Saying in a recent interview that he wanted an offensive coordinator who could mesh well with his staff, Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino appears to have made sure he didn't miss.
Multiple sources have confirmed that Mangino completed his search for a new offensive coordinator, hiring Illinois offensive line coach Ed Warinner last week.
Sound familiar? It should: Warinner coached KU's offensive line in 2003 and 2004 before departing for Champaign, Ill. He's familiar with almost every member of KU's coaching staff and has worked with several of them.
A message left at Warinner's home Saturday morning wasn't returned, and Kansas hasn't issued a press release announcing the hiring, but could do so in the next few days. An Illinois reporter for Rivals.com also confirmed Warinner's hiring, citing sources in Champaign.
Warinner, 45, specializes in coaching the offensive line, though he was offensive coordinator at Army in 1998 and '99. He has served as line coach at Army, Air Force, Kansas and Illinois in the last 10 years. He was run-game coordinator for both the Jayhawks and Illini between 2003 and '06.
Though Illinois had a dismal 2-10 record last season, two things stood out.
First, the Illini averaged 188.8 yards per game rushing with Warinner in charge, ranking first in the Big Ten Conference and 10th in NCAA Division I-A. That in part led to offseason interest in Warinner. He was among the finalists for the head-coaching job at Air Force, but the position eventually went to Houston Texans offensive coordinator Troy Calhoun.
Secondly, Illinois has made noise during recruiting season, landing multiple elite recruits despite finishing in the Big Ten cellar. Rivals ranks Illinois' class as the 11th-best class in the country.
According to Rivals, Warinner was lead recruiter for several Illini commitments out of the state of Ohio. His recruiting zones during his first stop at Kansas were Northeast Ohio and the Houston area. He grew up in Stratsburg, Ohio.
It's unknown if Warinner will take on responsibilities of a unit, as Quartaro did when doubling as quarterbacks coach the last five years. Warinner never has coached quarterbacks, though he was running-backs coach at Akron in 1984.
Mangino said in an interview with the Journal-World last week that he planned to stick with a spread offense, though he did point out the need to develop a more vertical passing game. He also stressed continuing the success running the football that Kansas had in 2006, when senior Jon Cornish broke the single-season school record.
"We want to continue to run the ball well," Mangino said. "We're losing some offensive linemen and our running back, and we want to make sure we can establish a running game."
¢ Border War to Arrowhead?: KU associate athletic director Larry Keating denied a rumor that the Border War game against Missouri officially was being moved to Arrowhead Stadium the next two seasons, though he didn't deny that talks are ongoing.
"No more than usual," Keating said. "We've had discussions with Arrowhead every season."
KU moved a 2005 home game with Oklahoma to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., and officials said at the time that they'd be interested in doing it again if it was successful. Before the OU game was moved, Kansas was interested in playing two consecutive games - one home, one road - with either Missouri, Kansas State or Iowa State at Arrowhead. At the time, none of the other schools was interested.
KU officials might consider 2007 a good season to play another game at Arrowhead. With four nonconference home games, Kansas still can guarantee seven home games to the city of Lawrence while moving one to Kansas City. That was a main point KU made when discussing the move last time, though opinions differed on whether taking a game off campus was a good idea from a competitive standpoint.
According to Keating, nothing is official yet. When asked if a KU-Mizzou move to Arrowhead was going to take place, Keating replied, "Not yet."
¢ Cornish to the Combine: Several Web sites have confirmed that Cornish has been invited to the 2007 NFL Combine.
The prestigious event does intense evaluations on prospects' physical and mental makeups and is considered crucial to a player's stock in April's NFL Draft.
The Combine starts Feb. 21 in Indianapolis. Cornish currently is the only Jayhawk on the invitation list.