Wednesday, September 22, 2004

KU’s Mangino demotes kicker Beck, punter Tyrrell


Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino said he hadn't "lost faith" in Johnny Beck and Chris Tyrrell, but he appears to have lost patience with them.

Mangino said Tuesday at his weekly news conference that red-shirt freshman kicker Scott Webb, who already had taken over extra-point and short field-goal duties from Beck, would handle all field-goal duties Saturday when the Jayhawks play host to Texas Tech.

In addition, true freshman Kyle Tucker will replace Tyrrell as the punter.

Beck will continue to handle kickoff duties. He is averaging 63.9 yards per kick, and 11 of his 19 kickoffs have been touchbacks.

"We've had great hang time and great distance on all our kicks," special-teams coach Clint Bowen said. "He's been great on kickoffs."

While Beck has a strong leg, he hasn't been able to control it.

The former Kansas City Piper High standout drilled a 51-yard field goal in the season opener against Tulsa, but he missed two field goals in Saturday's 20-17 loss at Northwestern and is 2-of-6 this season.

Beck made 14 of 20 kicks as a freshman in 2001 -- including a 59-yarder -- but he is 18-of-39 since then.

Webb is 11-of-11 on extra-point attempts and made his only field-goal try -- from 27 yards.

"I think now he's ready," Mangino said of Webb. "We eased him into the role of PATs, then short field goals and the position is his now. I think he can handle it very well.

"He doesn't have the kind of range Johnny has, and that's an issue. He's getting stronger all the time. I can tell you his leg is stronger now than it was in spring football. He's not a weakling, but he's a guy that if you get past the 40-yard line, his accuracy and just the length of his kicks are somewhat of an issue."

Mangino wouldn't put a specific number on Webb's limitations, but Bowen said it was "somewhere in that 45-yard range."

Beck wasn't available to the media Tuesday, but Bowen said the senior took the news well.

"He'll be OK," Bowen said. "I think, if anything the last couple of years, Johnny has learned to handle a little criticism."

While Beck's struggles were going on three years, the staff was quicker to make a switch at punter after Tyrrell bobbled two snaps and fumbled one against Northwestern.

"We can't afford to do that," Mangino said. "Nobody feels worse than him."

Tyrrell was averaging 43.6 yards per punt, but his struggles Saturday brought back memories of 2001 when he mishandled a few snaps while filling in for injured Curtis Ansel.

"He had been solid all through camp," Bowen said. "It caught us by surprise."

KU turned to Tucker, who booted his only punt 46 yards after replacing Tyrrell. Tucker was an all-district selection as a punter and kicker as a senior at Cinco Ranch High in Katy, Texas, but Mangino said he wasn't considering Tucker -- who drilled a 50-yarder last fall -- for the place-kicking job.

"That's too much for a freshman," he said. "I think right now if he can just be an asset to us as a punter, that would suffice at this point and time."


Coker hobbled: Senior guard Tony Coker missed KU's first two games because of an injured right ankle and appeared to suffer an injury to his left ankle before leaving Saturday's game in the third quarter.

"He's about the same as he was last week," Mangino said. "You saw him on the field there. He competed for a while, but he's still a little hobbled. How he'll be Saturday, I'm not sure."


Players of the week: Junior linebacker Nick Reid was named defensive player of the week after recording 11 tackles against Northwestern. Senior receiver Brandon Rideau took offensive honors after catching eight passes for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Other honorees were senior linebacker Clark McCracken (special teams), sophomore receiver Damond Berry (scout-team offense) and Courtney Smith (scout-team defense).


No comment: Mangino declined to comment on the status of junior kick returner Greg Heaggans, who was arrested last week on drunken-driving charges and did not play at Northwestern.

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