Making a bowl game, any bowl game, was considered a reasonable goal for the Kansas University football program. Coach Mark Mangino wanted more. He wanted a BCS bowl game. He got it, winning the Orange Bowl to cap off a stunning 12-1 season.
Mangino grew greedy again during the two-day NFL Draft that ended Sunday.
"We've had a good draft," Mangino said. "But I was hoping Brandon McAnderson and James McClinton would get drafted. I have a biased opinion, but I think they can help NFL teams."
Still, twice as many KU players (four) were selected in this draft as in the previous five (Adrian Jones, fourth round, New York Jets, 2004; David McMillan, fifth round, Cleveland Browns, 2005).
Mangino shared his thoughts on all four selections: Aqib Talib (first round, Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Anthony Collins (fourth round, Cincinnati Bengals), Derek Fine (fourth round, Buffalo Bills) and Marcus Henry (sixth round, New York Jets).
"Aqib going in the first round, I think that's great," Mangino said. "When he came in here as a true freshman and we saw him run around, we knew he had some raw ability, very athletic. As the saying goes, we felt he had a lot of upside. What he had to do was develop better work habits and become a good student of the game, from both scheme and technical aspects. The last two years, a light came on, and he developed better work habits on and off the field."
Mangino said Collins came to him and shared his views about his future, as many underclassmen do.
"He weighed the situation and felt like the fact that he had a very good year and was stronger and in better condition than he had ever been in, it was the right thing for him to do," Mangino said. "I don't disagree with him, to some degree. He wanted to play professional football. It was something he talked about a lot in my conversations with him."
Collins wasn't chosen until the fourth round. Given that, did he make the right call leaving a year early?
"I wasn't so much concerned with where he was drafted," Mangino said. "The most important thing was that he go to the right team, a team that would develop his skills and make him better. Paul Alexander, the line coach with the Bengals, has a real good reputation for developing players, so that's good. It's a good team for Anthony."
The Bills will be getting a more experienced football player in Fine.
"They'll be getting a guy who they'll like," Mangino said. "They'll be getting a guy who gives 100 percent all the time and is great on special teams. I'm real happy for Derek."
Mangino always seemed to have a soft spot for the soft-spoken Henry.
"Nobody recruited Marcus," Mangino said. "We got him after he played in an all-star game. He made his official visit the day after the guys reported. He went home, packed his bags and came back for training camp. If he had been red-shirted, he probably would have been one of the top 10 receivers in the nation next year. I hope the New York media knows Marcus doesn't talk much. They aren't going to get a lot out of him."
Mangino got a lot out of his players. Now it's time for them to try to reap the financial rewards of the work they put into it.