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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Goal-oriented

Jayhawks’ focus is on winning North Division title

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing is interviewed during Big 12 Media Days on Tuesday in Irving, Texas. Reesing said he isn’t surprised KU is picked to finish second in the Big 12 North.

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing is interviewed during Big 12 Media Days on Tuesday in Irving, Texas. Reesing said he isn’t surprised KU is picked to finish second in the Big 12 North.

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2009 Big 12 Media Days

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2009 Big 12 Media Days

— When you have been playing football at Kansas University for three years, as Jayhawks quarterback Todd Reesing has, you learn to temper your expectations in matters of media affection.

And so, when Reesing was asked during Tuesday’s Big 12 media day whether he was surprised the Jayhawks weren’t picked to finish first in the conference’s North Division despite a promising roster of returning players, his answer was an unequivocal “No.”

“After being here for a couple of years at Kansas, you start to accept the role of underdog,” said Reesing, smiling. “And you realize that you’re probably not going to get picked for anything.”

As usual, expectations — at least those outside Lawrence — are modest for the Fighting Manginos on the eve of 2009. If recent media projections come to fruition, the Jayhawks will turn in a second-place showing in the Big 12 North. Nebraska will advance to the conference’s championship, and the Jayhawks will get an extra week of rest before heading off to their designated bowl game.

Of course, Kansas’ players point out, that’s if those projections come to fruition.

Despite their unencouraging views, the preseason prognosticators have done little to rattle the collective focus of a team that — with the return of 15 starters, including nearly every offensive skill position player — has determined that nothing less than a Big 12 North title will do.

From the moment the Insight Bowl concluded last New Year’s Eve in Arizona — literally, while players were still on the field — talk was immediately centered on the team’s quest to advance to December’s conference championship in Arlington, Texas.

And in the months since, that goal has become well-entrenched within the program’s collective consciousness.

“Daily,” said senior receiver Kerry Meier, asked how often the North title comes up. “... We emphasize the whole offseason program toward winning the North. Not necessarily just getting to the (conference championship), but winning (it). It’s something that we’ve bought into daily.”

Everywhere you look this offseason, that goal is evident.

On T-shirts. On posters. On billboards overlooking I-70, alerting a steadily growing fanbase that, in 2009, “History Awaits”. And while “history” in this case is not overtly defined, it is safe to assume that given their singular focus this offseason — as well as Mangino’s well-documented desire to “compete for championships” — it is in reference to a first-ever outright North crown.

“It’s one of our slogans every day,” said senior safety Darrell Stuckey, a preseason all-Big 12 selection. “We see it everyday on the wall or on the T-shirts. I think it’s one thing we know we have to do to really establish ourselves as a top tier program in the Big 12 North.”

On Tuesday, Mangino was asked about his team’s perceived “window of opportunity.” With a senior class as talented as any in recent memory and a once-in-a-generation quarterback who’ll be playing his final season of college football, now — it was suggested — is the time for the Kansas Jayhawks.

And it is with this mentality that the team enters an ’09 season it is convinced has the potential to be special.

“This year, we can honestly say we have a legitimate shot to win the North,” said Meier. “And we’re excited to get out and try to do it.”

Comments

Dirk Medema 10 years, 6 months ago

Todd is seen as a "once-in-a-generation quarterback" only because our program is not seen as a program yet. Harrell, McCoy, Bradford, Tebow, Daniel, ... all put up big numbers, and might have some media hype as being "once-in-a-generation quarterbacks", but the expectation is already that Potts, Gabbert, etc. will put up significant numbers as well, because other schools are seen as having programs.

Expectations aren't low just for the team. They are low for the whole program. As excited as I am for this '09 FB, I'm hoping that we get some big early leads so next year's starters can get some game reps and be that much more prepared for next year. That's what will build a program and expectations.

phogthedog 10 years, 6 months ago

Does anyone know where you can get "Fighting Manginos" shirts? We should ALL have them for the games this fall.

Ted Toulouse 10 years, 6 months ago

I agree with you dagger. I hope, for the sake of the program, that Todd is NOT a once-in-a-generation quarterback. I am so thankful for what Todd has brought to a program that needed a signature quarterback. But having his fire and competitiveness in a prototypical body frame would be scary, and not out of the realm of possibility for our recruiting ability. Todd will always be remembered as THE quarterback that put the Mangino era of KU football on the map. But for the sake of the program, I hope that Todd isn't the best player to every play under Mangino.

