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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Spring slopfest

Players show rust at scrimmage

Blue team cornerback Kendrick Harper (24) looks to snag a fumble by White team running back Carmon Boyd-Anderson as he is trailed by linebacker James Holt. Harper ran the recovery in for the Blue team's first touchdown. The Blue team defeated the White team, 17-3, on Monday at Memorial Stadium.

Blue team cornerback Kendrick Harper (24) looks to snag a fumble by White team running back Carmon Boyd-Anderson as he is trailed by linebacker James Holt. Harper ran the recovery in for the Blue team's first touchdown. The Blue team defeated the White team, 17-3, on Monday at Memorial Stadium.

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Spring game showcases team for eager fans

It's been three months since the Kansas football team knocked off Virginia Tech and was crowned Orange Bowl champions. Tonight at Memorial Stadium, the Jayhawk faithful caught their first glimpse of KU for the 2008 season.

Fans flip from hoops to football

Over the past 24 hours many Jayhawk fans have turned their attention from the hardwood to the gridiron in what has been a seamless transition from one season to another.

Audio clips

2008 April 14 KU football spring game

Kansas University's spring football game ended fittingly - a bullet pass by Todd Reesing down the middle of the field, right off Dezmon Briscoe's hands and to the turf.

An oopsie. One of many.

Officially, the Blue team beat the White team, 17-3, Monday at Memorial Stadium. But really, both defenses dominated both offenses the entire night. If the offense wasn't forcing itself into sloppiness, the defense pushed the offense into that smelly pit.

"I didn't think it was that pretty," said Reesing, who threw for 227 yards but had two interceptions. "We struggled with a lot of execution things, myself included. We had too many mistakes on the offensive line, too many dropped passes. Running backs didn't protect. I missed some throws. It wasn't the way you want to go out for spring ball."

Reesing, competitive and frustrated, even put his own health on the line to try to make something go right. Twice in the first half, Reesing threw ill-advised passes right into the hands of a defender. The first interceptor, Patrick Resby, was tackled by Reesing as he tried to return it for a score. The second, Drew Dudley, broke a Reesing tackle before being forced out of bounds. Reesing's helmet flew off at contact, causing a little uneasiness among the estimated 10,000 fans in attendance.

"We never went over what to do on interceptions. That's bad coaching on my part," KU coach Mark Mangino said with a smile. "After two of them, we told him, 'Number one, don't throw any interceptions, and let him run for a touchdown if you're the only guy that can tackle him. It's not that important.'"

Countered Reesing: "They didn't score."

Not those times, but one of the two touchdowns on the night was a defensive score. Right before halftime, running back Carmon Boyd-Anderson fumbled the ball near the sideline. It was scooped up by Blue team cornerback Kendrick Harper and returned 23 yards for the touchdown.

In all, the defenses were credited with a combined 20 tackles for a loss, including six sacks. And until Reesing found Dexton Fields for an eight-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, the defense took credit for most of the scoreboard, too.

"The spring has been back and forth," defensive coordinator Clint Bowen said. "We had several other live scrimmages that we didn't win and the offense came out and got after us pretty good."

Still, Mangino found some bright spots in the offense - and maybe an answer to one burning question in the trenches.

While the interior of the offensive line returns from last season's 12-1 team, Kansas is trying to find replacements at each tackle position. Four guys were rotated into the Blue team lineup, and the end of the game featured Jeff Spikes at left tackle, Matt Darton at right tackle and a happy Mangino in how it looked.

"We may have found the right combination," Mangino said, "and that's something we're pleased with."

So something was found Monday, though it deserves to be stressed that the spring game was little more than just the 15th and final practice of the season. The regular season doesn't start until Aug. 30 when Kansas plays Florida International.

Until then, KU's defense will take Monday's victory - while knowing that the offense eventually will come around and fight a better fight in the future.

"It takes a while for the offense to get clicking," said KU cornerback Chris Harris, who had seven tackles and a fumble recovery. "Fifteen practices just isn't enough. When we get in the season : and everybody gets together and gets clicking again, they're going to be ready."

Comments

madmangine 9 years, 8 months ago

It begins!!!Offense will come around, no worries.Hail Mangino

troutsee 9 years, 8 months ago

Either our defense is deep and real good or the offense has some problems.

grantmvb 9 years, 8 months ago

Don't judge the offense off one performance. Practice hasn't even come into full swing.

