Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Woodling: At least Kansas was consistent


Year after year after year, it seemed, Kansas University football fans groused about the roller-coaster effect.

Too many good seasons followed by too many bad seasons. Too many peaks followed by too many valleys. Gee, they said, if we could just reach a level of consistency.

Welcome to the 21st Century and the regime of Mark Mangino, who has succeeded in eliminating the highs and lows. Welcome to 6-6 following 7-5 following 4-7 following 6-7.

Not that this .500 season didn't produce a handful of highs and lows. Who can forget, for instance, that 39-20 thumping of Kansas State? On the flip side, who'll ever forget that stunning second-half swoon against Oklahoma State.

But if someone had told you before the season the Jayhawks would boast the Big 12 Conference's leading rusher and that Jon Cornish would break the school single-season rushing record, you would have licked your chops.

Factor in that for the first time in two years Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech were missing from the Jayhawks' schedule, and you would have salivated some more. This loomed as a very good year indeed.

Unfortunately, the absence of Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech proved meaningless when the Jayhawks couldn't defeat the three replacement schools in the two-year cycle - Texas A&M;, Baylor and Oklahoma State. Worse, KU blew leads in all three of those defeats.

At the same time, the history books show that a 1,000-yard rusher is no guarantee of a memorable season. Tony Sands ran for 1,442 yards in 1991, and the Jayhawks were 6-5 that year. June Henley rambled for 1,349 yards in 1996, and that KU squad finished 4-7.

Cornish surpassed both Sands and Henley this fall with 1,457 yards, but all the Jayhawks had to show for it was a 6-6 record. Thus the combined record for the three best individual rushing seasons in school history is 16-18.

In other words, a running game isn't everything. The whole is equal to the sum of its parts, and Kansas suffered from parts shortages on both offense and defense.

The main defensive woe - in case you spent this fall dodging ice floes inside the Arctic Circle - was stopping opponents' passing attacks. Kansas ranks No. 119 out of 119 NCAA Division I-A teams in pass defense. Not only have the Jayhawks surrendered the most aerial yardage in the nation (269.08), their secondary was bombarded by more passes (470) than any other team.

Defensive coordinator Bill Young tried everything but barrage balloons in a vain attempt to stop the bleeding. Aqib Talib was OK at one corner, but the other defensive backs were like rowboats in a tsunami.

On offense, the Jayhawks were decent. Cornish gave KU a ground presence, and red-shirt freshman quarterback Kerry Meier, when healthy, was a viable threat passing or running.

But the offense gave the ball away too many times. Kansas lost 14 fumbles and threw 19 interceptions. That's 33 giveaways. Only four I-AA teams turned the ball over more.

Still, there is next year. Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech will remain missing from KU's schedule, and the Big 12 North is hardly full of juggernauts.

So maybe 2007 will be the year the Jayhawks blast out of the mediocrity orbit. Maybe.


jhawk84 13 years, 1 month ago

Maybe? Not unless we get a new offensive coordinator. Having the top running back in the conference is meaningless if you don't use him. Why we continually tried to pass when quarterback was obviously a weak link on the offense is just bad coaching. The defensive secondary would have looked whole lot better if Mangina hadn't run Charles Gordon off. How dare he go to his head coach and ask if he could just play his natural position so he'd have a better shot at the NFL. Oh well, who needs him with all the great players we have ready to step in. To end my rant, Quartaro should have been fired last year. He needs to learn to coach the players he has and not the ones he wishes he had.

Brett Gaul 13 years, 1 month ago

Good call, Quartaro should be cut loose as soon as possible. He is an idiot and his play calling sucks. He just needs to learn how to coach period.

baceman 13 years, 1 month ago

6-6 is unacceptable and someone's head needs to roll. In business and sports folks are held to account and replaced when the numbers are not hit. It's been 5 years for Mangino. Either he or his staff needs to go home or reorganize.

I love the guy, but at the end of the day "what have you done for me lately". This is business.

Craig Lang 13 years, 1 month ago

I'm not willing to call for the jobs of Mangino and his staff. There is no question that this team has become far stronger under Mangino than it ever was under Terry Allen. There is also no question that the Big 12 has become a much tougher conference than it was five years ago. Had this Kansas team played in the ACC or Big East, it would be in contention for the league championship.

Does that mean that this team does not have any room for improvement? Of course not. However, I am not willing to dismiss Mangino or his staff because he led a KU team to 6-6.

