Kansas Football Press Conference Quotes

Kansas Football Press Conference Quotes

August 26, 2008

Head Coach Mark Mangino

Opening remarks:

“Good afternoon. We are preparing for our first game here against FIU. It is a team that we have respect for. I think that their coach, Mario Cristobal, is doing a great job there. Because we have played them before, we have followed their program very closely. All indications are that they are a highly-disciplined team. They are well-coached and well-organized. They have recruited well and they have some talented players that are veteran players. We are looking forward to playing them. We think they are going to be a much different team than they were a year ago in terms of growth and maturity. They have a new offensive coordinator who will spread the field and get the ball around pretty good. On defense they are talented. They have some players who could play for anybody. They have a corner named Anthony Gator who is a good cover guy. He is a smart and speedy guy who also plays special teams. At safety they have Jeremiah Wright who is a very talented player. He runs extremely well. They have a couple of huge defensive tackles. On the offensive side of the ball they have two quarterbacks who are battling it out. Last year (Wayne) Younger played against us but they won their last game of the year with (Paul) McCall. I think they both bring something to the table and we have to prepare for both of them. I think it will be a good challenge. Opening games are always tricky because you have to make sure you have all of your players in the right places. We are looking forward to it. We have had good preparation and we will continue to have good preparation this week and we will be ready to go.”

On the FIU offense:

“After watching their tape from last year, we have to take into consideration that their offense has changed. We know the background of their new offensive coordinator. They are going to spread the field and they are going to be a lot like Purdue in a lot of ways. They are going to try and attack the field horizontally once you tighten up your coverage. They are going to run the ball. They like to run the zone play and dig you out inside with good combo blocks and a vertical push. We know to a degree (what they will do on offense) but we don’t know completely since we haven’t seen their offense since they have made a change in coordinators.”

On the KU running back situation:

“We only put out a depth chart because there is a public demand for it. It can change before the ink dries on it. Jake Sharp is a veteran guy who knows the system. He knows what to expect. Jacques (Crawford) is new with us and he is still learning. He is going to play and he is going to get a lot of carries. Based on maturity, dependability, and understanding the offense right now we feel like Jake Sharp can carry that load as a starter. But Jacques will play a significant amount.”

On the fans:

“We want the fans to be excited and have expectations for our program. For me and some of the coaches that have been here a while it is a weapon. We think it can be a good experience not only for alumni and season ticket holders, but also for families.”

Senior Offensive Lineman Ryan Cantrell

On the expectation for the new starts on the offensive line:

“The expectation level is to be perfect every play. That’s what you strive for in football. There is obviously that expectation level with the young guys. It doesn’t matter to me that they don’t have that experience. It might just be the pressure that was put on me when I was coming up, but the pressure is there and they are responding very well to it.”

On what will carry over from last season:

“I think the tenacity and the way we finish games will carry over. That’s just something we have been building up every single year. Win the fourth quarter and physically beat your opponent.”

Senior Linebacker Joe Mortensen

On new defensive coordinator Clint Bowen:

“I have complete confidence in Coach Bowen. He has learned a lot from Coach Young. We have nine returning starters. We all have confidence and faith in the way we play. I think we are all running to the ball well. We are defending our gaps. We just have that swagger like we did last year.”

On the new defensive linemen:

“They are awesome. They are definitely some of the most talented young linemen we have. It is going to be fun watching them play. They will hold a lot of offensive linemen off for the linebackers.”

On who is leading the defense this year:

“I am confident in (James) Holt, (Mike) Rivera and (Justin) Springer. We have a great core this year and we are looking to lead the defense.”

Sophomore Punter Alonso Rojas

On his kicking experience:

“In college I was asked a few games to kick extra points. I handled a couple of kickoffs. In high school I kicked and kicked off a lot.”

On how he became a kicker:

“I was a soccer player my freshman year. I decided to play football because I wanted to play football my whole life. All of the sudden I had a chance to play in high school. I was playing a little bit of linebacker. My coach was looking for a kicker and I told him that I played soccer. That is basically how I got into it.”

Junior Running Back Jocques Crawford

On his feelings about the game:

“I am not nervous. I am very excited and anxious. I am looking forward to this first game. I am really looking forward to getting on the field and making some good plays.”

