Monday, September 7, 2009

Mangino: So far, so good for linebackers

KU football coach Mark Mangino says the opening-week play of his inexperienced linebacking corps pleased him.

KU football coach Mark Mangino says the opening-week play of his inexperienced linebacking corps pleased him.


The first glimpses of the Kansas University football team’s revamped linebacker corps came Saturday, and while the foe proved particularly inferior — NCAA Championship Subdivision Northern Colorado finished just 1-10 last season — there was reason enough to be encouraged.

With the Jayhawks working primarily out of a two-linebacker set, starters Drew Dudley (seven tackles, one sack) and Arist Wright (six tackles) contributed to a defensive effort that saw UNC manage just three points and 246 yards of total offense.

Justin Springer, meanwhile, who coaches said was nearing full strength after suffering a season-ending leg injury last fall, added a tackle-for-loss in a limited backup role, and true freshman Huldon Tharp finished with three tackles in his first collegiate game.

On Sunday evening, Kansas coach Mark Mangino praised the play of the unit — which featured only two collective starts prior to Saturday’s game — but also indicated it had significant improvements to make before the start of Big 12 conference play Oct. 10.

“They got themselves in some positions where they over-ran some plays, and they just got to do a better job with pursuit angles,” the coach said. “They also need to work a little bit more at getting better fits in the run game.”

“It was decent,” he added, “but it still has a ways to go.”

Three suspended players to return against UTEP

Three of the four players who were held out of Saturday’s game against Northern Colorado for disciplinary reasons will return Saturday against UTEP, Mangino said.

Preseason All-Big 12 receiver Dezmon Briscoe, defensive tackle Jamal Greene and defensive end Jeff Wheeler will travel with the team to El Paso, while receiver Raimond Pendleton will be held out of one more game before returning from suspension.

Mangino relishes early road test

Citing the importance of winning on the road when battling for “championships,” Mangino said he’s looking forward to his team’s trip Saturday to El Paso, Texas, for a matchup with UTEP (0-1).

“Certainly, I think there’s no question that it’s good for our ball club to go on the road this early,” Mangino said. “... It’s very good for our kids to have to travel and play in an environment that’s not very friendly. And I think these are the types of games that can help set the table for you for future games in-conference.”


Dirk Medema 10 years, 4 months ago

"better fits in the run game"

I've heard the term before, but as a fan vs. player, I'm not completely confident what it means. Is there a player, or just someone more knowledgable than I, out there that can explain that one.


KU 10 years, 4 months ago

Dagger, I think what it means is gap responsibility. If a linebacker is supposed to be covering a gap between a DT and a DE, for example, but he loops outside the DE thinking he's going to make a play, it leaves a gap or seam for a running back to hit.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 4 months ago

Please don't take this the wrong way but HCMM looks even bigger than last year.

I feel his health is a serious concern. The football path of KU is heading toward elite ground unachieved by previous decades and Coach Mangino should be given the credit for this "miraculous" turn around. We are entering five star territory with game results and recruitment.

Please, someone just tell me I am being paranoid , but a high stress position of a Div.1 head coach coupled with a body that is approaching if not already at the obese level, is sending health warning sirens off in my head.

Most importantly, Mark Mangino's family needs to have some comfort that he is going to be around for a long time and then his KU Family needs to know the same thing.

hawk316 10 years, 4 months ago

oakvillejhawk, you're right to be concerned about Coach Mangino's health, and you're not alone. This is not a matter of judging or condemning him. We should want the very best for him, and that includes a long and healthy life. Moreover, it would be great to be able to enjoy his accomplishments as the coach of the Jayhawks for many more years to come. Still, as someone who is not unfamiliar with the challenges of obesity in my own family, I know very well that the motivation must come from within the individual. No amount of outside pressure will produce the long-term changes needed. We can only hope and pray that the Coach will take the necessary steps (they vary with the's not always a simple matter of overeating) to get his weight under control.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 4 months ago

KU - Thanks. I've heard of gap responsibility which seems logical, so maybe "fits" is the inside, short hand terminology.

Hawk & Oak - A couple years ago, there were comments that Coach realized there were significant concerns that he had left unaddressed while pressing forward professionally, and was going to actively pursue correcting things. Last year, my wife commented at one point that she thought he looked thinner, tho that is obviously a relative statement. I also recall hearing that there were issues beyond simple calorie control.

Ultimately, it really is just his and his family's concern, though it is great to provide positive affirmation for him and all those we come in contact with.

Rock Chalk

LibertyHawk84 10 years, 4 months ago

As morbid as it sounds, Mangino's weight is the best thing to ever happen to KU football. Every good or decent head coach we have had has been hired away.

However, for his sake I do hope he loses some pounds.

angry 10 years, 4 months ago

"Citing the importance of winning on the road when battling for “championships,”"

Dugan, you are a little worm.

mdfraz 10 years, 4 months ago

Dugie's first sentence takes a dig at KU too. For a while the past couple weeks I thought he was doing a bit better, but he keeps taking shots at us. Not called for in a football beat reporter. Hopefully the ljw is keeping their eyes open for someone new. If not, they are missing blatant bias in the coverage of the home town team.

KGphoto 10 years, 4 months ago

Point of interest: Southern Miss just emasculated Alcorn St. 52-0. KU had a real nice rushing performance against UNC but not as good as The Golden Eagles.

400 yards rushing and the longest run was only 22. That, my friends, is pounding the rock. I know. Alcorn State. But UNC?

Let's hope Coach starts selling the run this week against UTEP (who lost to Buffalo) and bringing along Toben at an accelerated pace. The one-two punch is poised and ready. Pull the trigger.

Don Everett 10 years, 4 months ago

Coach Mangino needs to "watch/condition" his weight. I have long said that it is surprising that OL and DL will take crap from him while conditioning while he rides around in a golf cart. Get with it HFCMM!!!!!!!!!!!! Jayhawk Nation needs and wants you around for a long time.

Rivethead 10 years, 4 months ago


Why is it surprising that the OL and DL will take "crap" from him while conditioning?

Is it the National Championship ring on his finger?

Is it the wall full of National Coach of the Year trophies?

Or is the the fact that he's the only person on the planet to win both the National Coach of the Year AND the Broyles (National Assistant Coach of the Year) Award.

I think you under estimate the intelligence of our players. They're smart enough to know that Coach knows what he's talking about and any "crap" he throws out is justified.

Joe Baker 10 years, 4 months ago

Mangino has done a great job with the position changes. He's found a great line-up! I hope they stay focused b/c the sky is the limit for this team. This is the year of the Jayhawk!!


keith horinek 10 years, 4 months ago

This may be old news, but S.I. has KU and Texas in the Big 12 championship game. We have our first win with, 11 more to go! With OU losing that opens the door for another team in the south to step up, maybe OSU? KSU looked weak against UMass. Maybe Nebraska and KU in the North and OSU and UT in the south?

KU_Alumn_2000 10 years, 4 months ago

Hawk316 and OakvilleJHawk - Hopefully someday members of, or the entire KU family can support Coach on becoming a healthier person. He would likely realize someday that he would appreciate that more than our support of his football program. (Please continue supporting KU Football)

I absolutely have the utmost respect for coach. I listen to all of his media interviews...and it amazes me how focused and intelligent coach really is. We can all learn a lot from coach. One of the life/player concepts that he mentions from time to time is that life is about choices.

Coach ultimately has the choice to become a healthier person. The Jayhawk Nation should not want him to choose health and wellness to have a successful football program...but support him in choosing health and wellness for Head Coach Mark Mangino.

As Lou Holtz mentioned last week...its more important to live life as a champion rather than to play like a champion.

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