Monday, November 23, 2009

Mangino going about his business

Kansas head coach Mark Mangino pats offensive lineman Jeremiah Hatch on the helmet during the second quarter Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009 at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.

Kansas head coach Mark Mangino pats offensive lineman Jeremiah Hatch on the helmet during the second quarter Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009 at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.


Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino long has prided himself on his ability to maintain focus in the face of a storm, so it’s not altogether surprising that he has spent the past few days going about his business as usual — even as speculation about his job security has swirled.

Despite an ongoing KU investigation into the coach’s treatment of players, Mangino said he has carried on as usual this week — showing up for his live radio show Thursday night, leading a Sunday afternoon practice, speaking with beat reporters via conference call Sunday — because he sees no reason why he would alter his routine.

“These are things that I do every week, and there’s no reason not to do them,” Mangino said. “This is what I do, and I’m comfortable doing it, and these are things that I do each and every week.”

The coach said following Saturday’s 51-20 loss to Texas that he expected to coach this weekend’s game against Missouri at Arrowhead Stadium. Asked Sunday whether he felt he has been treated unfairly in regards to the internal investigation being carried out into his treatment of players, Mangino said the situation was far from resolved.

“Answering you in an honest fashion, it hasn’t played out,” he said. “That’s how I feel about it. I really don’t have anything to comment. I want you to know that it has not played out. So I’m doing my job and getting ready to play Missouri. That’s a big game over in Arrowhead. It’s really important to our players, it’s important to our fans and important to our students. That’s what my focus is on.”

Mired in a six-game losing streak, Saturday’s regular-season finale against the rival Tigers will represent the Jayhawks’ last chance to gain bowl eligibility, something they’ve done in each of the past five seasons.

As they learned the hard way in 2006, however, six wins doesn’t always guarantee a bowl game — which means players will be using Saturday’s game to make a statement.

“It’s tough going into this last game knowing that even if you do win, you might not get that bowl game,” said senior defensive back Justin Thornton. “So we’re going to go out fighting and we’re going to do everything in our power to try to win this game in a convincing fashion.”

As always, players will have the added boost of Don Fambrough, the former KU coach who annually relays some of his anti-Missouri sentiments to team members in the days leading up to the game.

He’s expected to give a speech on the practice field at some point this week, and Mangino, for one, seemed excited at the prospect of what appears to be a particularly worked-up Fambrough.

“That’s our ace in the hole, Coach Fambrough,” Mangino said following Saturday’s game. “I want to tell you something: He was pacing all around the field this week, and I said, ‘He knows we’re playing Texas this week, doesn’t he? Because he’s got his Missouri game face on a week early.’ I’m telling you, when you get ready to play Missouri, he’s got his hands behind his back, he walks around the field about 90 miles per hour, and when he talks, he talks so fast you won’t know what the heck he’s saying.”

While Thornton admitted the events of the past week have no doubt represented a distraction, meanwhile — “At school, that’s all anyone wants to talk about,” he said — he also indicated that, evident or not from the outside, players are all pulling in the same direction.

“We’re together just as much as we were at the beginning of the season — if not closer together,” Thornton said. “I think we’ve handled it pretty well, and we’re united. We’re going to stick by each other no matter what. This is our team. We’re trying to end this little losing streak, and we got one more chance to do it.”

Opurum out against Missouri

Kansas University running back Toben Opurum will miss Saturday's regular-season finale against Missouri due to injury, Mangino said Sunday night.

Opurum, a true freshman from Plano, Texas, was injured early in the first quarter of Saturday's 51-20 loss to Texas and had to be helped from the field due to what appeared to be a leg or ankle injury.


KU running back Toben Opurum

Asked whether the injury potentially could require offseason surgery, Mangino said, “We don’t know that yet, and more than likely I would not reveal that because I don’t want to talk about injuries in depth to that extent. But it’s hard to tell. We know that he certainly can’t play this week. I will meet with the doctors probably Tuesday afternoon after practice, and they will inform me of what protocol there is.”

Through 11 games, Opurum is the team’s leader in carries (133), rushing yards (554) and rushing touchdowns (nine).

In his absence, sophomore running back Rell Lewis — who rushed five times for 43 yards Saturday — likely will see an increased workload behind starter Jake Sharp.

Mangino indicated that defensive end Jake Laptad, also injured against the Longhorns, likely will be ready for this weekend’s game.