William James 13 years, 1 month ago

Dido-lalawguy. When your taking over perhaps the worst program in the country five years isnt enough time to become one of the nations elite. For more on that see "They Said It Couldnt Be Done" by Bill Snyder, or ask someone on that coaching staff, like Mark Mangino.
At the moment though, we are heading in the right direction.

jhawk84 13 years, 1 month ago

Sorry, can't agree with lalawguy or fabio. Mangino's record is really not much better than Terry Allens. His road record, conference record and record against average or better teams is a joke. This program became one of worst in the country after Mangino took over, not before. He took a 4-7 team in 2000 and went 3-8 and then 2-10. So yes, he is doing better than when he 1st started, but that only gets us back to mediocre at best. The offensive play calling was terrible this year. We played to our weaknesses (passing game) and away from our strengths (running game). The Ok St and MZ games are perfect examples of this. And claiming that Cornish was hurt in the 2nd half of the OK St game as the reason we went pass happy was also a joke. Cornish said he was fine. No lead is safe with this coaching staff became they panic the 1st time a run gets stopped. A good running game can protect a suspect defense. Maybe Mangino should talk to Herm Edwards,

William James 13 years, 1 month ago

For the record- Mangino's first year was in 2002(2-10),then 6-7,4-7,7-5,and then 6-6 this year.
To say that KUs football program became one of the worst in the country AFTER Mangino took over just shows why the university is not listening to the Mangino bashers.

juslob 13 years, 1 month ago

As of 2:45 PM (Mountain Time) is reporting the Poinsettia Bowl matchup between TCU and N-I-U is set, with both teams accepting bids. The web site (whcih has been pretty accurate in the past) predicts a Kansas vs Central Michigan Motor City Bowl on Dec. 26th

KURiggins 13 years, 1 month ago

Here is my short list, just please fire Mangino:

  1. Bill Young - KU Def. Coord

  2. Clint Bowen - Former KU star SS. Now on KU's Staff

  3. Larry Coker - All about the U

  4. John Riggins - One of KU's best players. And unlike Mangino, a Born Winner

KURiggins 13 years, 1 month ago

Okay, it appears there are some Mangino lovers left out there. Who can we get? I believe that was the question, right? Here we go, here would be my short list:

  1. Bill Young - Current KU Def Coord. Turned a crappy defense into one of the best in the country with limited talent i.e. Nick Reid, Banks Floodman and Kevin Kane. I know there will be some comments about our defense this year. We only returned three starters and only one was a star i.e. Aqib Talib. Defense was not our problem this year. Our problems revolved around a stinky offense that tries to hard to be fancy. If you can not see that, you do not know enough about football, stick to basketball. Our defense is young i.e. Anthony Webb, Aqib Talib, Jeff Wheeler, Russell Bronson, Darrell Stuckey, Justin Thorton, Brandon Duncan(hurt most of the year) ...remember these names ..they are the future stars at KU, with Bill Young as the coordinator they will only get better. Wondering how good they are...Ask JOSH FREEMAN!! The QB for that K-STATE team that is going bowling with a brand new coach! Yet another team our DEFENSE and Jon Cornish kicked the poop out of .

I ask the question again NOBODY has answered yet. If you are going to let Jake Sharp and Todd Reesing see the field only five times this year, why in the HECK do you pull the redshirts off them? Mangino can not duck this question, it is strictly a HEAD COACH who decides that. He is the BOSS! I would not blame either one if the transfer. They are both winners and can not get into games. Instead we were toying with Adam Barmann, who sucked.

  1. Clint Bowen - Former KU Star SS, now on the KU staff. Defense again. Why give an unknown coordinator a shot, you ask? two words...Bill Synder..When hired by K-State a virtual unknown to the coaching world, working as Off. Coord at Iowa.

  2. Larry Coker - All about the U! Like or hate the Hurricanes...with the exception of this year...they kick butt

  3. John Cooper - Made Ohio State who they are now if you know your football history. Him and a guy named Woody Hayes. Cooper by the way was a former asst under KU head coach Pepper Rogers. Enough said!!

  4. John Riggins - At least his a winner

BOTTOM LINE ..Winning Coaches win!..They are not home over the holidays talking about how good they could have been. Bob Stoops won't be, and he was going to fire Mangino until we were dumb enough to make him head coach of our program

seattlehawk_78 13 years, 1 month ago

Bob Stoops and Bill Snyder were winners and they thought enough of Mangino to hire him.

Alan Halvorsen 13 years, 1 month ago

All you people that think Mangino should be fired are all going to look very stupid in the next couple of years. Mangino's not going anywhere, nor should he. And to all the people out there that think Ku should hire Larry Coker. If he can't win at one of the most prestigious programs in the country. What gives you the slightest idea that this sixty some year old can come to KANSAS and win! (The national championships he went to were in his first two years, and were Butch Davis's players not his!) Have some loyalty!

actorman 13 years, 1 month ago

It really comes down to next year. If KU doesn't make a bowl game next year, Mangino HAS to go -- especially with the big bad three from the south coming back on the schedule the year after.

That being said, Quartaro HAS to go now. God I hope we don't have another year of his pathetic play-calling inflicted on us!

seattlehawk_78 13 years, 1 month ago

Why has the bar been set so high? No other coach has ever had back to back bowl appearances. Mangino has come very close to three consecutive bowl appearances. Seems that he has become a victim of his own success.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.