Mangino/Player Press Conference Quotes

Aug. 31, 2004

Mark Mangino Press Conference Quotes Opening statement: “Good afternoon, this is our first actual weekly media luncheon for 2004, and as you know we are going to take on a good Tulsa football team. In just their first season under Steve Kragthorpe they were able to get things turned around. They played in a bowl game and had a great season. Coach Kragthorpe has done a phenomenal job there and they’re a team that is a formidable foe coming here Saturday. Offensively they are going to give you a lot of looks. They have several weapons. They like to motion, they like to play with a lot of tight ends. They will play them at the wing position,they will put them in motion. They’ll do a lot of shifting to try and catch you off guard to create some mismatches. They are led by their quarterback James Kilian. Last season he passed for over 2,200 yards and ran for 600. He is a very talented guy that can hurt you throwing as well as with the ball under his arm. He is poised and he doesn’t get rattled. They have a couple of outstanding tight ends, Caleb Blankenship and Garrett Mills, who they like to get the ball to. They have a running back that was injured named Parrish, that will be back this year. So offensively they pose some challenges and we have to be able to defend the entire field. On the defensive side of the ball, their defensive side of the line they are facing some issues that we are, they are going to play some young kids mixed with veterans. Nick Bunting is their best linebacker, the guy makes a lot of plays. They are going to be well prepared coming in here, but so are we. We are looking forward to it, our players are tired of hitting each other in practice. They are ready to play somebody else and hit somebody else.”

On John Randle: “I have made a decision on John Randle, but you will have to show up at the stadium to see it.”

On Barmann’s grasp of the offense: “He’s more comfortable than he’s been at anytime. But, you have to understand that he is a guy with only a few games under his belt. He is awfully poised, he is a fiery competitor and he believes he can get it done and that is half the battle. We are very confident in him and we think he is going to do just fine. He has done everything we have asked him to do in practice, that’s for sure.”

On the running back situation: “I think it’s a great competition and whoever is getting the job done week after week will be the guy. It’s Clark’s job, John has to unseat him. Clark’s been a steady guy now, he’s a work horse. John Randle can’t be discounted because of his ability and the things he does for us. It’s a good situation to be in, very few situations that I have been in as a coach has had as many quality running backs as we have here.”

On kick-off returns: “I think we’ve got three solid guys and we will find out in game condition who the two guys will be. We will do a little tinkering the first week, but we feel like we have some quality guys to run back kicks.”

On the kicking game: “I’m really please with spring and fall workouts, but we haven’t played a game yet and that’s what will separate these guys. That is when we will really find out, but there is every reason to be optimistic about the kickers at this time.”

On the junior college transfers: “They are coming along really well. Jermial Ashley is truly a big addition for the defensive line, which we really need. Theo Baines is a hard working guy who has won one of our corner positions and I feel good about him. Jason Swanson, as he is understanding our system is getting better. This past week he has looked very good and has made some great strides with his progress and is starting to learn what it takes to play quarterback at this level. Rodney Harris has nailed down a safety position and we are looking at big things out of him. I’m pleased with these kids, I really am.”

On wide receiver Marcus Henry: “He is in the two spot and he could very well stay there and get a lot of playing time. It just goes to show you what an inexact science recruiting is. We spend thousands and thousands of dollars going around the country and calling, bringing in recruits to visit and in one, ten minute phone call we got an impact player. It cost me a ten minute phone call and he will be one of the top offensive players in the conference. Just unbelievable.”

On the defensive unit: “Let me put this to rest, we are a 4-3 team. Last year we used a package with three down men. But we are not going to live and die with a three man front, that’s not what we do. The reason I put four linebackers in there is because we have four starting linebackers and we are going to use them in different packages and we are going to use them alot . We feel that our linebacking corps is going to be very strong for us.”

On the KU receivers: “I’m feeling really comfortable about it. Brandon Rideau has come along strong. Mark Simmons has showed that he is a steady playmaker. Lamb and Gary Heaggans, they are producing. I feel very comfortable with it.”

On Charles Gordon going both ways: “I’m going to observe him and keep an eye on him. There may be games that he doesn’t come over to offense at all and just play corner. But I am going to keep my eye on it. Two things, I don’ want to over work him, it wouldn’t be fair to him or our ball club and I don’t want to put him in harms way with fatigue. It would be a disservice to overwork him on both sides of the ball.”

On Tulsa: “There is no comparison at all with the team we played two years ago. Schematically, the way they do things in terms of special teams, offense, defense, they seem to be better conditioned. So it is like playing a whole new ball club.”

On Tulsa quarterback James Kilian: “As I said earlier, he is poised and looks like a great leader. He will hurt you throwing the ball, he mixes it up well. He is very athletic, he will put the ball under his arm. He rushed for 605 yards last season and it’s not through scrambling either. They design run plays for him. To say that we have to stop him, we have to be smart. We know that they have other weapons, such as their running backs and tight ends.”

On the beginning of his third season: “I feel really confident. This is our third year, we have had a chance to implement our systems on offense, defense and special teams. Our players are more confident with their assignments. We are going to field a young team, we only have six or seven seniors in starting positions. But having said that, I think that we are probably a little more athletic overall. Our kids that have been here for two or three years with us, they know what our expectations are. And that is the biggest thing.”

On the players frame of mind: “Our kids think they can win and that is half the battle. The mind dictates what the body is going to do, and when you feel good about yourself and how you are competing, you always have a chance of winning. Our kids have that feeling, they just do. This is something that we have worked on since my first day. Winning the battle of the mind is the real battle.”

Player Quotes

Sophomore Quarterback Adam Barmann

The difference starting games last year to this season: “There is a huge difference. I am a lot more confident now than I was going into the Texas A&M game last season. I did not have as good of a grasp of the offense and the defense as I do now. With a year under my belt, I really think I’ve come a long way.”

On feeling in control of the team: “Yes, I feel as the starting quarterback you have to be. I think this is a position where you almost have to become a leader. It’s not a position that you are just thrown into, you have to lead the offense and be a kind of field general. I feel that it is more my team than it was last year.”

On what he expects from the offense on Saturday: “I hope to see us execute well. I think that as long as we take care of our business we will be just fine.”

Junior Offensive Lineman Matt Thompson

On his learning curve since coming to KU: “I wouldn’t say it was difficult, but it was very much different. Distributing your weight differently in your stance and thinking less aggressively, by looking at the defense instead of blocking a spot. The learning curve for me was not that bad, I picked up on the offense pretty quick.”

On being suited for KU’s style of blocking: “I think so. I’ve been able to adapt well to it, I haven’t had very much of a problem getting into it.”

On finally playing in a real game: “The intensity right now is just so unbelievable, everyone is getting so excited and keyed up. I personally haven’t played a football game in a long time, so this will be extra special for me. I am very much looking forward to it.”

On being excited or nervous for the Tulsa game: “I feel that I know our offense well and that there is no reason to be nervous. I am just really excited.”

Sophomore Safety Rodney Harris

On the secondary’s troubles last season: “It was not executing. Last year when we watched the tapes you can see it. Our defense has so much talent, we are so talented in the secondary. It does not matter how much talent we have, it matters if we execute. This Saturday and for the rest of the season we have to execute and everything will be just fine.”

On the making the big jump from junior college to KU: “You can say that from junior college to Division I football, that is a big jump. But I’m not surprised about it, because I’ve came in here and worked hard.”