help recreate this team’s identity. And moving forward, we’re just excited because we have a lot of the pieces coming back.”

Q: How do you keep that hunger? How do you keep that fire going?

KELCE: “It’s ingrained in this team to fight, man, and to battle their tails off, to work their tails off. Everybody that we played with last year on the Chiefs, they made it fun to come into the office. We all enjoy being around each other, and I don’t see that chemistry changing or that camaraderie changing at all, especially with the leaders that we have coming back.”

Q: What gives you confidence with this current environment that you are going to be locked in and a step ahead? What gives you confidence that this group is going to be ready and going to handle this the right way?

KELCE: “One, the leaders, the leaders on this team and that includes Head Coach Andy Reid at the top. His scheduling, how he’s going about this whole quarantine and the virtual meetings and everything, nothing has really changed in terms of the bulk or the load of installs, the load of information that you’re going to have to be ready for once we do get out on the field. Yeah, it makes it a little bit tougher. You don’t get the opportunity to go out there and run these plays, especially the new plays the offensive minds have put together. It’s going to be a little difficult to catch up once we get out on the field and actually be able to perform these plays, but I think it’s, for the most part, the locker room guys, the core guys, everyone has the mentality of ‘We have to do this again.’ Last year doesn’t mean a thing. I don’t want to say we’ve erased it because it’s still, you know, it’s still fresh on our minds. But at the same time, it builds confidence and it builds some competitiveness to be able to repeat.”

Q: Can you talk about way this team grew last season and how that helps going into 2020?

KELCE: “Obviously, we started off with a bang, coming out and putting up 40 on Jacksonville, or however much we put up, but even from there, handling the ups and downs, handling the adversity throughout games, handling how we’re going to change the schemes at halftime. All in all, just believing in each other. All that takes it’s course to the end of the season, and then the playoffs almost start as a brand new season because you had to refocus your mindset because now it’s one-and-done. It’s an entirely different level of competitiveness. It’s a different level of accountability and what you’re doing in the office. I really think that we grew. Obviously, you can noticeably see the defense grow. Coach Spags (Steve Spagnuolo), Honey Badger (Tyrann Mathieu), 55 (Frank Clark), these guys helped mold what ended up being a championship defense. Not a lot of people saw that in the beginning, but as a player, you saw how hard everyone works throughout the week, day-to-day. You could see everyone getting better. It’s not that they weren’t good in the beginning. It was a chemistry. It was making sure that I’m being accountable for the guy next to me, knowing what the guy next to me is doing. So, it’s not that anybody was worse in the beginning of the season, it was just coming together, knowing that we had a new system. And we had a new way of doing things and just growing with that. And then on the offensive side of the ball, trying to minimize the mistakes. Trying to give Pat (Patrick Mahomes) the opportunity to throw the ball and stay on time as routes develop over the course of the season and just making sure we’re getting the ball down field and we’re putting up six because three points can get you in trouble.”

DE TACO CHARLTON

Q: What made the culture at the Chiefs attractive, and what did college teammate Frank Clark tell you about the team?

CHARLTON: “Yeah, it was a place I was looking forward to coming sort of right off waivers. So, once I cleared, me and Frank were on the phone, we were talking. Like I said, that’s why nothing else mattered to me, money-wise, nothing really mattered. I just wanted to play football, wanted to go to a good situation where I could play some good football and feel like I could add myself to a good defense.”

Q: With the opportunity to join the defending Super Bowl champions, and knowing that team continuity might be very important this upcoming season, how have you used this quarantine time to improve yourself as a player?

CHARLTON: “The good thing with me is I’ve got a home gym. I was able to add more to my home gym, and I’m still able to get a good amount of work in. And then my d-line coach is still out here in Dallas, so I’m still able to train and get a lot of work in during my quarantine. So, I’m staying in the house as much as possible, but I can work out in the house and still get a lot of work in, which is a good benefit for me.”

Q: What do you know Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and his scheme? Have you heard anything that you like or is attractive to you? Or was this more about joining the organization overall?

