Football Press Conference Quotes (9-16-08)

Sept. 16, 2008

Kansas Press Conference Quotes

Week 4: SamHoustonState

Sept. 16, 2008 – Lawrence, Kan.

KU Head Coach Mark Mangino

Opening Comments on last week’s game:

“Nothing has changed since I’ve stated last, Todd Reesing played very well, kept us going in the game on offense. Kerry Meier really stood out and then did some really outstanding things. The offense as a whole: the passing game is working well and clicking, the run game is obviously not where we want it to be at this point in time, we are behind in that area and there are several reasons for it. I think some of it’s the offensive line play including the veteran players, needs to pick up there’s no question about that. We need to finish blocks, get off the line of scrimmage, keep our feet moving. I don’t think the running backs at times are seeing things as well as they ought to. I think there are times when there are creases and lanes and we are just not seeing them. We have to improve in that area. And then perimeter blocking on offense is not very good. The wide receivers did not block well and have not in the three games that we’ve played. So we will do the things that are necessary, obviously we will practice it and if it does not improve we will make personnel changes if we need to.

“Defensively, we did not play up to our standards in a lot of areas. We allowed three touchdowns in a seven-minute stretch, which is uncharacteristic of us. Just like offense, on defense these are all correctable things. I think our defensive line has to play at pad level and do a better job of taking care of gap responsibilities. Our linebackers need to play gap responsibility, play downhill. I thought they did not play well as a group and have to just do their job and not try to make every play, just do what they are asked to do. In the secondary we have to do a better job of zone reads, closing to the football, contesting the ball in the air and playing with balance with our feet underneath us.”

Opening comments on this week’s game:

“This week’s game against SamHoustonState, it’s kind of a difficult situation for them, as they have been hit hard by Hurricane Ike. We are trying to get information out of there, last I heard they do not have power in that area, whether that has been restored yet or not I don’t know. As far as preparing for them, we only have one game that they have played this year; we have watched some of last year’s games, but there’s not a lot to know. They played a Division II school that wasn’t really a great deal of competition for them in that one game, so what we have elected to do is prepare for Sam Houston, but also use this week to get better and just focus on getting our team better, because there is such a limited amount of information about Sam Houston State. We do know that they have a fine quarterback in Rhett Bomar, that started his career at OU and then consequently had to leave because of some issues, but he’s talented, he throws the ball well, he runs the ball very well and he’s got great speed. From what we can see on defense, they are scrappy type of kids, they play hard. Our knowledge of them is a little limited, but that’s okay. We will have good preparation and get ready to go.”

On if any of the KU players have been affected by Hurricane Ike:

“We had our football operations guy, George Matsakis, find out from any of the kids and position coaches if anybody was displaced or anything like that. There are several kids that have family in the area or lived there, but they are not suffering any ill effects that we know to this point. Now when they come in again this afternoon, there are about four or five more kids that we’ll brief again and find out if there are any issues with their family and find out if we can help out. As of Sunday afternoon we did not have anybody that was in serious trouble.”

On how Rhett Bomar has improved since his days at OU:

Some of it comes from his personal development and some of it is that he is not playing against the type of competition week after week that he would be playing against in the Big 12. But we have played against him and we know that he is dangerous enough that he can beat you and make plays, because he is very talented.”

On how the kids are taking the loss:

“I think they reacted the way I expected them to react, like a good football team does. They are angry, they’re mad and that’s the kind of reaction you are looking for; very upset and angry. Sunday’s practice normally for us is kind of a correction day and a walk through thing. This week ended up in some real battles Sunday on the practice field. Guys were knocking the crap out of each other and that’s the way it ought to be. If you don’t like losing you have to do something about it.”

Sophomore wide receiver Johnathan Wilson

On the blocking of the receiving corps:

“Coach Mangino got on us about that and made his point, so we understand what we have to do to get better and we are practicing it a lot more now, so I expect us to block a lot better this coming Saturday.”

On the offense in the 3rd Quarter against South Florida:

“We just didn’t have any momentum, it seemed like the other team had all the momentum and we had some penalties that set us back. We just felt like we couldn’t get going, but once we got going we fought our way back into the game.”

On the mood of the team after the loss:

“We were angry that we lost, disappointed; we are just looking to get better now because we have something to prove.”

On the offense having different receivers with big games:

“It just depends on whatever defense they throw at us and whoever is open is going to get the ball. You have seen that in the past couple games, so whoever’s night it is, that is who is going to get the ball.”

Senior defensive end John Larson

On the first loss of the season:

“Losing stinks, everybody knows that. I think this week, since we’ve gotten over, we’re practicing without mentioning losing. It’s just about getting better. We’ve always had a pretty good work ethic, but the intensity and focus goes up that much more. We’re learning from this loss.”

On South Florida scoring the first 17 points of the second half:

“They came out in the second half, maybe we were cold, maybe they made some good adjustments, either way we can’t afford to come out of the locker room and give up scores like that.”

Redshirt freshman kicker Jacob Branstetter

On the ability to step in to a game after the start of the season and make kicks:

“I feel like I’ve been working toward this moment for a long time. Even since January, Kerry Meier and I have been practicing snap, hold and kick. We are continuing to work on those drills. Even when he’s not there I visualize someone having the ball and holding the ball. I feel like that has helped me step in.”