Mark Mangino Press Conference Quotes, 11-16

Nov. 16, 2004


Opening statement:

“I’ll recap last weekend’s game with Texas. As I have said earlier, I have never been more proud of a football team. To overcome the loss of some key players and to play they way they did, is just a tribute to some of the young guys in our program. I may never experience again in my lifetime that type of an effort from a bunch of kids who were not expected to do very much in a game. Charlton Keith played very well on defense. He is really beginning to understand the system. He is getting bigger and stronger, and as I said when we recruited him, his motor is always running. David McMillan played strong, as well as Nick Reid and a bunch of the other kids. It was truly a team effort. On the offensive side of the ball, Mark Simmons had a big day. Brian Luke, with all the adversity he has faced in his career, came off the bench and played a very fine game. I’m very happy for him. I felt that the offensive line did a very good job of pass protection — okay in the run — probably not as good as we would like, but the pass protection was really a great effort by them.”

“Now we turn our focus to the game with our rival, the University of Missouri. This is one that we are looking forward to. I’m really impressed with Missouri’s defense. They are very good statistically, but what jumps out at me is their front four, which is very athletic, physical and they make a lot of plays. Offensively, they have a very special player at quarterback. Brad Smith is very talented and is a person that I admire watching from afar. He has great leadership qualities. He controls the ball well and when he catches fire he is very dangerous. His athleticism is something to marvel at. They have a bunch of great running backs. We are looking forward to the challenge and our kids are excited about it.”

On the KU quarterback situation

“Our starter is going to be Brian Luke. The backup, well, we are working on that.”

On sophomore running back John Randle

“Unfortunately, I have to report today that John will not play. He incurred an injury in the Texas game that is unusual in terms of football injuries.”

On motivating his team to play Missouri

“Our kids understand the rivalry and the history of it. It is the oldest rivalry west of the Mississippi River and is one of the best in the country. Our kids look forward to playing Missouri. There is an extra bounce in everybody’s step around here. The game is a lot of fun. Our kids look forward to it.”

On using last week’s loss to Texas as motivation

“I don’t think we can play that card. I think this game, and what it means to the universities that are involved, and all the bragging rights and everything, is enough. The kids are ready to play. They came out and practiced well yesterday. I don’t think there are any other factors needed for motivation.”

On KU’s game plan for stopping Missouri quarterback Brad Smith and the Tiger offense

“I realize what he has done over the years with his athleticism and we are very much in tune to that. We know they can run the ball very well with their tailbacks, so we have to be prepared for that. We know that Brad is very good on his feet and can throw the ball as well. But I think coaches are always aware of his athleticism — which is always a factor when you play against Missouri.”

On Missouri having a week off to prepare for the game

“Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. I think a lot of it has to do with the mindset and the health of your football team. We could get 50 coaches up here and 25 would say that its a good idea to have a break now and 25 would said it is not. It has to do with your health, your make-up, and how things are going for you. Is it a good time to take a rest or is it time to play again? I think that every team and every season you have to deal with that issue as it comes. I don’t see any advantage or disadvantage for them with the week off.”

On the reaction to his post game game comments following the loss to Texas

“I regret those remarks and I have made that very clear. I would just rather talk about the responses that we have received to the effort of our team. I don’t have an e-mail address, but people are finding me. It has to go through two or three people before it gets to me. The support from our fans, boosters and some of the student body. Kids with the busy life of being a student have sent e-mails and called. The support for the effort of our players and the pride that they have in our players and coaches has been overwhelming.”

Selected Player Quotes

Junior linebacker Kevin Kane

On the final game of the season “It’s an opportunity for us to go out and win. It is always better to go into the off-season with a win under your belt. It gives you an opportunity to get off to a good start in the off-season, winter conditioning and into next year.”

On the teams resiliency

“The team morale is great, we always pick each other up. This is a real strong team, a strong group and we are not going to let each other tank.”

Thoughts on the Texas game

“I think after last week we are going to have a chip on our shoulder. I think we are one of the best 3-7 teams in the nation. We are going to go out there and prove it. It is going to be a good time on Saturday.”

Senior defensive end David McMillan

On the rivalry

“Since I have been here for five years, I understand the whole Kansas/Missouri rivalry. I want to do it for everyone from Kansas. I just want to go out there and have my best game and come back with a win.”

On MU quarterback Brad Smith

“We are going to play him like we have played every quarterback this season. We are going to focus on getting a good pass rush and make some tackles. We didn’t tackle like we wanted to last week, so we are going to come back and wrap him up.”

Junior defensive end Charlton Keith

On the rivalry

The freshmen don’t really know the tradition that we have. Coming from another school, I know when a rival game comes up how big it is for the team and the program.”

On his progression since coming to KU

“Working with the strength coaches, they have helped me to get a lot stronger. I have gained a lot of weight since I’ve been here. Coach Mangino has been patient with me, teaching me different techniques and a lot of other things. The upperclassmen have really helped me out. I feel like I am right at home.”