Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Perkins voices support for Mangino as coach


Pundits and fans alike have offered their share of criticism toward Kansas University's football coaching staff after a four-game losing streak in Big 12 Conference play.

Head coach Mark Mangino, who has appeared to handle the chatter in stride, said before the season that "the only pressure that I suffer is self-induced."

Athletic director Lew Perkins, meanwhile, gave Mangino a vote of confidence Monday.

"We'd like to win more football games, sure," Perkins said. "But are we moving in the right direction? Absolutely."

Perkins said he evaluated all of his coaches after every season, and Mangino and his staff were no different. He declined to give KU a grade, saying "we don't do evaluations in the middle of the season."

Mangino, in his fourth year, is 15-28 at KU, a tenure that has included teams with wild variations of results. In 2002, KU finished 2-10 and went winless in Big 12 Conference play. One of the best turnarounds in the country occurred, though, as the Bill Whittemore-led Jayhawks went 6-7 and played in the Tangerine Bowl the next season.

KU's strength was its offense those two years, but the 2004 and '05 squads have been led by a strong defense, including a D that's best in the Big 12 against the run this year. The '04 team went 4-7, while the '05 team is 3-4, including 0-4 in league play.

The Jayhawks, as Mangino admits, haven't played well this month, but it's worth noting that all four of KU's league games have been played away from Memorial Stadium. KU plays three of its last four at home, including Saturday's noon tilt with Missouri.

The Jayhawks have won 11 of their last 15 games at Memorial.


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