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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Orange Bowl victors lauded at KU banquet

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Orange Bowl Celebration

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KU fans celebrated the 2007-08 football season at Allen Fieldhouse.

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2008 Orange Bowl

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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."

Comments

jayhawkinATL 12 years ago

A well-deserved recognition ceremony. Looking forward to the 2008-9 version.

sevenyearhawk 12 years ago

A great time!

Wished the reporter provided an attendance estimate ... I'd guess about 5,000

The entire east side of Allen Fieldhouse was filled.

RckChalkJeff 12 years ago

Maybe if LJW took, or posted more than 3 pictures of the event, we could have seen how many were in the stands.

desotodoug 12 years ago

There are a whole series of really good photos at www.kuathletics.com.

jhawk4life1976 12 years ago

From the red carpet: James McClinton gets the "Best Dressed" award! :-p

sevenyearhawk 12 years ago

yeah he does ... that baby blue suit with the long coat ... he was stylin'

How about Joe Mortensen's jacket - silk or leather? I wasn't sure

Jayhawk1116 12 years ago

Anybody know what the deal is with Joe Mortensen, and Ryan Cantrell on crutches??? There was someone else on crutches too, but I can't remember who it was.

HawkDigestCom 12 years ago

Justin Thornton was the other player on crutches.

Lance Hobson 12 years ago

What a team, what a year! Watching the Nebraska game and KU score TD after TD in an old Russian hangar in Afghanistan with a bunch of Husker fans was about as good as it gets. Go 'Hawks!

William James 12 years ago

Strikewso-What a great story. I was in the Stan when we smoked Nebraska in 05. The game wasnt on AFN so I had to watch some crap Big Ten ESPN game, while the scores came up on the bottom of the screen. Since its the middle of the night in Afghanistan when the games are on, I started getting a little sleepy until I saw we were up 17-2 early. After that, I had no trouble staying awake the rest of the night. I was boasting all the next morning after everyone else was awake. My friend who was a Rutgers fan, said it was a media conspiracy and that Kansas didnt really beat Nebraska and was quick to point out that ESPN wasnt giving us any highlights. Thats of course, because ESPN dosent like showing highlights of Big 12 or SEC games.

GrayHawker 12 years ago

Todd Reesing looks like George Brett's son. Give him a few more inches and he could be George's celebrity look-a-like.

sevenyearhawk 12 years ago

Sounds like Mortensen and Cantrell had surgery ...

Either David Lawrence or Nick Bukaty said something about him needing more rehab.

Thorton messed up his ankle playing intramural hoops, and I'm gonna guess Coach Mangino chewed his butt!!!

William James 12 years ago

Less than impressive turnout. It used to be the joke was on the football program. My, how the tables have turned.

missKU 12 years ago

Does anyone know who sang the song for the senior video?

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