Friday, October 16, 2009

Reesing has had success against Colorado

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing runs to the sideline in this Oct. 11, 2008, file photo against Colorado at Memorial Stadium. Reesing, who will return as a senior this fall, is expected to lead a potent KU offense.

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing runs to the sideline in this Oct. 11, 2008, file photo against Colorado at Memorial Stadium. Reesing, who will return as a senior this fall, is expected to lead a potent KU offense.


By now, it’s as well known to Kansas University football fans as the nickname “Sparky,” the gunslinger antics or the story about the undersized, overlooked quarterback from Texas getting a chance in the Land of Oz.

Ask anyone who the Jayhawks were playing the day Todd Reesing made his KU football debut, and it probably won’t take long to answer.

The day was Oct. 28, 2006, and 39,000 fans — seems small doesn’t it? — had filed into Memorial Stadium hoping to see the Jayhawks keep their bowl hopes alive.

Remember, this was before words like “BCS,” “Orange Bowl” and “back-to-back bowl victories” were accepted terms within KU football circles.

With the Jayhawks struggling against a Colorado team that finished the ’06 season with just two victories, then-fifth-year head coach Mark Mangino made a move that will go down in Kansas football history as arguably the greatest coaching decision of all-time.

Out went Adam Barmann, off came the red shirt and in went Reesing, a sparkplug with fast feet and a fiery spirit. Instantly, his presence lifted the Jayhawks, who turned a 9-0 halftime deficit into a 20-15 victory. Reesing tossed two touchdowns and ran for another while going 7-of-11 for 106 yards in the second half of that one.

Although he has moved on to bigger and better things since then — like being a three-year starter and leading KU to a 25-6 record in his 31 starts — Reesing still has fond memories of that fall Saturday in 2006.

“It stands out above other games,” Reesing said recently. “Because it was the first one. But I’ve played so many games in the last few years now that that first one, especially in a season that ended up not having a whole lot of meaning, kind of gets lost in the cards a little bit.”

KU went on to win its next two games that season and did become bowl-eligible. But the Jayhawks were not invited to a bowl. The next year, with Reesing under center, the Jayhawks went 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl.

Reesing has done damage to just about every opponent the Jayhawks have faced since he took over. He also has had his share of struggles against a few teams. But he has yet to play a poor game against the Buffs.

During KU’s Orange Bowl season, in a 19-14 win in Boulder, Reesing finished 20 of 29 for 153 yards and a TD. Last year, in Lawrence, he was 27 of 34 for 256 yards and a TD.

While those numbers don’t exactly stand up to what Reesing has done with his arm thus far this season — 133 of 192 for 1,579 yards and 13 TDs — he also has delivered a blow to the Buffs with his feet. In three meetings with Colorado, Reesing has averaged a little more than seven carries per game and has torched the CU defense for 207 yards and a touchdown.

“Just because it’s worked out that way the last few years has no reflection on what’s going to happen this Saturday,” Reesing said. “We’ve had a good streak here the last few years, but I’m sure they’re looking forward to a chance to get us back for that.”

It’s not so much that Colorado is looking forward to facing Reesing again. In fact, if CU coach Dan Hawkins had it his way, he’d just as soon never see Reesing in the opposing huddle again.

“He’s a really good player and he’s very competitive,” Hawkins said of Reesing. “He’s got a good arm, he can run and he’s got all the intangibles. He’s in a nice package, he’s got nice players around him and they do a great job with him. It’s all the above. There’s a reason they’re playing well and they’re ranked and he’s one of the better quarterbacks in the country. He’s got the whole deal.”

Asked how his 1-4 Buffaloes might minimize the Todd Reesing effect, Hawkins did not mix words.

“You can’t neutralize a guy like that,” he said. “You try to do what you can to slow him down and play good football. But he’s too good.”

The irony of Reesing’s final meeting with Colorado — 6 p.m. Saturday at Folsom Field — is that Hawkins and Co. find themselves in a situation similar to the one Mangino and the Jayhawks faced in 2006.

In last week’s loss to Texas, Hawkins benched junior starter — and son — Cody Hawkins and replaced him with sophomore Tyler Hansen, a more mobile QB who burned his red-shirt season by playing against the Longhorns.

Like Reesing in 2006, who said he didn’t hesitate when asked to give up the red-shirt, Hansen also jumped off the bench without pause.

“Coach had talked to me about (playing) the week before and had asked me if I’d be OK with it if they needed me,” said Reesing, recalling the sequence leading up to his KU debut. “And, of course, I was. I wanted to make the most out of every opportunity I had to play. I knew that was a chance for me.”

Jayhawk football hits road in Big 12 play

The Jayhawks are headed to Colorado to take on the Buffs in their first conference road game. KU looks to remain undefeated after Saturday night's game.


hometownhawk 11 years, 1 month ago

"...then-fifth-year head coach Mark Mangino made a move that will go down in Kansas football history as arguably the greatest coaching decision of all-time."

You sure about that? We burned the redshirt off the greatest QB in KU history for a couple games in order to qualify for a bowl, to which we never got invited. So no, it was not the greatest coaching decision of all time, because it would be pretty nice to have Todd back next year. Not that MM could have known that we wouldn't get to go to a bowl, but playing those games cost us a potential whole season with Todd.

