Quotes from Big 12 Football Media Day
July 23, 2007
Head Coach Mark Mangino took questions from the media on Monday afternoon at Big 12 Media Day in San Antonio, Tex:
Question: Give us your thoughts on your team as you get ready to begin the season.
COACH Mark Mangino: As we get ready here to prepare for the 2007 season, I have to say that I’m very pleased with the preparation of this year’s ball team. We were just talking as coaches the other day how the energy of this group has kind of rubbed off on everybody. Spring ball was enthusiastic. The winter workouts were great. Strength and conditioning coaches tell us it’s the best summer we’ve had in terms of the voluntary summer program. During the summer kids in and out of the office complex, excited, bragging about what guys are doing in the weight room, what they’re doing in terms of running and those things. And let me tell you why I sense that this group here is going to be a pretty good group, is the enthusiasm comes from pure leadership. Our team has players that are leading. In the past, at Kansas, our players looked at coaches just for leadership. And we will always provide leadership. But this group has good, strong leaders. Not unlike we had a couple of years back with a couple of guys who really did a good job of leadership. These kids want to win. It’s important to them. Success is important to them. And as I mentioned earlier, the enthusiasm that they have has rubbed off on everybody: on campus, on coaches, on the community. They really are a group of kids that want to succeed. And they will succeed.
: Coach, I was wondering if you could just take us through your running backs, if you could talk about Jon Cornish and Jake and Brandon and how maybe you see that working out for you this year?
COACH Mark Mangino: Well, any time you have somebody to rush for over 1400 yards in the Big 12 conference and they graduate, you know, not many programs can find somebody, one person that’s going to go in and duplicate that. But what we feel like at this point in time is the running backs that we have are very good running backs and that we will probably put up the same kind of numbers in the run game, it just won’t be one person doing it. It will be more than one. Brandon McAnderson is a veteran guy who we trust and we think that perhaps in the past we should have used him a little more carrying the football. But he will get carries this year. And Jake Sharp is an outstanding player. Tough, hard-nosed kid. There’s some plays that he runs that fit his style. When you give him a ball on those plays he’s dangerous. We have Angus Quigley coming off of an injury. Hopefully he’ll be able to contribute, because he’s a big, strong, talented guy but we’ve hardly seen him on the field throughout his career here because of injury. So I can’t speculate on that. And I feel the position will be productive. But just more than one guy carrying the load.
I was curious, what kind of self-study have you done and your staff done to try to figure out why you guys are just a whisker away from getting past that six and six?
COACH Mark Mangino: Well, one of the things we did as a staff, right after recruiting, is we went back and we broke down every play of every game offense/defense, special teams for the entire 2006 season. Then we went back and we studied fourth quarters of each game that we played in, the ones we won and the ones we did not win. And just like anything else, there’s no simple answer. The particular situations we might not — probably shouldn’t have been in the call that we were in. There’s situations where we had some physical breakdowns by players. Mental breakdowns. Coaching decisions. And we put it all together. We say you know we all share the blame for this thing; let’s make it better. We went back and studied how we will handle situations as they arise again. And there’s some things on the edge, I don’t want to get into all the injuries and stuff. But last year I was pretty close to, what’s that guy that can heal people and stuff, I was going to call him up. (Laughter) I see him on TV. Make the blind see and the deaf hear and he can’t grow hair on his own head. (Laughter). We were pretty close to calling him up see if he could help us out. But that’s behind us, and that’s just the way college football goes.
But you feel things are fixable, right?
COACH Mark Mangino: Oh, yeah, everything is fixable, yes, sir.
Question: Mark, back to the leadership thing. You were talking about this summer, any specific players in the office more than others or just showing that trait that you like?
COACH Mark Mangino: I don’t want to just start naming names because I’m going to miss players. But it’s a whole bunch of guys. I mean, it’s not just seniors. There are seniors but there’s juniors, red-shirt juniors. Some sophomore kids that have been on the field. You just sense it. You just sense the leadership is there and the commitment for winning is there. We haven’t had a whole bunch of problems this summer with kids running home and, The dog’s sick, My grandfather had a root canal, we didn’t get that kind of stuff this summer. Kids stayed. They worked. They did what they had to do. And I’m pretty proud of their effort.
Coach, they’re reversing a lot of the time management rules that they had last year. Talk about, if you could, how frantic was that and how did you have to adjust your game for that and are you glad they’re turning them back now to the old way?
COACH Mark Mangino: I am. I felt last year the fourth quarter just flew by. I felt if you had a lead you had a chance to hold on. If you fell behind the fourth quarter, it was hard to get back up and win. It seemed to me, and that’s just a personal observation, I have no scientific evidence whatsoever to support my statement, but it felt like the fourth quarter of the games just blew by.
Mark, your history with OU, that school, as much now as ever, seems to survive no matter what bullets it gets hit with. What’s your view on Oklahoma’s ability to do that and tell me why?
COACH Mark Mangino: The ability to do what?
To survive with the NCAA stuff, getting rid of quarterbacking, Bob Stoops stood up here saying he was confident even though he couldn’t tell us who his quarterback was going to be. Is Oklahoma unusual in that instance?
COACH Mark Mangino: Well, I want to be very careful here, because I don’t think I’m qualified to speak about other programs other than Kansas. But University of Oklahoma, they have fine people working there, they have great people, great administration, great coach. They’ll be fine. A lot of programs have rough times. Everybody has rough seas out there. There aren’t many Division I programs in the last 20 years that haven’t had some rough times one way or another. When you have good people that care and do the right things, it will work out. They’ll be fine. They’ll be absolutely fine.