CHARLTON: “It was everything about the organization, from hearing how great of a coach (Head) Coach Reid is. Then once I talked to Frank, he told me how great of a coach (Defensive Coordinator) Coach Spags (Steve Spagnuolo) is, how great of a person he is, and how I’d like to play for him. That’s all I needed. Once I saw that, once I got the chance myself to talk to him and talk to (Run Game Coordinator/Defensive Line) Coach (Brendan) Daly, I was all comfortable with coming here and excited to see what I can bring here to Kansas City.”

Q: How would you describe your relationship with Frank Clark? Seems like you guys are close, but how similar are you on-the-field, off-the-field?

CHARLTON: “Me and Frank, we’re real close. Like my brother, like my big brother. He’s a person who at Michigan, he kind of took me under his wing and guided me. We continue that friendship and brotherhood whenever he left. We talk all the time. When I come to LA, I’m usually with him, or I go see him, link up with him, whatever it may be. We try to train with each other sometime during the offseason, or see each other, whatever it may be. Our friendship, our brotherhood has always been there. We always used to joke around about us playing with each other again if me and him had the opportunity. So now we have the opportunity to play with each other again and do something special. I definitely was on board with that and like I said, I’m excited.”

DE FRANK CLARK

Q: You seem to go on and off with social media, but you came back to let people know that you were going to make Taco Charlton into a legend. What was your thought process behind that?

CLARK: “I feel like a lot of people are doubting Taco and for the first part of his career it hasn’t been to the standard that I’m sure he would want it to be. He’s had some great highlights and he’s done some good things in this league, but he has yet to do what I know he wants to do. Me and him being close friends we have a lot of talks and we talk about a lot of things and he’s been my bro since Michigan days. I spent a significant amount of time with him there. Actually, I call myself a leader and everything I’ve done. At Michigan I made a lot of mistakes but on that football field I did my share of leading those guys. One thing I did in that position room is change the way the position was being played, the rush in, and Taco followed suit. He listens and he does great things. I’m just excited. I’m excited to see what he’s going to do. Like I said, I want to turn him into a legend. First, just show him my work ethic. Show him how we do things with the Chiefs. It’s a certain standard that Coach Reid has us mounted to. There are certain things that you have to be able to live up to here. We’re the champs. We’re defending our ring and there’s going to be some standards that he has to live up to coming into that room.”

Q: During Easter you did a pretty remarkable thing. Would you talk about going out and helping on Skid Row and why you decided to do that?

CLARK: “I do a lot down there, more than I really make public or would ask for credit for. I don’t really want credit for what I do down there. I actually used to live down there. Growing up in Los Angeles, I actually spent a large portion of my life on Skid Row, particularly at the Union Mission the shelter down there. Particularly around that time, I had done it plenty of times before then, but on that time at Easter it was just in my heart. I woke up with it in my heart. I didn’t plan on doing it on Easter. I had just went down there a few days before with a few friends and we had passed out some food and some clothes and some cleaning supplies, but I just woke up that morning and it was on my heart. My family was up cooking and stuff and I just let them know I’d be back later, and I was about to go down and help with downtown. I just said I’ll be back, basically. I just left and the first place I thought of was a pizza spot. I ended up going to Little Caesars pizza, shout out to them because they did a great job. I actually went in there and I was like, ‘I need as many pizzas as you can give me’ and they were like ‘What?’ and I was like ‘Can I get 100 pizzas?” and they were like, ‘What? No, we don’t have 100.’ and there was like a line of people. I’m begging people to let me get in front of them and I’ll buy their pizzas. I’m like ‘Please!’ because it was about to close. I was like “I just need these orders please. I’m about to go down and feed the people.’ and they ended up being able to give me 55 pizzas, which is crazy. 55 pizzas, my number. They gave me 55 pizzas.

I asked for as many as they could give me and they gave me 55 and I was like ‘What? That’s a coincidence. That’s crazy.’ So they gave me 55 pizzas and I went down there, me and my friend Nick Glass. We went down there and he helped me pass out the food to the homeless. We made sure we wore our protective stuff, but I feel like I’m more in touch with them than the average person. Just being down there and spending time down there I know the streets, I know the back streets, the alleys. So, it was one of those things.”

