Kansas Football Press Conference Quotes (Nov. 20)

Nov. 20, 2007

Head Coach Mark Mangino<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

On the win over <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>IowaState:

“Offensively we moved the ball very well. Todd (Reesing) had a big game and Dexton (Fields) had an outstanding game as did Kerry Meier, who each and every week, is getting more and more comfortable with his position out on the perimeter. On defense, we played well. We only got one turnover. We would like to have more, but the defense played well. We played the run very well, played well against the pass, running to the football, making plays and getting a lot of hats on the ball carrier. We were very pleased.”

On the upcoming matchup with Missouri:

“We are looking forward to the game. Missouri is a very fine football team. They have a lot of playmakers on both sides of the ball. Offensively, I am very impressed with Chase Daniel. He’s in command of things, he’s poised. He throws the ball very accurately, he throws it well. He reads coverages well. He’s a very, very talented player. He has a lot of people around him, a good supporting cast. Jeremy Maclin is a fabulous player. He’s one of the best athletes in the league and one of the fastest guys in the league. Tony Temple is a veteran guy that has made a lot of plays; he’s dependable. On the defensive side of the ball they have really big physical guys on the line. Their linebackers are good players; they’re physical players. They play downhill. Their secondary is good. It has some really talented players. Their corners, (Carl) Gettis and (Darnell) Terrell are outstanding players. (Sean) Weatherspoon runs very well. So, it is a very good football team that we are going to play, but we are looking forward to the challenge. We will be ready to play, no question about it, this Saturday at Arrowhead.”

On similarities between quaterbacks Todd Reesing and Chase Daniel:

“There are a lot of similarities. There are a lot intangibles that are really similar between the guys. They are a lot alike in many ways.”

On whether it is fitting to have such a significant game played at a noteworthy site:

“This was decided upon a long time ago. I think wherever the game is played, whether it is (in Lawrence), in Columbia, or in Kansas City, it’s going to be a great football game. I don’t think I need to read into that other than we are playing at a neutral site.”

On the Missouri offense:

“They execute very well. They have a number of veteran players on their offense. They are all on the same page. They have run the same system for quite awhile. The kids believe in it, they understand it and they execute it very well.”

On what it means for Kansas to be in such a nationally significant game:

“I’m extremely happy for our players. They deserve it. They have worked hard. They have invested in this program and they deserve the opportunity to play at center stage. Not only am I happy for our players, I’m happy for our former players here. In the last couple weeks I’ve received scores of letters, e-mails and phone calls from former players. One particular gentleman said he feels good about telling his son about his days of playing football at KU. He’s proud now of the football program. Many have called to thank me and they really don’t need to thank me. They need to thank the players that have continued to work hard, continued to believe in the program, and the fine staff of assistant coaches that helped make this possible.”

­On having to prepare more for Jeremy Maclin:

“No. We are watching a lot of tape of the entire operation, but we are doing our normal assessment of our opponent. We are pretty confident in our special teams. They have played well most of the year and we suspect that our special teams will perform very well this Saturday.”

On seeing RB Brandon McAnderson play in high school:

“The thing that caught my eye about Brandon was his ability to make people miss. To me, he had incredible vision and he has the quick feet to match it. He’s not a sprinter, we all know that, but he understands leverage, blocking angles, he can see the defenders and he can react very quickly because he has quick lateral motion and plays with his pads down, which allows him to get extra yardage after first contact. I thought he was one of those guys that had talent and was overlooked. I knew he wanted to be here. It was important that Brandon McAnderson play football for KU. This was important to him. He wasn’t just going out to play football. He wanted to play for Kansas and that carried a lot of clout with me.”

On getting players to come to Kansas:

“We played to our strengths and the University of Kansas. Obviously there were some struggles in football tradition and we understood that. The very first thing that we tried to sell to them was that you need to see Lawrence and KU before you make a decision. KU has a good academic reputation and although our facilities didn’t match our Big 12 competitors, what we tried to sell was that bricks and mortar don’t make you a player. The people working in this building help you develop as a player, as a student and as a citizen.”

On the Kansas-Missouri rivalry:

“We understand the history that has created this rivalry. I have to be honest with you; our kids understand it and it’s part of the fun of the rivalry, but this here is about young men playing football in a competitive environment. I think all the rivalry stuff is great among the fan base and it makes this huge for the public, but the fact of the matter is that this is a football game that we want to win and if you rely on emotion, it lasts for about two plays after the kickoff. We are taking a technical approach to the game. That’s what we’re focused on and that’s what the kids know is important as well. All the other stuff on the outside, we think its terrific, but we’re not caught up in that stuff.”

On what he tells his players about dealing with the national attention:

“I talk to our players every day. I believe communication is essential for any successful organization. I talk to them about a lot of things everyday. It ranges from academics, work on the field, their meetings and how they handle themselves in the public. Under that umbrella, I have told them a couple of things. Number one, it’s still about playing football and don’t be distracted by (the media). Number two, you should have the same friends today that you had a year ago today and if you do, you’re going to be just fine.”

