Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dugan Arnett’s KU football notebook

The Kansas football team enters Saturday's contest with Oklahoma as a three touchdown underdog. All time, the Sooners hold a 66-27-6 advantage in the series.

KU football vs. Oklahoma


Audio clips

2008 Oct. 14 Football Press Conference

Jayhawks sport new look on special teams

In the wake of his team's disastrous special teams showing last week against Colorado, Kansas University coach Mark Mangino didn't waste much time making good on his promise to try to shore up the problems as quickly as possible.

At least two Kansas starters said Tuesday that they would be handling an increased special teams workload against fourth-ranked Oklahoma this Saturday. Linebacker James Holt, who typically plays on the punt and kick return teams, expects to also be handling kickoff coverage duties, while fellow linebacker Joe Mortensen said he'll be making a return to the unit for the first time since having off-season knee surgery.

"I guess they were trying to give me a little rest break, but I'm back on it and I'm looking forward to it," said Mortensen, who played on the kick return team a season ago. "I know we need to improve on that."

Following Saturday's victory over the Buffaloes, in which the Jayhawks' special teams units struggled on all fronts, Mangino said multiple starters approached him after the game about joining special teams.

And facing a schedule that grows increasingly difficult over the course of the next six weeks, the coach didn't hesitate to accept the offers.

"When you're getting the ball on the 15-, 16-yard line and you're backed up, that means there's a reduction in the choice of offensive plays you have," Mangino said. "And we need field position. There's a lot of ways to gain field position, and one of them is great special teams play."

Sooners scary good in opening quarter

There is starting a game strong, and then there is what Oklahoma has done to opponents so far this season.

Through six games, the Sooners have outscored opponents 110-6 in the first quarter of games.

"They'll come out the first quarter and try to get some scores and get on top of you," said Mangino. "And when they're on top at home, they're formidable. They're tough to beat."

Which should come as especially unsettling news to the Jayhawks, who in their past three games have been outscored 21-0 in the first quarter against less-than-stellar opponents Sam Houston State, Iowa State and Colorado.

Against the Sooners, who are 57-2 at home under coach Bob Stoops, a strong start might be a necessity if the Jayhawks hope to stay undefeated in conference play.

"You've got to get out of the blocks against OU," Mangino said. "They traditionally jump on teams. They look to get that advantage early in the game, and that's something that we've got to do, we've got to be ready on the opening kickoff and play at the same tempo, fast and ferocious, for four quarters.


KU 13 years ago

If we get off to a slow start in Norman, it could resemble the MU game at Camarohead. We need to withstand OU's opening surge and stay with them until we get a feel for the game.

Hawkish4bigM 13 years ago

I am going to make a daring prediction which many will think is crazy. I am going to predict, and I cannot even tell you why, that the unsung hero of this game is going to be Clint Bowen. I have a feeling that he is going to come up with a brilliant defensive strategy. This will be the difference.

GridironHawk 13 years ago

Hopefully Warinner and Mangino have been saving a little magic to open up this OU game. They need to find some spark to get the guys going early (and keep me from throwing the remote). I don't think the first quarter is as important because Reesing likes to survey the defense the first couple possessions (he rarely scores first possession). However, if the second quarter is also slow then it could be a long day. Here's to a KU win and another MU loss....

mojayhawk 13 years ago

Hey TEAM! For the rest of the year, play the first quarter like you've been playing the THIRD quarter. We'll be in every game, no matter what name shows up on the other jerseys. Our 11 can eat their 11 !!!

TxJyHwk 13 years ago

mojayhawk - you might want to say "play like you do in the FOURTH quarter" rather than third. If you remember, it was the 3rd quarter that killed us an USF!

kvskubball 13 years ago

Maybe starting the game at 2:30 instead of 11:30 will help us on the wake-up call issue!OU 57-2 at home under Stoops! OUCH!!! Think about that. And what's more, most of that is against Big XII South teams (Because with the unbalanced schedule, the North teams would play there less than the South teams do, and they play there every other year.) So we have our work cut out for us! Hopefully we can be the 3rd visitor to come away with a win against Stoops' troops!

railer1122 13 years ago

Warinner will have something up his sleeve. He always does in big games. OK St last year with Meier and I believe the same with MU last year. Reesing doesn't have enough time this game to survey the defense, OU's O will be in full swing and we have to match them swing for swing.

Rivethead 13 years ago

If we get off to a slow start, it'll be just like Texas in Austin in 2006.

rolo2383 13 years ago

We have to get off to a fast start to let OU know we are there to win. If we fall behind by a couple of scores the pressure will be on us and not on them. If we stay even, or even ahead of them early, then there will be a ton of pressure on them.

void 13 years ago

My mistake. I agree with those who wish BB posts would stay on BB boards. I love this football team and will post a "Newton's Law" FB comment on the BB site to ease my conscience. BTW Laettner was a terrible football player.I remember Nolan Cromwell. Man he chewed up the land grabbers. Faith, grit, fortune.

void 13 years ago

What a collection of heart-pumper shots. I think it makes sense to begin with the importance of the game, not the improbability of the shot. National title game first, then down the tournament order to conference champ games, to giant games of the regular seasons. Easy to pick Mario first for me among the national title games because he was well guarded and it was an entirely amazing shot without peer.. Oh, and Laettner is automatically reduced five ranks on the principal that he was really irritating.

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