Thanksgiving routine

As is the case every year, Kansas will alter its practice schedule a bit this week to account for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The team will practice Thursday morning, and players who live within a two-hour drive of home are free to leave campus that afternoon before returning for Friday-morning meetings.

In-state players, Mangino said, are encouraged to take out-of-town players home with them for holiday dinner.

“No player spends the holiday alone,” Mangino said. “If other families do not bring them in, our coaching staff and myself, we bring them to our homes to have holiday dinner so that no player spends the holiday alone.

“That’s the worst thing that could happen to a young guy.”


Blake Post 11 years, 2 months ago

Unfortunate that fans have to endure what administration has put on our table for thanksgiving not. I am not thankful for this investigation and its leak to the press. I am not thankful for the timing. I am not thankful that whatever happens, I will not know the true motivations and the true facts. Although I won't predict backlash toward KU, my school, for this investigation, I am feeling that backlash toward KU myself. I don't like what was done, the reasons I hear at this point, and especially the timing. Why don't you just destroy recruiting? That's what I hear. I don't like the way everyone seems to have jumped in the fire the coach boat fast and furious, without full info. I am thinking it stinks. It would take a lot for me to not buy season tickets next year. It is entering my thoughts. I am seeing some sour grapes. Speaking of fruit, I won't forget the oranges. Not that it justifies bad conduct, IF that is the case, but the Orange Bowl, something I thought I would never see, biases me heavily in favor of coach MM. And all of Missouri's sour grapes about that make it even sweeter. 76 on Nebraska? Get out of town. I would give MM 76 benefits of the doubt just for that. I have a hate on for NU more than the others, probably bc they chose to run up the score so much so many years. I will be looking for KU to clear MM unless I hear more than I have to this point. coaches yell. mine did. you don't always like what they yell. chances are, they are trying to motivate you. i don't like that method but they do it. Do I think the coach really means the things that some ALLEGED he said? doubt it. some stuff, you can't say, and if you do, you will have to go. but some things have been alleged and before you can judge that they were really said, there should be very credible proof. Allegations from disgruntled guys who didn't get to play is not very reliable.

I may not know, but I think this admin is getting in hot water bc all of the circumstances are stinking, with the AD chasing down stuff, the timing, the effects upon recruiting of bad timing. We still have a shot at a bowl. We have to beat MU, and then get chosen over ISU I think, who we beat. This administration is making me very angry bringing this while we are driving toward these goals. Certainly if it was a fire, you would put it out now. I don't think it is a fire.

Keep your eyes open. Don't rush to judgment. Require a high degree of proof. For me, MM brought me the Orange Bowl, and I thought I would NEVER see such a thing. Riggins said our ship was out to sea for 40 years and it finally came to port. Must have meant a lot for Riggins to say such a thing. It runs deep. If you are going to shoot the captain of that ship, it better be for %$^&*&^)^ # good reason and with unquestionable proof. The Jayhawk Nation must keep its eyes focussed and evaluate every single thing. We believe in fairness in the USA as shown in our Constitution.

minnhawk84 11 years, 2 months ago

Dugan: Thanks for a good article. As a Kansas Language Arts teacher ('84), I couldn't help but notice the misuse of "regards." (Asked Sunday whether he felt he has been treated unfairly in regards to the internal investigation) Should be "in regard." Just a long-term pet peeve of mine.........keep up the good work.

TrueBlue92 11 years, 2 months ago

It appears to me the football program itself is a victim of it's own success. Four straight years of better and better recruiting classes means a lot of once-big-dogs being replaced by younger players. We are perpetually young right now as frosh and sophs quickly penetrate the depth charts.

Lew doesn't need a reason to send Mangino packing. If he wants to make the change he should for the sake of the program. Where is MM's pay relative to the rest of the world? Is he performing at that level? He was not hired to be popular with anyone, he was hired to be a football coach. If he is not doing well on that, then he should be gone.

Additionally, the "D" has not been worth a crap since Coach Young left. When the head coach has to spend 95% of the time with the defense for half the season then there is a problem. When the head coach hires a defensive consultant to work with the defensive coordinator then there is a problem. That problem needs to be corrected. This was far too much talent to have the worst record in the league.

Finally, our players are not strong. There are only a few of the players which are beefier than the basketball team for goodness sake. Are we building track atheletes or a football team?? I think the weight and conditioning program needs to be corrected based on the lack of upper body strength based on tackling and the inability for our linemen to establish the line of scrimmage against such football powers as Kansas State and Iowa State.

Philip Bowman 11 years, 2 months ago

The photo above is one of Perkins' proof of "cause" for firing Mangino. He hit poor Hatch in head!