On what this success means to the players:

“This is what the players that came to Kansas, the ones who came on faith, had hoped for. We told them if you just work hard, do the right things, let’s all be on the same page and let’s pull together, then maybe something great can happen for the program. Maybe. You just don’t know, but we felt like if we just stayed on track, we would be able to have some success here at Kansas. I know it has been a tough road if you have been a KU football fan for many years, with just the exception of a few years here and there and some real great players that have come out of this program. Those kids who came on faith and believed in what we were doing, their opportunity is here. They are 11-0, they have a chance to play in a big game and win the Big 12 North. It’s great for the kids. It’s an exciting time here and we want them to enjoy the experience.”

On defensive coordinator Bill Young:

“Bill Young is a good football coach. He is prepared for every single game and he is an outstanding coach. He studies film very intensely. So does the rest of our staff, they just really work hard. Bill is an outstanding coach. He is very, very smart.”

On whether a loss against Missouri would make this a disappointing season:

“Well, you’re talking in the negatives and we don’t do that. We think positive here.”

Players of the Week:

Defensive: Chris Harris
Co-Offensive: Dexton Fields and Kerry Meier

Special Teams: Justin Springer

Scout Offensive: Patrick Schilling

Scout Defensive: Richard Johnson

Junior Cornerback Aqib Talib

On the components Kansas needs to play the game against Missouri:

“Once Saturday comes and we get on the field and suit up, it’s just another Saturday game; it’s just a little bigger than a usual game. The emotion helps all of us play. This is what you come into college football to do. This is the kind of game you want to play on any level. I’m sure both teams are soaking up that emotion.”

On how experience will play a role in Saturday’s game:

“We don’t have a lot of experience in playing in a game like this, so we don’t know how we’re going to perform. All we can do is prepare the same way we prepare for every other game and see what happens. Our confidence is the same as it’s been for 11 weeks straight. We’re going into the game confident that we can get the job done, so we’re just going to prepare through the week so we can perform on Saturday.”

On Missouri’s offense being ranked number four:

“It doesn’t intimidate us. Of course we respect their offense. We’re going to have to know our assignments and we’re going to have to be 100 percent on everything if we plan on doing anything with them, so all we can do is prepare for them. They have one of the best offenses I’ve seen since I’ve been playing football. They’re nice from the tight ends to the wide-outs to the line to the quarterback and running back. They’ve got everything they need and then they have the offensive coordinator running the show. It’s going to be a tough task.”

On Jeremy Maclin:

“That dude is the real deal. I enjoy just watching him on SportsCenter. He probably won’t use up all of his eligibility in college. He’ll be out real early.”

Sophomore Running Back Jake Sharp

On who he expects to step up for the KU defense:

“I’m looking at John Larson. He’s a Kansas City, Mo., kid on our defensive line. He’s one of the most passionate football players I’ve ever met and I know he’s going to go out there and give every ounce of energy that his body has to win this football game for the University of Kansas.”

On being a Kansas native and knowing the rivalry between Kansas and Missouri:

“It’s a big game. As a player, I’m definitely not going to make it more than our next game on the schedule. It is just another game, just like the 11 we’ve played thus far. The people around our team are making it a really big deal, because it is. But as a player, I’m certainly not letting the magnitude of it weigh into how we are going to prepare. We’re going to prepare just as hard for this game as we have for all of our previous games. It is just football and it’s just a football game and I think that’s how both teams feel about it. Let the best man win is what I say.”

On feeling that No. 2 and No. 3 in the nation is what college football is all about:

“Well, maybe if it was No. 1 and No. 2 in the nation, that’s maybe what it’s about. It’s definitely as big a game I think you can have at this point in the season. Both teams are blessed with great talent and great staff. We’re just happy about the situation. It is a rivalry game, so the intensity of the game will be high. That’s just the way rivalry games are. As far as our approach, we’re approaching it with everything that we have, just like we do every week.”

Sophomore Safety Darrell Stuckey

On Chase Daniel and the Missouri offense:

“I’m sure he’s probably one of the best quarterbacks. I mean, he’s up for a Heisman, you can’t deny that. He probably will be one of the better quarterbacks we play this year. Their players are aggressive. They’re hungry, they play together and they’re willing to do what it takes to be a great team. They have a lot of different players that are willing to step up to the plate when the ball comes their way.”

On “Mizzou week” finally being here:

“It feels like it’s time to separate the boys from the men. It will be nice to have it on the national stage. I’m happy about it because I have a lot of family across the nation that will be watching the game.”

Senior Defensive Tackle James McClinton

On what he’s seen from Missouri on film:

“I have studied some film on their offense. Chase Daniel has a quick release. It looks good. He’s good; we’ll put it like that. We’ve got work to do. We’ve got to get up there and get a pass rush and try to rattle him early. We feel like we have been tested up to now, going back to Texas A&M and going back to the Oklahoma State quarterback, he was pretty good. I think we’ve been tested, but I look at his precision and accuracy and it’s consistent.”

On this being the biggest game he’s played:

“I guess you could say that. I hear tickets are going for as much as $400. That’s Super Bowl money. But we just have to keep our focus and keep working to get better. It seems like the bar has raised. There’s going to be something in the paper everyday about this game. I saw the comparisons between Chase Daniel and Todd Reesing and I saw on the side that they had most coaches from the Big 12 saying something about this game. I didn’t read too much into detail. It’s a big game. There’s a lot at stake, but we’re just going to stay focused.”

