Weekly Football Press Conference Quotes

Sept. 6, 2005

Weekly Football Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Mark Mangino

Opening statement:

“I would like to start by naming our players of the week as picked by our coaching staff. On offense, Clark Green. On defense, Nick Reid and Charlton Keith. Our special teams player of the week is Scott Webb. The defensive scout team player of the week is Jeff Wheeler and the offensive scout team player of the week is Derek Spears.”

“Now I’ll reflect a few minutes on the previous game. We ran the ball well. I’m pleased with the offensive line’s first outing. The running backs ran hard and smart. I thought we were very well conditioned — which was a big factor in the first game. We need to maintain that level of conditioning. I thought our defensive front seven did a great job of stopping the run. I thought special teams were good. We can improve in a lot of areas, but I’m very pleased overall. I was happy with Scott Webb and his kicking. He had many kickoffs in the end zone and a few through the endzone. Kyle Tucker punted the ball very well. The coverage units played well. They were good, tough, and they hustled, just as we like.”

“This week we’re going to play Appalachian State. They are a I-AA program but they are a good program. They have been in the playoffs a number of years. They feature a very good quarterback that throws the ball very well. He led the conference last year in passing. He’s very athletic and runs with the ball well. They have a couple of speedy receivers that can make big plays. On defense, they have two very athletic defensive ends. They have a safety that makes a lot of plays and is really a top notch player. They have a linebacker that runs really well. They will have speed on defense. In a lot of ways they are similar to the team that we played this past week. We’re off to a good start this week and we feel like we’ll be ready to go on Saturday.”

On the game against Florida Atlantic:

“Anybody can win on any given Saturday, especially in the first week. The first week is the toughest. I think we realized that we still have to improve and the biggest improvement usually comes from week one to week two. I feel like we’re on track and we’re in fine shape.”

On the play of Charles Gordon:

“He didn’t blow an assignment. He was actually trying to do too much. We just want Charles to be Charles. He doesn’t have to live up to expectations that were given to him by people outside of our program. He only has to do what he’s capable of doing and I think he realizes that.”

On the defense:

“I think our defense has a good grasp on things. To be honest, two of their three big plays were the result of guys being on the field for the first time in their college careers and missing an assignment. We have to get kids ready to play. As long as we win the game it doesn’t matter to me. As a coach, we have to get kids work. We have a lot of games to play and we need to get some back-ups in the game early in the season so that we can be ready with some depth come conference play.”

On the play of Jerome Kemp:

“Jerome made some good plays for us. He was really strong in the run game. He had a few mistakes but they are all correctable. Overall, I really liked his effort and intensity. I like how he played with some fire in him. He just has to settle down and be assignment-sound all the time.”

On possible areas of improvement:

“We can’t give up big plays on defense. We have to stop the run. We have to get the passing game in sync. I think the protection has been good and will continue to be good. Overall, there are some fundamental things that aren’t seen by the untrained eye. We need to get fundamentally better in all three phases of the game.”

On Scott Webb:

“He’s had a great offseason in the weight room and is much stronger than he was a year ago. It’s pretty obvious when you see him kick the ball. His kicks have some good distance to them and some good height. The kickoffs have been very strong. As a high school player, he had reasonable strength, but he had a lot of accuracy and was phenomenal on extra points. He nailed them all. We knew he would have to get stronger, but he was always very mechanically sound.”

On the kickers’ off-season workout regimen:

“They do what everyone else on the team does. They lift, squat, and run and do the same exact out-of-season programs as the linebackers, fullback, and the receivers”

On the quarterback situation:

“We’ll just go through the rest of the practice week and go with who we feel is best on Saturday to start the game. You can be sure we’ll use more than one quarterback here for a while. All options are open. We’re considering everything. We’re still keeping an eye on Swanson’s health. He isn’t quite where he needs to be. We don’t know yet if he is in a position where he could deal with game management and keep us out of bad plays. We’re keeping all our options open.”

If not naming a starting quarterback is part of his strategy:

“That’s not an issue with us. We need to look at our game plan and decide how we want to attack it. As you’re structuring your game plan, you want to find situations that give your quarterbacks an opportunity to be successful and play to their strengths.

On Paul Como:

“Paul Como is a smart football player. He’s quick and runs to the ball real well. He’s a factor for us. I like his temperament and his attitude. He’s a quiet guy but when he gets out on the field he is a tough guy and a hardnosed player. He can run very well which is definitely a factor for us at defensive end.”

On the offensive line:

“I thought our offensive line gave our backs a lot of seams. They also protected the quarterback. I thought that was more impressive than the run blocking. I’m pleased with the way Clark Green and Jon Cornish ran the ball. I feel really good about how we ran the ball our first week out. We need to be consistent and sustain that.”

On Jon Cornish:

“He has kind of teased us on the practice field. He’s been doing those kinds of things for years out at practice but it just hasn’t translated in the games. I think he has matured a lot. I think he has a better understanding of his assignments and the intensity level that this game is played with. I’m glad to see the light coming on for him. He can do a lot of things. We’re in a situation where we can use his help and I think he has proven that he can help.”

On Appalachian State:

“They’re capable of winning every game where the team that they’re playing against isn’t prepared, not focused, or doesn’t play smart football. We plan on playing good football. We’re confident that we will. We’re not in a position at Kansas to take anybody lightly. We just don’t do it. We give our kids as much information on the opponent as possible. We expect them to watch a lot of tape on the team that we’re facing. They can see skill and talent out there. We can’t take anybody lightly and we won’t.”

Selected Player Quotes

Junior offensive lineman Jake Cox

On his progression since coming to KU:

“I’ve learned the system, which is a big thing because we have a pretty large system here. I worked at it day in and day out. I try to give 110 percent every day.”

On the offensive line’s performance:

“We were sound in our assignments and really played as one. I think we played pretty well.”

Sophomore tight end Derek Fine

On senior quarterback Brian Luke:

“I think Adam (Barmann) and Brian (Luke) are both good leaders and quarterbacks. Brian came in like he had started the whole time and did a good job. I think Brian took the attitude that when his time came he would step up and play.”

On the game:

“I think we did a pretty good job. We focused really hard every day at practice. We try to focus each day on fundamentals like hand placement and footwork. We’re just trying to get better every day.”

Junior cornerback Kenneth Thompson

On his performance:

“On defense, we have a bunch of guys that really want to win. My performance is only as good as our secondary. “

On senior safety Jerome Kemp:

“Jerome plays well every day at practice. He is a hard hitter. He doesn’t give up and keeps going all the time even if he is hurt.”

On playing on special teams:

“I love being on special teams and I will do anything that I can do to help the team out. Being on kickoff returns is something new for me. I haven’t touched the ball since I was in high school, but I would like to continue to be a factor on special teams. I’ll do whatever it takes to help the team win.”

Junior running back Jon Cornish

On his performance:

“I just moved what I had been doing in practice to the field. Running backs routinely get hit by everyone, so dishing it back to the defense is always a great thing to do. A lot of teams like to pound on the running backs and I like to pound on the defense.”