Sunday, October 25, 2009

KU’s Sharp playing hurt

Ailing KU running back has lost a step

Kansas running back Jake Sharp warms up before the Jayhawks kick off against Colorado Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009 at Folsom Field.

Kansas running back Jake Sharp warms up before the Jayhawks kick off against Colorado Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009 at Folsom Field.


Stagnant offense dooms KU football

Todd Reesing threw three interceptions in the first half of a game in which the Jayhawks just weren't clicking. Kansas dropped its second conference game to the Sooners.

The undisclosed leg injury that forced Kansas University running back Jake Sharp to miss nearly three games earlier this season has continued to hinder the player even after his return to the lineup, coach Mark Mangino said Sunday night.

“The fact of the matter is that he doesn’t have entire strength in that leg back yet, he just doesn’t," said Mangino, who originally said he'd wait until Sharp was 100-percent before putting back into the lineup. "And he’s just playing because he really is a tough kid; he wants to play, he wants to contibute. But it’s not where it was prior to his injury."

Since returning to the field against Colorado two weeks ago, Sharp has looked far from the player he was in the team's first two games this season, when he averaged 113.5 yards per game on the ground and looked to be playing the best football of his career.

He finished with just 37 yards on 13 carries against the Buffaloes and managed just 14 yards on seven carries in Saturday's 35-13 loss to Oklahoma, failing to record a rush for more than five yards in either game.

Sharp, who for the first time in his career was listed as the team's starting running back going into the fall, sustained the injury during a mid-week practice prior to the team's Sept. 19 matchup with Duke. At the time, Sharp was considered as day-to-day and was held out of victories over Southern Mississippi and Iowa State.

Asked Sunday whether the team's medical staff believes Sharp will return to 100-percent health before the end of the season, Mangino said he wasn't sure.

"We’re very hopeful of that, but I think that the type of injury that he has sustained does take time," he said. "He’s made some major gains in the healing process, and things are coming along. But it needs time. I think we just got to use Jake the best we can and keep his best interests in mind, but we’re hoping that over time it will improve greatly and give him a chance to regain his speed and ability to change direction that he had prior to the injury.”


Dillon Davis 10 years, 3 months ago

Sharp's a great guy and a good football player when he's healthy but if he's not able to run at the best of his potential, then he needs to not play. Opurum did great when Sharp was out, I think he had 100+ yds rushing in each of those games Sharp was out. He doesn't have the speed or jukes that sharp has but he runs hard every down and is a bulldozer. He's great for short yd situations when we need a first down and gets good yds after contact. I'm not against playing Sharp, but give Opurum most of the carries and let Sharp come in and spell him every now and then like Opurum has done for Sharp these last two games.

sdoyel 10 years, 3 months ago

So yeah, great job coaching staff! Let's use a banged up RB instead of a beast of a freshman who (up until OU) had scored a TD in every game. No wonder our run game sucked against CU. Opurum got a whopping 3 carries (and still managed to find the endzone).

Sharp is just too fragile to be an every-down back. Toben Opurum is the FUTURE AND the present.

GabrielMichael 10 years, 3 months ago

KU's football program will never take the next step with the sorry excuse for fans that we have... disgraceful.

Michael Leiker 10 years, 3 months ago

Gabriel. Not sure what you're referring to, but I thought our fans were ready to roll Saturday. I've been on the field for every game for the last 10 years and I've never heard it as loud as it was yesterday. Had to be 25% louder than I have ever heard it.

KUSmurf 10 years, 3 months ago

It was insanely loud on that near defensive stop we had when Oklahoma was 1st and goal at the 1 yard line or so. After that 3rd down stop, I couldn't even hear myself yelling it was so loud.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 3 months ago

Not sure how loud it was, since this was the first home game I've missed this year, but my buddy texted me to tell me the stadium emptied out well before the final whistle. That sucks! When are the seats going to stay filled until the end of a game?

Cody Stumma 10 years, 3 months ago


Well, with that type of performance... most students actually stayed until about the 4th quarter... when people knew the game was out of reach...

I don't blame them for that game... why stay when your team is getting routed. I stayed, but I'm just saying.

jayhawkboogeyman 10 years, 3 months ago

I will stay the whole game when the team stays mentally in the game the whole time. When you put in a third string QB to waste a possession when you are trying to come back against a tough opponent, you no longer deserve the crowd's support. If the team were tying to win in the second half, I would have supported their effort. (I was there the whole time, but mentally gone the minute Mangino threw in the towel and put in Cale Pick).

100 10 years, 3 months ago

Posted this before:

Keep in mind Kstate is 3-1 in conference right now, they've played one more in conference game than most of us. So here's the deal:

TT is as mad as we are right now (they got blown out by Texas A&M). However I believe we are much madder -- we can play much better & we'll be ready. If we take care of those guys next week, we'll be 2-2 in conference, essentially one game behind KSU.

