Monday, October 8, 2007

Keegan: Kansas, Mangino on cusp


Reader poll

Given Saturday's results, who do you now consider the favorite in the Big 12 North?

  • Colorado 2% 95 votes
  • Kansas 45% 2021 votes
  • Kansas State 0% 36 votes
  • Missouri 50% 2278 votes
  • Nebraska 0% 39 votes

4469 total votes.

Jayhawks nationally ranked after win over K-State

The Kansas Jayhawks' are now ranked # 20 in the 'AP Top 25' college football poll after defeating rival K-State on Saturday in Manhattan.

Audio clips

2007 KU-KSU Football

The coach from the visiting team was in his sixth season at the school. His team was undefeated but still doubted coming into the Oct. 6 Sunflower Showdown. It hadn't won a road game against its in-state rival in a long, long time.

Signs of a turnaround were building. For example, the coach had gone 1-1 in small-time bowl games. But really to gain believers it was necessary to snap that long streak against the rival school that came into the game with one loss.

It happened. The long streak ended.

Kansas State, under Bill Snyder, defeated Kansas University in Memorial Stadium, 21-13, in 1994. Soon the Wildcats were playing in big bowl games, stringing together seasons with double-digit victories.

Note the spooky similarities, brought to my attention by a KU backer who hopes Kansas, under Mark Mangino, is in the midst of a Snyder-like turnaround.

Mangino is 1-1 in minor bowl games. The Jayhawks ended an 18-year Manhattan drought with Saturday's 30-24 victory, 13 years to the day after K-State ended a 25-year Lawrence drought.

Now the difficult part: building on early signs of a turnaround and turning the program into a national force the way Snyder did at K-State.

Can Mangino do it?

The answer lies in recruiting.

As the season was about to start, Mangino stated that this freshman class was by far the best he had recruited in his time at Kansas. Any time a college football coach says anything it pays to treat the statement with suspicion. So often, coaches say things to try to keep future opponents guessing. In this case, the suspicion was directed at whether he was talking to the decision-makers who hold his job security in their hands. Could he have been saying it to float the idea that it would be a huge step back to get rid of him at the end of this season because he made such steady inroads in recruiting?

After watching Kansas play five games, it's obvious Mangino said what he said because he meant it, and it happens to be true. His paranoia is aimed at keeping secrets locked within the football offices and the practice field. He seemingly never has displayed paranoia about his job security. He practices what he preaches in that regard, keeping his eye on the target, which is doing the things needed to win games, the only true path to job security.

Cornerback Chris Harris from Bixby, Okla., doesn't play like a true freshman and neither does receiver Dezmon Briscoe, a big-time athlete from from Dallas. Defensive end Jake Laptad of Tulsa, Okla., and running back Carmon Boyd-Anderson of Jacksonville, Texas, have shown enough for the coaching staff to be excited about their futures.

They and other promising freshmen came to KU for a chance at instant playing time. Mangino and his assistants still have plenty of that to sell.

High school offensive and defensive linemen, tight ends and cornerbacks familiar with KU's depth chart know they could have a chance to compete for immediate playing time next season.

Meanwhile, Mangino is closing in on .500 at KU. If Kansas defeats Baylor on Saturday, Mangino's record improves to 31-35, a .470 winning percentage, the highest of any KU coach since Pepper Rodgers (.476, 1967-70).


JBurtin 12 years, 4 months ago

I think I peed my pants in excitement the day that Mangino was hired to coach Kansas. I ran up to my little brother and said OH MY GOD STEVE, KU JUST HIRED MARK MANGINO. Rather disappointingly he responded, who's Mark Mangino?

I think he now understands the excitment. In fact, the two of us have been driving the damn bandwagon from day one.

We Hired the recruiting coordinator and quarterbacks coach that played a big role in the biggest turnaround in college football history, then went on to Oklahoma to engineer a national championship offense.

I know it has taken some time, but this program had and still has one hell of a way to go to reach the level that Mark Mangino is capable of taking it to.

Be patient, stay on board (even in the inevitable tough times), and you won't regret it.

This guy can coach!

This guy is MY coach!

Kst8num1 12 years, 4 months ago

Hey KU fans, great game. You guys have one heck'ova football team. After watching the game I came to the realization that this KU team looks an awful lot like the OU team that won the title in 2000. Now I am not saying ya'll are gonna win the title or anything, but it's the same style of offense with a pretty good defense.

Again, good game and good luck the rest of the way.

Dyrk Dugan 12 years, 4 months ago

Good grief, let's all just calm down! We played a good football game and beat a good football team on the road....granted it's the hated 'Cats, but still, let's just focus on the Baylor Bears. Accolades and similarities in history can be talked about after the season.

