Kansas Football Press Conference Quotes (Oct. 23)

Oct. 23, 2007

<?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>LAWRENCE, Kan. —

University of Kansas Football Press Conference Quotes<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

Head Coach Mark Mangino

On the offense of Texas A&M:

“Texas A&M is a very fine football team. On the offensive side of the ball, they are rushing the ball extremely well. They use their quarterback, Stephen McGee, a big tailback in Jorvorskie Lane, and they’ve got a speedy tailback in Mike Goodson. Their offensive line is solid.”

On Texas A&M’s defense:

“The defensive line looks to be pretty formidable. (Chris) Harrington and Red Bryant are the stalwarts for them on the defensive line. They have two very active linebackers in (Mark) Dodge and (Misi) Tupe. It’s a good challenge for us, and we are looking forward to going down to College Station.”

On the overall performance against Colorado:

“I’m real pleased with the effort of our team. On the defensive side of the ball we played the run very well and did a decent job against the pass. We only had three sacks, but we were able to push the pocket back and reduce some throwing lanes. On offense we ran the ball well. Todd Reesing threw it and ran it well. The offensive line played very solid.”

On the play of the special teams last week:

“I thought (the special teams) were really good. Watching Kyle Tucker punt the ball three times in a row while we were backed up in a hostile environment and booming the ball was a real clutch performance. He also had a key play holding the ball on the 48-yard field goal. He got a snap that was high, he got it down, spun the ball properly to get the strings away and then Scott Webb stops and one legs it for a 48-yarder. We continue to play well on our coverage units on special teams and Scott Webb is kicking the ball probably as well as anybody in the country right now.”

Players of the Week:

Defensive: James Holt and Justin Thornton
Offensive: Todd Reesing

Special Teams: Kyle Tucker

Scout Offensive: Steven Foster

Scout Defensive: Maurice Henry

Sophomore Safety Darrell Stuckey:

On holding opponents and letting the offense play with a lead:

“I think that as a defense, it’s our job to put the offense in the most comfortable position. We have our hands on what we can control, so we go out there every day and we strive for a shutout to give the team the comfort of not ever being behind. It makes it that much more comfortable when we’re playing ahead as a defense. It was a little nerve-wracking only being up 3-0 (at Colorado) most of the game, but it was comforting too, because our defense never stressed or panicked. This year it feels a lot easier.”

On going into Kyle Field:

“I think coming into this game a lot of people are worried about our linebackers. Our linebackers are very hard hitters. (Texas A&M) is a great team and we haven’t gotten to too much on film yet, but I know they have a great powerhouse offense so we’re going into the game knowing we need to fill our gaps. I’ve never been to Kyle Field, and I’ve never experienced it before. I know as a defense, we like traveling to away games. The crowd is never yelling when the (other team’s) offense is out there. When we’re at home, the crowd is yelling because the other offense is out there, so we can’t hear at our own home games, but we like playing away because it makes it easier to go through our reads and make our calls. We’ll need to capitalize on our time out there to make our offense a little more comfortable.”

Sophomore Running Back Jake Sharp:

On the team’s success thus far in the season:

“I think it is attitude more than anything. This team wants to win, this team knows how to win and last year, I don’t believe that was the case. Coach just tells us, `a win is a win.’ A win is a win if we beat Michigan. Who we are playing and where they are ranked that week has no effect on us and I think that’s the way you have to approach it. It really depends who wants to win the ballgame every Saturday. Everybody is so evenly matched; the team that comes together and decides they’re going to do it that day will be victorious. My teammates and I feel that we are good enough talent-wise and we’re capable of beating anybody, but if we don’t all come together on game day and put forth a great performance, we’re not going to beat anybody.”

On the team’s confidence:

“We have a certain level of confidence. I mean, we know we’re good and we know we’re very capable of being good, but there’s definitely no complacency there. We’re nowhere near where we’re going to be or where we want to be. We’re still building, we’re still improving week-in and week-out.”

Senior Tight End Derek Fine:

On Mangino’s take on the rankings and hype each week:

“It’s the same most weeks. It wasn’t like this before and at the beginning. We had to work to get where we are. You can never get too over-confident and you must stay level-headed. We have to keep doing the same things we do every week to be successful and take advantage of everything. There’s nothing that really changes from week-to-week. Regardless of preparation, you have to do the same thing each week and never take anything for granted. As long as you go out and take care of business and do the right things from week-to-week, everything will work its way out in terms of execution. Other than the rankings, I don’t think we pay attention to the hype. That can all change. We can be where we are now and two weeks from now be out of the rankings if we don’t take care of business and then it’s a whole different story.”

