Weekly Football Press Conference Quotes

Sept. 13, 2005

Head Coach Mark Mangino

Opening statement:
“Good afternoon. Let me start with our players of the game vs. Appalachian State. On defense, Nick Reid. On offense, Jon Cornish. On special teams, Kyle Tucker. Our scout team defensive player of the week was Brandon Duncan and our scout team offensive player of the week was Tang Bacheyie.”

“I would like to ask all fans attending the game this Saturday, if they would be kind enough to bring a dollar for the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund in the Gulf and for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. It would be greatly appreciated.”

“Now I’ll talk quickly about last week’s game. On the offensive side of the ball, I thought we did some good things in the passing game. I thought we were much more crisp when it came to running routes. I thought our offensive line continued to improve in both the run game and in pass protection. I felt like the game was managed well. It was very encouraging and I think we have a lot to build on.”

“On the defensive side of the ball, it’s hard to argue against a team that only gave up eight points, especially against a player like the Williams kid, who may be the best player in I-AA. We still are working in some young kids on defense and trying to get that edge back and the chemistry we need. Out on the practice field yesterday, which on Mondays is normally a light workout, you would have thought it was a scrimmage. Those young men know their expectations and nobody cares about that more than they do. Our defense is very good, but the expectations that they have for themselves are so high that they want to prove that we can be every bit as good this year as we were last year on defense.”

“Special teams were good. I think we need to shore up a few things here and there on some of our kicking protections, but they are all correctable. Charles (Gordon) did a nice job with returns. Kyle Tucker booted the ball very, very well. He has a live leg and we have come to expect that from Kyle. Overall, I’m very pleased. As we had hoped, we made a lot of progress from week one to week two. We plan to continue to build on week two and progress into week three.”

“Louisiana Tech is a good football team. Traditionally, they are very good, physical, and have a lot of speed. They will be physical up front in the trenches. They have great speed at the skill positions. They have a wide receiver that is very fast. Their quarterback, Matt Kubik, is very mobile and can throw the ball very well. He had a great day against Tennessee last year. These guys are used to playing major conference schools. In the last five or six years, they have defeated Alabama, Michigan State, and gave a heck of a game to Penn State. They are a good, hard-nosed team. We have to be well-prepared for them, and based on what I saw yesterday on the practice field, we will be.”

On if Louisiana Tech throws more this year:
“Yes they do, a little bit more, because Ryan Moats came out for the NFL draft. They have a young tailback, a true freshman, that’s a real burner. They have a couple of guys that are real solid players. They probably are throwing a little bit more because of losing Moats.”

On Louisiana Tech’s recent history of playing big-name teams tough:
“All of that information is included in our scouting reports. Not only what the team does now, such as their schemes and personnel, but we always talk about the recent history of teams when we present our scouting reports to the players. They’re well aware of it.”

On the defense’s attitude compared to last year:
“The entire team, including our defense, has very high expectations. The guys aren’t playing poorly by any stretch of the imagination. There are some components of the game that we need to build upon. We’re about where we were last year at this time. You can’t compare year to year in any sport. It’s just not fair. Things change. Kids graduate, you have new kids come in, different opponents–each season is unique in itself. They want to play at the highest level possible, and they’ll respond. We have a good unit.”

On practicing to cause turnovers:
“You do it in drill work, you do it in team period, you do it in seven-on-seven. You have to create turnovers, and we address that nearly every day. It’s a mindset that you’ll get them in, but it’s also a technique.”

On Brian Murph:
“He’s an intense, competitive guy. He works hard every snap and he’s looking to make a play every time he gets on the field. I like his work ethic and I like how much of an intense, competitive guy he is.”

On the benefit of playing some of the backups early in the season:
“We’ve been trying to get some work for the kids that we think are prepared to compete and ready to play as backups. We’ve been successful in getting some plays for them. We have some young kids that are getting their feet wet. Obviously, we have some new kids on offense that are learning on the job. All these kids are showing that they have the potential to help us if we need them on a full time basis, and that’s what we’re looking for.”

On the value of mixing in backups with starters during games:
“As a coach, what you’re looking for are situations where you might be able to insert of couple of guys into the game at a time. You hope there’s never a situation where all 11 guys are injured on one play and we have to bring the entire second unit in. We’re trying to insert them as their role will be in the game at certain positions.”

On Charles Gordon:
“Charles is a solid guy. He had a chance to get an interception and normally he will get that pick there. He played it well. The quarterback threw it perfectly. Charles is fine. He’s doing well. He’s a key guy for us on defense.”

“He’s been very aggressive in catching the ball and getting upfield on punt returns. His blockers have been there and created some space for him. Because he’s so talented, he makes people miss quite a bit. On one of these occasions he’ll probably break that thing open and take it to the house.”

