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As sweet as the Kansas University football team's Orange Bowl victory was, the team has bigger goals, coach Mark Mangino reminded fans Saturday.
"We're not satisfied - our coaches aren't, our players aren't," Mangino said. "They want more."
With spring practice starting Wednesday, Mangino vowed the team would continue to work hard and build on the successes of last season.
The players, coaches and fans celebrated the wins of 2007 at the Football Awards Banquet on Saturday night at Allen Fieldhouse.
"Tonight, we salute the greatest season in the history of Kansas football," said David Lawrence, a former player and now color commentator for the football games.
For the Jayhawks, 2007 saw the most wins in KU history. The team went 12-1. Fourteen players received All-Big 12 Honors, and 14 received Academic All-Big 12 Honors. The team had two first team All-Americans and a second team All-American. And, of course, there was the Orange Bowl victory.
Mangino said it was a special team, not only for the record.
"They're good kids who do the right things, who try to represent the university with class and dignity," he said. "They take care of their business, as we say. They work hard. They play together as teammates."
The fans, who gave several standing ovations for the players and Mangino, cheered like it was game time.
"I'm pretty proud of these guys," said Tim Blakesley, brother of sophomore defensive tackle Caleb Blakesley.
Blakesley said that his brother had offers to go to K-State but that he chose KU.
"There's a lot of tradition being made right now here," he said. "He's part of making history, and that's something you'll never be able to take away from him."
In his remarks, Mangino thanked KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway for his commitment to the program over the years and his understanding that it would take time to meet the goals. Mangino credited Athletic Director Lew Perkins with making KU athletics first class.
Senior defensive tackle James McClinton, who won a Ray Evans Award for Defensive MVP and Iron Hawk Award for performance in the weight room, said Mangino was a blessing of a coach who kept the team focused.
"We had a curfew for New Year's Eve," he said. "I think you had to be in the hotel at 12, and you had to be in your room at 12:30. He was strict when it came to game day, but he was cool when he wasn't under pressure so much."
Senior wide receiver Marcus Henry, who received the Most Improved Offensive Player Award, said the players had high expectations going into the 2007 season.
"I'd say our team knew it was going to be a good year," he said, "but we just had to show our fans and everyone else that we were going to have a good year."