Q: How did you view your 2019 performance and what do you see for yourself in 2020?

CLARK: “I feel like it went alright. That’s every year I feel. It will never be what you want it to be, you have to set your goals high. That’s what I do all the time. Realistically, myself I’ll never tell anybody my actual goal. It’s either met or not met. Like, my goal is to break the sack record. I’ve been telling myself I want to break the sack record for the last two years, but things come with that, everyday stuff. I might get injured, I might tweak this, that might prohibit me or slow me down. So, it’s certain things like that that will always be my goal. Setting the single-season forced fumble record, things like that. You have goals, winning five Super Bowls. You have to set your goals high because what else are you working for. You have some people that set their goals as ‘I want to make it to the Super Bowl’ or ‘I want to make it to the NFL’ and I ask them ‘Well, what do you want to do after that? What’s next?’ and some guys fall short of that long-term success because they don’t have that ‘What’s Next?’ I feel like that’s what 2020 has in store. That ‘What’s Next?’ factor. What’s next? What do you want to do next, Frank? I wanna start my clothing line. I want to win more Super Bowls. I want to help my younger guys. I want to bring the younger guys along. I want to create more and do more things special.”

Q: When you guys do this virtual workout program what excites you most with the core of the guys being back, with Steve Spagnuolo and what about watching yourself early last season will help you for this season?

CLARK: “Number one when you get a chance to get your guys back, your core, that’s dope. The one thing you always want to see is your boys. The same team you went through it with. You all did that camp. Once you go through that camp together it’s like we solid, we dogs. You love to see guys who go on to success and they go off and get what they deserve as far as contracts and they do things that way. Hats off to those guys. We lost one from our room, one of our main guys Emmanuel Ogbah. That was my dog. He contributed so much. We might not have thought about it, but the time when he started contributing was the time where myself, I’m hurt and not really saying nothing but fighting through it every game, and then you got Alex Okafor, he’s hurt, he’s out at the time. He stepped in and he was doing his part contributing big. He was playing better football than me at the time. So, he was picking up a lot of slack for guys, honestly as a back up defensive end, then eventually became a starter once AO (Alex Okafor) got hurt. So, it’s hard, but also like you said we get our group back and I look forward to going back to the spot and seeing all my guys in that locker room. Us being able to reminisce and talk about it and then being able to have the desire to want more. We all understand. We’ve been there, so it’s not like 50% of your team got shipped off or this happened or the coaching staff, this happens. No, everybody’s back and it’s like you said the foundation is back and we get to revisit it. Like I said, have a short memory about it and then get back on the road because that’s the goal to get back on the road and keep it going.”

--CHIEFS--

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May 14, 2020 1:40 AM
KU announces 2020-21 non-conference schedule
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LAWRENCE – Kansas men’s basketball has always produced one of the toughest nonconference schedules in the nation and the 2020-21 slate is no different.

The Jayhawks’ 18-game home schedule renews an old rival with Missouri, a battle against preseason top-10 foe Creighton, clashes with Pac-12 foe USC and Ivy League power Harvard. 

Adding the Big 12 Conference contests, Kansas will potentially face 10 teams, 12 games, currently ranked in the NCAA March Madness Power 36 for 2020-21, with No. 2 Baylor and No. 4 Creighton each ranked ahead of No. 7 Kansas. Kentucky at No. 8, Virginia (10), Texas Tech (17), West Virginia (18), UCLA (19), Texas (22) and Oklahoma (26) are also potential upcoming KU foes ranked in the NCAA March Madness preseason poll. Virginia and UCLA, along with Georgetown, are part of the Wooden Legacy Tournament, Nov. 26-27, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. Additionally, these figures do not include KU’s Jan. 30 opponent for the Big 12/SEC Challenge. 

