Kansas Football Press Conference Quotes

Oct. 3, 2006

Head Coach Mark Mangino
Opening statement

“Before we get started, I would like to announce the players of the game from the Nebraska contest as voted by our coaching staff. The offensive player of the game was sophomore wide receiver Dexton Fields. The defensive player of the game was junior defensive tackle James McClinton. The special teams player of the game was junior kicker Scott Webb. Our scout team offensive player of the week was Micah Brown, and our defensive scout team player of the week was Todd Haselhorst.

Looking back on the Nebraska game, I was very proud of the effort of our football team on Saturday. We showed a great deal of heart and resiliency. We played a great game in terms of effort and fight.

This Saturday, we host Texas A&M. Texas A&M is a team that has good balance on offense and defense. They are playing well on both sides of the ball. On defense, they have a huge defensive line that comes off the ball pretty well. They are led by Red Bryant, who is a big, strong, physical player that is well known throughout the Big 12 Conference. They are getting a lot of tackles out of their linebackers. Justin Warren makes a lot of plays for them. They are a good, physical defensive unit.

On offense, they have a very big offensive line. They are running the ball very well with their big back, Jorvorskie Lane, as well as Courtney Lewis and some others. Their pass game compliments the run game. They are a team that tries to get movement in formations. Quarterback Stephen McGee is very dangerous running the football. And as always, Texas A&M usually throws in a wrinkle on offense. They are a talented group of kids that we will compete against, but we feel good about our preparation and are ready to play Texas A&M.”

On the benefits of using multiple running backs over a primary ball-carrier:
“I don’t see any particular advantage. However best you run the ball is how you are going to run the ball. Some people use the quarterback to out-gap people. We’ve had success running with our tailbacks and fullbacks. I don’t see any advantage or disadvantage either way.”

On Texas A&M running back Jorvorskie Lane:
“He’s powerful, but he has quick feet. He changes direction pretty well for a big back. The other running backs are a little more speedy, hitting holes a little quicker.”

On the status of QB Kerry Meier and Adam Barmann’s performance in filling in:
“Kerry is feeling much better. He has made great improvement. His status at this point is unchanged. Adam Barmann made some mistakes early, but to his credit, he overcame them and showed great mental toughness. He kept the offense together and played outstanding after his early mistakes. I would say that the biggest thing about Adam is that he overcomes adversity. We say all week that “The next play is the most important play.” You can’t change history, good or bad. You can’t worry about tomorrow either. As a program, we focus on the task at hand day-to-day. Adam is living proof that you can overcome adversity by adhering to that motto. Our players see that he is capable. We have confidence in both of them. The kids have always had confidence in him. He is prepared every day. He is one of the hardest working guys in the off-season programs and is very good with younger players. He is helpful with younger quarterbacks. He is an all-around team guy.”

On when Kerry Meier could be expected to return:
“There’s no question that we will see him again this season, and I think relatively soon. He has to be cleared by the medical staff. We want him to be able to function normally. We don’t want him playing with pain and not have a full range of motion. He has really made big strides.”

On whether freshman Darrell Stuckey could return this weekend:
“We’re hoping. He is feeling a lot better. He still has a noticeable lack of mobility. But we’re hopeful.”

On the potency of the rush defense this year and whether Texas A&M represents its biggest challenge thus far:
“It’s hard to say. Nebraska ran the ball well up until our game and still had a few runs. I think Texas A&M will probably run the ball more in terms of frequency. We have played downhill as linebackers and we’re playing gaps and getting up field on the defensive line. One of the things I like is that we’re bringing some new faces into the fold who are playing well. Sophomore Russell Brorsen played extremely well. We got valuable minutes out of Arist Wright. We are trying to develop a situation where we have depth and are able to rotate guys. I think it’s helpful to get some guys to rotate so you can stop people in the run game in the fourth quarter.”

On Sophomore Russell Brorsen’s play:
“First of all, he is a bright guy. He is a 4.0 student who adapts very quickly. Second, although he is currently small in stature, he will get bigger in our program. He is a very wiry guy and has great body control, which goes back to his wrestling days. He understands leverage. He is tough to get off his feet.”

On the play of the secondary:
“They made some plays. They caught our corners in coverage where we thought we had enough cushion to operate. Give Nebraska credit for making plays. Our secondary made a lot of good plays and should have had a couple of picks. The issues we have, we understand and are correctable. Freshman Anthony Webb has gotten better since the day he arrived. I feel the same with junior Blake Bueltel. “

On whether the coaching staff has a formula for deciding to attempt a two-point conversion:
“In the preseason, we analyze when to go for two and when to go for one. There was no consideration to attempt a two-point conversion at the game. There was no reason for it. We wanted to get the extra point, even them up and go after it in the overtime period.”

