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Kenny Buyers making the switch from defense to offense in final season

Kenny Buyers making the switch from defense to offense in final season

Senior wide reciever Kenny Buyers stands for a photo. Buyers switched to wide reciever after being a corner back for most of his football career. Colin Mitchell

Kenny Buyers making the switch from defense to offense in final season
October 05
15:54 2016

In 2014, Kenny Buyers enjoyed a career-defining year. He was a key cog on defense, and finished the season with 55 total tackles. As a sophomore in 2013, Buyers had the game-winning interception in North Texas’ Heart of Dallas bowl victory.

But Buyers suffered a setback in what was supposed to be his senior year. Before the 2015 season opener against Southern Methodist University, Buyers had back surgery that kept him out for the entire campaign. He was then medically redshirted, which granted him one final year of eligibility.

When head coach Seth Littrell was hired, Buyers was told he would be moving to wide receiver. He accepted.

He was ready to get back on the field.

“I love this game,” Buyers said. “I didn’t care what it was. I just wanted to play.”

Senior Wide reciever Kenny Buyers (31) trys to beat MTSU linebacker Khalil Brooks (16) while he tuns his route. Buyers finished with 27 yards.

Senior Wide reciever Kenny Buyers (31) trys to beat MTSU linebacker Khalil Brooks (16) while he tuns his route. Buyers finished with 27 yards. Colin Mitchell

Buyers struggled in his first game at wide receiver and was unable to haul in any passes. Despite the hiccup, he learned his new position by the time North Texas went to Rice University.

The senior had a new career day on the other side of the ball against the Owls and caught four passes for 102-yards in the double-overtime win.

The newfound success at his new position did wonders for his confidence.

“It was big,” Buyers said. “It was good to feel like I was getting involved on the offense. I try to stay patient and optimistic about it. I just got to find a way to help the team win whether it is blocking or anything.”

But this is not the first time that Buyers has played wide receiver. At L.D. Bell High School, Buyers was a two-way player, playing both defensive back and wide receiver, and came to North Texas to be a part of the secondary.

After Buyers came back from his injury, he found himself on the outside looking in at a deep corps of defensive backs. Luckily, there was one position on Littrell’s revamped squad that did not have a lot of depth – wide receiver.

Once Buyers made the move to his new position, his skills from high school came flooding back to him.

“He always keeps a positive attitude,” freshman quarterback Mason Fine said. “He’s just an athlete. Whatever he does he’s going to do it well because he’s willing to put in the work. With that kind of attitude, he can be good at whatever he does.”

Offensive coordinator Graham Harrell said Buyers’ transition has gone smoothly thanks to his experience in high school.

“He came over knowing what he was doing,” Harrell said. “I think more than anything he’s just head to learn the scheme.”

To help him get adjusted, Buyers drew from his experience on the defensive side of the ball. Since he knew how to cover opposing receivers, he wanted to reverse engineer the process. Instead of getting burned, Buyers would now be the one burning the defenses covering him.

“I’m not going to say it’s a night and day of an advantage,” Buyers said. “It definitely helps. I understood what technique they were going to play, and what they wanted to do.”

The past three seasons he has played, sans 2015, Buyers has been named a team captain, primarily due to his team-first approach. His attitude is doing whatever it takes to help the team win, a quality evident in his switch.

So when Buyers accepted his new role with open arms, it came as a little surprise.

“I was definitely excited,” Buyers said. “I still thought a little, ‘wow this is crazy.’ I’ve started at corner for the last two years, but I really liked the idea of a new challenge.”

Buyers credits sophomore receiver Daniel Khan with helping make his final season go as smoothly as possible.

“There were a couple of times where I would be in practice thinking ‘what do I do right here?'” Buyers said. “[Khan] would give me tips and pointers.”

Even though Buyers has found a rhythm the past two games, the sports management senior feels he still has room for improvement. With seven games remaining in a Mean Green uniform, Buyers is looking to make the most of his time in Denton.

“I’ve come a long way,” Buyers said. “I really look forward to coming to practice every day to try new things. I can tell you when the season’s over, I still won’t know how good I could have been at receiver because I have so much to improve on. I’m loving it, though.”

Featured Image: Senior wide reciever Kenny Buyers stands for a photo. Buyers switched to wide reciever after being a corner back for most of his football career. Colin Mitchell

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Clay Massey

Clay Massey

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