William James 11 years, 1 month ago

100-Do you plan on posting Lets beat or Just beat followed by our upcoming opponent this whole season on every football article the Lawrence Journal World throws out there. If so, may I ask why?

lv_jhwk 11 years, 1 month ago

Hometown, I thought similarly at one time. But I have a different outlook now because of one simple belief...the '07 team wouldn't have had as good of a season as it did if Reesing didn't have those few games of experience. I am convinced that he was able to prepare for that season completely differently knowing what to expect rather than if he was still green as a redshirt freshman. In fact, without that opportunity having presented itself, I'm not sure he beats out Meier for qb that next think about how that alternative universe might have played out by now!

Robert Brock 11 years, 1 month ago

Mangino made a bold decision which turned KU's fortunes around. Very un-Terry Allen.

eastcoasthawk 11 years, 1 month ago

Hometown, I would suggest you go and read this blog about this subject. I would agree with that statement.

yates33333 11 years, 1 month ago

With the possible exception of Hadl Reesing is the greatest quarterback in KU history. Hadl played halfback early on and was a superb punter. As pure QB Reesing is better.

d_prowess 11 years, 1 month ago

There is no way we perform as well as we did in 2007 if Sparky doesn't win some of those game in 2006. Not even a question!

GridironHawk 11 years, 1 month ago

"Best" can mean things to different people. I tend to agree that Reesing is the "Best" QB KU has ever had. That's not to say he's the most talented or that he will play in the NFL. It just means he has done the most with his time at KU. The intangibles he possess are unmeasurable. I like to call it the "IT" factor. Some althetes have it, Chalmers comes to mind, and some don't. Also, I would love to have another year with Reesing but I don't think he would have even had a shot at the starting job in '07 if it wasn't for his performance in '06. Who knows, without that burning of the redshirt, Reesing might have never started a game for KU. Barmann might have even been a better practice QB which is why he was in there in the first place. Many argue that Meier could be drafted higher as a QB but I for one wouldn't bet against Reesing and his IT factor...

Kevin Holt 11 years, 1 month ago

In hindsight it was a mistake to burn the shirt for the CU game, b/c we didn't go bowling in 2006...

It is impossible to say that we would not have been as successful in 07 without Reesing playing against CU.

If you all remember, it's not like Mangino put Reesing in against CU and then he ltook over for the rest of the year...the following week versus ISU Meier started and took more snaps; the next week vs. ksu, I don't even remember Reesing playing and the last game vs. fizzou, meier played most of the game, although, I remember him appearing injured and being pissed that we weren't playing Reesing after burning the shirt.

No question about the fact that Reesing, Meier, and Mangino are great and invaluable to the KU football program and it's success. But sugarcoating the mistake of 2006 doesn't change the fact that it turned out to be a mistake. Of course, things have turned out well so there's not much point to bemoaning the fact either...yet! We'll save that for next Sept/Oct when we can evaluate the next KU QB.

jhokfan 11 years, 1 month ago

Going into 2007, Meier and Reesing were neck in neck for the QB job. Kerry had some slight injury issues but I believe it was Todd’s performance the year before that prompted Mangino to start him. It’s convenient hindsight to wish that Mangino had not burned his redshirt so we could have him for another season.

100, I like your mantra.

Kevin Holt 11 years, 1 month ago

No question it's convenient hindsight. But if you believe that Todd's performance in 2006 was the key to his winning the job in 2007, then why did Meier continute to start in 2006 after the CU game?

Alan Halvorsen 11 years, 1 month ago

Because of Ed Warriner, that's why. Reesing runs the spread better....along with the experience he had from 06 it was just impossible to not make him the starter.

Kevin Holt 11 years, 1 month ago

Because of Warriner, Reesing started in 07...I think you mean.

I'm not arguing that Reesing wasn't the better choice. I just don't understand why people think that 2 quarters of football vs. CU in 2006 was worth a whole year.

okiedave 11 years, 1 month ago

fabio, 100 is just trying to keep us focused on what is ultimately important. The rest is simply trivia.

okiedave 11 years, 1 month ago

By the way, we are going to need focus. Colorado has had some problems, but they are in the same position we were in in 2006 when K.U. was having difficulties and Mangino was on the bubble and took Reesing's red-shirt off when we were down 9-0 at home against Colorado. K.U. was guided by Reesing to win the game. Now Hawkins is on the bubble and Hanson's red-shirt has been removed and he will see if he can win at home against Kansas. C.U. will be pumped because the players will feed off of new energy from a more mobile and faster Hanson and because they probably did not like the paternalism between father coach - son QB combo. Tomorrow we have a tough game against some good athletes. Hopefully, history will not repeat in reverse.

JBurtin 11 years, 1 month ago

There's no two ways about it. Burning the redshirt was not a mistake.

Without the experience in 2006, the coaches wouldn't have known what Reesing can do in real game situations. He would have been an interesting prospect in practices, but there's no way he wins the starting job in '07 and no way that Meier becomes the stud receiver that we've all come to know and love.

That game put us where we are today and gave us enough credibility to pick up enough talent to keep us competitive for years to come. Next year we'll have an offensive line that averages well over 300 lbs with a runningback that looks like a future NFL back and a quarterback with moves that could shake any linebacker in the Big Twelve right out of his shoes. We'll likely have to depend on the run to get the passing game going next year, but we have the tools in the box to get that done.

Thank you Reesing. The best recruiter we've ever had.

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