On how many snaps he plans to have in the first game:

“Right now I don’t know how many snaps I may get, but just being on the field will be a great accomplishment for me.”

On his biggest concern for the game:

“I feel comfortable with the offense. The only thing that is a concern is crowd control such as noise and things like that. I have never played in front a fan base like Kansas has. I am just looking forward to seeing how that is.”

Junior Quarterback Todd Reesing

On looking slimmer:

“When summer workouts came around I really worked hard. I wasn’t trying to lose any weight, but just trying to get a little faster and more comfortable. I accomplished what I wanted to.”

On matching last year’s statistics:

“I really can’t think about those kinds of things. I just want to go out there and get the offense going and really be a leader for the team. Go out there and make good decisions with the ball. Try to get some first downs here and there and try to get the ball in the end zone.”

On difference between the offense last year and this year:

“I think we have the ability to be a lot more explosive. That starts in the run game. With Jocques’ [Crawford] and Jake’s [Sharp] speed they have the ability to break some long runs. Brandon [McAnderson], last year, if he had a little more speed I think he would have taken some of those 25-yard runs about 60 yards. Hopefully we can get some more explosiveness there. At receiver we have got a lot of guys with size and speed. It should be fun to watch that balanced attack.”

Junior Safety Justin Thornton

On the first game:

“It is definitely exciting. We are all out here working on the same goal and working hard. We have put in long days during two-a-days at camp and we have some guys beat up, but this is the week to get our feet back beneath us and we will be ready to go on Saturday.”

On the difference between camp this year and last:

“It is a little bit different. The guys that we have coming back are experienced and got a little bit of a taste of success. It brought more motivation into this camp, but as far as things being different I think we all have the mindset that we are starting over from scratch. We got a feel for what we want, but we are throwing that out of the door now and we are just focusing on what we have coming up this season.”

On the more difficult schedule this season:

“We definitely have something to prove this season and it will be a great chance to do so. We get to play a few of the power houses in the South now that we are on the same rotation as them. The next few years we have something to prove with our schedule having to play Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma. It will be a good test for us. We are going to go out there and play hard and see what happens.”

On developing a mean streak to his game:

“That is definitely something that I have been working on ever since I stepped on the field here. I need to work on my tackling and a few other things, but other than that I think I have had a good camp and I am ready to get out there and get into game mode.”

Sophomore Wide Receiver Jonathan Wilson

On his role within the receiving core:

“I don’t feel like I am the forgotten one, a little bit of a sleeper, but I like that. That is what I was in high school, I was a sleeper and I emerged on the scene late so I don’t have a problem being there. My first goal is to contribute to the team and get a win.”

On being voted the team’s biggest surprise:

“Probably because in the spring I just worked in the weight room a lot, even when nobody was in there I would just be in there by myself, trying to get better and trying to get bigger. When we had spring camp I tried to play my best to show the coaches what I could do because I was in a competition to fill in for Marcus Henry.”

On showing what he can do:

“Yeah, a lot of my teammates know what I can do, but the community doesn’t know what I can do yet. My first priority is to contribute to the team and after that show the community what I can do.”

Senior Linebacker Mike Rivera

On hitting someone other than a teammate:

“Definitely, we can’t wait to get out there. We have been banging on each other for about 21 days now, working hard, preparing, and getting ready for this first game. So we are excited.”

On the coaches’ remarks this week:

“The biggest thing is to focus on having a great week of practice and we have been doing that so far and focusing on practicing for Florida International and getting it down studying as much tape as we can and getting prepared for the game, because the more prepared we are the better we are going to do.”

On what he has learned about FIU:

“They have a lot of really good athletes on their team. Their record doesn’t really show it from last year, but this year they are going to be a lot more improved, they are bringing back a lot of good personnel. They are going to be a much better team and they are going to be much more competitive this year.”

On what the FIU offense has shown:

“They have shown us a lot. They are going to have a lot of personnel coming back, but they are also going to have a lot of changes too. They have a new offensive coordinator so it is going to be a lot different. We don’t really know exactly what to expect, so the biggest thing is picking up personnel, watching the film, just trying to learn whatever we can from it and be prepared for anything. Practicing situations and being prepared for whatever they throw at us.”