Matt Kenton 9 years, 8 months ago

Countered Reesing: "They didn't score."Yeah, Sparky! Gotta love the stones on this kid.

KU 9 years, 8 months ago

There's no doubt the defense is deep. It was deep last year. Chris Harris will be a better corner than Talib. I can't get over the linebackers we continue to manufacture. If they keep churing them out, KU will be the new Linebacker U.We're really going to miss those two offensive tackles. Darton didn't seem to have the best mobility to me last night. Spikes is huge already and looks like he could still add some lower body power.Thanks to the athletic department for the Family Fun Zone! It's never too early to indoctrinate your kids in everything Jayhawk.

Brad Watson 9 years, 8 months ago

Loved the audio of Reesing...I love this kid...his knowledge of the game....is superb....Ressing will be a big time college coach one day...I cant wait for the season to begin...I have so much anticipation on how we will do with Texas and Oklahoma back on the schedule....this is the year to prove to america ..last year wasnt a joke...or a product of a weak schedule.....Im looking forward to all the games...but the game in lincoln and norman should tell a lot...but I'm really looking forward to Mack Browns' visit....i still have memories of Nick Reid not being able to bring down Vince Young...on that 4th down play..that would have sealed the victory and ruined Texas' national championship run.....I remember Coach Mangino ..and I was just as mad as he was....MAN I LOVE FOOTBALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I LOVE SUMMER ..BUT I WISH AUGUST WAS HERE!

sevenyearhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

only 10,000 ...you should see the national stories about other schools, of course they didn't have a parade for their national champion basketball team, either!I bet if this had been on Saturday night, with a bit more agreeable weather, there might have been another five to eight thousand!Too bad there wasn't some way to combine parade, scrimmage, hoops awards and even the baseball series ... but I guess it might be like celebrating your kids' birthdays separately! :/

rolo2383 9 years, 8 months ago

Did anyone notice that it looks like Mangino has lost a lot of weight? I was talking to some guy sitting close to me and we both agreed that it looks like he's lost maybe 100 lbs. I think our D is going to be just as good, if not better, than last year. I thought Quigley looked really sharp in the 2nd half. I think our receivers are going to be just fine. As soon as Briscoe quits dropping easy catches he might end up being our best receiver ever. I can't wait until August 30th.

kranny 9 years, 8 months ago

I'd rather see the defense shine in this game than an offensive blowout. The O line will come around.

thiknthinhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

Woo-hoo, bring on OU and TU: we'll be ready!!!

shelleysue 9 years, 8 months ago

Hey - I'm not going to complain about a great defensive show!! I am a firm believer that defense wins games so I don't mind reading this. I have no doubt that Reesing and company will get it together and we'll have a great all around team once again. Looks like we have a fun fall to look forward to - can't wait!!Rock Chalk!

Michael Leiker 9 years, 8 months ago

Perfect...MM has plenty of ammo to motivate the offense and get their minds right going into 08. Not that there was anything wrong, but now he can make everything right.

Jim Jackson 9 years, 8 months ago

We have ALOT of weapons on offense. Just wait till Rod Harris JR starts lining up at WR. I am not worried at all, its april 15. Just wait peeps we are going to be nasty. I like Spikes playing LT he is HUGE

KU 9 years, 8 months ago

leikness, I don't think our #1 offense played that poorly last night. We've just got a really talented 2-deep roster on defense, so it didn't matter that the #2 defense was playing the #1 offense. Usually, when the #1 offense goes against the #2 defense there are some offensive fireworks because of the dropoff in talent. It doesn't look like the defense is planning to take a step backwards after they lost their DC.

Geekinout 9 years, 8 months ago

Practice,,,,we talkin practice,,,,practice,,,practice,,,we talkin about practice...It's only one, take a chill pill people.

