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Highland Park and Washburn University alum Michael Wilhoite probably knows a little more what to expect and what's expected of him as he embarks on his second season as a member of Sean Payton's Denver Broncos coaching staff.

MikeWilhoiteGiveBack 3Denver Broncos outside linebackers coach Michael Wilhoite gives instructions during Friday's third annual Big Kev Give Back Camp at Washburn University. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

But the former seven-year NFL veteran, who coaches the Broncos' outside linebackers, said he never wants to feel too comfortable in his coaching skin, believing that the journey to being a successful coach is never completely finished.

"No, and I don't think it's a bad thing,'' said Wilhoite, who co-hosted Friday's Big Kev Give Back Camp at WU with pro basketball veteran Kyle Weems. "I don't think that I'm uncomfortable, I just feel like I'm urgent right now, like there's more to be done, there's more work to go and there's more to learn. I want to just be great for my players.

"I know my players right now have probably already worked out twice to three times (today) and now I have to match that. I can't match that any more with running and lifting. I can only match that with time in the film room, with finding new ways to help them become better players, calling outside resources and saying, 'How do you teach this? How can I be a better coach? How can I simplify this message?' ''

Wilhoite, a 2021 inductee into the Topeka Shawnee County Sports Hall of Fame, played in the NFL for the 49ers and Seahawks, including a Super Bowl appearance, and said the same competiveness that drove him as a player is also his biggest motivator as a coach.  

"I'm a competitor first and foremost,'' Wilhoite said. "My best friends know two things: They can't be sensitive and they've got to be loyal. You can't be sensitive because we're going to compete and we're going to talk trash to each other. And you've got to be loyal because right after we get done competing we're coming right back to love. We're right back to hugs and going to hang out.

"I'm always just looking to compete and it doesn't matter who it is, how close you are with me. The people that are closest with me, that's who I want to compete with the most anyway. I think for me it really goes back to just loving the game.''

MIkeWilhoiteGiveBack 2Michael Wilhoite talks to campers during Friday's Big Kev Give Back Camp at Washburn University. The third annual camp drew approximately 120 participants. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

Denver overcame a 1-5 start to finish a respectable 8-9 last season, including a win over the World Champion Chiefs, and the Broncos will be looking to take another step forward in Payton's second year at the helm.

"A ton of potential,'' Wilhoite said. "We're young and hungry, and that's all you can ask for. We'll find the talent within that group. We'll find the real competitors within that group.

"We've created a culture and I know that's what Coach wants and that's more important than anything and the talent that's there now will rise up.'' 

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