Kansas Football Press Conference Quotes

Oct. 17, 2006

Head Coach Mark Mangino
Opening statement

“Good afternoon. I would like to announce the players of the game from the Oklahoma State contest as voted by our coaching staff. The offensive player of the game was (freshman quarterback) Kerry Meier. We did not select a defensive player of the game. The special teams player of the game was (sophomore wide receiver) Marcus Herford. Our scout team offensive player of the week was Xavier Rambo, and our defensive scout team player of the week was Ian Handshy.”

“After looking back on the Oklahoma State game, we did some positive things on offense. I liked the way Kerry (Meier) played after being out for a while. I thought he managed the game reasonably well. I was very encouraged by his first week back. Offensively, we were decent running the ball which is something we need to do in order to finish strong.”

“On defense, all the things I pointed out after the game and watching the tape hold true. We need to play with a little more recklessness in the secondary. I think our linebacker drops have to improve in the zone. Re-routing man routes and underneath routes are things we did not do as well as we normally do. Our pass rush was not as good as we would like. We had some pressure and put the quarterback in peril a few times, but not nearly as much as we would like to in our style of defense. We understand what we need to do.”

“Baylor is a good football team. Guy Morriss has done a great job there. Defensively, they have two very fine cornerbacks in C.J. Wilson and Anthony Arline, who have good size, speed and strength. Their linebackers are also very active, especially Joe Pawelek and Nick Moore. Their defensive line allows their linebackers to make plays.”

“On the offensive side of the ball, they run a wide open offense, similar to Texas Tech. Their quarterback, Shawn Bell, does a good job of getting rid of the ball and keeps getting better and better. They have some fine receivers, including All-America candidate Dominique Zeigler, who has good speed, athleticism and catches the ball well in a crowd. They also have a big running back, Paul Mosley, who weighs around 235 lbs., and is a real load. When they need to run the ball, they do it fairly effectively. “

“This game will be a good challenge for us. We’re busy out on the practice field getting ready and I like the way we’re approaching this game.”

On Kerry Meier’s performance following a three-game absence:
“He’s 100 percent fine. There were no effects of the injury he sustained. He competed well and I was pleased. He stayed poised. What makes Kerry special is that he shakes off bad plays and doesn’t let them linger. He has a short memory, which is important for a quarterback to have.”

“As far as his return, I did not think he was tentative. It was more a matter of him getting into sync, identifying his reads and recognizing the defenses. He worked hard last week on his own in film study preparing to put himself in position where he could have success. He adapted very well.”

On the play of the cornerbacks and the defense against Oklahoma State:
“The cornerbacks were not a critical part of it, at least not Aqib Talib. He knows his way around and played pretty solid. The learning process for Anthony Webb will take a little bit of time, but we’re committed to him at the corner. He is the best candidate that we have. He is tough kid and doesn’t pout about getting beat. He has a confidence to him. Certainly, there are some learning issues that go along with that, but we feel that he will be a heck of a player for us.”

“In zone defense — where we have been quite good in the recent years — there were some recognition issues. If you can’t play the ball, then you have to make a hit and bring them down. I think we have been tentative in reading zones, seeing players in the zones and attacking them. That is the work of the secondary, but also a responsibility of the linebackers. In the past, we’ve been good at getting into the holes and closing the quarterback’s windows. That takes time and it take repetitions and game experience.”

On the team’s mindset heading into the weekend:
“I think they feel a sense of urgency. Against Nebraska the kid’s felt like they were close and after the A&M game, they felt the same way. But now that we know that we have issues we have to deal with on offense and defense, there is a sense of urgency. The kids know that they are better than this and we’ve got to understand what we need to do. I felt that way in the meeting room, and when we went out to practice. That feeling showed in the tempo on the practice field, which was remarkably high. Our kids have a lot invested here. There is nobody ready to throw in the towel. We have to work at it. We don’t get carried away on philosophical things, but focus on the technical aspects of what will make us a better team. Our kids are technically oriented.”

On whether the coaching staff has considered changing the routine:
“I believe that is a sign of panic. The way we handle things has served us well. There have just been a few things that we need to overcome. Changing routines and how things are done sends a bad signal to the players. The teaching will be at an urgent pace. There is no reason for panic. We all believe in what we’re doing. We don’t need to hide people. We just need them to learn quickly.”

“For example, freshman Darrell Stuckey just played his second game of Division-IA football. We think Darrell will be a special player for us. Darrell is being coached at a fast pace and we need to assess what he is capable of doing and structure things to help him learn. We have a young corner and linebackers that we need to go do a good job of teaching and have them learning at a faster pace.”

