Any time a college football coach starts nudging one of his players into the Heisman Trophy talk, it means the player’s obviously doing something right.
When coach Mark Mangino hops onto your Heisman bandwagon, it means you must be Superman.
“For him to go out of his way to mention that, which is kind of out of character for him, it’s pretty cool to see,” said Kansas University’s Todd Reesing, responding to Mangino’s assertion this week that the quarterback deserved to be in the discussion for college football’s most prestigious award. “Knowing that I have his support and he thinks highly of me enough to think that I deserve a mention ... is pretty cool.”
Pretty cool and a bit shocking.
Mangino, a historically ardent proponent of the team-first ethos, apparently has softened his stance on a “No Heisman Campaigning” based on the quick start of his spunky senior quarterback.
A day after making an unsolicited pitch for Reesing to be included in the midseason Heisman discussion, the coach said Tuesday that he’d spoken with a university media-relations official about sending out some printed material on Reesing and added that he would consider the possibility of mailing out a DVD featuring some of the player’s most outstanding plays.
At the same time, the coach reiterated his stance that Heisman voters aren’t easily swayed by the niceties of campaigns, insisting the award comes down essentially to one thing.
“For Todd to make a true run at it, we’ve got to win,” Mangino said. “We’ve got to win a lot of games. It’s all on us as a team as much as it is in his hands.”
Reesing could have multiple opportunities to showcase his abilities in front of national television audiences, with Kansas’ remaining schedule featuring three ranked opponents (Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas) and a matchup with rival Missouri.
In the meantime, Mangino urged reporters to keep perspective on the whole thing — “We’ve played five games,” he said — even as he simultaneously fanned the Heisman flame.
“It would be awesome,” said Mangino, asked what a Heisman Trophy winner would do for his program. “... But we’ve got a ways to go. We’ve got a lot of wood to saw before we get there. A lot of wood to saw.
“But we’ll see,” he added. “If it happens, we’ll be some happy dogs.”
Missing James Holt
For the most part, Mangino says, his team hasn’t felt the sting of losing three linebackers — James Holt, Mike Rivera and Joe Mortensen — who were among the conference’s best before running out of eligibility following the 2008 season.
With one exception:
“The guy that we miss the most is James Holt,” Mangino said. “Because James could play out in space, and he could come off the edge, and we don’t have anybody that can do that.
“As far as the two guys in the box, I don’t think the performance of those guys is much different than what it was a year ago,” he added. “In fact, our record would be exactly the same this year with those guys as it would be last year with the guys we have now.”