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Friday, July 31, 2009

Mayer

Jayhawks quietly confident

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The 2009 Kansas University football contingent exudes a quiet confidence but so far hasn’t shown any tendencies for hot-doggery. Hope it stays that way. This seems to be the kind of group, from the coaches on down, that is willing to let its performance do most of the talking. Show-offery not required.

Sure, quarterback Todd Reesing sounds quite positive in his evaluation of the Jayhawks and their potential. You’d expect the mainspring of the operation to be a little outgoing. But you don’t get, so far at least, any brash and boorish predictions from the likes of Jake Sharp, receivers Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe and defensive whiz Darrell Stuckey. They know how good they are and plan to show it, not yap about it.

Front man Mark Mangino takes the same low-key approach in addressing the season while minimizing poll ratings. He has established a dependable assembly-line rate of progress, admits his outfit could be pretty good, but stresses there’s still much to get done in the program. What’s important, says Mark, is the record after the Missouri game on Nov. 28. And down the line.

Not that the Jayhawks can’t or won’t get excited and celebratory when they do well. While Mangino continues to deliver those predictable, often dull public evaluations, he’ll be as bombastic as anyone when victories accrue. For all those bland presentations in media appearances, Mark has an explosive temperament that can bubble over with the best of them. He also loves the joy of victory. We’ve seen evidence of his inner fire in sideline fragging of errant players. Remember that infamous hassle with an official after he thought his son had been unfairly battered in a Lawrence High game? Mark can erupt.

Spring training in major-league baseball always finds daydreaming managers declaring they have all it takes to win their division, league and even the World Series. Same kind of optimism for college footballers this time of year. Kansas and Nebraska have legitimate reasons to believe they can win the Big 12 North, Missouri thinks it’s being underrated, and Kansas State is gurgling about good things with the return of Bill Snyder as coach.

Down south, at least four of the six league teams, headed by Texas and Oklahoma, are also thinking really big. They make valid points. What it amounts to is terrific excitement and enthusiasm in all the camps and among the fans.

Backing up to Kansas State, I’ve had two bankers, one with a K-State background, the other a KU follower, who’ve asked about the progress of the audit processes at KSU and KU — dictated by the fact president Jon Wefald and Robert Hemenway are history.

The biggest mystery is whether KSU will be stuck with that outlandish 2015-2020 “deal” of $3.2 million involving departed coach Ron Prince. How did that ever get by the president? Why? And what’s the status of the KU athletic program, which also should be covered in the required mandatory audit?

KSU coach Snyder says he’s perturbed about a report that indicates he might have received loot he didn’t deserve. He denies wrongdoing, says he even took less from the questionable $845,000 pot than he was due.

Any skeletons in KU’s closet? When do we find out?

Those bankers and the rest of us are like the gal in the old Wendy’s commercial asking about the beef: Where’s the audits?

Comments

suttonku 10 years, 6 months ago

this team will stay grounded and play with a chip on their shoulder because they do have something to prove to the Big 12 and the country...interesting thing I learned today was that Briscoe is listed as the kick returner on the depth chart...maybe that means his grades are improving...I hope so we need him big time this season.

Waylon Cook 10 years, 6 months ago

wow why is the LJW posting a story about the KU FOOTBALL program and not KSU?

Joe Ross 10 years, 6 months ago

There are lots of story lines this football season, especially in the North Division. Will Kansas finally win the north? Will there be resurgencies at Kansas State under Snyder and at Nebraska under Pellini? I wonder how Mizzou will rebound after losing a lot of talent. Jesse Newell wrote a piece featuring odds on Big 12 teams and Colorados struggle to come back after a down year called "6.5 wins and No Excuses...". Mayer points out the audits. I wonder what the future of the Arrowhead game will be (and if fans are warming up to the idea or not). Will Todd Reesing be competitive for the Heismann if the team performs well? What about McCoy and Bradford? Is Lietch's tirade another falling domino that will get people to really consider a playoff system?

To me, it's just great being a football fan at Kansas now and actually having an interest piqued because we'll be competitive. Mangino has done a wonderful job here, no question, but I commented somewhere about his weight issue. The best thing for KU football, indeed for Mangino himself, is to get it under control. I like the guy and wanna see him stick around at the helm. Maybe the MVP of KU football will be the doctor who performs a gastric bypass operation. (The preceeding comment is made with all due sensitivity to Mangino personally.) I agree with Mayer, that the Jayhawks look strong in the North but Manginos approach and shunning of the hype will be integral to success on the field, and I look forward to many of the questions this season holds being answered.

