Mark Mangino Press Conference Quotes

Sept. 7, 2004

Lawrence, Kan. –

Head Coach Mark Mangino Opening Statement

“I will give you the players of the game as voted by the coaching staff. For the Tulsa game, on defense, Kevin Kane and Theo Banies were co-winners following their strong performances. On offense, we did not select a player of the week and on special teams, Brandon Rideau, who as you know is the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week.

Before I move on, I would like to recognize Curtis McClinton for being inducted into the Ring of Honor at the stadium. We are very happy for Curtis, he is very deserving.

We have talked about the last game quite a bit, I’ll recap it and then we will move on. Once again, I feel like it was a good game for us. A win on opening day is good. It was a good stepping stone for the season. I am pretty pleased with the defensive play. It wasn’t perfect but it was pretty good. I like the way that we played as an 11-man unit, especially with the way were able to get turnovers, play the run well and play the pass well. It was a good total effort. It was a good game plan by Bill Young and our defensive staff, who were well prepared for the game and had our players ready to go. I feel like our offense is fine and we will just get better and make a lot of improvements in week number two. I feel like the passing game will continue to get better and the line play will improve. The special teams I was pleased with in most areas. I’ve said all along, special teams is going to be important to our program because in a close game it could make a difference. I think Saturday is a case in point.

We are preparing for Toledo. I think their record, being 0-1 this year after to Minnesota is a little bit deceiving, because they are a much better team than they showed last week.They have a quarterback by the name of Bruce Gradkowski that has completed 72 percent of his passes. I’m not sure in the warm-ups if we complete 72 percent of our passes, so that is pretty impressive. They have a wide receiver name Lance Moore, who caught 103 balls last year, that’s pretty impressive. They have a great tight end by the name of Andrew Clarke, an outstanding player. They have an All-American at left tackle. On defense, they have a linebacker named Anthony Jordan who is very active and makes a lot of plays. They have a safety who they are touting at 4.2 speed by the name Patrick Body, who really is an outstanding player on the defensive side of the ball. This Toledo team is a good football team and we have to get ready to play them. We’ve got to be ready to execute and do the things that we have been working on. I can tell you they lost on the road and they are going to try to rebound mentally and get ready to go. We are not taking this Toledo team lightly, we know what they are capable of doing. A lot of other schools have found that out, they beat a good Pittsburgh team last year. They have been known to be spoilers over the years, beating schools like Penn State a few years back so they are a good football team.”

On Toledo quarterback Bruce Gradkowski and the Toledo passing attack “They throw a lot of short passes and quick screens and they like to dump the ball off and move the pocket around. A lot of it is short stuff, but he will throw down the field. He can hurt you on the deep routes and does a good job of sitting in there and throwing the intermediate routes. He is a solid guy.”

On KU’s running backs “We are going to go with the guy who has it going. I don’t think anybody in the room will dispute that we have at least two quality running backs and we will just use them as we see fit in certain situations. Who has a hot hand and who’s doing the things in the game plan the best. You will see them both.

On Kevin Kane Kevin Kane is a good football player. He is a good player because he works at it. He is a very intelligent guy and watches a lot of tape. He prepares himself very well week in and week out. He has made himself a better through hard work and being conscientious. He is not the most gifted guy on the field, but there is probably nobody on either side of the field that is playing harder than he is.”

On the defense “I think that we have a couple guys who have matured and been in the program for a few years and are comfortable now and we have some young guys who really get after it and are very talented. The fact that we have Travis Watkins back helps, he has a lot to do with it too.”

On the play of the offensive line “They did a good job in certain areas. I thought that pass protection was pretty decent, we had some breakdowns but it was pretty decent. In the run game, we need to improve and we will improve with three new guys out there. You know I’m an old line coach myself, and I’m really big on the chemestry that takes place between those five guys. I think that a lot of good offensive line play depends on communications and recognition. I think that some of those guys haven’t played together and were not always on the same page at times. There is nothing like game experience. We can practice all we want back here and knock heads, but there is nothing like playing against a another team that you are not familiar with and playing at a high level of intensity. You get so good at practice and they you need game experience to really develop your kids. We are going to be okay in that area.”

On the playing time of Charles Gordon “I have to be honest, using Charles Gordon in not an exact science for me. I will talk to our offensive coaches and our defensive coaches. There was no great study done as to when we were going in insert him into the Tulsa game. It went like this. I got on the headset and told Nick Quartaro (KU offensive coordinator) to put Charles Gordon in the game. That is how much thinking I did. I just went on a feeling when it was time to put him in the game, when we could utilize him on defense and offense and not fatigue him. When I study the tapes, I continually look back at our game against Tulsa just to see when the time is right. I could put him in the game in the first quarter or in the fourth quarter or not at all on offense. Or, if he is really rolling on offense, and since I think we are getting a little better at corner, we could use him more on offense. I’d like to tell you there is this great plan that we drew up in the war room, but it is notthat way.”

Running Back #1 John Randle

On playing a full game “I was ready to go. After the first half of the game, I was ready to come in. I tried to produce and do what I do best, run the ball. I had a good time and tried to spark the team the best I could.”

On his game against Tulsa “The line blocked a lot better in the second half. We went through some schemes at halftime and they seemed a little more fired up. The game was close, so they blocked better and receivers blocked down field, so that helped us with the running game and that allowed us to pass a little more. Our pass efficiency went up in the second half and that opened up the run.”

On his physical ability “I will try to go a full game if I can, I believe I can do it. If I get tired, someone will come in for me. C.G. (Clark Green) and I do well together, we back each other. If I get hurt, he comes in, if he gets hurt, I come in.”

On Toledo “We are not overlooking them at all. They are a top 25 team, so we are preparing hard for them. We are going to have to play well to beat them.”

Linebacker #45 Kevin Kane

On being named co-defensive player of the week “I am pretty excited. It was a fun game and I’m glad that the coaches thought I had a good game.”

On the aggressive KU defense “The game plan for Tulsa was to get after the quarterback, get them on their heels and that’s what we did. The defensive line was great and allowed us (linebackers) to run free through the offensive line. We had big gaps to run through, so their presence up there helped out a great deal. There is always room for improvement, there is always a missed tackle or something like that. So you can get better each game.”

On Toledo quarterback Bruce Gradkowski “He is very efficient, very accurate with his passes and he hits his spots. He is a lot like Philip Rivers. He knows where he wants to put the ball.”

Linebacker #1 Gabriel Toomey

On Toledo’s offense “Their quarterback has great accuracy. They are going to be a great challenge, but I think we will be ready for it. The wide receivers are always on the same page as he is, even if he’s scrambling around. We are going to have to man up our zones and get after him.”

On the importance of defensive pressure “It (defensive pressure) is going to be very important, the coverage needs to be really good. We are going to need to get to the quarterback and put some pressure on him.”

On the emergence of the KU defense “Coach Mangino and all of the defensive staff have told us that consistency is very important. We know the importance of being consistent. Kevin (Kane) played unbelievable, I am really happy for him. I think his play spoke for itself. We have a lot of good linebackers and that pays off in the fourth quarter.”