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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Mangino reminds of LHS great

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You can see a number of Al Woolard’s tutorial traits in Kansas football coach Mark Mangino. Granted, Mangino owns a far more explosive temper, at least privately, than the lower-key Woolard, whose Lawrence High teams ruled Kansas in the 1950s and 1960s.

But this pair’s insistence on the pursuit of perfection is much the same.

Jerry Rogers and Max Rife, who worked as Woolard assistants at LHS, said Al would have a team run a play over and over until it “got it right.” Then he’d say, “OK, now let’s do it again the same way, only better.” Same for Mangino.

Woolard, at least outwardly, never took victories too emotionally, and dealt with defeats the same even-keel way. He was always seeking improvement, ever-fearful of regression due to unrealistic satisfaction in triumph. Mangino is noted for the same approach, calmly accepting wins while insisting on better performances by continuing to “saw wood” steadily and productively.

Take Wednesday night’s KU Insight Bowl victory against Minnesota. The late-game Mangino grins and player-congrats were quite noticeable via television. But Mark didn’t show any feverish reactions despite the fact his players and teams have accomplished numerous notable feats during the past two seasons.

Overriding Mangino’s obvious pleasure was his pronouncement that there still is a lot of wood for his program to saw and stack in the trophy bin. Like tackling a 2009 schedule that again includes powerhouses Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech from the Big 12 South. Mark won’t allow himself much bubbling over until his Jayhawks win the Big 12 North, the overall title, wind up in a major BCS bowl again and win there. Like undefeated.

The goals are clear, as was always the case with Woolard. The personnel and facilities are lined up for such, and now is the time to get everyone on board for the kind of perfection such achievements will demand. In other words, “Let’s do it all over again, only better.”

A comparable attitude was that of KU basketball assistant Joe Dooley in the very first minute after KU won the NCAA title last spring. With everyone else howling, grinning and jumping, Joe looked deadly serious. Asked why, he responded: “I’m just trying to figure out how we can do this again.”

That’s the way Mark Mangino surveys the immediate future with an eye to making 2009 a more inspiring year than the 8-5 of 2008. Lordy, Mark, you beat Kansas State and Missouri and bagged a bowl title. Not good enough, he’ll tell you. There’s a lot more kindling to be lacerated and he’s already got the chainsaw whirring.

Pardon a bit of personal delight about KU’s 2008 season and the feats of one of its more dedicated players, Jake Sharp.

Late last summer the media were falling all over themselves to glamorize and glorify newcomer Jocques Crawford and pronounce Angus Quigley as a major force. All the while, Jake, who had rushed for more than 800 yards for an Orange Bowl title team, was akin to a poor relative, “too small and not durable enough.” I intervened for Sharp; you should have seen the derision.

Nobody except Jake and his family could have enjoyed his Insight Bowl actions and touchdown more than I. Cream rises to the top; class most always will tell.

Comments

JBurtin 11 years ago

Mayer seems to be comparing apples and oranges (no pun intended).He seems to think that having Crawford or Quigley run the ball would have meant that Sharp didn't win the starting job. I really think that since our offense doesn't use a true fullback that the big back spot is essentially a different position than the scat back spot that Sharp fills. He was obviously going to be our starting lightning, and the media and fans were arguing over who would be the thunder.My take is that even if Quigley or Crawford had carried the ball more times than Sharp this year, I would still have considered Sharp to be a starter at his position. As it turned out, both thunders stunk up the field and we were forced to play offense with nobody capable of filling that position.Don't get me wrong, Sharp's a heck of a player, and I think everybody knew that coming in to the year. But the fact remains that without a thunder to compliment the lightning our offense was less effective and a whole new set of plays designed to game plan around the lack of a big back had to be drawn up.In short, I don't think Sharp beat out the other guys for a starting position. A more accurate assessment is that Sharp ended up carrying parts of the load that were never intended to be his.

Dyrk Dugan 11 years ago

"In short, I don't think Sharp beat out the other guys for a starting position. "i disagree. Quigley never did run low enough, and Crawford couldn't help but bounce outside...and he would get nailed. Sharp clearly figured it out a lot faster than those guys...and therefore won the job. It wasn't until the Iowa St. game that he got it....but he did WIN it.I watched the Orange Bowl again over the weekend...and McAnderson was a marvel. Definitely the "thunder" ...but he had quick feet thunder. on one run deep in our own territory in the 2nd half, he took the ball and the line all went right. McAnderson took one step that way, and then immediately went left...because there was nobody there...and of course, he ran for about 20 yards. BMac had the sense of what was happening in the spread runs...and he could find the holes. Sharp now has that sense....and hopefully for next year, Crawford will figure it out too.

