Stubbs Plays Important Role

In most situations, having a strong safety lead the team in tackles is a reflection of a bad defensive line and poor tackling by the linebackers. However, Kansas strong safety Tony Stubbs has helped his team establish a strong defensive identity during the two victories against Tulsa and Toledo.

Stubbs compiled the most tackles on his team and leads the Big 12 Conference. In fact, head coach Mark Mangino made the comparison to another Big 12 team known for its defense along with a star strong safety.

"In our defensive system, if the strong safety is making plays, that's not all bad. I remember a guy at Oklahoma named Roy Williams who made a lot of tackles and that defense was very good," Mangino said.

Stubbs played an impressive game against Toledo with an interception but still remains humble about leading the Big 12 in tackles.

"It definitely was a surprise when a couple of guys came up to me and told me I was leading the Big 12 in tackles. I'm not really big on stats but it's definitely an honor," Stubbs reacted.

The senior out of Lake Worth, Florida accredits hard work to his defensive improvement on the field.

"I just improved myself from working hard, watching film, and going out and making plays," Stubbs said.

Stubbs had to make the position change from running back to strong safety during Mangino's first year at Kansas. During his early years at Kansas, he sensed that the strong safety position was a better fit than running back.

"I felt running back wasn't for me in the Big 12 or in college," Stubbs said. "I felt that I would be a better defensive player and I believe coach Mangino saw that in me."

The head coach is appreciative of the way Stubbs has transformed himself into a strong defensive presence on the field.

"He has developed great change of direction, he has worked on his footwork to cover. He can also take on a back and take him to the ground. Tony Stubbs is a hard working guy, he has really developed into a fine player," Mangino said.

Stubbs will play an important role in Saturday's game against Northwestern. The Wildcats boast a strong passing attack led by quarterback Brett Basanez. Northwestern averages 370 yards through the air and Basanez has completed 60% of his passes with 4 touchdowns.

The improved defensive line and solid linebackers have given Stubbs the opportunity to make plays for the team. After holding both Tulsa and Toledo to under 300 total yards, Stubbs and the defense will head to Illinois trying to contain another potent offense in hopes of a third Jayhawk victory.


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