Sunday, September 6, 2009


Reesing has game on string


Podcast episode


Postgame: Northern Colorado

The guys (Jesse Newell, Tom Keegan) discuss KU's season-opening 49-3 victory over Northern Colorado. The two discuss the gameday atmosphere at Memorial, the joy of watching Todd Reesing, the impressive debut of the freshmen and Tom's earring habits. The guys also reviews their "picks to click" and select an MVP ...

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Audio clips

KU-Northern Colorado football

Reader poll

Whose performance were you most pleased with in KU's 49-3 victory over Northern Colorado?

  • Jake Sharp 15% 383 votes
  • Todd Reesing 30% 733 votes
  • Kale Pick 10% 263 votes
  • Toben Opurum 27% 665 votes
  • Chris Harris 10% 252 votes
  • Kerry Meier 3% 86 votes
  • Other 1% 38 votes

2420 total votes.


Kansas 49, Northern Colorado 3

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KU defeated Northern Colorado, 49-3, to open the 2009 season.

A young Michael Jackson, before he lost his face both literally and figuratively, really knew how to grip a crowd with his moves, high-pitched voice and contagious energy.

Muhammad Ali’s mouth and jab stung in such a lively way.

Roberto Clemente flew around the bases with his arms flying everywhere. He fired lasers to the plate from deep in the right-field corner. His unconventional batting style made him a must-watch.

Michael Jordan seemed to climb invisible steps en route to spread-eagle jams.

Curly Howard split more guts than a meat factory full of butchers when he dropped to the floor and spun around, hollering, “Ah woo, woo, woo, woo!” and did so only when he forgot the lines he was supposed to memorize from The Three Stooges script.

Mario Cuomo speaking into a microphone at a political convention chilled the bones.

Phenomenal acts, all, but not as entertaining as watching Todd Reesing play college football. For my money, Reesing is the most entertaining male performer in the past half-century not named Neil Young.

Reesing took a nothing date on the schedule and certainly made the trip to Memorial Stadium worthwhile for the 52,530 spectators Saturday night, many of whom filled their bellies and lifted their spirits before the game on a perfect day for tailgating.

The numbers didn’t quite capture the extent of Reesing’s magic. He completed 13 of 20 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 79 yards and two touchdowns, figures that don’t reveal how the game again looked a yo-yo in his hands. He did pretty much whatever he wanted with it.

At times it looked as if the game were being played on ice and Reesing was allowed to wear skates and the guys chasing him were in shiny loafers. Making people miss is a skill some football players have, but the expression means making defenders miss tackles. Reesing makes them miss contact entirely.

Watching him stop and start, drop and dart to avoid contact, I got to wondering if Reesing played the game tag as a youngster. So I asked him.

“I think I played tag at some point,” Reesing said.

Was he ever “It?” In order to be “It,” you have to get tagged.

“Well, I’m sure I was ‘It’ here or there, but I did my best to avoid it,” he said, playing along.

He didn’t sound sure he ever was “It.” I’m guessing he never got tagged and moved onto more challenging games.

Reesing’s second touchdown run, covering 13 yards, had the usual dose of scrambling here, there and everywhere and a nifty move at the goal line to avoid a big hit. It was a highlight play, and it wasn’t nearly as cool as his first score, a one-yard run.

Running left, Reesing pitched the ball to Jake Sharp. Wait a minute, no he didn’t. It’s just that 52,530 spectators and 11 defenders thought he did. It was a Magic Johnson no-look pass, except he kept the ball.

“By rule, the guy’s supposed to take the pitch back, but they tried to slow-play us sometimes so I had to give him a little juke to make sure he went where he was supposed to go,” Reesing said.

There’s that yo-yo in his hand again.


gardenjay 10 years, 6 months ago

Nice article Tom, one of the best I've read in a while. You really put some feeling in it, gave me a chance to 'see' the game. 'And the guys were chasing him in shiny loafers [on ice]' was an award-winning sentence (that is I give you an award) which reminded me of playing broomball.

Eliott Reeder 10 years, 6 months ago

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Brandon Deines 10 years, 6 months ago

Mario Cuomo and Three Stooges references - way to keep the article relevant.

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 6 months ago

the references are over the top, but the point is made. Mr. Reesing has the game in his hands....and it's slowed down so much in his thinking, that he really doesn't have to just happens.

there was another play where he ran for a first down just beyond mid field....when he rolled out there were two guys trying to hem him in on the outside and force him inside. he did just that, but only for a split second, and then he went back outside...and made the first and ten.

i told my friend sitting next to me, that it looked like he was setting them up all along...he knew what he was going to do, BEFORE he actually did it. that's when you know the guy is special...improv plays are set ups too.

it's going to be fun this year.

Robert Brock 10 years, 6 months ago

The article left out one important name - FRAN TARKENTON.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

"It was a Magic Johnson no-look pass, except he kept the ball."