Warren 11 years ago

Now Njjahawk, Terry Allen's teams were much better than high school teams. 8 man football teams, and maybe not Smith Center, but still!

Dirk Medema 11 years ago

Nice article. And thank you for the not too in your face I told you so. After last year, Jake wasn't given nearly enough attention heading into this year. My guess is they are still looking for a big back to carry the load (ball and blitzes).The one small point of disagreement is in calling TT a powerhouse. OU - check, UT - check, but TT is no more a powerhouse than mizzoo or we were last year. They had a good year, but one year does not make a powerhouse, nor does being in the right (or wrong) division (not) make you a powerhouse.My favorite quote is still from Kerry while still on the field last week, and probably reflects the message that Mangino has been impressing on them - We missed a lot of opportunities for success on the field this year. That gives me lots of confidence going into next year. I wish we could see the senior leadership (Todd, Kerry, Stuckey, ...) work/drive this group thru the off season. That will be the difference between a major bowl and another 5 loss/tigger season.Rock Chalk

beebe1 11 years ago

Woolard was a great LMHS coach. But the guy who set the standard was Chalmer Woodard. He was promoted to Wichita State, then ultimately to Texas. Must be too old time even for our old timers. He set the standard for being good to the players, concerned about their condition and health. And the famous Wichita HS challenge game in the dead of winter showed our whole crew with white cloth gloves, and Wichita had nothing. He was sort of a football genius, but got in trouble in Texas when he didn't believe in bending the rules of scholarships that much.Give Woolard his credit. Give Woodard his credit, too.

JBurtin 11 years ago

"i disagree. Quigley never did run low enough, and Crawford couldn't help but bounce outside...and he would get nailed. Sharp clearly figured it out a lot faster than those guys...and therefore won the job. It wasn't until the Iowa St. game that he got it....but he did WIN it."I guess you could say that he won the position in the sense that he won the right to have more carries than the other two backs. Like I said, I have nothing against Sharp. In fact, I was beside myself with glee when he committed to us.I guess I just take the stance that him winning more carries over the other two backs is kind of like Kerry Meier winning the right to catch more passes than Tim Biere. The two players aren't competing for the same position, yet they sometimes have perform essentially the same duty for the offense. If Meier had not performed well then perhaps Biere would have caught more passes to get the chains moving, but that wouldn't mean that Biere beat Meier for the position. It would simply mean that the coaches had to get creative to figure out how to move the chains with a different style of player. I don't think that this takes anything away from Sharp, he is what he is and I think everybody knew that he was good at being what he is before the season ever started.

kranny 11 years ago

Jburtin,"I guess I just take the stance that him winning more carries over the other two backs is kind of like Kerry Meier winning the right to catch more passes than Tim Biere. The two players aren't competing for the same position."You might need to clarify this a bit. If Sharp is getting more carries, it means he beat out the other two backs. At least that's the way I remember it in football. And by the way, Meier is a WR not a Tight End. The comparison you make doesn't make any sense.

Hawkish4bigM 11 years ago

Just to put things in perspective when a team has a great back, does anyone remember Okie States best season when they had Barry Sanders? I don't either. I think three losses. So a great back with good blocking is still just a part of the package. One would hope you would have a great back with great blocking. If I had to chose though between one or the other I would rather have a good back and great blocking and great blocking schemes.

JBurtin 11 years ago

KrannyI was continuing with a line of thought from an earlier post. They only make sense if you read them together.

jahawkdave 11 years ago

JB, It's called a depth chart and the person at no 1 at that position is Jake Sharp. He won the starting position over players that play the same position, plain and simple. I didn't see anyone else carry the ball at the Insight Bowl.My one ? From the season is in the OU game after we had great success with Sharp taking us down the field for a couple series. He is not even in the game or used for the next two KU posessions. I never understood the reasoning for not having him in, in a close game after he had lead us to a couple fairly easy scoring drives. I do think Mangino was uncertain about how and how much he could use Sharp for the first have of the season. Now will one of the stores please put some #1 jerseys online so I can buy one for my son!

JBurtin 11 years ago

I just don't think a conventional depth chart tells the whole story about what we're trying to do on offense.Mangino wants to have a big back to carry the load, and a scat back for a change of pace.There's little doubt that we change what we do offensively when we have a small back in the game as opposed to a big back. Therefore, my take is that it's essentially a different position. Feel free to disagree, I really don't have any reason to argue about it, it's a matter of semantics and it doesn't change anything that Sharp was able to accomplish this year.

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