Mark Mangino Weekly Football Press Conference Quotes

Sept. 27, 2005

Head Coach Mark Mangino

Opening statement:
“I will start by talking a little bit about our opponent this week. This is our first opportunity to play in Big 12 competition. We’re looking forward to going on the road. We’re going to play a football team that is very good. Offensively, they can score a lot of points. They rack up a lot of yardage. They have a system that their kids are really comfortable in and they execute it very well. Defensively, I think they are overlooked somewhat because of the attention that the offense receives. Their defense has been productive. They have speed in the secondary and physical players up front. Their players are where they are supposed to be and they don’t make mental mistakes. They’re a good, sound, fundamental football team on defense. Overall, they are a sound team. They don’t beat themselves. They can create big plays on both sides of the ball. Our challenge this week is to go down there and play fundamental football as well. We need to do the things that our kids have been doing on the practice field for the past week and a half now. We feel good about our preparation. I think this game has more to do with our improvement than anybody that we’re playing. We want to see ourselves continue to get better week after week.”

On having started conference play on the road five times in the last seven years:
“I didn’t realize that until just now. I’m always looking at the present or ahead in the future. I don’t know why that is. You have to play your opponent somewhere, sometime. This year, we’re going to get it started on the road in Lubbock.”

On the timing of the off-week:
“I think it was beneficial to us. We used the first three games to evaluate ourselves and what we needed to develop and improve on. I’m pleased with the time that we have had off.”

On the running game:
“I think our running game can be very good. I think we just have to improve on little things like fundamentals and execution. I feel like our running game is going to be solid for us.”‘

On Texas Tech:
“You can tell on tape that they are very talented. It doesn’t matter much who the competition is. You can see their schemes, their speed and their athleticism. It doesn’t matter who they’re playing. It’s obvious that they have a very good football team.”

On preparing for Texas Tech:
“I think you prepare for Tech like you would any other team. Every week that we go into a game we try to prepare for the unexpected. You can’t prepare for everything. That’s impossible. We want our kids to be alert and aware and make smart plays. We just have to try and play football the way we know how. Good, smart football will take care of those things.”

On his relationship with Texas Tech Head Coach Mike Leach:
“We have a good relationship. We see each other several times a year. We always have fun together. I really enjoy his company. He’s a good guy and can tell a great story.”

On the game last year:
“I thought we did a lot of things well in the first half. In the second half we had opportunities but just couldn’t capitalize. I thought our defense played relatively well. We gave up some points, but I still feel like if we had moved the ball a little better in the second half we would have had a chance.”

On Texas Tech’s offense:
“Their offense is very efficiently operated. They don’t take a lot of chances with the ball. They execute, and that’s really the key. I don’t think it’s anything we haven’t seen before, it’s more that they just do a great job of executing.”

On how KU will play defense:
“We’re going to play defense the way that we play defense all the time. That’s a mixture of things. We’re not making any special preparations for this offense. As I just mentioned, they execute well so we have to play sound, fundamental football. That’s what we plan to do.”

On Texas Tech wide receiver Robert Johnson:
“They’re getting him the ball. He’s a strong, tough, talented athlete. He’s playing the `Y’ position and they’re getting him a lot of balls. He’s really making some plays. He has helped their receiving corps tremendously and has taken some of the pressure off some of the other guys.”

On the importance of special teams:
“We have to play well on special teams every week. That’s very important. We have to play well on those units week-in and week-out.”

If there has been any movement on the depth chart:
“We have some guys that have rotated positions that are both `ones’. Nothing is going to show up that’s unusual.”

On Marcus Herford:
“He’s working at quarterback and wide receiver.”

On Texas Tech running back Danny Amendola:
“I think he’s a really talented running back. First of all, he has a great burst. He can make people miss. He can make really big plays. Their running game is not to be discounted by any stretch of the imagination. When they run the ball, they run it efficiently. We have to be able to defend against the run as well as against the pass.”

On the Kivisto family’s recent $10 million gift to the program:
“First of all, I sincerely appreciate Tom’s generosity. It really means a lot to us. It’s a definite shot in the arm for the program. He has really opened the eyes of a lot of people. He’s a gentleman who really understands the importance of having a successful football program on the campus. We are really pleased that Tom has taken the initiative to do this. We feel like our fans and our boosters are taking notice of what we’re trying to do here and are buying into it. We’re very excited about Tom and his wife’s gift to the program. It will do so much in so many areas. We’re hoping that we’ll be able to secure the rest of the funds and begin construction in the very near future.”

On playing on the road in the Big 12:
“This is the Big 12. Every place is hostile on the road. We played in a hostile environment on the road at Missouri last year and were able to do a good job. We need to continue to build on that. We have played in hostile environments everywhere. I tell our kids that the fans aren’t out on the field, they still only have 11 guys out there, and the field is still only 100 yards long. We have to do our job and stay focused and I’m confident that we will.”

Selected Player Quotes

Senior Quarterback Brian Luke

On facing Texas Tech:
“We want to score as many points as we can every game. I don’t see it as being too much different from any other game. We just have to go out there and play the best that we can.”

On the running game:
“I have a lot of confidence in our running game with Jon Cornish and Clark Green back there. Clark has a lot of experience and maturity and Jon is starting to pick it up. With Jon’s pure athletic ability, we get into good situations.”

On playing away from home:
“It’s going to be a test to see how we react to certain situations. I personally have never played in Lubbock but I know their fans are going to be rowdy.”

Senior Linebacker Brandon Perkins

On facing Texas Tech’s offense:
“They have an offense that can do a lot of things which gives us a chance to showcase some of the talent that we have. They can run the ball and obviously they can throw it too. We have to be prepared for both although they are mostly a passing team.”

On playing on the road:
“Everything that’s different from home contributes to making the road tougher. The crowd noise, especially. You just have to be able to keep your mental edge when the crowd erupts. You just have to stay focused and do what you are supposed to do. We just have to be able to win on the road.”

Senior Wide Receiver Mark Simmons

On the pressure to match Texas Tech’s offense:
“We know we have to score, but we feel confident in our defense that they are going to stop them. We don’t feel that Texas Tech is going to run all over our defense. We think they will get pressure on the quarterback and do what they always do. But we still have to do what we are supposed to do on the offensive side of the ball. We don’t think there’s a certain point total that we have to reach to win, just as long as it’s one more point than their score.”

On offensive progression:
“I wish we would be a little better at this point. We’re still pretty good, but we just have to stick two halves of football together. We can’t just come out and start strong in the second half and expect to win against the caliber of teams we are facing now. We have to put together two good halves to compete every week.”

On last year’s close loss to Texas Tech:
“We know that one got away. It has not been brought up, but we know it’s in the back of everybody’s mind. A lot of games got away though, so it’s not just Texas Tech. It’s the concept of finishing that we need to focus on.”

On playing on the road:
“It’s just adjusting to the crowd noise and making audibles. Routine does play a big factor though. We played three straight home games and now we have to go away from the same routine we’ve had every week. It’s a big factor for the new guys who haven’t played on the road in a Big 12 atmosphere.”