Ah! Keegs! You stole my basketball analogy from yesterday! Seriously, though, that pump fake was filled with such ankle-breaking beauty, it really was football's version of the crossover. Just gorgeous.

As to the game on a string: what's interesting is that I took the time to watch the clip of Todd's red-shirt-lifting game in Colorado from yesterday's article of his best plays, and comparing from then to now it is really quite remarkable to see not only how much he has grown but how locked in he is on the football field. I really don't think (and Keegen, feel free to steal this idea too) there is another player more comfortable both on the field or in his position than Todd. When the O-line breaks down, it's not that he doesn't get flustered; rather, it's that he absolutely thrives. It is under that pressure when he is at his best. He knows how to move the defense out of position and make tremendous plays. And when such a situation arises, it's not like -- as it is for what seems like every other quarterback in the history of the game -- we're sitting back hoping the small chance of something positive will appear on that one particular play. Instead, there is a large probability that it will. And we all know that.

Some posters on this site get annoyed when others discuss whether Todd is KU's best QB ever, and I'm certainly not going to engage in that discussion. I would rather simply watch and enjoy the beauty that he brings every game. However, after yesterday I couldn't help but think that, while the future of KU football does look bright, we will never see another player like Todd again. Mr. Reesing's athleticism, style, abilities, poise, and heart are a once in a lifetime find.

And we got to watch it for four years.

Thanks Todd.

gardenjay 10 years, 6 months ago

Oops. I must have skipped over the first half of this article, or it was posted before it was finished. I know sometimes I race down to the meat of an article, especially late at night, but in any case, after reading these posts and in re-reading this article I have to agree with the critics. Maybe this one should be half of the length your editor wanted it to be.

Your reference to running on ice with shoes was a great analogy, and I think using metaphors are important for helping your audience understand how you felt and what you saw. But searching for understanding with your whole audience using specific references to niche interest groups (Mario Cuomo, for example, or the Three Stooges as another) needs to be examined.

It almost seems like you are trying a sales technique that would only work in person, where a salesman is talking with someone and looking for body language that forms a connection so that he can sell something.

In other ways this reminded me of that Mark Twain piece 'When I was the editor of an agricultural newspaper', except that your audience actually does want to learn more about the first game of the football season.

Which is why I really liked your reference to running on ice to describe defenders as they chase Todd Reesing in the backfield. There is a metaphor with a wide range of understanding, even for folks that have not run on ice with shoes.

All the critics above, myself included more than most, do not write very well all the time, so I wouldn't take it personally. I like to think everyone is forcing the bar to be high because it is KU. Go KU!

yovoy 10 years, 6 months ago

keegan sets it up with various examples of virtuosity or at the very least uncanny and/or unconventional mastery, and in doing so gets many generations and fans of other disciplines into what he's going to talk about or what he's talking about. i saw where he was going, and i enjoyed it.

so then, at points when i was watching sparky i was thinking it was like watching other players at the college level (at this u) when it looks like it's too easy. this list includes d.manning, ju, wayne, gooden hinrich, and especially paul pierce. there were times when it looked like those guys were toying w/ the opposition, and i got that same feeling watching reesing last night. i went berserk when he threw that little ball-fake, so i knew what keegan was talking about when he wrote that even though i knew what he meant before he even got to that point. his references in the first part of the article are what allowed me to do that. that's not outrageous, that's engaging, interesting, writing!

good work, keegan.

JayhawkHoosier10 10 years, 6 months ago

Keegan has the biggest "man-crush" on Todd Reesing... It gets a little hold with the constant talk of him. We all know he's good, we don't need a new article every other day....

JayhawkHoosier10 10 years, 6 months ago

And Reesing must have rolled his eyes when Keegan asked if he played tag. What sport's writer would ever ask someone that?

JBurtin 10 years, 6 months ago

Why, oh why must every single freakin' article be critiqued by a bunch of amateur morons.

Isn't everyone a little tired of it by now?

gardenjay 10 years, 6 months ago

JBurtin, I think it is because amateur morons need an outlet too. Besides, you shouldn't be calling your fellow alums morons. Many of them spent a great deal of time in the english dept. and are probably professional writers trying to enjoy an article about football, which instead keeps hitting them over the head with too many unrelated metaphors. Have some sympathy. Crimony!

This site about KU football is by definition full of greenhorn fans trying to figure out how to enjoy football, so helping them would be a good way to making more KU fans. For example one who is alarmed about the diction-related posts could remark "This article was about Reesing, not you-all. How about it? I am concerned about how he keeps running the ball. Just look at OU and what happens when a quarterback isn't protected."

JBurtin 10 years, 6 months ago

Nah, by the time this kid is done they are going to have to rename it the Reesing trophy.

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