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Monday, September 8, 2008

Quigley ‘in mix’ earlier

Angus Quigley

Angus Quigley

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KU shuts out Louisiana Tech in rainy matchup

Well Mother Nature didn't make it easy, but on Saturday the Kansas football team recorded it's 11th straight victory at Memorial Stadium.

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KU running back Angus Quigley

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Going Deep

Bulls on Parade

In the third week of Going Deep, Matt Tait and Eric Sorrentino talk with Tampa Tribune beat writer Brett McMurphy about the similarities and differences between the KU and South Florida football programs. Also, find out which former Jayhawk has plans to attend Friday's game in Tampa.

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Reader poll

Which Jayhawk's performance surprised you the most in Week 2?

  • Dezmon Briscoe (146 yards receiving, TD) 4% 76 votes
  • Daymond Patterson (130 yards receiving, 2 TDs) 27% 430 votes
  • Todd Reesing (32-for-38, 412 yards, 3 TDs) 12% 193 votes
  • Darrell Stuckey (10 tackles, 2 tackles for loss) 20% 317 votes
  • Angus Quigley (15 carries, 84 yards) 26% 413 votes
  • Jacob Branstetter (3 field goals) 8% 139 votes
  • Other 0% 5 votes

1573 total votes.

When Kansas University third-string running back Angus Quigley rushed for 47 yards on six carries in the team's season opener, it didn't seem to raise many eyebrows.

Just a minor note in a 30-point Jayhawks blowout, fans figured. Just a backup making the most of his garbage-time carries.

But while the first game easily could have been written off as a fluke, Quigley's effort Saturday - a 15-carry, 84-yard outing in which he finished with a 5.6 yards-per-carry average -was a bit harder to ignore.

And Sunday night, Kansas coach Mark Mangino acknowledged as much, saying Quigley, a 6-foot-2, 222-pound junior, likely has nudged his way into a more prominent role in the team's running game following his performance in the Jayhawks' 29-0 victory over Louisiana Tech.

"Absolutely," said Mangino, asked whether Quigley could see some early carries in Friday's 7 p.m. matchup with 19th-ranked South Florida in Tampa, Fla. "We haven't game-planned or anything, but I would suspect that we're going to have him in the mix there earlier."

In two games this season, the 13th-ranked Jayhawks have struggled to establish a consistent ground attack, content instead to air the ball out. Kansas coaches have brushed off the thin ground production (69 carries, 254 yards, one touchdown in two games), saying that the lack of a running game is the result of defenses willing to give them the pass in an effort to stop the run.

But the stats, up to this point, are worth noting. Junior transfer Jocques Crawford rushed for just 17 yards Saturday, and starter Jake Sharp, who ran for more than 800 yards as a sophomore in '07, has rushed for a total of 51 this year.

The only back who seems to have established some consistency thus far is Quigley - although he was quick to play down talk Saturday that he has established himself as a prime candidate for the starting job.

"You gotta let the work speak for itself," the Cleburne (Texas) High graduate said. "I'm just a player here. I don't make any decisions. Whatever the coaches decide, that's what I go with. And I just want to help my team win."

Harper leaves hospital: Senior cornerback Kendrick Harper, who left Saturday's game late in the first quarter on a stretcher, was released from the hospital Sunday evening and was doing "fine," according to Mangino.

"As we speak, he's being released," the coach said around 6 p.m. Sunday. "He had a battery of tests taken, and everything seems to be fine. He feels a lot better. In fact, I just talked to him a few minutes ago, and he's being released and he says he feels a lot better. That's good news."

Harper appeared to be injured during a head-first collision with Louisiana Tech receiver Phillip Livas. He came off the field on his own power, but was later put onto a stretcher and taken away in an ambulance.

Despite his release, however, it was unclear whether the Hartwell, Ga., native and Butler County Community College transfer would be available for the game against South Florida.

"I've never even discussed that with him or our medical staff," Mangino said. "I was more concerned with his health. When he comes in tomorrow I'll talk about that. I don't have any clue, and it's not even been discussed, to be quite honest with you."

No weather worries: Severe weather stemming from Hurricane Ike is not expected to affect Kansas' matchup with South Florida, school officials said Sunday.

"The people at South Florida called us last week, and they don't expect any problems," Kansas associate athletics director Jim Marchiony said. "At that point, they thought that it might come through on Tuesday, but they don't expect any problems (with the game)."

Last week, rumors on various Web sites suggested that if the severe weather prevented the teams from playing in Tampa, it was possible the game could be moved to Memorial Stadium.

