Weekly Football Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 1, 2005

Head Coach Mark Mangino
Opening statement:
“Good afternoon. I’ll start by naming this week’s players of the week. On offense, Clark Green. On defense, Theo Baines. On special teams, Charles Gordon. Our offensive scout team player of the week was Micah Brown and our scout team defensive player of the week was Matt Zeleznak.”

“I’ll review last week’s game first. When you look at the game on tape, you find that the game against Missouri was a total team victory. Our defense played outstanding. Our defensive coaches had our kids very well-prepared. The kids executed the game plan perfectly, or near-perfectly. However, a lot of the success attributed to the defense must also be handed over to the offense. The offense was able to move the chains and run the ball very effectively. We dominated the game in time of possession. That can be a tricky statistic, but in this case that stat is appropriate and tells the story of the game. I really feel good about how the kids on offense handled themselves, especially in the fourth quarter. The game was managed very well by our quarterback. He used the play clock very effectively. I think we played really well on special teams with the exception of having an extra point blocked. We can’t have that. We’ll get that fixed.”

“Nebraska is a fine football team. Offensively, they’re getting better every week. Their quarterback is improving each week. Their tailback is a little underrated. He can really hurt you if you don’t work hard to contain him. They have a very big, physical defensive line. It’s probably the strongest part of their defense. Their linebackers are very active. This is a good matchup for us. We’re certainly looking forward to playing Nebraska here at home. Our kids are very focused on the task at hand.”

On Jason Swanson:
“He’s earned the right to be out there (as the starter). There are a few things here and there that he would like to be sharper with–things that will get better with more repetitions. The positive things he brings to the offense certainly override any rust he might have. If we give him the opportunity, he can deliver the ball and he will do so with a tight spiral. I think what he has going for him right now is that his attitude is such that any bad plays he might make, he’ll shake off right away. They don’t linger with him. He shows a lot of character on the field and in the huddle. He is a very talented guy. Unfortunately, his career here has been hampered by injuries.”

On the game against Nebraska:
“I think if we play good, sound football on offense, defense and the kicking game then we’ll be fine.”

If the team’s attitude changed after the win vs. Missouri:
“To be honest, it hasn’t changed at all. We have a very business-like group of kids. They’re very focused and understand the importance of each game that we play. They realize the significance of the Nebraska game.”

On history of the series against Nebraska:
“Our kids are only concerned with the games they played against Nebraska while they’ve been here. There are lots of other reasons as to why we’d like to win this game, other than snapping the losing streak against them.”

On Brian Luke:
“We had a light workout on Sunday and he said he felt better. Today we’ll get a better idea as to how far he has come along. He wasn’t available to play last week.”

How game clock management is coached:
“Those things are taught in meetings. We want to utilize as much of the clock as we possibly can when we have a lead that would require more than one score to tie us or go ahead.”

If he’s more involved in offensive meetings:
“I am. I enjoy it a lot. That’s what I like to do. That’s not a sign of a lack of confidence in our offensive staff. I think we have an outstanding staff. I just felt like it was necessary to get a little more involved and do some things that I like to do.”

On the secondary:
“The emergence of Aqib Talib as a corner and the health of Theo Baines have really helped us a lot in the secondary. The maturity of Rodney Fowler has helped as well. Jerome Kemp is doing a great job.”

On the offensive line:
“The experience of having played Oklahoma, Colorado and Missouri has really helped them mature and get better. I’m confident those kids will hold up and play well.”

On the right tackle position:
“We’re trying to bring Anthony Collins along. He has a lot of talent but is just a redshirt freshman. He is going to be a major player for us in the future. Matt Thompson’s maturity and experience help him understand things a lot faster. Matt did a solid job for us.”

On Charles Gordon:
“Charles is always ready to go on defense. He has certainly added a punch to the offense, and the defense seems to be functioning pretty well without him. That says a lot about our defense and our secondary, but Charles is always ready to go if needed.”

On Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor:
“Taylor is getting better and better every week. He’s getting more confident with his throws. His pocket presence is very good. He’s a talented young man.”

On Charlton Keith:
“I don’t want to say he has exceeded expectations. He has done everything that we have asked him to do. He’s a tenacious and fearless player. He loves to play the game. Charlton is certainly someone that is on the scouts’ radar screen.”

On the fans:
“I don’t know what the fans might be thinking, but I can probably make a pretty good assumption that they’re going to be fired up for the game. They would love nothing more for us to beat Nebraska right here in Memorial Stadium.”

On bowl game buzz:
“My contact with the `outside’ world is very limited. I don’t know what the talk is. I know what we’re going to be talking about for the next couple of days, and that is our game against Nebraska. I told our players that this week is nothing but Nebraska. I know some of the kids were talking a bit after the game, but when they arrived here on Sunday for practice we talked about Nebraska and Nebraska only. That’s all we will discuss all week long.”

Selected Player Quotes
Senior linebacker, Nick Reid
On facing Nebraska:

“They have a great team, and we have turned it around so it should be a great game. They’ve defeated us the last 36 times, and now is as good a time as any to end the streak.”

On defeating Missouri:
“It was a big win for us last week. We played very well defensively, and hopefully we can do that again this week.

On the Nebraska running game:
“Cory Ross has been running the ball well for the last few years and is definitely a threat. Their quarterback is also a threat. They have switched to the west coast offense so they don’t have to run it as much. They do a lot of things like Missouri. There is a lot of formation switching, pre-snap motion and they try to do a lot of things to keep you off-balance. We have to be ready for that.”

On Kansas’ defense:
“When we get somebody down, it is our job to finish them off. That was something we didn’t do last year so we have focused on it all year. We take pride in not letting people get back into the game once they are down.”

Senior linebacker, Kevin Kane
On Nebraska’s long winning streak over Kansas:
“There’s definitely a knowledge of the dominance Nebraska has had over us the past 36 years. It is in the back of our heads. We know about it, and we are going to try and ignore it.”

On bowl eligibility:
“There’s definitely talk about it, but we have to take things week-by-week. We can’t look past any opponent. You have to prepare for each one. We know what is in store for us and we know what we’re capable of doing. It would mean a lot to get back to a bowl game. It would mean that we are getting better each year, and it would be a great exclamation point on all the seniors’ careers here.”

On the Nebraska Offense:
“Nebraska definitely has a different offense than Missouri. They throw the ball a lot more and their quarterback has a great arm. Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about Brad Smith running around this week. It’s definitely more pass-oriented, but we always want to stop the run first.”

Freshman cornerback, Aqib Talib
On his play:

“I’ve worked a lot on my footwork, especially staying in my back-pedal longer and not opening up so soon. It’s a real positive to have senior cornerbacks on the team like Theo (Baines) and Charles (Gordon). They are always willing to help out any way they can.”

Junior center, David Ochoa
On the Nebraska defensive line:

“You can never really tell on film how truly physical a team is. On film though, it looks like they are a very physical team up front. They have very good defensive ends and good linebackers. They have veteran defensive tackles that have been there. It’s going to be a good test for us and we’re looking forward to it.”

On the running game versus Missouri:
“I don’t know if that was the game plan going in, but it is one of those things where if it’s working, then why stop? We were able to keep moving the chains and give our defense a rest. It’s more important to get points on the board, so it’s not necessarily the running game or the passing game that we focus on. It’s just focusing on our opponent and figuring out ways to get points onto the board.”

On the offense since Jason Swanson’s insertion at quarterback:
“I think it’s his approach to things. He has that California swagger to him, meaning that nothing is going to phase or bother him. That kind of confidence permeates through the entire offense. He’s a calming force.”