Thank you in advance for your HUGE contributions to KU Todd - go out with a few more trophies to your name!

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 6 months ago

our Sr. leadership couldn't be much better this year with Meier, Reesing, Sharp and Stuckey. Three homegrown Kansas kids...and the pint sized, record setting, nobody wanted him in his homestate Texas QB.

these guys have seen it all at Kansas...disappointment, big time wins, and the resurgence of a budding solid program. This is their signature season...and they won't waste it.

i can't wait!

troutsee 10 years, 6 months ago

And I can't wait either. Our defense is going to be better than expected and, barring injury to Reesing, we should win the North. Each game will give us an opportunity to measure this team. Defense will be the key for every team in the B-12. If our defense comes through, we could easily win the B12.

Jaminrawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Todd Reesing is the guy that jumpstarted the program, with a little credit having to go to Bill Whittemore as well. I just hope his work ethic, fire and swagger has rubbed off on guys like Webb, Pick and Matthews. All of the scouting evaluators compare Webb pretty favorably to Reesing in his attitude and his aptitude in the spread offense. Still, let's not get ahead of ourselves and what could be an amazing season.

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Not to be negative, but unless we can pick up wins against primarily TT & Nebraska, we won't have a shot at winning the north. And don't count Colorado out of the picture this year. Their entire offensive line was either desimated by injury or academic issues. I don't believe they started a single starting offensive lineman last year. They are going to be the "dark horse" in the north this year, not Kansas. We need to take care of business against those three schools for sure. Only then will Kansas win the north this year.

orbiter 10 years, 6 months ago

NebraskaJayhawk-- Thanks for the insight! I didn't realize we need to beat Nebraska, the North favorite, in order to make a run at the Title. Interesting. Thanks for tempering my excitement. Wasn't sure how the Title was settled, but I sure didn't think it was winning games. I've learned something today. You sure know your football! Thanks again.

Joe Ross 10 years, 6 months ago

I like Manginos approach. Just worry about the next game.

Chad Dexter 10 years, 6 months ago

Is is me, or was there a bit of sarcasm in orbiter's post. ROFL

As for the North, I am excited that we have a shot this year (as good or better than we have ever had) to win it. But I think the history awaits slogans are a little premature. I mean, I understand that it makes perfect sense if this team pulls it off. But what happens if they don't? Then that becomes a joke for rivals.

In any case, I am just glad that Mangino has built (and is still building) this program into a respectable one. Those Terry Allen years were painful for KU football fans. Thank goodness that is in the rear view mirror. Mangino has this program in a position to make history. Hopefully, they can pull it off.

sevenyearhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

OMG, what do we do when Jacque Vaughn leaves?

OMG, what do we do when Kirk Hinrich leaves?!

OMG, what will we do when Mario Chalmers leaves?!

Good programs reload ...

In Todd We Trust, but Believe in the Buddha.

Annette Lee 10 years, 6 months ago

I'm remembering last spring practice the defense dominated the offense . But the defense was exposed in the South Fla Game.. So HCMM says just keep sawing wood. .... So the games just have to be played, limit the injuries and maybe we get a bcs bid!! It could happen.. RCJH

sevenyearhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

thanks duck, you and I have come a long way, haven't we? ;D

where's your brother been, haven't seen him on the "other side" of the site in a while ...

bg_duck1 10 years, 6 months ago

i'm not sure why he hasn't been as active on the "other side" This is going to be the greatest season in Kansas Football history!

10 years, 6 months ago

It's very heartwarming to see the KU hard hat and Al Davis getting along so well these day :^)

10 years, 6 months ago

It's very heartwarming to see the KU hard hat and Al Davis getting along so well these days :^)

Beak 'Em!

yates33333 10 years, 6 months ago

dagger108 . I, too, hope he is the beginning of great QBs at KU. That said, remember that he is one of the best thus far in KU football history. He ranks with Hadl and a very few others historically. I know of none in the last fifty years that had the touch on a football pass that he has. In this respect he is better than Colt McCoy at UT, who isn't chopped liver. McCoy may be next year's Heisman winner. Wish it could be Reising.

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