July 27, 2006

Fine and dandy

KANSAS CITY, Mo.- Derek Fine, the 6-foot-3, 245-pound tight end from Sallisaw, Okla., is the type of player that any coach would love to have on his roster. It doesn't matter if he is called upon to be an extra blocker or if he is asked to come up with a big catch, Fine just wants to play the game. At Big 12 media day, it became quite clear that he is the ultimate team player whose motor never stops running. Winning, not the number of receptions or touchdowns he has during a season, is what drives Fine to be the very best.

"I would like to see us be able to come out and play on a consistent basis," said Fine. "That was our biggest thing last year. We just didn't play on a real consistent basis. It hurt us and it hurt the defense because they were out on the field for a long time. It's a big part for us to be able to come out and play consistently each week.

"I guess that it (knowing who the starting quarterback is) might help out," he added. "Everybody knows who the quarterback is right now. On the other hand, if somebody else had to come in, it wouldn't affect the play. It shouldn't affect the play of the rest of us."

Last season as a sophomore, Fine hauled in 22 receptions for 244 yards and one touchdown. He averaged 11.1 yards per reception and, most importantly, flat-out got it done when called upon. When the game was on the line and a play needed to be made, Fine was at his best.

Most players would love to build on that type of success, but Fine isn't like most players. When he accomplished on the field last year has absolutely nothing to do with what takes place this year. Quite honestly, it doesn't matter one bit if Fine's level of production, as far as receptions go, improves, remains the same or drops, he just wants to help KU get back to another bowl.

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