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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Weighty words

Praise for WR McDougald continues

Kansas freshman receiver Bradley McDougald heads up field after pulling in a reception during practice Aug. 11. Coach Mark Mangino has said McDougald is the most impressive true freshman he has seen as a head coach.

Kansas freshman receiver Bradley McDougald heads up field after pulling in a reception during practice Aug. 11. Coach Mark Mangino has said McDougald is the most impressive true freshman he has seen as a head coach.

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KU football freshmen to play Saturday

Several of KU's freshmen football players will be on the field for the opening game Saturday. The Jayhawks take on Northern Colorado at Memorial Stadium.

Bradley McDougald smiled like he knew the question was coming.

Hey, when your coach — who happens to be a guy not typically prone to hyperbole — calls you the most impressive true freshman he has seen in his eight years as a head coach, you figure you’re going to get some questions about it.

“I’ve been trying to keep it under wraps,” said the first-year Kansas University receiver, asked whether he has had any razzing from older players about Mark Mangino’s recent praise. “Obviously, when you hear something like that, you’re going to get a little confidence. But the biggest thing our coaches teach us is to be humble — because if you take things for granted, it will come back and bite you.”

Keeping things quiet, however, seems to be getting more difficult by the day.

Since de-committing from Ohio State and signing with Kansas last spring, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound McDougald has made a quick splash with KU coaches. It started during summer conditioning — “You start hearing the kids talk in the building, and you start hearing the strength coaches talk, and you realize that maybe he has a chance to be pretty good,” Mangino said Tuesday — and carried over into preseason training camp in August.

By last week, he was working with the first-team offense, and come Saturday’s season-opener against Northern Colorado, he’s expected to see plenty of snaps as a member of one of the nation’s most formidable receiving corps.

Oh, and for the record, Kansas’ coaches and players want you to know that Mangino’s praise wasn’t merely blown smoke.

“You know how careful he is with his words,” said receivers coach David Beaty. “And when he says something like that, that’s obviously a tribute to the kid and what kind of potential he has.”

Said fellow receiver Kerry Meier, “I think he hit it right on the head. From what I’ve seen from Bradley, he’s been great (in) everything that he’s done.”

Of course, now comes the hard part: backing up his coach’s claims on Saturday afternoons this fall.

McDougald admits that he’s still adjusting to Div. I football. Like most 18-year-olds, he still sometimes has to ask teammates about a play in the huddle. He still picks the brains of his fellow receivers. He still seems a bit in awe of the feats he sees teammates carry out on the practice field.

“Just the other day, we were going through 1-on-1’s, receivers (against the defensive backs), and (Dezmon Briscoe) just goes up and makes a spectacular one-handed catch and lands with two feet on the sideline,” McDougald said. “It’s something that would have probably made the (SportsCenter) top 10, but it’s just something that he does almost every day. Just another day with Briscoe.”

To help ease his transition into big-time college football, Beaty already has spoken with McDougald at length about the things he can expect during his freshman season — from media exposure to the various in-game situations he’s bound to see this fall — and has come away impressed with the youngster’s mental fortitude.

It’s not every day, he says, that a player can wrap his brain around the college game without the benefit of a red-shirt year.

“There are a lot of great athletes that come in and they’re not able to contribute early because they’re not able to make that mental transition,” Beaty said. “And he’s been a guy that’s been a pleasant surprise in that regard.”

For his part, McDougald seems to be entering his first season with poise. He says he feels no added pressure to be Superman — in Briscoe and Meier, after all, Kansas already has a couple of those.

He knows he’ll make mistakes, he says. His goal is to make them as infrequently as possible.

“I’m just ready to go out there and play,” he said. “Coaches are trying to make the transition easy, telling me to just let the game come to me. I don’t have to make every play on the first play or the first time I touch the ball.

“Just go out there and do the things that got me out there in the first place.”

Comments

suttonku 4 years, 10 months ago

This kid is going to be a stud...Think about how good this team will be even after next season...yes we lose Reesing, Meier, and probably Briscoe but we will return Wilson, Mcdougald, Biere, Pick, and all of the offensive line...we bring in several top prospects on both defense and offense...Keesten Terry and Ricki Herod should get the chance to play right away...KU will not fall off as much as people think after this season...Gonna be a great year for KU!

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waywardJay 4 years, 10 months ago

Sutton.. probably the biggest name you left off is Opurum ;)... then again... he's just a 4 star recruit that chose us over who ????

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Dirk Medema 4 years, 10 months ago

Sutton was obviously a bit more focused on the passing game, but wayward makes a nice point. Having Opurum, and even Lewis and Sands, playing behind a still young but experienced OL should be a nice luxury and help in the transition to starter for Pick or whomever wins the QB position for next year.

Can you remember when the QB position was occupied by whomever was least wounded that weak/series? When it was expected that your starter would be injured? Hopefully, Pick, Webb, Matthews, ???, and the OL continues to make that an ever increasingly distant memory.

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nwkshawk 4 years, 10 months ago

If the rumors are true, we may have another stud WR coming in, depending on which side of the ball they decide to play him on. Rumors are however, a dime a dozen.