Jeff Hargate 11 years, 2 months ago

If what Mangino "allegedly" did was so bad why is he still coaching? Why not suspend him? I have a feeling that Lew has nothing and will fire him for a bad season. I guess OU should fire Stoops as well? He is the 2nd highest paid coach and is not performing like it. Did Lew want to make this look so bad that he would have no other option but to fire him? Bad form, Lew.

TrueBlue92, I hear you, but Bill Young had just as many bad years as he has good ones. Brent Venables at OU is supposed to be a defensive guru, but Bo Pellini was brought in as a co-coordinator to help him.

Watching the Texas game made me think that we need Mangino "coaching up" our guys. We are not as big or fast so we need intangibles to compete. Give 'em hell this week coach!

Phoggin_Loud 11 years, 2 months ago

I am a huge fan of HCMM, but the talent gap on the field Saturday night was blinding. Were the 'Hawks wearing lead shoes or did it just look that way? Briscoe was the lone exception. Coaching will only take you so far. Like Steve Spurrier once said: "It's not so much the X's and O's; it's the Jimmy's and Joe's."

Here's my question: Will HCMM be able to increase the talent level at all positions? He started with nothing 8 years ago and has done a wonderful job so far. But, he has not beaten UT, OU, or TTech. Can he get KU to the next level?

AZJHWK 11 years, 2 months ago

We all expected the program to build on the success of the Orange Bowl, but it hasn't. It all goes back to the coaches. If we do have better talent, then they aren't being coached up to their potential. If we don't have better talent, the coaches are the ones who made that decision. If the players parents did a poor job of bringing up their kids as MM asserts, why didn't the coaches see that when they sat down and talked to the kids in the home. I am tired of MM not answering even the soft questions he gets from the local media. I am tired of not know if someone is injured, or if they are being benched to "motivate" them. Of course the high sounding "respect of privacy" for not releasing injury info is nonsense. The high handed - how dare you ask - approach is ok if you have a legacy of winning, MM does not have that right. MM is an average coach at a University that shouldn't be satisified with average.

John Sheehan 11 years, 2 months ago

Throw this year out - it's on the players and they know it. The Seniors that were great as Sophs and Juniors have been a let down. It won't take away from their legacy but they are a big part of the reason we're 5-6 and a disappointment.

Some things to consider that we've done / done more regularly under Mangino:

  1. Best Year in History of Program
  2. Orange Bowl Win
  3. Regular Bowl Eligibility
  4. Beating Mizzou (especially last year)
  5. Beating K-State
  6. Beating Nebraska (putting up 76 was glorious)
  7. Put guys in the NFL

If the next guy can do that (and then some) without yelling at some players, fine. But this deal has been so mishandled by the KU Admin (Lew) that we are in danger of becoming just a basketball school again...very disappointing.

John Brown 11 years, 2 months ago

I see players ruffing each other up after making big plays or scoring touchdowns. Players helmet butt each other. Players take punishing blows from opponents as a part of the game. Texas Tech coach says that retaliation for telling someone something that they don't want to hear is a part of the game. Perkins is out of line for taking this to the media prematurely. This could potentially be our best recruiting year and Perkins shot the program I the foot. Perkins needs to be a big man and appologize to the fan base for his irrational exuberance.

GabrielMichael 11 years, 2 months ago

This is a witchhunt... Perkins was just looking for a reason to "open an investigation". This stinks.

To pull Kansas Football out of the toilet required and requires a different and rugged approach. They play a game that has violence, and that violence has to be inflicted rather than absorbed. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lew Perkins? Coach Mangino has a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Wright, and you curse the Coaches and coordinators. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what Coaches everywhere know -- that Wright's chest poke, while tragic, probably was required; and a coaches job, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, requires yelling and screaming and chest poking.

You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want Coach Mangino poking players in the chest -- you need Coach Mangino poking players in the chest.

We use words like "honor," "tradition," "loyalty." We use these words as the backbone of a life spent turning around a losing football program. You use them as a punch line.

Coach has neither the time nor the inclination to explain himself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the winning football program that he provides and then questions the manner in which he provides it.

Perhaps Perkins should rather just say "thank you" and go on his way.