Greg Woolen 12 years, 4 months ago


appreciate your humility. I am just glad to see some parity between the north and south. I am now wondering if anyone can keep up with Mizzou, because it looks like OU may be just as beatable as KSU proved that Texas was. Great game though.

Michael Leiker 12 years, 4 months ago

Kst8num1 - Best thing about that game is that we beat a really solid football team. I don't know how you all dropped out of the polls, and to #41? What a joke. How you're not still in over Texas makes me sick. GL as well. Especially against NU. I hope you beat them by 40.

Greg Woolen 12 years, 4 months ago

I'll be at Kyle Field for the aTm game. Would be very nice to be cheering for a 7-0 team there. Let's go KU. Keep up the great work.

justanotherfan 12 years, 4 months ago

I think KSU will return to the polls in a couple of weeks. With all the chaos of late in the polls, I'm not sure a lot of voters know what to do with teams. In another couple of weeks when teams have played couple conference games to sort out who's good in league and who isn't, I think K-State will be ranked again. They have some athletes and I think Ron Prince is a pretty good coach. I say they finish third in the north.

In the meantime, Nebraska looked terrible at Missouri. I thought the Huskers were a little shaky, but they looked downright abysmal on Saturday. They may finish fifth in the north.

Iowa State doesn't have the experience or talent to put up much resistance in the Big XII this year. Last in the north.

Colorado is young and inexperienced, which will inevitably lead to breakdowns in close games at the end, but will also lead to some really wild finishes. They will probably be fourth or fifth in the north, depending on how they do on the road.

That leaves us with KU and MU. After KU won, I thought they were the favorite, but then MU blew the doors off Nebraska and actually played defense. I have to give the Tigers a very slight edge at this point, realizing that there is a ton of football still to be played. I still believe that the North title will be decided at Arrowhead, but I don't know how that will play out, especially since that game is nearly two months away and anything can happen between now and then.

troutsee 12 years, 4 months ago

MU and CU will be our toughest tests the rest of the way. 12-0 remains a very real possibility. Again I say, this team is a "team" and is very special. There will not be a let down against Baylor.

Kyle Crenshaw 12 years, 4 months ago

dont forget about that road game in college station. its not gonna be a gimme. its good we gotta taste of a hostile environment and it should help @ a&m where it will a lot louder

Alan Halvorsen 12 years, 4 months ago

O-State too. Can't overlook them, especially the way they owned us last year. (2nd half)

seattlehawk_78 12 years, 4 months ago

I agree completely JBurtin. Rome was not built in a day. I expect some bumps in the road but if we show enough patience I beleive this program will continue to improve.

Huge win for Mark. Not only was he able to beat a ranked opponent but he did it on the road and we all know his record in close games. Lose this game and we're looking at the Fort Worth Bowl. Now if he can get a winning conference record then this program has turned the corner. All Hail Mangino!

elkwc36 12 years, 4 months ago

I feel this weekend will be another one that will determine a lot in the Big 12. OU-MU and CU-KState will be games that will start showing how teams might finish. It wouldn't surprise me to see MU win and think the CU game will be tougher than many of my fellow Cat fans think. I see MU-KU at the top of the north and the next 3 being CU-KState and NU. I think the NU game in Lincoln will be tough for KState as well. And to this point Prince and staff hasn't shown the abilitly to adapt during a game. I hope KU can win it all now. I have to pull for OU over MU. Best of luck the rest of the way.

seattlehawk_78 12 years, 4 months ago

I love the optimism of some of my fellow Jayhawks but I can't look that far down the road. I'm not counting any W's. We can beat anyone on our schedule but we can also get beat by anyone.

shelleysue 12 years, 4 months ago

Anything can happen. I just feel good knowing that we can truthfully say every game left is within reach. Our team definitely has the ability to win 12 games. However, there are some hostile road environments left as well as our road game in KC. I think the North could easily come down to the MU game and I HATE that we aren't playing it in Lawrence. But there's nothing we can do about it except show up in masses to support the Jayhawks.

I want to thank Coach and his staff as well as all the Jayhawk players for making KU football so much fun!!!!!

troutsee 12 years, 4 months ago

We will beat A & M for sure. Count on it. OSU and CU will be tougher games. Of course, the team to beat is MU. 12-0 very possible. I remain very optimistic. We have very good coaches and a together team. Nothing is taken for granted by this staff or this team or by me.

And isn't it great to see the Huskers in panic mode? They flat out stink!

crestdr 12 years, 4 months ago

I can't believe everyone is jocking Mangino so hard. He could have cost us the game on a number of plays. I give the Jayhawks a B+ for the game, Mangino a D-.

seattlehawk_78 12 years, 4 months ago

KU is good but I don't think any team is good enough to overcome a D- coaching performance.

troutsee 12 years, 4 months ago

Mangino is a great coach. You guys will see.

sevenyearhawk 12 years, 4 months ago

I called the afternoon sportsradio show today and made a long distance dedication to Coach Mangino from all of us fans: "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother!"