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Ben Kane 4 years, 10 months ago

off topic but I wanted to wish my best to Anthony 'Mama's gotta eat' Collins who should be getting significant playing time in Cincy now that Andre Smith (longtime holdout) has been injured. Hope to see ya on hard knocks tonight!

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KGphoto 4 years, 10 months ago

So what did this kid ever do that was so bad? He lists cooking as a hobby and if he can't play football he wants to be a teacher. He looks like Erkle for christ's sake. When he first got recruited wasn't there a suspension involved or something? I can hardly believe it. What a steal.

Start printing up the 24 jerseys.

And that video also shows a glimpse of Omigie (83). Shades of Marcus Henry.

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quigley 4 years, 10 months ago

Let's not forget about Wilson. That kid showed us something last year in a couple of games. I am looking for him to be a stud this year.

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Jaminrawk 4 years, 10 months ago

Wideout is loaded. We will lose Briscoe this year but Wilson, McDougald, Omigie, McGriff, Herod and Terry are literally among the best wideouts we've ever had commit to KU. To think a coach would bring this much talent as a skill position to what was simply a "basketball school" is amazing.

Big thanks to the Reesings, Whittemores, Briscoes, Meiers, McAndersons, Talibs, and Collins' of the past few years. Those guys with Mangino and the coaching staff have really built this program into attractive place for good talent to commit.

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ShazzyD 4 years, 10 months ago

I'd love to see McDougald turn into the clear #1 receiver for 2010, but we really don't need him to do too much this year. I think his big breakout games will come later in the season when someone else is injured and he gets thrust into the starting lineup.

Side Question: The schedule says the first game will be on TV on Fox College Sports. Does anyone know what station that is? Surely the game won't be on Fox, so I'm wondering if this is some cable-only network I don't know about. Does Time Warner in KC have it?

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Rick Arnoldy 4 years, 10 months ago

"Does Time Warner in KC have it?"

More importantly, is it on one of the Fox stations in Ohio.

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bg97 4 years, 10 months ago

Reminds me of Cole getting to come in and play/learn behind Darnell, Darrell, and Sasha. Wealth of talent, who could learn during his freshman year. I like the scenario.

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NebraskaJayhawk 4 years, 10 months ago

Lot's of hype on this guy. Would still be surprised to see him on the field before Briscoe, Meier, or Wilson. Throw him out there in a four WR set though. Man, we really are loaded at WR this season.

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Jeff Worthington 4 years, 10 months ago

Time Warner Digital Cable in KC has it. Its somewhere around channel 208, 209, 210 I think.

I've got it.

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Jeff Worthington 4 years, 10 months ago

And I am extremely excited to see this guy play on Saturday. I've seen some of his highlights on Rivals. He has gamebreaker written all over him.

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KGphoto 4 years, 10 months ago

I got Fox College Sports with a $5 sports package at Comcast Cable. It's a great deal here in Colorado, but I don't know what KC has.

My package gives me the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB networks and it includes four Fox channels that concentrate on a region. I get Fox Pacific, Rocky Mountain, Central and Atlantic. The Central gives me a ton of Big 12 stuff. They also re-air good games. I've watched the Mizzou game about 5 times.

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troutsee 4 years, 10 months ago

Only five times?

KU 10-2 this year with North title.

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Kyle Helmer 4 years, 10 months ago

Time Warner in KC has it, but you need to suscribe to the digital sports tier for $4 per month. It's Channel 209. Unfortunately, not on HD.

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Kevin Long 4 years, 10 months ago

It's great to hear how coach is reloading this team. I think gone are the days when we had a good season just every few years. I love the big guy! I can't freakin' wait for Sat.!!!

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jayhawkintexas 4 years, 10 months ago

We are really loaded at the skills positions (qb, wr, running backs and safeties/corners). Not to be a wet blanket, but I have a real concern about the offensive line, the defensive line and the linebackers. It could be in the trenches where we have trouble.

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Rivethead 4 years, 10 months ago

jayhawkintexas (I'm sitting in Austin myself):

I agree. But at least we can say we have potential at those positions. That's something we couldn't say in the past. Our OL, in particular, will be the biggest, most athletic, nastiest bunch of hogs we've ever had at KU. Just inexperienced.

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KanFan27 4 years, 10 months ago

Honestly I'm more concerned about those positions than others but even those I am not very concerned about. I honestly think this is probably by far the most athletic team we have ever produced. Our O-line and D-line are huge fast and athletic. Like Rivethead these guys are nasty. They are going to be in some peoples faces. I think there will be growing pains for them but will be out of the way early. Our D-line has got some great speed and athleticism also. We are going to be flying off of the edges and the middle is at leas sturdy. Our LB core is very inexperienced but perfect for the type of Offenses we will be facing. They are small faster LB who are good for coverage but they should be sure tacklers. I cannot wait to see these guys in action I have a few concerns but they are for the most part small and I fully expect double digit win season. Maybe not in the regular season but we will hopefully have 14 games to accomplish this. I dont see us losing more than for games and find it hard to see us losing more than 3. I love this team and cant wait to be at every home game and even some of the away. RCJH

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