On whether the pass defense may find some positives in playing a pass-oriented team like Baylor:
“Baylor wants to pass the ball. The kids realize that they will come after them and throw the ball a lot. Baylor will run to keep us honest, and they are really going to test us. We need to learn from last week and improve and adjust, both as players and as coaches.”

On the trouble the team has had blitzing:
“In the past, we’ve been a good blitzing football team. We didn’t like the timing of the blitzes of the linebackers, but they are learning as we go. We didn’t do a good job getting off the blocks on the blitzes.”

On Baylor’s ability to produce a lot of turnovers:
“I like their defense. They have some quality players. They run well and play very physical. They have veteran guys who have played a lot in this league and know what it takes to compete. They have done a good job of creating turnovers.”

On sophomore Aqib Talib’s play so far in the season and his role as a team leader:
“Considering the fact that he started the season late and was a little bit rusty, he gives you an opportunity to isolate a receiver. He has great hips, changes direction well and seldom gets beat. And when someone does get behind him, he has great catch-up speed. He has good ball skills and plays the ball well in the air. I think he can improve in some areas, but he’s been a solid guy.”

“He’s a competitor and wants to win. I’ve seen him tutor Anthony Webb and he cares a lot about winning. With the loss of Eric Washington, we need other guys to pick it up and Aqib is playing that role.”

On judging when a young player is having a break-out game versus a tough game:
“That is where the role of the coaches comes in. Players have the opportunity to step up and continue to improve, or they can go into a shell. These are habits that are hard to break. We have kids that care about their performance and want to get better. They are disappointed in the way they played, but they are not discouraged. The coaches do not get caught up in what they did wrong. We try to correct it. We want to improve.”

“As an example, Oklahoma State ran a route in the first quarter that we expected them to run. When they did, one of our young guys jumped the route and knocked the ball down on a great play. Later, when they ran the same play and we were in the same coverage, we did not have anyone within five yards of the receiver. That comes from experience and trusting your reads. We tell our kids to do what we’ve worked on all week and seen on tape.”

On whether the coaching staff has considered using match-ups:
“We’ve done them in the past and we’ve done them this year. However, you have to be careful because you might get one match-up you really like but the drop-off somewhere else becomes too great. We are smart when we play match-ups. We don’t want to make ourselves too strong in one place and leave an area that could become a problem.”

Kansas player Quotes

Kyle Tucker, Junior, Punter
On the mindset of the team:

“We just have to bounce back. Nobody is feeling down. The loss was tough, but we are all over it. Nobody on our team is down.”

Mike Rivera, Sophomore, Linebacker
On the defense:

“We need to improve in all areas, not just the defensive backs. When we are in zone coverage, we (linebackers) have to drop in the zone and when there is a man there, we have to man up on them. We are going to be working on that a lot this week. These things aren’t hard to pick up on, it’s just a mind set that we have to do it every play.”

On communicating:
“We have to make sure everybody is on the same page with the play calls and make sure everybody is doing their jobs. As long as everybody does that, we can get things going again.”

On Baylor’s passing offense:
“Earlier in the season we had teams that passed a lot, so I think we’ve had experience with that. I think it’s going to be good for us. At the same time, we’ve had experience with the run so now when we get back to the pass, it will be a good challenge for us. We’ve lost some close games now so we have to attack it, look at it as a big challenge and look forward to this game.”

On being aggressive:
“It comes down to playing hard every play. We have to run our assignments hard, but at the same time do it in a smart way. We can’t run out there with our heads cut off and just run around. We have to know what we are doing and attack as hard as we can.”

Marcus Herford, Junior, Wide Receiver
On Kerry Meier:

“I think he did great, especially coming off the little injury he had. He bounced back and did a great job.”

On the team’s state of mind:
“I feel like we still have to take it one game at a time. We’re still in the postseason hunt and I believe we are going to make it. We just have to go week-by-week and day-by-day and we will get better. Whenever you lose a game, there are always mistakes that you recognize and this time when we made them, they were crucial. We’ll be alright, though, we just have to keep practicing hard.”

On the transition back to Kerry Meier at quarterback:
“Both quarterbacks do a great job of managing the games. We just have to adjust to the different types of styles that they have, but it does not change anything.”

Jake Sharp, Freshman, Running Back
On pass blocking:

“Blocking is definitely one of the key areas that I need to work on. It is something that I never thought about coming in, but is definitely very important. You cannot play running back at this level if you cannot block. It is something that I work on day-in and day-out.”

On the football team’s morale:
“We are a football family. It is very close-knit. Brandon McAnderson and Jon Cornish are encouraging and helping me every day. It is really good to have guys like them. We really have to go out and play well throughout the rest of the season to do what we want to do, and get to another bowl. There is definitely a sense of urgency and we are going to go out on the attack.”