On managing confidence while staying grounded:

“I think it’s really just staying focused and staying focused on the goal. We have a lot of stuff that’s behind us now that we’ve accomplished and we have a lot of stuff in front of us, like making it to the Big 12 Championship, that we have had as goals before the season even started. Now that we’re on the road, we have to keep in the back of our heads what we did before and we need to stay focused and keep improving each week and never get complacent. We’re a different team now. This is 2007 and we’ve worked really hard to get where we’re at and have the confidence we have going into each week with preparation that we put in. I think that says everything in itself.”

On traveling to A&M:

“We expect a bunch of loud screaming fans, but I’m excited to go down there. It’s my first time to go and they have a lot of tradition and a lot of fans that go out for their midnight yell. It will be exciting. It’s another reason you come to play in the Big 12. You get to play at A&M and Nebraska and other places like that. It’s one of those things you will have as an experience forever.”

Junior Defensive End Russell Brorsen:

On facing the option and mentally preparing:

“Well this week, a lot of it is on the defensive end, because if you run up field, then there’s a read, there it’s a huge gap, so you have to kind of play a little slower, make the right read and play your position.”

On Texas A&M’s quick quarterback:

“That’s going to be a whole other dimension to their offense that we haven’t really seen this year because he will take off and he is very fast, so you have to keep an eye on him. You have to keep your angles right because he’s not a normal quarterback; you’re going to have to take a wider angle to get to the ball.”

Sophomore Quarterback Todd Reesing

On how the Jayhawks handled Colorado’s defensive scheme:

“Well you know Colorado came out with a different scheme on defense than maybe we expected. Their main focus was to stop the pass game and they were dropping seven or eight guys into coverage a lot of times, and so it was tougher to get the downfield throws open because of how many guys they had in coverage. We had some success running the ball, and obviously when you drop that many guys I have time in the pocket to create things and had some running space too. So maybe we didn’t have the plays we were anticipating, but that’s why you have to adapt during the game and we were still able to move the ball and find a way to score.”

On reacting to pressure from a defense:

“It’s really just kind of a feel for things. You really can’t teach it and you really can’t practice it. You just have to keep your eyes downfield and feel when guys are around you. It sounds weird, but once you play quarterback for long enough you kind of know when someone’s getting pressure and how much time you have. You have to know when to get out of there or when to hold on for one more second and make a throw.”

On if there was a specific time he realized how to react to defensive pressure:

“No, I think it’s just something you have or you don’t when you’re playing football. And I guess as long as I can remember that’s kind of how I’ve been, that’s how I’ve played and had a pretty good feel for when the pocket is breaking down and when to get out of there.”

On preparing for game at Texas A&M with the possibility of an eighth straight win:

“Nothing is going to change this week. We are going to prepare this week just like we have the first seven games. Obviously, we have another tough Big 12 road game so we have to get prepared for that. We’ve done it twice, we’ve won twice on the road, so we know what to expect. We know how we have to get ready and it’s a matter of just going out there and doing it.”

On if he can feel the excitement level rising around campus and town:

“Yeah I think the excitement level is definitely rising around town. I think people are really starting to understand how special this team is and the chance we have to be really good and have a really good record and do some wonderful things. So we think the excitement is there, and I know everyone on the team and the all coaches are really excited about the opportunity we have too. We’re just ready to get out there and get working for win number eight.”

Senior Kicker Scott Webb

On being named the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week:

“I’ll think about that more after the season and especially after this season because I’ll actually be done. I’ll be graduating in December so I think I’ll look at a lot of that stuff after that and kind of see where I end up.”

On needing 52 points from taking the lead as KU’s all-time scoring leader:

“I wouldn’t say it’s a goal, it’s more if it happens it would be a cool thing to be able to tell my kids and my grandkids some day, but I’m not thinking about that right now. Like I said before the season, if I score one point I’d be happy as long as we’re winning. I’d be happy not to score anymore points this season if we keep winning how we are right now.”

On Kyle Tucker’s hold on an errant snap vs. Colorado:

“It was actually one of the more athletic plays you saw all day. I mean he had to come up and grab it. I was quite impressed with it. We actually came in on Sunday and looked at it a little bit on film. It was a lot better than I thought because I don’t really focus on that. I didn’t really see too much of it when it happened, but watching it on film, I thought it was pretty impressive.”