On the quarterback situation:
“We have a lot of different parts that we have to put together so that we can have a successful quarterback position. We have to take several factors into consideration and there are going to be some decisions that have to be made pretty soon about some of the personnel. It’s a good, positive situation, and I want to make that clear. We have Brian Luke, who is playing well. We have Adam Barmann, who has proven he can play this position for us and has been a playmaker for us. We have Marcus Herford who really can spark our offense. We have Kerry Meier, and we’ll need to decide what we want to do with him and what he’ll be prepared for. It’s a complicated situation to some degree because we’re going to have to make a decision somewhere down the road.”

“We’ll have a basic plan before we go into this week’s game about how we’ll do things and who we would like to use. We’re going to start Brian Luke, there’s no question about that. It’s what we do from there, how we do it, and who we do it with.”

On how much of Kerry Meier’s progress has been taken away due to his absence:
“We don’t know yet. Yesterday, he came out to practice. We had him do limited work. We mostly wanted to watch him during the conditioning period, which he did very well. Today, he’ll get more repetitions and we’ll get a look to see how much of a setback he’s had because of his lack of practice time.”

On the importance of doing heart screenings for the players at Kansas:
“In the winter or spring of 2004, I came across some articles that discussed ways to help prevent serious injury or death in sports, football in particular. I found it interesting that more can be done. I want to make it perfectly clear that you can’t prevent everything. We’re dealing with nature and we can’t always detect everything. I had a visit from the parent of an athlete at another university not related to KU whose son had died in college from a heart ailment. The mother thought it may have been detected by some basic screening. I continued to research it and felt a sense of responsibility. We go into player’s homes and tell their parents that we’re going to work hard to make sure their sons get their degrees, and that we’ll take care of them, make sure they’re healthy, and make sure that if they get injured they’ll get the best care. I approached Dr. Larry McGee about the situation and he was very supportive. He told me that there would be two issues. First would be funding. The second would be the basic logistics of getting a cardiovascular team to the complex with all their equipment. I was persistent about it. He and I both visited with our athletic director and he thought it was a great idea. In a matter of a few weeks or a month, I was notified that they were going to be able to do this for the football team. I’m delighted that we did this. I thought it was a good idea then, and today I think it was a great idea just because somebody benefitted from it. I’m very pleased that we did it and we will continue to do it. It’s very important. We’re not going to find everything, but this is a really good first step of being proactive to make sure our players have the best health screening and care that they can get.”

Selected Player Quotes
Senior Free Safety Rodney Fowler
On the defense:

“I think we’ve got our swagger back and our nasty streak. We just need to work on the mental mistakes and penalties that keep us on the field. Our defense needs more takeaways. We need to be ball hawks.”

On Louisiana Tech:
“They have a lot of good athletes that play hard. It’s always nice to see a team that throws the ball down field. The last two opponents haven’t done that too much. We are going to have to bring our `A’ game’.”

Redshirt Freshman Quarterback Marcus Herford
On his performance:

“I think it was a pretty good game for me, but it wasn’t just my performance. Our offensive line did a good job of opening up lanes and holes for me.”

On plays designed for him:
“We just installed plays for me last week. We worked on it real heavy last week and it came out okay. I took some snaps last week, but not very many.”

On playing quarterback:
“I didn’t really expect it for this game. I just want to help the team out in any way that I can. I was very comfortable and wasn’t nervous at all. I knew when my time came I just had to be ready.”

Senior Linebacker Kevin Kane
On the defense:

“We just want to go out and play hard and get the mentality back that we had last year. The bar has been raised and we aren’t flying under the radar anymore. People are going to give us their best and we know that now, so we have to go out there like we did last year with a little fire under our belly.”

On causing turnovers:
“We go out there and swarm to the football and try and strip the ball. We stress being in the right place at the right time in practice. We try to get three turnovers every game which we haven’t done yet, but we are still focused on it. We work on it day in and day out in practice and it’s going to come through for us.”

On Louisiana Tech:
“They have a lot of speed. It’s going to be a good matchup for us. Their speed is comparable to every other team in the Big 12. We are looking forward to going out there and competing with them.”

Senior Defensive End Charlton Keith
On the defense:

“We are not just going off of last year. We have to start from the beginning. We would love to pickup where we left off from last year, but we have so many guys in new positions. We have veterans on the team but we still have to gel. After these first two games, we have made a lot of strides in different areas so I think we’re going to be pretty good.”

On the big plays allowed:
“Coach gets at everything. I think the big plays are the main factor. We try to limit those big plays, but it’s the little things that lead up to those big plays happening–things like not cheating on certain plays and being technically sound.”

On practicing to get more turnovers:
“Coach wants us all to run to the ball and when one person gets to the ball, everyone else tries to strip it. We have to have a certain amount of turnovers every day. Even when the ball touches the ground on an incompletion or anything, coach wants us to pick it up and start running with it. He is just trying to put it into our minds that whenever the ball touches the ground we’ve got to get it.”