Are you ready for some football?

suttonku 10 years, 6 months ago

we will be competitive with Briscoe...we wont be as competitive without him...Yes I like Jonathan Wilson but his best year will be next year...I think we will beat either UT or OU this season, but if we dont have Briscoe then no we wont.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 6 months ago

Strong article - up until the audit business. Huh? Why would you even begin to insinuate that there are skeletons in KU’s closet?

Nice start, but really irresponsible finish.

merg311 10 years, 6 months ago

Suttonku-

Where did you see this depth chart? I've looked all over for it, can ya help me out? Thanks!

Dirk Medema 10 years, 6 months ago

Having watched mizzoo pull a Brad Smith last year makes me leary of getting too excited about our team this season. That being said, I think the 2007 season provides a snapshot (?) (Is that the word am I looking for here JRoss?) of the '07 - '09 seasons.

In '07, the pre-mizzoo games came far too easy and with far too little resistance, and definitely not against elite resistance. The first half of the mizzoo game was a cold splash of a wake-up call against an elite team. Fortunately, the team did learn and woke up for the second half, tho not nearly enough to completely salvage the game. It was enough to have them ready for the Orange Bowl, which nobody gave them much of any chance to win.

The '07 schedule was far too easy and with far too little resistance, but the '08 schedule was a cold splash of a wake-up call against elite team after elite team. It was great to see the changes during the year (Thornton to CB, Harris to NB, Patterson to CB, LT-RT switch, blitzing Holt, Briscoe deciding to play full speed - OU, Sharp to start, ...) and fortunately did culminate in the Arrowhead & Insight Bowl victories against the MU's.

I think '08 was enough of a wake-up to an elite schedule that we will be much more competitive this year. It is great that there are only a few question marks on each side of the ball, and you've gotta love Mangino's history with shuffling players (Tanner, Angus, AJ, ...). Maybe a 4-star or JC will even play big @ DE/LB/DB/RB this year.

When does camp begin? 5 weeks til UNC.

Roch Chalk

jhawk23 10 years, 6 months ago

Every time I read a Mayer column, I keep waiting for him to say, "whippersnappers," as in, "In my day, we wouldn't stand for these impetuous whippersnappers sassing their elders."

Arthur Hess 10 years, 6 months ago

Every time I read a Mayer column, I know he will take a jab at KU. What starts out as a nice article on KU football somehow ends up at the audit, At least Mayer is consistent...

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

I certainly hope there isn't dirt on the KU athletic department. What a way to tarnish a great era in KU sports.

Anyway, regarding Briscoe and the comments made about him in these posts.... What an athlete he is... BUT.. he is not the heart of this team and without him they still have a chance to do great things this year. If he isn't putting the time in to improve himself like others are doing, he may be surpassed in athletic talent by someone like Wilson. Kerry Meier & Jake Sharp are obviously working hard in the offseason to improve themselves and the team. What a difference maker Briscoe is on the field, but if he isn't working hard to improve, par is not going to cut it with this team and it's expectations.

Reesing is the heart & soul of this team...and the brains (at least on the field). Man, I can't believe this guy is a senior already. Mangino....do you ever regret pulling his redshirt off in that Colorado game???? Probably not. That game showed everyone in the conference the type of competitor he really is. But would it be something if he was heading in to his junior campaign instead of his senior? Can't wait to see what you do this year, Mr. Reesing.

Ben Kane 10 years, 6 months ago

yeah, i don't even read Mayer anymore, still enjoy the comments though.

I'm hopeful for a top 25 finish. BCS bowl would be great but it's too early to think about that. I agree with Sutton that we will pull off one of those upsets this year.

hometownhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Mr. Mayer, I'm sure Tom Keegan asked you to write about the football team's attitude entering the season and about the audits at KSU & KU. But I'm also pretty sure he meant for it to be 2 different articles. BECAUSE THEY'RE 2 COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TOPICS!!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?!

KUbsee69 10 years, 6 months ago

Back to the player attitudes ... speak not with the thunder of your voice, but the lightning of your actions !!!

pmohr13 10 years, 6 months ago

completely agreeing with everyone on how he can change the subject so drastically. I don't question many articles but I did find myself questioning that move.

KGphoto 10 years, 6 months ago

I'll give him, and LJW, the benefit of the doubt and pretend it's meant to be a Lawrence version of Paul Harvey. Where he just rambles through the topics and interjects a few odd stories between. Mayer is just missing a "Good Day" catch phrase.

ChicagoJHawk 10 years, 6 months ago

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE fire Bill Mayer!!!! His articles are always something negative towards KU, completely pointless, or just poorly written. He starts off with one topic and ends off on something completely different, without a smooth transition.