GrayHawker 9 years, 8 months ago

I expect an even better defensive team next year despite Talib and McClinton gone. The improved experience across the secondary will off-set Talib's departure plus there will be a couple of new faces with a bright future - Barfield for one and having Harper all season.Jamal Greene and Richard Johnson will improve depth and competition among DTs.Onyegbule and Laptad will both be improved. Onyegbule looks much stronger, especially in lower body and he has gained a lot of experience at DE after being a LB most of his career.Offense involves timing and that will come around over the summer and fall. The defense didn't help that happen this spring either. A couple of new faces will have an impact come fall - Rell Lewis, Jonathon Wilson, and Joc Crawford will work themselves onto the field and make an impact.

bmcmich1 9 years, 8 months ago

I am fine with the outcome of the spring game--the defense is always ahead of the offense at this time so I'm not worried at all--looks like the hawk football team is right where they ought to be in April.

number1jayhawker 9 years, 8 months ago

Milfdestroyer, Rod JR. was lined up at WR last night. He was playing for the white team and made a few good catches. He also dropped an open pass. I too think he will be a factor in our offense this coming fall. Does anyone else think that Chris Harris is mentally way beyond his years? He just says and does things that great veteran players always do. He is definitely a keeper.

KU 9 years, 8 months ago

If Chris Harris wants it, they should give him the vaunted "number 3" jersey. He's going to be a special player.

Jim Jackson 9 years, 8 months ago

Number 1 thanks, I didn't think he would be here till August. I would like to see how athletic we are on the ends, Laptad and Larson did serviceable jobs but neither of them are indispensable. I hope Max Onyegbule takes one of their spots. He was was first team all state in Dallas as a LB and that is no joke.

prairie_dog 9 years, 8 months ago

Max O. looked bigger and much improved. I saw him blow right by D'Cuna in an open practice. He could be the front 4 pass rusher we struggled with last year.My concern is and will remain OT until we get some performance. Not good last night, not good at all. Reesing was running for his life all night. Guard and Center look very strong--Sal Capra should get plenty of time spelling Cantrell this year.I've gotta believe Spikes is the guy at LT. He is big and I think the fastest of Spikes/Darton/Wolfe. Don't underestimate this, though. This is a problem that must be solved.One more thing: KM was the better QB last night, the best receiver and the best punter. Prediction: he is this year's Talib story--a bigtime playmaker wherever he lines up.

KU 9 years, 8 months ago

Max O is about the most impressive physical specimen "on the hoof" they have, judging just by looks last night.I agree that OT is the most glaring weakness right now......by far......BY FAR. Darton has very slow feet. He'll get exposed on the edge in pass protection. Wolfe is still too small to play big-time tackle. If Spikes can handle the mental part of the game......whew......he's physically impressive. If D'Cuna is our 4th best tackle.....yikes.....that's not good.We need to find ways to get the ball to Jake Sharpe in the passing game. He's a dependable runner and he runs with no fear. But if we can get him in the open field.......watch out. Need to watch some tape of how Nebraska used Cory Ross, another diminutive running back with a big heart.I don't have many reservations about the defense at this time. Maybe the interior line, but I do think if we don't quite have the quality of last year, we have more depth there.I've gotta believe it's only a matter of time before Laptad and Max O take over at the end positions. But you've gotta hand it to last year's DE starters--Larson and Brorsen are very intelligent and they get everything out of their ability.

Kevin Long 9 years, 8 months ago

The offense will struggle a little bit. They have some good players to replace, but I think they will be pretty good. Give them time.

justanotherfan 9 years, 8 months ago

Edge protection will be key for this offensive unit, as many of you have noted. I'm not too worried about playmakers. I think we will have plenty of those once everyone gets on campus and in pads. The key last year was that our O-line did a great job opening up holes for the runners and giving Reesing time. Remember, since Reesing isn't that big, it's important that our line not only keep him off his back, but also that they keep the defensive line's hands down so Todd's throws don't get batted and deflected.On the other side of the ball, our defense should be solid again. The biggest concern I have is with the size of our interior linemen. We weren't very big inside last year, and may not be that big again this season. That's going to put a lot of pressure on our linebackers to stay free of blocks since none of our interior guys look like they will command double teams against the run. I think pass defense will be our biggest strength on the team, especially if we can find some edge pressure from Max O. and at least one other guy. Our defensive backs are all athletic, so we should be fine there. Line play will be crucial on both sides of the ball. We have plenty of playmakers, but if our line play does not come through, it won't matter, and our lines both took huge hits from graduation/defection.

KUFootballrocks 9 years, 8 months ago

It's only April, give the men a break. They lost a lot of starters and the new guys need some time to fill in the gaps. As for the O lineman face-off, it's be a battle until the end but I don't believe that baloney about Spikes and Darton being the best combination ... by the time they were in together they were playing against the second and third string defense. Time will tell, but I'm going with R-Wolfe & L-Darton. It's a new team, let them start over with some room to make mistakes.

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