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Monday, October 19, 2009

Dugan Arnett’s KU football notebook

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McDougald playing offense, defense

A day after Kansas University wide receiver Bradley McDougald made a short cameo at defensive back in a 34-30 road loss to Colorado, KU coach Mark Mangino said the true freshman from Dublin, Ohio, will play both offense and defense for the remainder of the season in an effort to add depth to a struggling secondary.

“He understands the mechanics of how the game’s played, and that’s why we’re able to give him time on both sides of the ball,” said Mangino, whose 5-1 (1-1 in the Big 12) team will host No. 25 Oklahoma next Saturday. “But we’re not going to overdo it, we’ll be careful with that.”

McDougald, a four-star recruit in the Class of 2009 according to Rivals.com, played running back and safety as a prep. Originally signed to play at Ohio State, he switched his decision to Kansas just before last spring’s signing day, at least partially because KU provided the opportunity to play on the offensive side of the ball.

Run game a concern

While Kansas’ final rushing numbers were certainly swayed by five Colorado sacks that resulted in a loss of 50 yards, the team’s running backs never managed to find a groove as the Jayhawks finished with -8 rushing yards in their worst ground performance of the season.

“Obviously, none of us are pleased the way the run game went last night,” Mangino said. “I think more than anything, our offensive line was not sharp. I don’t feel like we blocked some movements the way we’re capable of, and there were a couple of guys on the offensive line that did not play well, for whatever reason.”

In addition to giving up a season-high five sacks, the line failed to create holes for running back Jake Sharp, who was making his first start since the team’s Sept. 19 game against Duke. Sharp carried the ball 13 times for just 37 yards and didn’t record a run longer than five yards, while backup Toben Opurum finished with just three yards on two carries, despite the fact that Kansas entered the game averaging 189.2 rushing yards per game (fourth in the Big 12) and Colorado was giving up a conference-worst 4.5 yards per carry.

“That unit has been getting better and better every week, and it took a little bit of a step back (on Saturday),” Mangino said of the offensive line. “So we’ve got to get it back on track. We’ve got to give them a lot of looks and a lot of movement and a lot of different blitzes and let them go to work on it and get better.”

Mangino sees respect

Although he is in no rush to make it a common occurrence, Mangino said Sunday he considered the reaction of the Colorado fans — who rushed the field following Saturday night’s game — as a sign of respect for the progress his program has made in recent years.

“We’ve come a long way,” the coach said. “People want to beat us. We get everybody’s best shot now. We don’t sneak up on anybody. We’re circled on everybody’s schedule, and that’s good, we aspire to be that kind of team.

“Now, we’ve just got to prove that we can play at a high level week in and week out.”

Comments

KUFan90 10 years, 3 months ago

Opurum 3 yards on 2 carries, one of which was a 1 yd TD. Why was he ignored? Sharp obviously was still shaking off the rust...why not give Opurum a series or 2.

Jonathan Briles 10 years, 3 months ago

I agree, I do not know why sharp was even in the game let alone getting almost all of the carries. He should have been let back in kind of easy and get a few carries here and there, but not getting the majority of the carries. Toben has been doing a fine job and I hope that he gets more tries next week. He is a fantastic back. I love sharp and think that he has his moments but it was not a good decision to play him saturday. Not only is Toben a better option against colorado but he is also a better pass blocker and we really needed protection last week. I hope we make better decisions this week.

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 3 months ago

a very odd game. we couldn't run the football, against perhaps the worst run defense in the league. we finally turn somebody over...and then we can't stop turning it over ourselves.

we have a 2nd and goal at the one...and we decide we have to throw the football to score. we shun an easy three points with 4 minutes plus in the game, that would have allowed us to only kick an FG to win with maybe seconds in the game.

the goals are all still there to reach, but we have to start playing good all around football now. no more excuses. the young, new athletic guys need to get it done on defense...and we need to crank it up on offense.

OU will come in here, staring at 3-4 with a loss. let's pin it on 'em....and make them question their season, instead of us.

InfiniteJ 10 years, 3 months ago

Don't be surprised to see Bradley McDougald transfer at the end of the year, especially if he ends up playing more DB than WR.

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 3 months ago

I don't know about that transfer possibility on McDougald. we have some good young DBs in the mix for next year...and we'll be needing experience at wideout.

besides, being versatile only enhances his chances at the next level.

Lance Hobson 10 years, 3 months ago

It was funny watching the CU fans rush the field, but I thought of it as an indication of how far they've fallen.

jayhawkintexas 10 years, 3 months ago

I sat two rows behind the bech at the game and Opurum injured his calf muscle early in the game. I don't know how serious it is but he had it taped most of the game. One thing I noticed is that there wasn't a lot of enthusiasm or "fire" on the sidelines until we went up 30-27, then the bench finally showed some life. Most of the time, the players were either standing around talking or sitting on the bench listening to the coaches.

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