Once we meet KSU, if we win, we'd have the same record, and hold the tiebreaker. They'll lose a couple more at least before all's said & done. Similar to the tough task we have at Texas (now let's not go crazy if we lose, lets just hope we play our best that's all we can ask of our guys).

My point is, it might look like KSU is way ahead of everyone in the North right now -- but it's an illusion, they've played an extra game & we still get our head to head matchup (which we must attack).

The point? If we do our best, we still control our destiny to the Big 12 championship game.

gardenjay 10 years, 3 months ago

Thank you 100, for your optimism. That's what carried me through KU football games our dark periods, which were not made worse by these boards to complain on. It was a lonely job, but the players rewarded their fans with some memorable games which many of us were recalling this last week. I will always think of this team - such a great bunch of young men, good attitudes, well coached. Rock Chalk!

sdoyel 10 years, 3 months ago

Hey, win our next two and the NU game is what we expected it to be from day 1. Decides who wins the North.

sdoyel 10 years, 3 months ago

Hey, win our next two and the NU game is what we expected it to be from day 1. Decides who wins the North.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 3 months ago

"he’s just playing because he really is a tough kid; he wants to play, he wants to contribute."

That's admirable determination, but if Jake's only healthy enough to get 2 ypc, then he will only be contributing to losses and not contributing to victories. Realistically, that's true no matter who the RB or opponent is.

FlaHawk 10 years, 3 months ago

KU has to beat TTech to have a chance for a North title. It is a week by week process and KU has to play better than they have all year to beat TTech. Forgot KSU, UT, NU and MU for now.

With a "dull" Reesing OPurnum can not get 40 yeards a game. KU needs a healthy Sharp but probably will not happen during regular season.

Light is going out on KU chances for a bowl game much less North title. Why would KU want to face UT a second time in a month or so?

mattvely 10 years, 3 months ago

GabrielMichael - Were you at the game last Saturday or were you on the couch napping between timeouts or maybe listening on the radio? The fans brought it hard, which for the most part is more than the KU football team & coaching staff can say. Leikness is right, that D stand in OU's first drive was the loudest I've heard Memorial in my recent memory. Place was packed through the 3rd Q, by then the game was so far out of reach I left with thousands of others to drown sorrows because 3 Reesing picks in 16-17 minutes left my spirits bottle empty....much quicker than forcasted. Sorry for Partying.

KEITHMILES05 10 years, 3 months ago

What happened to MM opinion he'd never play Sharp until he's 100%? No knock against Sharp but if he's not 10% he shouldn't be playing. Bad call.

Jim Pendleton 10 years, 3 months ago

Sorry, I agree with Gabriel on this one. I caught similar flack for my post late Saturday night, but I am not changing my mind on this. Yes, the atmosphere was great early against OU. Would have been really crazy had we stopped that 4th down play. But the fact of the matter is, after a couple turnovers and we're down two scores, a majority of the crowd gave up, and this cannot continue. It is like many people still can't believe we are becoming a good program and are looking for a reason to jump ship.

Again, I don't have a problem when its 35-6 and six minutes to go and people leave. In my post after the game, I specifically indicated that people on both sides got up and left after OU scored on their first possession in the second half, and it's only 21-6! People this is a learning process for all of us. We all must continue to be there for this team good and bad, current and future years.

100, I am with you also on your optimism. I wasn't overly excited about Tech this weekend, until they lost to a really bad A&M team, so there is hope. I for one think we can rebound, and everyone else needs to believe that also. We can still play our way into winning the North.

FlaHawk, in a way you are right, it doesn't look like you would really want to play Texas twice. However, this is part of the building process. We have not won a North title yet, and we need to see this happen. Frankly it probably wouldn't matter if it was UT, OU, or OSU. The North winner would be big underdogs regardless. Winning the North can do nothing but help for the future. Extra week of practice for that game, and more practice for another bowl game.

While I agree with those who say we must hold the program accountable, there are positive ways to go about it. We can't bail on these guys just because things don't go well for a particular stretch. Don't automatically assume the worst for the rest of the season. I am with you all on many of the bad plays we have seen the past two weeks. However, with some adjustments, there isn't anyone left on our schedule (UT exception) that scares me. We can do this, let's see it thru. Rock Chalk!!!

Phoggin_Loud 10 years, 3 months ago

Typically, walking out of an event is perceived as a protest. We walk out when Dictator's speak at the UN, we shouldn't walk out on our Football team. Seriously, is it that hard to stay until the end?

Joe Baker 10 years, 3 months ago

We're learning to live to play another day!! LOL

Refocus and beat TT! We can pull this season out one game at a time. The poll for how many games of five do we win. We can win 3 and I think playing to our potential we can win 4 of the next 5. If we duplicate the CU and OU loses? Well let's not go there, please let's not go there. TT in lubbock is going to be tough. They're all going to be tough. Let's win the games we should and play the best we can against texas.

