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Sunday, September 13, 2009

KU position changes abound

Kansas head coach Mark Mangino pats offensive lineman Jeremiah Hatch on the helmet during the second quarter Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009 at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.

Kansas head coach Mark Mangino pats offensive lineman Jeremiah Hatch on the helmet during the second quarter Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009 at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.

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Reader poll

Who was KU's MVP against UTEP?

  • Maxwell Onyegbule 29% 427 votes
  • Jake Sharp 49% 724 votes
  • Daymond Patterson 1% 28 votes
  • Dezmon Briscoe 10% 159 votes
  • Jeff Wheeler 6% 90 votes
  • Other 1% 26 votes

1454 total votes.

Highlights from the KU vs. UTEP football game

Some highlights from the Jayhawks' victory against the Miners. KU improved to 2-0 after its defense shut down the UTEP attack.

— After a 2008 season in which the defensive secondary underwent a massive overhaul, playing what essentially amounted to a game of musical chairs, members of the Kansas University defensive backfield have grown accustomed to adapting quickly.

So when a handful of position switches were made prior to KU’s 34-7 victory over host Texas-El Paso on Saturday, players didn’t struggle too mightily.

“It was cool,” said senior Justin Thornton, who played nickelback for the first time this season. “It wasn’t too bad this time. Being a veteran, I’ve played the last four years, so I kind of know what’s going on, and it wasn’t too tough.”

Chris Harris, after earning team defensive player of the week honors as a nickelback against Northern Colorado, started Saturday’s game at cornerback, while Thornton, who is played both cornerback and safety, shifted to the nickel, and Phillip Strozier started at safety.

Anthony Davis, who was flagged for three pass-interference penalties last weekend, was on the bench to start the game.

“It was based out of necessity,” KU coach Mark Mangino said of the changes. “Anthony had a rough week last week, and nobody felt worse about it than him. We haven’t given up on him. Part of coaching is, you’ve got to understand when kids are down a little bit, need recharged a little bit, need a confidence boost.”

Snapping problems a concern

For the second straight game, snapping problems plagued an otherwise impressive performance from the Jayhawks’ offensive line.

Starting center Jeremiah Hatch — who Mangino said was suffering from flulike symptoms — was replaced by Brad Thorson, a former center at Wisconsin who had started the season at left guard.

Thorson struggled a bit in his position debut, however, committing a number of snapping miscues that Mangino later said were the result of entering the game with limited warm-up time.

“Those are fundamental things we can get worked out here in the next couple days,” he added.

Branstetter roughed up

Kansas kicker Jacob Branstetter will be evaluated by the team’s medical staff after the junior took a hard hit on a roughing-the-kicker penalty in the first quarter Saturday.

“Branstetter got the crap knocked out of him,” Mangino said. “I’m not sure if he’s in this universe with us right now. I looked into his eyes when he came off the field after that last attempt there — he didn’t look like he was in El Paso.”

Things didn’t go well for the Lawton, Okla., native following the hit. He missed two kicks, one from 38 yards at the conclusion of the second quarter and another from 33 yards midway through the fourth quarter

Stuckey quiet after late-hit penalty

Kansas senior safety Darrell Stuckey turned in an unusually quiet performance a week after suffering a late-hit penalty in a victory over Northern Colorado.

Wearing a protective elbow brace during Saturday’s game, Stuckey, an All-Big 12 selection last season, finished with just two tackles — his lowest total since 2007.

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Comments

Dirk Medema 10 years, 4 months ago

The flu bug seems to be doing crazy things all over the sports world these days. Mangino looks more and more like a master personnel manager all the time, whether it be switching positions, assignents, starts, whatever.

waywardJay 10 years, 4 months ago

i like the switch.... i wanted to see Harris back at Corner... and he seems to be playing ok there.... i like moving thorton up..... im indifferent about strozier being back there.... ( which you shoudl read as Compeletely content for now )

When Davis get's his feet back under him... let him EARN it back :)

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 4 months ago

Patterson was very good at corner last night. the light may have clicked on for him on punt returns as well.

i suddenly like our secondary quite a bit. we have some depth, and experience.

I thought our defense would be improved this year....it looks like it has a chance to improve a lot.

troutsee 10 years, 4 months ago

The defense was sharp.

Sharp was sharp.

The passing game was not sharp. Reesing started the game completely out of rhythm. Then there were dropped balls. On a couple of occasions Reesing did not see wide open receivers coming across the middle, which is unusual for him.

Pass rush was GREAT and is probably what won the game for us.

JJHawq 10 years, 4 months ago

Reesing was NOT sharp last night. Jake sure was, though.

He missed some open receivers - and tried to force that TD pass to meier when Briscoe has his man sealed at the goal line right in front of him.

hoopsdr 10 years, 4 months ago

What happens if Branstetter is out? Can Kerry Meier kick field goals?

Robert Brock 10 years, 4 months ago

Didn't Rojas do kick offs and kick field goals for a game last year?

tdub 10 years, 4 months ago

John Millsap is a freshman kicker who, I'm assuming, is taking a red-shirt this year. He could step in if needed, or Rojas could be an acceptable stopgap. Now is the right time if he needs a break, with the next two opponents we could probably just go for 2 pt. conversions and let Rojas kick-off.

esteshawk 10 years, 4 months ago

Meier should be the emergency backup at every position.

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