But Marchiony, who said he'll keep in touch with South Florida officials throughout the week, was quick to shoot down those rumors Sunday night.

"There's been a lot of talk on the Internet, apparently, of the game being moved to Lawrence," Marchiony said. "That will not happen. Any of that, that will not happen."

Branstetter on rise: Sophomore placekicker Jacob Branstetter got two pieces of good news this week. First, he learned that he'd been cleared to play by the NCAA after transfer issues threatened to sideline him for the 2008 season. Second, he learned he'd be starting his first game as a Jayhawk in Saturday's victory over Louisiana Tech.

While fellow transfer Alonso Rojas, primarily a punter, shined in the team's season-opening victory, connecting on field goals of 47 and 37 yards, Mangino said he expects Branstetter will be handling all of the team's kicking duties in the coming weeks.

"Eventually, I think he'll grow into the situation where he'll handle everything," Mangino said. "And to be honest with you, that's the way we'd like it to be, so that Alonso can really get back to focusing on punting only."

Branstetter was 3-for-3 on field goals Saturday, connecting on attempts of 28, 26 and 25yards. His only miscue - a failed extra point in the third quarter - came as the result of a botched hold.

Comments

plotku 11 years, 2 months ago

Not that I am not interested in Quigley, but was just curious, did any of the NFL Rookie Jayhawks contribute in anyway this weekend? From what I can tell it was no. But just curious if anyone heard or saw anything different. Ok as far as who should start at running back goes, If the coaches feel Jake sharp is going to give you your best option, than roll with him. It is just dang hard to run the ball against an 8 man front. I don't think USF is going to stack the box like that after seeing Reesing's aerial attack over the weekend. This week should be the telling sign of where we are this year.

KGphoto 11 years, 2 months ago

It's pretty cool that only 12% of the voters were surprised by Reesing's performance. 32-for-38, 412 yards, 3 TDs. Just another day at the office.

Sally Presson 11 years, 2 months ago

I would hope he's in the mix, he was tremendous on Saturday!!! Great job

JayhawkPhil 11 years, 2 months ago

Quigley deserves a shot to move ahead of Sharp and Crawford. He may not do any better than they have early in the game but he deserves the chance. I will admit a couple times Crawford got nailed the second he was handed the ball so I don't know if whoever is carrying the ball is the issue. Also, I saw Crawford throw at least one good block so I am not ready to write him and Sharp off yet.Results so far however indicate Quigley deserves a shot earlier in the game. Maybe his pounding can soften the defense for the speed and quickness of the other two guys.

Joe Ross 11 years, 2 months ago

Ill tell you what: no matter WHO is running the ball, we have got to get better production in the ground game. If they wanna stack the box, play smashmouth football and cram it down their throats. What happens when a team defenses the passing AND running games well? We will not have had much success running the ball well if this continues, and a game against a team like that would be woeful. You have to run the ball.

kansas22 11 years, 2 months ago

Referring to plotku's comment, all that I saw from the rookies is Talib play pretty decently (considering it was his first nfl game of his career). He came really close to an interception but mistimed his jump pretty badly. In turn, the receiver he was guarding caught a touchdown. Other than that, he only had one tackle listed in the box score but played good defense on a big 3rd down stop for the bucs and I think Gruden is going to give him plenty of play time down in Tampa. Now, about Quigley, I think that he is the best running back on the team. Jocques has showed a total of nothing so far. Of course, I am not just going to write him off this early because he obviously has talent and has plenty of time to show us what he's truly capable of, but I always thought Quigley looked really good in the limited touches he got in trash time last year and he has been the best RB by far in the games so far this year. To say the least, Quigley deserves to split carries with Sharp and Crawford.

railer1122 11 years, 2 months ago

I'm saying play Crawford. He has good vision and speed. If you don't play him the USF game play him vs Sam Houston St. Get his confidence going. This game could be good to run on, their front four is small but really quick. And linebackers aren't as good as in the past.

number1jayhawker 11 years, 2 months ago

two botched holds for extra points in as many weeks. Maybe we should start thinking about replacing Kerry with someone else, maybe the punter like in years past.

Jeremy LeMaster 11 years, 2 months ago

I like have a backup QB as the holder becaue it keeps the threat of a fake a reality. What about Tyler Lawrence? Has he had a redshirt or is he redshirting this year (He is not listed on the roster as a RS-SO)? Another option is Kale Pick (I hope he is redshirting this year though).Just my thoughts.

Lance Hobson 11 years, 2 months ago

Reesing's receivers had at least three drops as well. The guy was pretty much perfect.

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