Anyway, maybe I'm not up to speed with the upcoming football season but can someone please explain to me why Nebraska is favored to win the North, or at least be a big contender for it? As far as I know they lost their quarter back & some other good players. Did they get some new recruits/new coach/what?

Joe Ross 10 years, 6 months ago

Chicago. "Just a suggestion." Why dont we keep it about football? Ditto for others. There was a protracted discussion in the comments section that had to do more with Mayer personally than anything having to do with football. While I certainly enjoyed it very much, many people came wanting to debate football...not Mayer. As another Mayer (John-type) said in a song: "Say What You Need to Say", just please dont make it so easy for the discussion to turn elsewhere. Id like to talk FOOTBALL. Anybody else?

KUFan90 10 years, 6 months ago

I like football talk. I find it interesting that Mayer and his banker cronies have nothing better to look forward to than financial audits of the University athletic program, demanding audit results and on the edge of their seats waiting to see if there are skeletons in KU's closet.

The other 99.99% of KU fans are looking forward to the bright promise of this year's football and basketball teams, counting the days to kickoff and Late Night.

They are like those crotchety old muppets that used to sit up in the box seats and throw a wet blanket on the festivities.

AllenTXJhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Kenneth Hillman 10 years, 6 months ago

NU is favored due to their schedule being easier than KU's. It will be a tight race for the North.

Joe Ross 10 years, 6 months ago

Ken youre absolutely right. I think Kansas just needs to worry about Kansas. Since we cant control Nebraskas schedule, we should control the only thing we can: ours! I think we even get Nebraska at home this year. If we win the North, itll be because we took care of business; if we dont, itll be because we didnt...no matter what Nebraska does or doesn't do.

ChicagoJHawk 10 years, 6 months ago

jross,

You have to admit, he's a bad writer...Whether or not you agree with what he's saying is one thing, but he always goes from one topic to another, to another, with no transition.

Anyway, about keeping the article to football. I had a question...maybe I'm not up to speed with the upcoming football season but can someone please explain to me why Nebraska is favored to win the North, or at least be a big contender for it? As far as I know they lost their quarter back & some other good players. Did they get some new recruits/new coach/what?

Joe Ross 10 years, 6 months ago

Chicago, I simply have a different opinion. Lets put it to rest by agreeing that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Back to football...

I think the buzz around Nebraska keys on several things. Zac Lee looks like he's going to be good at QB. Helu returns in the backfield and his presence makes the backfield very strong. But the defensive side of the ball is where the Cornhuskers are going to be stellar (when Pelini was hired the expectation was that the emphasis would be on defense. His NFL and NCAA resume is quite impressive). They are led by potential All American Suh. If you look at the Cornhuskers, there are some intangibles though. Pride is returning after the departure of Calahan. As a former interim coach and defensive coordinator, there's a comfort level with Pelini that translates in a very real way into fan enthusiasm. Alumni restrictions are loosened and that plays well with the fans. The excitement and the buzz around Nebraska is breeding confidence among the players. I dont think their schedule is "easy", but I think most people agree that it's more favorable than Kansas'. In addition, Chicago, nobody else besides Kansas just jumps out as a power. Nebraska may be the beneficiary of "down years" among other teams in the North, so why not pick em? They went 9-4 last year under Pelini and won the Gator Bowl. Yes, theyve lost some personnel, but the stagger may be made up by virtue of the fact that there are guys who have been in the program now with Pelini, and he's come out of the Calahans shadow much more quickly than say Self did under Williams (to compare apples and oranges). This team will look and play like a Pelini team. I have no issues whatsoever with people thinking that Nebraska will be at or near the top of the North division.

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Well said, JRoss. I ,unfortunately, agree with everything you are saying about Nebraska / Pelini. They are going to be tough this year because of their defense and their schedule is not as difficult as Kansas's. Pelini will not be satisfied with his team until they are a dominant force on defense in the NCAA. He has made such comments and he is very serious about it. Nebraska will be able to continue to draw big time recruits and under his leadership, will be a much improved team year in and year out until they are back to the prominance the program once was. That said....I hope we beat them at home again....and beat them handily.

djgratt59 10 years, 6 months ago

I almost broke my back-end when the article switched to auditing (from the change in direction). Auditing? What has that to do with quiet confidence?

Cade Butler 10 years, 6 months ago

Yup...nothing says "quietly confident" like the starting QB flooding the TV/radio ariwaves with statements such as, "We're ready to take our place in history. Now it's time to take yours."