It was inspired by Jason Whitlock's comment that if the success continues, eventually Mangino will be carried off the field on the shoulders of his players ...

seattlehawk_78 12 years, 4 months ago

I got an email from Mark a couple of years ago after the Nebraska game. Seemed like a very humble man.

sevenyearhawk 12 years, 4 months ago

someone could have read that on the board and brought it to his attention, or maybe he knew the person posting it ...

who knows?

JBurtin 12 years, 4 months ago

I wonder if crestdr would have given Mangino a D- when he was engineering a national championship offense at Oklahoma?

What kind of ill-informed reasoning does he have for this statement?

My guess is that he's basing it on the fourth down play. We went for it on a fourth down sixteen yards from the goal line. A first down there would have broken the Cats back and the next play would have likely been a touchdown pass.

Of course a case could be made for not going for it in that situation, but it simply isn't a black and white issue.

Remember that KU missed an extra point in that very same game and we very easily could have missed the short field goal. That would have given them the ball at the spot that the snap was put down instead of giving it to them at the sixteen.

I say the fourth and one had a pretty good shot of working, but the Cats made a great call to show the blitz to their right, then have everyone bolt to their left after the snap.

I've also heard some grumblings that we should have run McAnderson right up the gut, but the people who would argue for that kind of obvious play call are the same morons that have complained for years about obvious play calling late in games. We could have run McAnderson, however he is not an all game long kind of back, he had been running hard for us for the last quarter and was on the sidelines and out of gas by the time that play was called.

Another scenario, say KU does make the field goal, but then we have to kick off to two dangerous returners. Neutralizing their returns was a huge reason that KU won that game, if you don't believe me, just ask a Texas player.

I say this is a clear case of Sunday morning quarterbacking. People questioned Mangino's coaching abilities on the road after the loss at Baylor last year. The detractors always failed to mention that the coaching staff had called a play that got Marcus Herford wide open downfield for a back-breaking touchdown late in the game. The call was perfect, the pass was perfect, and Herford simply dropped it.

My point is that as a coach all you can do is call the play, you can't go out there and make it for them, they have to execute. In this game I think the play calling was excellent, it was the execution by the players that should be questioned, and if possible, corrected.

As for crestdr, he is just another whiner that simply refuses to be pleased.

Tom Keegan 12 years, 4 months ago

Original Bob, No it was not brought to my attention that it was on a message board. I did not notice the similarities myself, which is why I put in the line a KU backer brought it to my attention. I wasn't claiming originality. He did not want his name listed. So I checked the similarities, found one more, and went with it. Was it you who first discovered it?

Kevin Long 12 years, 4 months ago

I love it that all of you have come to be KU football fans as much as I always have been. For the longest time no one cared at all about football,it was all about basketball. I remember being at the game in 96 when we had Colorado on the ropes and the defense kept raising their arms up and hardly a response. I was so mad, yelling at fans around me to get off their butt and make some noise.

A lot has changed since then and I do see a KSU like turn around coming. I am very proud of the fans for changing their ways. I am also not trying to say that I am the only KU fan who was there through the thin years, but there was not many of us I know that.

Good article Keegan!

Dirk Medema 12 years, 4 months ago

JBurtin - Thanks for the observation that BMac was gassed on the sideline. Shows how easy it is to "coach" when disconnected from reality. I thought Jake had some nice runs generally up the middle too though. Wasn't that where the 20 yd TD started?

My thought was that running straight at a team neutralizes some of the speed (KSU's strength), while sweeping plays into it.

Keegan - It is great that you guys read and interact with these boards. I for one really appreciate it. Makes it much more personal, which some of the ranting could use a lot more of.

It will be interesting to see how the remaining games play out, since even Baylor was a L last year. I like that there has been no let up during the 5 games played. Someone had a great quarter by quarter post last week that basically called the slow start as KU adjusted to BigXII play. Arrowhead has the potential to be a rocking place for at least the next 2 years.

sevenyearhawk 12 years, 4 months ago


I will be there with my dad and a couple other Hawks ...

and I know Jimmy_Dean and fabio are going as well!

Should be one helluva time!

I plan on getting there Friday afternoon, so that we can attend their Yell Practice ...

This is the final stop on my tour of Big XII stadia!

Alan Halvorsen 12 years, 4 months ago

Unbelievable how people get on here and yet, STILL, bash Mangino. You people are so ridiculous I don't even know what to say to you.

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