Orange Bowl Press Conference Quotes

Dec. 2, 2007

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

On going to the <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Orange Bowl:

“We have accepted an invitation to the FedEx Orange Bowl against Virginia Tech. It’s an exciting day here at the University of Kansas. What you see here is a culmination of a bunch of young players working hard, working together, making great sacrifices, a great staff of assistant coaches, tireless work and family sacrifices to get Kansas’ football program in the national spotlight. We have support staff people that work so hard that are behind the scenes that have made this program successful. We have great support from Lew Perkins, our athletic director, who worked so tirelessly on this bowl situation. Our Chancellor (Robert Hemenway) has been very supportive. Dr. Hemenway’s support for this program has been unwavering since I’ve been here. Today is a really exciting day. I’m so proud of our players and our coaching staff for what they have accomplished this year. We have one more to go and we are looking forward to playing a very good Virginia Tech team in the Orange Bowl.”

On his feelings Saturday:

“I was confident that our team was going to get a big bowl berth. I felt like we had a very good chance to get a BCS berth and I think it’s only fitting that last year we were bowl eligible and didn’t get a call for a bowl. It’s fitting for our players and our university to get this opportunity. I’d rather play out of conference, but if (playing Oklahoma) was the only way we could have played in the BCS bowl then fine, we’d play Oklahoma. I had a conversation at about 12:30 last night with Oklahoma’s head coach (Bob Stoops) and we laughed about what might happen, but it didn’t and we’re very pleased with where we are right now.”

On the practice schedule:

“We practiced today and we will practice Friday, Saturday and Sunday. After that, I haven’t worked anything out yet. I just wanted to make sure where we were going and how we are going to do it. There are a lot of things that figure into the schedule. We have finals coming up pretty soon, but about mid-week, George Matsakis (Director of Football Operations) and I will sit down and work out a detailed schedule all the way through the bowl game.”

On whether going to the Orange Bowl is a dream come true:

“Dreaming is a passive state. We talk here all the time with our players, `you can dream or you can pursue’. This is the product of our players and our coaches pursuing this goal and working hard to obtain it. We talk about pursuing and I think that’s the reason why we are going to the Orange Bowl.”

On whether his bowl experience will be beneficial:

“I think it will help, I know some of the pitfalls that come with it. I think I’ve got a good idea of what it takes to prepare for this type of a bowl game. I don’t have to worry too much. Our kids are great kids. They will do the right things. They’ll work hard on the field. They won’t be distracted by all the attention and activities. This group is not distracted very easily. We’ll have some fun. I want our players to enjoy this experience. They’ve earned it. I want them to have a good time, but while we’re on the field and we’re in meetings, it will be business as usual.”

On the team’s reaction when they found out:

It was great to stand in the room and watch as they found out. (Athletic Director) Lew (Perkins) brought a bag of oranges in and threw them out to all the seniors. They were grinning from ear to ear. They earned it and I’m so proud of them. It was something to watch the smiles on their faces and the way they reacted.”

Linebacker Joe Mortensen:

On the team’s reaction when they found out they were playing in the FedEx Orange Bowl:

It was a relief and it was awesome. We have worked hard to be one of the best teams in America and we’re glad we’re playing in the BCS Orange Bowl. It is one of the best bowls you can go to, so we are really happy.”

Tight End Derek Fine:

On whether the Orange Bowl is better than the Tangerine Bowl:

By far. I like oranges. They taste better and they’re bigger.”

On their BCS berth:

This is something that we have set our goals for. Like Coach said earlier, we pursued those goals. We put all the hard work in and we deserved it. Mr. Perkins put a lot of hard work into it and we’re all smiles. Anytime you go to a BCS game, it is going to outweigh anything else. Of course, there is the national championship, but the next best thing is a BCS game. We’ve had a successful season and we deserve it.”

Quarterback Todd Reesing:

On the past week:

It was a frustrating loss, but this past week we enjoyed our time off. We focused on some school work and we were just waiting around for today. I was confident, with (Athletic Director) Mr. Perkins and everyone that we have in the athletic department that worked so hard, that we would end up in a great bowl.”

On his reaction to the news of going to a BCS bowl:

I was rather ecstatic. To go from not getting a bowl game last year and having some disappointing losses to go into the second-latest (calendar date) bowl game was a pretty big turnaround and everybody in this program, the coaches and players have worked hard. We’re very deserving; we’ve proven that all year. We are one of only two one-loss teams. If anyone wants to doubt us, we’ve proven them wrong all year and we’re going to continue to do that because we’ve earned the spot we’ve got.”

Defensive tackle James McClinton:

On the fan support:

The fan support is really good. I thank the Lord for the fans that will go down to Miami. We’ve had good fan support this year. It’s the best since I’ve been here.”

Running back Brandon McAnderson:

On the satisfaction of making the Orange Bowl:

Absolutely. It’s been great and it’s been a journey here for my five years. As a team we’ve grown and as a program we’ve grown. The opportunity in front of us is huge. It is monumental for the program and the city and the fans and the players, everybody involved. I was happy, all smiles like everybody else, seeing the joy on everybody’s faces as we were rewarded.”