9-3 or 8-4 is possible


KUgodfather46 10 years, 3 months ago

This has been a long time coming, I cannot hold my tongue anymore. Why is it that you take the starting spot away from a player that has been solid at his position for the last three years, led the team with tackles, and 1 pick on the season after 5 games? Not to mention he is a senior in his last year at KU and mess with any future of playing at the next level. If you had not guessed it by now I am speaking of my god son, Justin Thornton. And since that decision, we have dropped 2 games and praise the play of your young players you have put at that position. Then put him in late in the game when our backs are against the wall. Should we not trust the defense that got a bowl game last year and 4 non-conference wins this year? I wish the coaches would wake up and see that they are giving us a slow death by not playing certain players that have steped up in the past. If anyone else agrees please post your comments and God bless. Love ya J.T.

pmohr13 10 years, 3 months ago

personally I think it is the coaches that are hurting us on defense. I constantly see us playing zone and the WR are open the whole time. We never get up on WR before the snap making it easy for underneath routes to develop. Not playing up on the receivers and bumping them at the line always doesn't mess with the timing between the receivers and Quarterback. I just don't understand why we play zone consistently and let the opposing team rip us apart throwing the ball. And why not try a two back set with a lead blocker? It worked last year on the first drive out of half time against OU, go back and take it look if possible.

DerekR25 10 years, 3 months ago

"...14 yards on seven carries in Saturday's 35-13 loss to Oklahoma, failing to record a rush for more than five yards.."

I must be losing it... I swear I saw Jake bust one for 50+ in our second or third drive...

Phoggin_Loud 10 years, 3 months ago

Derek, You did see it, but it was on a shovel-pass.

Steve Brown 10 years, 3 months ago

If Sharpe was injured prior to Duke game and not healthy to play this year, could he have had a medical redshirt extension to play next year? Coaches that think they can play less than 100% players and win in this league need to look at our last two games.

After decades of ambivalence I'm glad to care about the football program again. Let's continue to raise expectations, hopes and dreams.

It was Coach that said, "hope is not a strategy".

David Robinett 10 years, 3 months ago

Hate to say it, but I think Coach playing a hurt Jake cost us the Colorado game, and hurt us against OU. He has got to stick with his concept of "put the best players on the field", and right now that's Toben.

Godfather, hate to tell you,but Justin was getting burned and missing tackles repeatedly against Iowa State, so I don't blame Coach for benching (hopefully motivating) him.

cg1029 10 years, 3 months ago

I dont understand how anyone can argue that playing Sharp did not cost us in the Colorado game... Up to that point we averaged over 100 yards a game rushing and when facing THE WORST RUSH D IN THE BIG 12... we got what? If you go back and watch that COL game again the only reason that we got TO on the field for the TD run was that the Refs were verifying the spot at the 2 and stoped the play or Sharp would have been in on 1st and goal.

This does not even take into account that KU has a better balance on O with TO in the game... big running back = more players in the box and the ability to use play action... both of which would have been nice in the Col game when they were dropping 7-8 in coverage

Mangino be either too stuborn or to dumb to realize that TO has passed Jake as the best option for KU cost us the Col game.

Bee Bee 10 years, 3 months ago

Jake, run forward not to the sideline. May help.

Damian Glaze 10 years, 3 months ago

Coaching has been the problem all season. Yes we have young folks on the defense, but if you don't believe what Arnaud was saying about preparing for us, you just need to go back and watch the games. Our defense is ridiculously vanilla and predictable. This isn't new either. We just had slightly better (seasoned) athletes last year. Offensively, the play-calling has been dreadful - particularly in the first half. Whoever scripts the first 15 needs to pass the clipboard. This isn't new, we have ALWAYS been a slow starting team with an explosion in the third to seperate. Defensively, I knew we were a four or five loss team when we gave up 28 to Southern Miss. The choice of playing Sharpe at less than 100% is just icing on the cake. Unfortunately, I only see us winning one of the next five. I'm not some negative bandwagon fan, I use to work for the football program in the '90s and I'm able to be objective. What must happen in this offseason is our coaching staff needs to get their asses into clinics and learn how to develop players AND make gametime adjustments. This year more than any it seems like every "decent" team is making adjustments and we continue to stick to the script. I'm praying we can sweep the rest of our north opponents, but I'm not holding my breath. Again, this sinking season rests squarelyon the shoulders of the coaching. Oh and I'm not advocating we get rid of them, I'm just hoping they make a better commitment to a game plan next year.

Clarence Haynes 10 years, 3 months ago

We lost to CU because Opurum had fewer carries and Sharp played hurt. The coaching logic escapes me here and we blew a grand opportunity to have a highly successful season. Strange.

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