Senior Running Back Brandon McAnderson

On playing for KU and coach Mangino:

“I have always liked KU and I thought Coach Mangino was the coach that could change things around (in the football program). I’m glad to be a part of it. His success as an assistant and his attitude, and the way he handled coming to a program that wasn’t much, I knew that at some point, things would turn around.”

On a possible long-term feeling about Missouri since he’s from Lawrence:

“I knew about the rivalry and I knew about the history, but I didn’t know the extent of the intensity of the rivalry until I got here. I have had the same experience learning about it as the other players.”

On football being an object of discussion on campus with the recent success:

“It’s definitely different to even hear about KU on the TV and it’s not about basketball, but there’s always time for a change and that time is right now. It means a lot to me to be a part of this. When I came here, that’s what I wanted to be a part of; the turnaround of the program, and I think I’ve been a part of that and it’s been fun.”

Sophomore Quarterback Todd Reesing

On his ankle:

“The ankle is great. It feels awesome.”

On the preparation for Missouri:

“Obviously it’s a little bit bigger, there is a lot more of a line, it’s a rivalry game. There is a lot going on this week, but we are going to treat it like any other week. We practice hard every week no matter who we are playing. Just because the opponent might be a little bigger, it doesn’t change the way we are going to prepare.”

On the pressure:

“Just because we are playing at a different stadium or we are playing someone different, the field is still the same length and the same width. Nothing changes for me. I’m going to get ready the same way I do every week. I don’t practice harder for someone or practice easier for someone. I’m going to treat this week the same as we have all season because that’s what has worked for us. We are going to practice hard. We know what’s on the line. We know what’s at stake and who we are playing.”

On not playing the game at Memorial Stadium:

“I’m not worried about that. I don’t know how it all worked out, but I think we are going to have plenty of fans there and they’re going to be loud. I’m not concerned with that.”

On being in an NFL stadium:

“Not on the field, but I’ve been in a stadium before. It’s just a field, so it’s all the same to me.”

On playing opposite Chase Daniel:

“I have no control on how their offense plays. They have a great offense. They’ve put up a lot of big numbers and Chase is a great quarterback, but I can’t control that, so I’m not going to worry about it.”

On playing with few mistakes:

“That’s one of our goals week in and week out. Turnover margin is our biggest goal. That is what we strive for every game. We’ve done a great job this season of not turning the ball over and making very few mistakes and that is a large part of our success. So that is something we are going to try to do this week.”

On running the ball against Missouri:

“From the film I’ve watched, (KansasState) had success running the ball. That doesn’t affect us because we are a different team, we do things differently. Whatever the coaches feel like is the best way for us to move the ball and have success, whether it is passing or running, that is what we are going to do. We don’t know how they are going to play us or what they will do come Saturday. We are going to practice and get ready for every possible thing they may throw at us and we’ll see what happens on Saturday.”

On changing the culture of smaller quarterbacks:

“I don’t know if we (myself and Daniel) are changing, but maybe we are letting people know that you can do it if you are a smaller guy. He’s had great success over there and is having an unbelievable season. He is a great quarterback. Maybe some people will give us shorter guys a chance from now on.”

On thinking about not throwing an interception:

“I don’t get caught up in that. It’s not something you can think about; you just have to make smart decisions when you have the ball and make the throws that you know you can make and don’t try to force the ones you know you can’t make. I try to pride myself on not throwing a lot of picks and making smart decisions with the ball. We’ve done a pretty good job over the last few weeks and I’m going to try to keep that going this week.”

On this game feeling like a bowl game:

“Well I’ve never been to a bowl game or prepared for one, so I wouldn’t know what that’s like. But nothing has changed. We are treating it like our 12th game, our last conference game and the next game on the schedule. That is how we are treating it and how we are approaching it and how we’ve done it all season and it’s not going to change.”

On blocking out the hype:

“I don’t think hype or all the extra talk does anything but get us more focused and excited. I’m not going to get distracted by what’s going on. If anything, it’s a great experience and something I’m going to remember, to play a game of this magnitude.”

On playing at Arrowhead Stadium:

“We played at Kyle Field and that has 80,000 plus people there. We played Nebraska last year so we’ve played in stadiums that have that large of a crowd. I don’t think that’s going to affect our team in any way. I think we’ve handled pressure; we’ve handled noise and hostile environments. I don’t think playing in a new stadium is going to affect us at all.”

On reaching the goal of winning the Big 12 North:

“That was our first goal coming into the season. We wanted to compete and win the Big 12 North. Obviously we have the opportunity to seize that goal this Saturday.”

On how the spread offense helps smaller quarterbacks:

“Probably the main thing is to spread the ball around and not be under center as much, get in the shotgun and see things better, make reads outside and make all the throws you need to. It really comes down to each individual guy. They have to find the things they do best and then execute those things.”

On his plans for Thanksgiving:

“Just hang around friends and family, eat some food. Just get ready for the game.”