Branstetter impresses with tackling
At a tiny 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, Kansas University placekicker Jacob Branstetter is not expected to be his team's on-field enforcer.
Apparently, however, no one has shared this fact with him.
In a 52-21 victory over Kansas State on Saturday, Branstetter did his best Brian Urlacher impression, tearing down-field after kickoffs and making three tackles - a couple of which appeared to be touchdown-saving. It was enough to earn the team's special teams player of the week honors, and enough to make Kansas coach Mark Mangino issue a warning to the other members of his team's kickoff coverage unit.
"I told the kickoff coverage unit he better not make a tackle the rest of the season, or I'm going to be ticked," Mangino said.
Branstetter, who missed the first part of the season while an eligibility issue was being handled, is 8-for-11 on field goals this season. But he has drawn the most attention from teammates for the intense nature with which he goes after opposing kick returners.
"He just comes flying in," linebacker James Holt said. "He's almost down there with half the people after he kicks it. He's saved a lot of kickoff returns for us, so I'm pretty glad he goes flying down there like that."
And it's not just in games. Branstetter approaches practices like a he's auditioning for a job with the World Wrestling Entertainment, too.
"We start practice everyday on defense with tackling circuit, and he tackles better than some of the guys that have been in the circuit all year long," Mangino said. "He gets his pads down, he wraps up. So who knows? If we have some problems at safety or something, we might put him in there.
"I don't know if he can cover anybody, but I think he can probably make a tackle."
MU-KU matchup still under discussion
KU associate athletics director Jim Marchiony said Tuesday that Kansas and Missouri have not yet decided whether to extend their contract to play the annual KU-MU game at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium.
Kansas senior associate athletics director Larry Keating has previously said the decision whether to continue to play in K.C. likely would be made toward the end of this season.
The final game in a two-year series contract, scheduled for Nov. 29, will kick off at 11:30 a.m. and be broadcast on FSN.