Quotes from Mark Mangino's Weekly Press Conference

Oct. 26, 2004

Mark Mangino Press Conference Quotes, 10-26

Opening statement: “Recapping Saturday’s game with Oklahoma, I thought that our defensive unit did a nice job against the run for most of the game. It was our intention to not let their running game go up and down the field. There is nothing more demoralizing than to have a team try to grind it out against you, so we were bent on not letting that happen. We figured that if we were to get beat on the defensive side, it would take a really good day by Jason White, who is a former Heisman Trophy winner. He beat some good guys in our secondary and made some great throws, so credit should be given to him. His protection was good most of the day as we were only able to get two sacks against them. In the fourth quarter, we didn’t do such a good job of stopping the run. We need to put some drives together on offense and get some time of possession so we don’t leave our defense hanging around out there. But credit goes to OU and their offense — they were persistent.”

“On the offensive side of the ball, we are not making enough plays. We are capable of more. We just have to be determined to get it done, and we will. We have made progress in a lot of areas, but the problem in the OU game was all of our guys took their turns breaking down and we can’t have that. We have got to be hitting on all cylinders.”

“Special teams was very good in the game. Kyle Tucker had a 45-yard punting average. We blocked two kicks against a team that normally doesn’t have that happen. We did some really good things, but a couple of penalties on the punt return hurt us. When that happens, we lose field position and we can’t do that. Overall, we can’t continue to have these penalties — I have to get that corrected. It is my responsibility. I’ll get after it and get it corrected. We have to play smart football but we have to be aggressive as well.”

“We are going to play an Iowa State team that is coming off a good win on the road against Baylor. Iowa State has been playing good defense for most of the season and they have some talented kids. I really like the linebackers that they have — Tim Dobbins and Brandon Brown are very active guys. I think Brown was honored by the Big 12 this past week for his defensive play. On offense, they have started putting things together. The quarterback Bret Meyer is an athletic kid, who can throw the ball and run the ball. Their wide receiver (Todd) Blythe has caught all but one of their touchdown passes. Iowa State is a hard-nosed team and they play hard. They are like us in a lot of ways, we play hard, they play hard, and this is an opportunity for us to go up and get a road victory in the Big 12. We have got to take care of our business and if we do what we are capable of, that will happen.”

On KU punter Kyle Tucker: “I think the word mature is the word to describe him. You have to understand that he is an athlete. He not only played football in high school, but he also played basketball too and was pretty good at it. He has a certain amount of confidence in himself, because he is not just a guy that punts, he is an athlete. He is confident in his ability.”

On throwing the ball downfield: “I think there a lot a factors in that. We have called several plays that were headed down field, but for one reason or another we had to check them or get into a different protection. Our quarterbacks are capable of doing it, but I think there have been some other issues. We have not done a good job of exploiting different coverage with our receivers and that is something that we are always looking into. It is our intention to be more of a vertical team, but we must do what fits right now and that is what we are doing.”

On using two quarterbacks: “I would say that when you are using two quarterbacks, it is because things are not running as smoothly as you would want. I don’t think that anybody sits down at the beginning of the year and says we have two great quarterbacks and we are going to use two. You don’t want to do that, but you do have to find — whether it is two quarterbacks or one quarterback — a way to get the productivity that you want out of that position.”

“Just because we have used Jason (Swanson) for a couple weeks, I would not label it a two-quarterback system. Our system is made for one quarterback, one leader and one guy. We have to do things to help ourselves and we will do whatever we have to do to be productive at that position. The idea was to get Jason a little more work against a quality opponent and see if he could spark something, but that didn’t happen and we put Adam (Barmann) back in there and he made some good throws.”

On cornerback Theo Baines: “We are pretty sure he will be available. He is a good player, but he is learning too. We need a guy like him because he can cover well and he has good hips and good feet that you need at the corner position.”

On the Iowa State program and head coach Dan McCarney: “I think that Dan McCarney has done a phenomenal job there. He works hard at it and leads those kids. If you look at Iowa State and KU, those to schools don’t have some of the resources that some of the other Big 12 teams do. I really respect the job that Dan McCarney has done there. It’s not easy and he’s been there 10 years and has taken them to some bowl games, which is a marvelous job.”

On playing on the road: “It is tough, there is no question about it. We played well at Northwestern, but we didn’t get the win and that is all that really matters. We played really well in Lincoln, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but didn’t come out with the win. Oklahoma might be the best team in the country. I can’t tell you how much I admire how our kids compete and fight. With our kids, home or on the road, you are going to get the same effort out of them. They play with the same enthusiasm at all times.”

Sophomore Safety #32 Rodney Harris

On winning on the road: “We need to finish out the game. If you look at all the games we have played this year, we have played well in the first half. This week we are emphasizing on playing strong in all four quarters and finishing.”

On second half struggles: “Fatigue is always going to happen. No one is Superman out there. We just seem to have breakdowns at the wrong time and there are a lot of mental factors to it. We start off strong, we just haven’t finished strong.”

On Big 12 standings: “We pay attention to it. We want to win the north. We feel that if we win a few more games we have a good chance to do that.”

Junior Defensive End #99 Charlton Keith

On finishing road games: “I look at a road game as the same game, the environment doesn’t matter. There is really no excuse, we just have to get it done.”

On his progression at KU: “At first, I played a lot of catch up, in the weightroom and learning plays. This has been really great and his been a wonderful experience. I don’t second guess myself at all. If I had it to do all over again, I would do the same.”

Sophomore Offensive Lineman #77 Bob Whitaker

On the final four games: “We have to look at every game separately and take them one by one. Before we can look at the big picture, we have to look at Iowa State.”

On the Big 12 North: “It is anyone’s race right now. It is up for grabs. Most importantly though we have to focus on ourselves. We can not worry about what everyone else is doing.”

Junior Offensive Lineman

#55 Matt Thompson On the team’s attitude: “The team attitude is good. We want to continue to improve and get victories on the road. We have come very close this season. This is the game for us. All of our focus and energy is going into Iowa State and there is no reason for us to have any hesitation this weekend.”

On winning on the road: “I think it comes down to maturity. The rest of the season is on the line for us. There is urgency and an overwhelming sense of intensity. We really want to get this win. There are four games left in the season. If we don’t win these games we won’t have a chance at post-season play.”