Kansas Football Press Conference Quotes

Oct. 14, 2008

Kansas Football Press Conference

Oct. 14, 2008

Head Coach Mark Mangino

Opening remarks:

“Last week (against Colorado) we saw improvement in the offense, particularly up front and with the running game. The passing game continues to grow as well. Jake Sharp played well. Todd Reesing and Kerry Meier played well. Our young tackles are improving. On the defensive side of the ball we are starting to get some rhythm in terms of being where we are supposed to be, making the calls that are necessary and connecting the front and the secondary. We are going to spend some time this week improving areas of special teams that need attention.

“This week we travel to Norman to play OU. As you know, they are a very good football team. They have a lot of quality players and they are well-coached. They have great discipline and have size and speed on most places on the field. They are coming off of a loss to Texas, but that is not a factor in this game. They will be business-like in their approach this week. We just have to go down to Norman and play really smart football. We will have to make plays and we will see what happens. Our kids are playing well right now in most areas and we are looking forward to the challenge and opportunity of playing another great Oklahoma team.”

On the season-ending injury to OU linebacker Ryan Reynolds:

“I am sure it has an impact on their team. He is an outstanding player; there is no question about it. But OU has overcome injuries to key people. If you look at their history under Bob Stoops they have lost quarterbacks, running backs, defensive lineman, you name it, they always find someone to step up. I am sure they are working on that right now.”

On his relationship with Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops:

“It is a great relationship. We have played against each other before and we will do it again. He is a very close friend of mine. He is a guy that I can always count on and he can count on me. But we are both competitive. It has absolutely no effect on the competition that takes place (there) on Saturday. We understand what is expected out of us professionally and that is all that matters. There is no one football game or one recruit that will change the relationship that we have.”

On OU quarterback Sam Bradford:

“He doesn’t get disrupted very often and he doesn’t get flustered very often. If he has a bad play he quickly puts it behind him and moves on to the next one. He takes hits and he shows great leadership. Any time you play a guy like that you have to be ready. We have to be good at coverage and pressure. We are getting better at four-man pressure, but we have to be good there too. We can’t blitz every down; that won’t work against a team like Oklahoma.”

On recruiting in the state of Oklahoma:

“I enjoy going to Oklahoma because you know that those kids are well-coached and they have great competition. Like in Kansas, they are good people down there. If you stop to get gas everybody wants to talk football with you. They are good folks.”

On the OU fans:

“I was lucky in that I was able to be there (OU) at a time when they won a national championship. When you do that they don’t forget very quickly. They know all nine assistant coaches that were on that staff. They are really great fans and great people down there. They treat me like I am still a part of their program down there. My first three or four years at Kansas, if we won a game, probably 20 percent of my mail was from OU fans that were well-wishers. The last time I went down there the fans were waiting at the gate and they were telling me, “welcome home”. If you win a national championship there then they declare you a resident of Oklahoma forever. I am fortunate to coach in two states where we have great fans and great people.”

Senior Linebacker James Holt

On growing up in Oklahoma:

“Growing up I was always an OU fan. My dad played for Oklahoma. Playing them will bring up the intensity level a bit for me, but I am going to go out there and play my same game and hopefully show them what they missed out on. I am glad to be a Jayhawk.”

What Oklahoma missed out on:

“They missed out on a hard worker and a good football player, but you know, that is the way things go sometimes.”

On if he carries a chip on his shoulder into this game:

“No, I am glad that I am here. It may make me play a little more intense, not that I am not usually intense. Going against a team that you grew up wanting to play for will motivate you to want to show them something.”

On not getting enough respect for being the only undefeated team in the North:

“Sometimes things are just going to happen like that. Mark May of ESPN usually picks us to lose, but it doesn’t bother us. We always have a chip on our shoulder and we just want to go out there every week and show that we can play with anybody. We are going to go out there this weekend and play with confidence and hopefully come out with a win. I have always liked being an underdog. It is great to prove people wrong when they pick against you.”

Junior Quarterback Todd Reesing

On his first trip to Norman:

“It is fun. It is fun to play in other stadiums and go on the road and play in different environments. It will be fun to play down there. They have a big stadium, great fans, and it will be loud. It should be a great environment to play football in.”

On trying to get off to a quick start:

“It is big every game. Hopefully we will turn it around this week. We know that they have been scoring points in the first quarter. Hopefully that will change this week and we will score and they won’t.

On the cause of the Jayhawks’ slow starts:

“It has been all sorts of things from top to bottom. It hasn’t been just one thing. We just need to come out ready to play and get going from the start.”

Sophomore Defensive End Jake Laptad

On getting more four man pressure from the defensive line:

“I think we all take it upon ourselves as a defensive line that we have to get pressure, whether we are bringing a blitz or if it is just four defensive linemen. So we always have to get pressure on the quarterback.”

On Oklahoma’s offensive line:

“Oklahoma probably has one of the best offensive lines in the Big 12 and they will be a tough challenge for the entire defense this week.”

On what it will be like playing in your home state of Oklahoma:

“I am looking forward to playing in front of my family and a bunch of my friends from high school that go there, so it will be a lot of fun to play there. We are going to take it just like it is any other game though.”

Sophomore Cornerback Chris Harris

On what it will be like playing in your home state of Oklahoma:

“It should be fun; I will have a lot of friends there. Everybody from my school goes to OU, so it will be a lot of fun to see all of them.”

On Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford:

“He is really good when he stays in the pocket, we know we have to get some pressure on him and get him moving, because it seems like that is when he struggles a little bit. Overall he is a really good quarterback.”

On holding down the Oklahoma run game:

“I know that they have been struggling in the run game lately, so we know that we have to keep them there. I know that OU loves to run the football, so if we can stop the run that would be big for us going down there.”

Senior Linebacker Joe Mortensen

On the significance of playing Oklahoma:

“It’s a huge game; they are a great team and we are a great team. We are playing in their house and it’s going to be a good challenge for us.”

On Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford and the offense:

“He is pretty accurate. I was watching game film all day yesterday and he is a great leader. He throws his passes and gets rid of the ball quickly. They have a great running game and it’s definitely going to be the best offense we have seen this year, so we have to be ready for them.”

On what a win against Oklahoma would mean for the program:

“It would be huge. We want to stay on top of the North and win the North division and this is one of the stepping stones. They are one of the best teams in the Big 12 and the nation. If you want to be the best you have to beat the best, so we are looking forward to it.”