“Once again we will have one of the toughest schedules in the country,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “We have a minimum of four games against teams that will be ranked in the preseason top 10 with Kentucky, Creighton and Baylor. And that does not even mention the other teams that will be ranked like USC, Colorado, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Texas and the SEC opponent just to mention a few. I’m already excited for the season and know our fans will be as well.”

Kansas Athletics recently announced that for the 2020-21 season, Allen Fieldhouse will expand from three to eight pricing tiers, including four tiers that are lower than any season ticket price from last season. This new structure will lower the cost of season tickets for almost 45 percent of Allen Fieldhouse season ticket holders from last year. 

Additionally, the Dec. 12 Border Showdown vs. Missouri at the Sprint Center is only available by purchasing season tickets through KU. Once KU season ticket sales are completed, all remaining inventory for the Dec. 12 game will be made available to Missouri. If they do not sell that allotment, those limited tickets will be made available to the general public. 

To order season tickets, fans must be active members of the Williams Education Fund, which starts at $100 annually. Men’s basketball season tickets are allocated according to Williams Education Fund policies and subject to availability. More information is available through the Williams Education Fund by calling 785.864.3946 or [email protected]

The season starts off with the two winningest programs in NCAA Division I history with Kansas facing Kentucky in the Champions Classic at the United Center in Chicago on Nov. 10. KU will then open home play for three games against Southern Utah (Nov. 13), Eastern Illinois (Nov. 16) and Stony Brook (Nov. 20) before heading to the Wooden Legacy Tournament. 

Creighton finished No. 7 in the final Associated Press poll in March and will make its first trip to Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 3. KU will then host Omaha Dec. 8 before playing host to Missouri Dec. 12 in the first of six Border Showdown Series matchups. USC will then play at Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 19 and KU will close out the pre-holiday slate at former conference foe Colorado on Dec. 22. KU will host Harvard on Dec. 29 before opening Big 12 play Jan. 2. 

Kansas is coming off a 28-3 record in 2019-20 where the Jayhawks won the Big 12 regular-season title with a conference record 17 wins in going 17-1 and winning its final 16 games of the season. KU ended 2019-20 No. 1 in the Associated Press and USA TODAY Coaches’ polls before the pandemic shortened season. 

KU ended No. 2 in the 2019-20 NET rankings. The Jayhawks’ strength of schedule was No. 1. Kansas was the only school with 12 Quadrant 1 wins. KU’s 20 Q1 and Q2 combined wins are also more than any other school. 

Over the last 17 seasons, the Big 12 has proven to be one of the toughest league’s in the NCAA, making the Jayhawks’ run of 15 league titles since 2004 even more impressive. Beginning in the 2003-04 season, the Big 12 has ranked as the nation’s No. 1 conference in the RPI/NET rankings six times and in the top-three on 11 occasions. In 2019-20, the conference trended in the same direction as it ended as the second highest-rated league in the NET rankings. 

The Big 12 Conference schedule will be released later in the summer. Below is brief series information on the 2020-21 KU nonconference schedule. 

Nov. 10 (Tues.) – Kentucky (Champions Classic, United Center, Chicago)

•The two winningest programs in college basketball square off in the Champions Classic. Kentucky at 2,318 wins and Kansas at 2,302 victories are the only two schools to amass 2,300 all-time wins.

•Kentucky is coming off a 25-6 season where it won the SEC by three games going 15-3 in 2019-20.

•Kentucky leads the overall series with Kansas, 22-9, but the Jayhawks have won three of the last four meetings.

•In the Champions Classic, Kentucky holds a 2-1 series advantage. While at Kansas, Jayhawks’ head coach Bill Self is 6-4 against Kentucky.

•Kentucky is coached by former Kansas assistant John Calipari who is 330-77 in 11 seasons at UK and 733-215 in 28 seasons overall.

Nov. 13 (Fri.) – SOUTHERN UTAH

•Kansas and Southern Utah will be meeting for the first time in men’s basketball.

•Southern Utah went 17-15 last season and finished seventh in the Big Sky Conference with a 9-11 league mark.

•The Thunderbirds are coached by Todd Simon who is 53-78 in four seasons at Southern Utah.

