Quotes from Mark Mangino's Weekly Press Conference

Sept. 14, 2004

Opening statement: “I will announce the players of the game for the Toledo game as selected by the staff. Special teams, Scott Webb, defense Nick Reid, offense Adam Barmann and John Randle. Our scout team offensive player of the week is Adrian Mayes and our scout team defensive player of the week is Brian Seymour.

On the Toledo game: To recap the game with Toledo, we played well in all three areas of the game. We did a good job with special teams for the most part. I am really pleased with the way we are progressing on special teams because I think it is going to make a difference for us down the road. Offensively, we did a lot of good things even though we had a short field most of the time. I was very please with the two minute offense right before the half. Barmann did a good job of taking control of the offense, our kids executed the two minutes the way we wanted them to. I like the way that we ran the ball and blocked, on both the offensive line and wide-receiver. There was much improved blocking on the offensive side of the ball. On the defensive side, we played the run very well, we played pass defense very well, we got the quarterback out of rhythm and we played hard nosed, tough, defensive football. There are things that we need to work on in all areas of the game, but we are going to continue to play opponents that are Big 12 quality and Big 12 conference opponents, so we know we have to elevate our game in all three areas.

On Northwestern: Northwestern is deceiving at 0-2. They lost to a good TCU team in overtime. They played a tough Arizona State team at home and lost, so it is very deceiving. We are not fooled by that. We think Northwestern is a good football team. They are very physical on the offensive and defensive lines. They are veterans on both sides in the trenches. Their quarterack is outstanding. This will be the third week in a row we are playing against a top notch quarterback. He has a lot of games under his belt, and he knows where he wants to get the ball. They have a couple of good receivers and a powerful running back who can break tackles, so we will have to do a good job of wrapping him up. On the defensive side, their defensive line consist of 300-pounders that attack the line of scrimmage. They have a couple of good linebackers that run to the ball. This is a good test for our kids, and I believe that we are ready to play on the road.”

On what it takes to win on the road: “Mentality — you have to have it. There is 100 yards of field out there. They have 11 (players) and we have 11, and no matter where the game is played, you have to execute. Forget about where you are playing, just concentrate on what takes place on the field.”

On KU’s defensive success: “It comes from believing in one another. I think that unit is becoming a close-knit bunch of kids. I think they have confidence in each other now, I think our coaching staff has done a great job of preparing these kids. I think we are more athletic and better on defensive than at any time since we’ve been here.”

On comparing last year’s Northwestern team to this year’s: “They are much more physical than they were last year. They are bigger and stronger and thicker than they were a year ago. I think the quarterback has gained a great deal of experience, he’s really maturing each year and right now he is playing with a high level of confidence. Their skilled kids are solid as well.”

On KU’s transfer players: “We needed help at corner and we didn’t want to recruit one, unless we absolutely thought he was going to come in and play. Theo (Baines) has lived up to that. He is learning on the job. I love his attitude and I think he has been great. Jermial Ashley is a young guy that enjoys playing football. He is very smart and absorbs what his coaches are teaching him. He has worked hard to improved his fundamentals and is a very focused guy. He’s quiet, takes care of his business and I think that is why he has been a solid guy for us. Charlton Keith is doing some things on natural ability, but he really hasn’t had any summer conditioning or weight lifting. He is now in our in-season weight lifting program, and physically has a ways to go but since he has a motor he has been able to contribute.”

On Tony Stubbs: “If our strong safety is making tackles, he has gap responsibilities. In our defensive system, if the strong safety is making plays, that’s not all bad. In fact, I remember a guy at Oklahoma named Roy Williams who made a lot of tackles and that defense was very good. What Tony has done is transformed himself from a running back player to a safety. He has developed great change of direction, he has worked on his footwork to cover. He can also take on a back and take him to the ground. Tony Stubbs is a hard working guy, he has really developed into a fine player. He has taken a leadership role. I have told our kids that you don’t have to be a captain to be a leader. He is a natural leader, he talks to kids constantly, he reinforces what their responsibilities are.”

On Brandon McAnderson: “He has done a good job getting himself ready to play. We told him last year that he needs to get in the weight room and redistribute his body and muscle and he has done that. He has worked hard to improve his quickness and speed and he has a bright future here. We like his intensity, going down on the kick-off. He has done a great job. If you are in his way, he is going to clean your clock. He has done that several times.”

On Tony Coker’s chance of playing Saturday: “We are not sure. He has done some light work. I’m confident he will be ready for the Texas Tech game. I will probably know on Thursday if he will be able to take part in the Northwestern game.”

On the road routine: “If we are going to play somewhere with a surface that we are not used to, we will stop at the stadium after we get off the plane to try on shoes and check the crown of the field. We will do that this game, but a lot of the Big 12 stadiums, I am familiar with. A lot of times it boils down to time.”

On having momentum: “I think that on the outside of our program, there has been a great deal of enthusiasm with our fans, students and some media outlets. But in house it is business as usual. We know that we have won two non-conference games and we have nine games to go. We are going to play eight very good Big 12 opponents, I don’t care what anyone says about it, this is a knock-down, drag-out league. I am happy that everyone is enthusiastic about our team, but it is business as usual. We have to stay focused on the task at hand. As soon as we start thinking about what is behind us or the good things that could happen ahead of us, we could be in some trouble. Our philosophy is as follows, if it is spring ball, we are worried about spring ball. If it’s summer conditioning, we are going to work on that. Northwestern this week is all we are worried about. Forgot about Toledo…could care less about Big 12 right now. We are staying focused on Northwestern and that is why we have been able to get some momentum.”

Senior safety Tony Stubbs On preparing for Northwestern: “We have to prepare. We started yesterday by looking over Northwestern. We have to prepare well and then just go out and play hard.”

On the team’s struggles on the road in the past: “I believe that in the past we just have not executed like we should have. I believe that we have the mentality that we are going execute. And we have the confidence and the mentality now to be successful. In the past, I think we lacked that and it kept us from getting over the hump.”

On being the underdog: “I’m never surprised that we are underdogs. We use it as motivation and we want to go out that and prove them wrong.”

Junior offensive lineman Matt Thompson

On the impact of the transfers this season: “I’m not so surprised at the impact. I think we all had high expectations and there was nothing that we felt we needed to prove. We felt we could come in and make an impact right away.”

On winning the first two games this season: “It feels great. The hunger is still there and all of us are anxious to get on with Northwestern and come back with a win after they beat us last year.”

On getting attention from the national media: “It is very nice to have some positive recognition, but I still don’t think we have proven ourselves yet.”

On the difference in offensive production from week 1 to week 2: “I guess for a lot of us it was just getting our feet wet and having that additional intensity. After the first week, I felt as if we almost didn’t even win. I was disappointed in how I played in the first game so we really wanted to go out and prove ourselves in the second game.”

Junior defensive lineman Charlton Keith

“Coach expects a lot from the defense this year and we just want to go out there and play with intensity every game.”

On preparing for Northwestern: “Northwestern is by far a very good team. I played against them when I was with the University of Minnesota and I know we have to come prepared. We need to work hard this week in practice and then just go out and play football.”