I know this is part of their ticket-selling campaign, but claiming a season of "historical proportions" is the antithesis of "quietly confident."

suttonku 10 years, 6 months ago

Guys the depth chart is at jayhawkslant.com its a team site off of rivals.com...theres an article on rivals.com saying that Briscoe is listed as punt returner...Also, Quigly as of right now will be starting at LB...heres a link to the depth chart http://kansas.rivals.com/cdepthtext.asp now the depth chart there doesnt list Briscoe as KR but if you click on football the headline states that Briscoe is the KR...very interesting.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

jross,

"Why dont we keep it about football? Ditto for others. There was a protracted discussion in the comments section that had to do more with Mayer personally than anything having to do with football. While I certainly enjoyed it very much, many people came wanting to debate football...not Mayer... Id like to talk football."

Don't you think the discussion moving to the author rather than the content is more a reflection of the poor writing and not that of the posters' attention span? While I don't mean to do what you asked all of us not to do (move the discussion from football to the source of the article), Mr. Mayer has forced it upon me. I actually clicked on the link thinking, "this might be an intriguing piece," and I was actually drawn in after the first couple of sentences. However Mayer's inability to write a comprehensive article and instead jump from topic to way-off topic in almost everything he writes bothers me and, as it would seem, many others. I don't think wanting a singular thought in an article is too much to ask.

It bothers me for several reasons, but not the least of which is the fact that he is not asked to do much. He isn't researching -- these are purely opinion articles -- and he isn't writing everyday. How hard is it hold a thesis and complete the thought throughout? It bothers me because I can think of at least 30 posters (yourself included jross) who could write 1000 times better than this in the five minutes it takes each of them to type it out. What does it say about the football coverage when I have to turn to posters like you or sutton or many others to give me the information I need (and thanks to all of you, btw)? It's a shame that I get drawn into an article hoping for a solid discussion on football (which is sorely lacking on this site) only to end up frustrated by an incredibly poor piece of writing.

I want great football discussion just like you do. But Mayer really works hard to turn it about him rather than the subject.

But, regardless, I do apologize to you for taking it off the intended subject. I needed, however, to vent some frustration.

Rock Chalk.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Oh, and by the way, I did not get a chance to see the article the other day and did not have time to take part in the discussion on Mayer personally, so my venting appears in this piece.

My apologies to you once again.

SpockHawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Indeed, comprehension of Mr. Mayer's doobie-ous skills requires the ability to recognize the double entendre of particular snippits.

An example:

"he even took less from the questionable $845,000 pot than he was due."

Apparently, his connoisseur tendencies send him adrift - often.

"Nowhere am I so desperately needed as among a shipload of illogical humans." --Spock in 'I, Mudd'

ChicagoJHawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Thanks jross! U definitely answered a lot of questions that other friends of mine were not able to answer.

waywardJay 10 years, 6 months ago

Jross.... they have a point.... this is now three articles in a row that have been just misses or complete whiffs.... and there appears to be a pattern forming....

Sherron Article - Just in poor taste but had a negative left hook at the end.

Last football article - Great article, INsightful promising, but took a nasty nose dive in the last 3-4 sentences, claiming we were delusionally great. Oh , and a Nasty left hooko at the end.

This article, kinda rubbed me wrong from the begining... it had a little bit of a distasteful begining ( im not sure like the idea that all show boating is bad.... Aqib Talib talked ALOT on the field... and backed it up.... I think we can all agree we can use about 3-4 more Talib level players on this team..... ) and ended with a nasty low blow and possibly an ear biting.

They are right, I can think of several posters i would rather listen too right now. You being one included, and we both know you and I have had disagreements. Not trying to Hijack the conversation either, as LA said. It's kinda unavoidable, the way we love this university, we should have better than this. Not a rubber stamp, Not trying to stifle. There is no factual basis in this piece, it's an editorial. A blog post if you will.

dubya 10 years, 6 months ago

I'm a bit nervous when it comes to writing off Mizzou (as it seems many already are doing; fans and media alike). Don't get me wrong, I'm a Jayhawk through and through, but the successes they (MU) enjoyed the past few seasons likely resulted in some of their most talented recruiting classes, maybe ever, coming in; classes who will start to make their impact this year.

If ever a year to hold the 'Hawks to high expectations, this is it. But don't be to hasty to assume this will be a 2 team (KU, UNL) race for the North.

quill_46 10 years, 6 months ago

LJWorld doesnt talk about Kansas State because Kansas State sucks.

waywardJay 10 years, 5 months ago

dubya.....

If it were just one cog.... i would not write them off....

No booger, No cry baby, NO Saunders, No Coffman ( i respect the hell out of hiim ...even as a Moo player )..... Their offense is gone like our offense will be gone next year..... granted we have opurum and wilson coming back... and w'll get to see pick plenty ...... but thing is...we didn;'t get to see those guys last year for MOO.... because MOO has a tendancy to run up the score with their starters.....

The still have the PIG i believe, but that's about it....

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