Nov. 16 (Mon.) – EASTERN ILLINOIS

•Eastern Illinois will be the second-straight team Kansas will be facing for the first time in men’s basketball.

•The Panthers finished 17-15 in 2019-20 and tied for fifth in the 12-team Ohio Valley Conference with a 9-9 league record.

•Eastern Illinois is coached by Jay Spoonhour who is 110-139 in eight seasons at EIU.

Nov. 20 (Fri.) – STONY BROOK

•Kansas and Stony Brook will also be meeting for the first time.

•Stony Brook finished second in the American East Conference last season, posting a 20-13 overall and 10-6 league record.

•The Seawolves are coached by Geno Ford who is 20-14 after his first season at Stony Brook. Ford is 185-169 overall with stints at Kent State and Bradley prior to Stony Brook.

Nov. 26-27 – TBD (Wooden Legacy Tournament, Anaheim Arena, Anaheim, Calif. – Georgetown, UCLA, Virginia) Georgetown

•In a series which started in the 1987 NCAA Tournament, Kansas is 3-1 all-time against Georgetown and the Jayhawks have won the last three meetings. The two teams last met in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 10, 2014, a KU 75-70 road win.

•Last year Georgetown posted a 15-17 record and finished tied for ninth in the Big East with a 5-13 league record.

•The Hoyas are coached by legendary alum Patrick Ewing, who is 49-46 in three seasons at Georgetown.

 UCLA

•UCLA leads the series with Kansas, 10-8, but the Jayhawks have won the last four and five of the last six meetings with the Bruins. The last two battles were in the Maui Invitational, a KU 92-73 win in 2015 and a KU 72-56 victory in 2011.

•Last year, UCLA went 19-12 and finished second in the Pac-12 Conference with a 12-6 league record, one game behind league champion Oregon.

•The Bruins are coached by Mick Cronin, who will be entering his second season at UCLA and is 384-182 overall with stints at Murray State and Cincinnati before taking over UCLA in 2019.

 Virginia

•Kansas is 2-1 all-time against Virginia with all three meetings in 1995 and 1996. UVA won the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional Sweet 16, 67-58, on March 24, 1995, in Kansas City, Mo., while KU won 72-66 in the Great Eight on Nov. 29, 1995, in Auburn Hills, Mich., and 80-63, on Nov. 27, 1996, in the title game of the Maui Invitational.

•With the abrupt ending to the 2019-20 season, Virginia will still be defending its 2019 NCAA National Championship next year.

•The Cavaliers went 23-7 in 2019-20 and finished tied for second in the Atlantic Coast Conference at 15-5, one game behind league champion Florida State.

•UVA is coached by Tony Bennett who is 277-96 in 11 seasons at Virginia and 346-129 overall with three seasons at Washington State before taking over at Virginia in 2009-10.

Dec. 3 (Thurs.) – CREIGHTON

•Creighton will make its first-ever trip to Allen Fieldhouse as its last visit to Lawrence was in 1950. Kansas leads the series 9-6 but the teams’ previous meeting was in the 1974 NCAA Midwest Regional opening round, at KU 55-54 win in Tulsa. Kansas would later advance the 1974 Final Four in Greensboro, N.C.

•Last season, Creighton finished No. 7 in the Associated Press poll posting a 24-7 overall record. The Blue Jays tied Villanova and Seton Hall for the Big East regular-season title with a 13-5 league record.

•Creighton is coached by Greg McDermott who is 231-116 in 10 seasons at Creighton and is 511-311 overall.

Dec. 8 (Tues.) – OMAHA

•Kansas won the only series meeting with Omaha, 109-64, on Dec. 18, 2017, in Allen Fieldhouse.

•Last year the Mavericks finished 16-16 overall and tied for fourth in the Summit League with a 9-7 conference record.

•The Mavericks are coached by Derrin Hansen who is 241-214 in 15 seasons at Omaha.

Dec. 12 (Sat.) – MISSOURI (Border Showdown Series, Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo.)