On senior linebacker Eric Washington’s status:
“He is back in Lawrence. He is doing well. He has a little bit of weakness in his left leg, but nothing serious according to our medical staff. We have made plans for him to see a specialist in sports-related head and neck injuries.”

Kansas player Quotes

Russell Brorsen, Sophomore Defensive End
On making his first start at Nebraska:

“It was exciting to get my first start and for it to be at Nebraska made it even better. There was a large crowd and it was a big game, so it was exciting. I enjoyed the atmosphere. They have a really good atmosphere up there, but I would not call it intimidating. It was just another football game.”

On making the switch back to defensive end from tight end:
“It took me a little while to make the switch back because on offense you have to have a little more control with your stance and you come off the ball differently. On defense, you get a lot more freedom. That’s what the coaches said they needed me to do, so I did it.”

On how wrestling has helped in football:
“It helps me some, but it is difficult to say because I wrestled long before I played football. I have always been a wrestler, so I’m not sure how much it helps me. Occasionally, I’ll try to throw someone, but it usually does not work that well.”

John Larson, Sophomore Defensive End
On the loss at Nebraska:

“It was a tough loss. You just have to shake it off and learn from it and come out the next week and get a win.”

On Texas A&M:
“We have our scouting report today, so I don’t really know too much about them. I know they lost a tough game to Texas Tech last week, so both of us are looking for our first win in the Big 12. It is going to be a heated battle. I saw a couple clips of (Texas A&M Running Back) Jorvorksie Lane on Saturday. I played against a 270 pound fullback in high school so it should be fairly the same. You just have to hit them hard and low.”

On defending against the run:
“We play the run more sound. We use different techniques and play calls to defend against the run. We will definitely hunker down so that he (Jorvorskie Lane) does not get too many rushing yards. It is fun to get a chance to go up against what people say is a good running team. Sometimes teams change though, because of our defense’s performance against the run by trying to throw over the top of us or use different schemes.”

On the early kickoff:
“We will try to keep our pregame the same. We will still have a team dinner and movie on Friday night. Saturday we usually hang out and watch a couple games before our game at six o’clock, but I guess this week we will not watch any games.”

Aqib Talib, Sophomore, Cornerback
On Eric Washington’s injury:

“I was hoping that he would be alright and that he just knocked himself out and nothing was wrong with his neck. It was tough, but we were trying to look at it in a positive light that we knew he’d be alright and just stay focused on the game.”

On giving up big plays:
“We gave up one too many big plays on Saturday. We all made a lot of mistakes, but none that we can’t correct. We went out with our same game plan, but just gave up too many big plays. Our eyes weren’t where they should be. We had a lot of eyes in the backfield looking at the quarterback.”

On coming back from a 17-0 deficit:
“We knew we had to stop the big plays. Our offense had been moving the ball all day so we knew if we could stop them and give our offense good field position that we could get back into the game.”

On an 11 am kickoff:
“I’m ready to play in the morning. For me personally I like waking up, playing the game and getting it over with instead of waiting around all day. Light and the sun, it’s about the same.”

David Ochoa, Senior, Offensive Line
On the offensive line:
“We are not resting on what we have done so far. We know we can do a lot better. The biggest thing for us is to make progress from week to week and not make the mistakes that we made before. Hopefully at the end of the year we can look back and say that we did a good job.”

On having extra motivation after last week’s loss:
“At this level we don’t need any extra motivation. The guys are very self-motivated and motivated to help out each other. We are looking forward for the opportunity to play again and go out there and show that we can do well.”

On having confidence in Adam Barmann:
“Adam has always played well. He’s had a couple mishaps here and there, but he has always shown the resiliency to bounce back. My confidence in Adam is sky high as the rest of the team is confident in him as well.”

Mike Rivera, Sophomore, Linebacker
On Eric Washington’s injury:

“We play with him every day and when we see him on the ground, it really scared a lot of us. I’m just glad to see that he was talking and moving in the hospital. It was a good thing to see.”

On giving up the big play:
“We need to keep working our assignments and not give up those big plays. If we shut the big plays down, it gives us another opportunity to come back and run another snap and stop them.”

On Texas A&M running the ball:
“If we stop the run, we can force them to pass and then stop the big plays. If we do that, I think we can be very successful on defense.”

On getting close to wins:
“I know there is some frustration. For me, it’s motivation. I know if we keep on grinding and keep on working hard we are going to get a big victory. If we keep playing hard like we have been all the pieces will come together.”