Monday, November 17, 2008

Mangino offers no excuses


Texas upends KU

The Longhorns soundly defeated KU on the football grid.

Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino does not like talking about the past - or, for that matter, the future.

His focus is ultimately and entirely focused on the present: the task at hand. This tunnel vision, he has joked, very well might be a character flaw.

As a result, he does not particularly enjoy questions like the one he was posed Saturday during his postgame news conference in the Mrkonic Auditorium.

Following his team's 35-7 loss to No. 4 Texas, Mangino was forced to shrug off suggestions that last year's unprecedented success - a 12-1 record capped with a 24-21 victory over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl - was the byproduct of a schedule that featured just two teams that finished the season ranked in the top 25.

"I don't make the schedule in the conference," the coach said following his team's fourth loss in its past five games. "And I would like to say that we did what we had to do with whatever schedule was handed to us last year. We didn't have to win 12 games. And this year, yeah, the schedule is more difficult, and the challenge is greater. But I'm not going to make any excuses. We showed up, we played as hard as we could. We played as tough as we could, and our kids gave great effort every week out. And here's the result."

With one game remaining in a season that can be described as the most anticipated in school history, the Jayhawks are 6-5 (3-4 in the Big 12) and, with a Nov. 29 game against 12th-ranked Missouri looming, in realistic danger of finishing the regular season at 6-6.

And what is often pointed out is the fact that the team's biggest setbacks this season have come against teams not present on the Jayhawks' 2007 schedule.

It isn't necessarily that Kansas has lost to the national powers it has faced this season - with games against five opponents ranked in the preseason Top 25, it was clear that '08 would present a steep challenge.

It's the way the team has lost. Against Big 12 South opponents Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas, the Jayhawks have been outscored 143-59 and outgained in total yardage by an average of 180 yards per game.

All of which leaves some wondering how the '07 Jayhawks would have fared against similar competition.

"(People) were saying last year was a fluke," said senior linebacker James Holt. "... People can say what they want about last year. Last year's over. This is now. So we're not even really worried about that."

While players bristle at the notion of writing off the team's '07 success to convenient scheduling, however, they don't shy away from the fact that this year has presented a significant bump in the level of competition they've faced.

Perhaps quarterback Todd Reesing summed up the Jayhawks' struggles best - and most bluntly - in the minutes after Saturday's loss.

"Physically, we've just been a little bit outmatched against those teams," he said, referring to the Big 12 South teams. "They've had a little better talent. But we've been able to play with them, and we've had chances to be in a position to make plays at the end of the game. And we just haven't capitalized in those positions to give them a run for their money."

¢Sharp, Meier status unclear: The severity of the injuries sustained by Kansas starting running back Jake Sharp and starting receiver Kerry Meier was unclear Sunday, a day after both players were forced to leave the Jayhawks' game against Texas.

Mangino, who typically speaks to the media on Sunday evenings, was not available to reporters Sunday night, although he said after Saturday's game that he'd know more about both players by early this week.

In their absence, the Jayhawks struggled to their worst offensive showing of the season. Kansas' 305 yards of total offense against the Longhorns were a season low, and the team was held to its lowest point total since Oct. 15, 2005.


beenahawk 13 years ago

Whlle it might be nice to have 6 weeks to get ready for Misery....I look forward to playing them on NOVEMBER 29!

FSUJHAWK 13 years ago

This is really frustrating for me as a fan. I cannot begin to imagine what it feels like for these kids and the coaching staff. I say we round up all this frustration and take it out on Misery come Dec. 29.Go Jayhawks!!!

aberry33 13 years ago

This upcoming game is the most anticipated in school history?Really???

justanotherfan 13 years ago

I think he said the season was the most anticipated, not this game. "With one game remaining in a season that can be described as the most anticipated in school history..."I think that's pretty accurate.

fozdog 13 years ago

the best way to sum things up is even though we have more losses this year we are bowl eligible and this is still the right direction for the team and program. we are getting improvements in the facilities and you just have to remember that even though it might seem small there have been some key personal changes that take time to adjust to. with that saying you can still see the kids are trying very very hard sometimes the gap between us and the big boys is simple they go 2 to 3 deep at most if not all positions. this is the gap i do see us working on it just takes time. after a season like last year its easy to pound on your chest and say we have arrived but staying is the harder challange.. rock chalk

fan4kufootball 13 years ago

I haven't seen any blogs anywhere regarding the opponent team's fans being able to get seats in KU season ticket holder's sections. The last 3 home games or so I have been surrounded by the fans of the other team. Why is that? Are season ticket holders selling them? If so - shame on them for being a fair weather fans and selling to someone other than KU fans!

kranny 13 years ago

I agree with Fozdog. I think Reesing has been the most brutally honest. We simply don't have the talent and there are some injuries to key players. Quite frankly if our D line doesn't improve and if we don't get some linebackers, we'll be looking at the same situation next year. Nebraska from here on out is a North contender. Offensively we'll be okay. We need two tough interior linemen to take the place of Mayes and Cantrell. But interior linemen aren't as difficult to replace as tackles.

rasta_meta 13 years ago

I agree that we don't have the talent of OU or the Texas schools, but our talent level is comparable to Nebraskas and S. Florida and the defensive still got torched. Also, Pinkel was playing for Big 12 championships and winning the North in his 7th season and Missouri has recruited good talent so there is no excuse for KU not having that much talent at this point in Mangino's tenure.

rasta_meta 13 years ago

I should go on record and say that I have always been a supporter of Mangino....I just think it is time "he steps his game up".

Dan Spurgin 13 years ago

Has Mangino raised the level of our recruits? Yes. Has he been able to pluck any top 100 players yet? Nope. Last year the story seemed to be that Mangino took lower rated HS players and helped them discover their potential. But over the long haul, if you keep only landing recruits outside the top 100 (150?) you're going to go 6-6 more than you're gonna go 11-1.

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