ShazzyD 11 years, 2 months ago

jbrownjib, I totally agree. If the investigation doesn't find enough wrongdoing to fire Mangino, then Perkins needs to man up and apologize. If Mangino doesn't get fired, then all the blame for this fiasco falls squarely on Perkins.

rathrbgolfing 11 years, 2 months ago

Interesting that most all other coaches are staying mum or being cautiously supportive of Mangino. If this is his "style" and has been during all of his time at KU, didn't Stoops or Snyder see any of this when he worked for them? Leach even came out with strong support. Mack Brown was respectful in light of the progress made at KU.

Are the recruits that are pulling out doing so because they are afraid they would come to KU and be treated like football players or are they pulling out because the writing is on the wall that the coach that recruited them won't be here to coach them? Same question about players wanting to transfer - are they wanting to leave because they feel Mangino will be gone?

The timing and the public laundering of this are shameful and just keep KU in the spotlight for off the court/field activities - something that hurts not only the football program but everyone involved with the University.

slowplay 11 years, 2 months ago

I'd get rid of him just because he's a an embarrassment to the University. I hate to watch games with non-KU people, because win or lose, the fat jokes never end.

jhokfan 11 years, 2 months ago

If this was KU basketball we would fire the coach without debate. But it's not. I wish fans would put things in perspective. The Athletic Department at KU is designed for KU to succeed in basketball. We are still behind the curve when it comes to football.

GM, I like the cinematic reference.

100 11 years, 2 months ago

I posted this yesterday, but just making sure we all remember the soul of something very important...

For those of us wondering who we really are -- here's the answer, for all time -- no matter what year, decade or millenium.

rastameta 11 years, 2 months ago

Bravo jhokfan, bravo! You are right. Bob Frederick was the worst about it. He was a former basketball player and he refused to give football his full support. That is why our facilities sucked and that is why we had Terry Allen as a coach. I don't mean to berate Bob, he was a good man, just not a good AD. Lew Perkins is finally taking football seriously at KU and trying to make it into a winner and putting support behind the team.

People, stop jumping on his back about the way he has handled it because he has handled quite well considering what happened. He had to release a statement because the parents were going to go over his head to the press about MM if he didn't. He got out in front of it and he hasn't spoken since. He did the right thing.

Steve Brown 11 years, 2 months ago

don't open these if you are affended by X rated language.

different ways to define leadership & motivation.

I warned you don't open if profanity bothers you...who do you want to play for John Beluci, Bobby Knight you decide.

hawksince51 11 years, 2 months ago

I find it interesting that most of the grievances I have read about were from prior season players, back when we were winning. Now that we are losing, they mount an investigation even though most current players seem supportive of MM. I am guessing that a case is being made to at least raise the issue of a firing for cause with no buyout so as to enhance the Admin's buyout negotiations position.
What would make things really interesting would be to beat MU (always a great option!!) Sat., limp into a bowl game at 6-6 and then win it. But that is probably unrealistic so MM is probably toast before Xmas. Too bad.

Whiskers 11 years, 2 months ago

Jack Harry posited 3 possible coaching replacements for Coach Mangino on this evening's 6PM NBC Action News sports. I wasn't paying as much attention as I should ( I generally don't when jack Harry rants) and missed the list of candidates. Anybody out there see the broadcast and remember the names. I'd like to look them up and check out their qualifications. Thanks

tbetz 11 years, 2 months ago

true blue,

Upper body strength really has no bearing in terms of football. Football players need to be able to squat, dead lift, and clean. These are the exercises that are crucial to football strength. Think about it; all these lifts are in the same position you are in when you get ready to make a tackle or block. Who cares how much a guy can bench or how big is biceps are. Lower body strength is what matters in the game of football.

Bill Kackley 11 years, 2 months ago

tbetz if you don't think upper body strength is important you don't know anything about football, especially line play

tbetz 11 years, 2 months ago

I didn't say it wasn't important; lower body strength is the key though. Just because a guy can bench press 350 pounds or more doesn't mean he can block or tackle. I want a guy who can clean 350 pounds or squat 500 pounds. sure upper body strength can help, but lower body strength is the key. and by the way kackley is know about line play and football since I played that position in college

shelleysue 11 years, 2 months ago

100 - I will NEVER get tired of watching clips from that game. Best game I've ever seen - oh my gosh. Loved it. People talk about the weather that day but I didn't even notice!

Mangino is getting totally hosed and it's really too bad. And doing this to these seniors is unforgivable.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk, kill MU.

Gordon Penny 11 years, 2 months ago

NEWS FLASH: Fambrough hates Mizzou.

I just thought I would beat the presses and get this story out before the LJW prints yet another version of the same old tired story about how Fambrough hates Mizzou.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.