•On October 21, 2019, the Border Showdown between Kansas and Missouri was renewed starting with the Dec. 9 contest at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. The two teams will meet six times over the next six seasons through 2025-26 with two meetings at Sprint Center (2020, 2025), two in Lawrence (2021, 2023) and two in Columbia (2022, 2024).

•The Border Showdown was known as the longest continuous rivalry west of the Mississippi River until 2012 when Missouri departed the Big 12 for the SEC.

•This series dates back to 1907 and Kansas holds a 174-95 advantage. The two teams did meet in and exhibition game at Sprint Center, a KU 93-87 win on Oct. 22, 2017, in a fundraiser for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

•Last year, MU went 15-16 overall and tied for 10th in the SEC with a 7-11 league record.

•The Tigers are coached by Cuonzo Martin who is 50-46 in three seasons at MU and 236-166 overall with stops at Missouri State, Tennessee and California prior to Missouri.

Dec. 19 (Sat.) – USC

•This series dates back to 1935 with Kansas leading 11-5. The Jayhawks have won the last seven matchups with the Trojans with the last meeting a 63-47 KU win in Los Angeles on Dec. 22, 2011.

•Last season, USC finished 22-9 and tied for third in the Pac-12 Conference at 11-7, two games behind league winner Oregon.

•The Trojans are coached by Andy Enfield who is 132-102 in seven seasons at USC and 173-130 overall, which includes two years at Florida Gulf Coast before taking over at USC in 2013.

Dec. 22 (Tues.) – at Colorado

•This series between Kansas and Colorado dates back to 1931 and KU leads 124-40 after its 72-58 win on Dec. 7, 2019, in Lawrence. Colorado’s 75-72 win on Dec. 7, 2013, in Boulder, ended a Kansas 19-straight series win streak against CU. Kansas has won 46 of the last 48 meetings with CU dating back to 1991. As conference members - Big Seven, Big Eight and Big 12 - Kansas was 116-35 against Colorado, which included 21 meetings in the Big Seven/Eight Holiday Tournament and postseason conference play. As members of the Big 12, Kansas was 31-1 against Colorado – 29-1 in regular-season play and 2-0 in the league tournament.

•Colorado finished 21-11 in 2019-20 and tied for fifth in the Pac-12 Conference at 10-8.

•The Buffs are coached by former Kansas guard Tad Boyle who is 210-134 in 10 seasons at CU and 266-200 in 14 seasons overall. Boyle coached four seasons at Northern Colorado before taking over at Colorado in 2010-11.

Dec. 29 (Tues.) – HARVARD

•Kansas won its only meeting with Harvard, 75-69, on Dec. 5, 2015, in Allen Fieldhouse.

•Last season Harvard finished 21-8 and second in the Ivy League at 10-4, one game behind Ivy champ Yale at 11-3.

•The Crimson are coached by Tommy Amaker who is 251-139 in 13 seasons at Harvard and 426-277 overall. Amaker, who has guided the Crimson to seven Ivy League titles in the last 10 seasons, was head coach at Seton Hall from 1997-98 until 2000-01, Michigan from 2001-02 until 2006-07 before taking over at Harvard.

Jan. 30 (Sat.) – at TBD (Big 12/SEC Challenge)

•After its 74-68 win against Tennessee on Jan. 25, 2020, in Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas is 5-2 in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, having split with Florida in 2013-14 and 2014-15, as both teams claimed home victories. KU then swept a home-and-home series with Kentucky, claiming a 90-84 overtime in Allen Fieldhouse in 2016 and a 79-73 win in Lexington, Kentucky in 2017. In 2018, Kansas defeated Texas A&M, 79-68, in Allen Fieldhouse and lost at Kentucky, 71-63, in 2019.

•With the Big East/Big 12 Battle starting up in 2019-20, dating back to 2007, Kansas is 8-4 in conference challenges (1-1 vs. Arizona, 2-0 vs. UCLA, 1-1 vs. Florida, 2-1 vs. Kentucky, 1-0 vs. Tennessee, 1-0 vs. Texas A&M and 0-1 vs. Villanova).

--kuathletics.com--