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Monday, September 14, 2009

Dugan Arnett’s KU football notebook

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As the swine flu has begun wreaking havoc on the locker rooms of various Div. I football teams in recent days, Kansas University coach Mark Mangino and his staff are taking precautions to limit the chances of a team-wide outbreak.

“(Director of sports medicine) Murphy Grant … I think he’s really on top of things,” Mangino said Sunday night. “He makes sure the locker room is kept clean, (and) we had a firm come in here about a week ago — they kind of smoked the whole room out and killed germs and things of that sort.”

Several prominent football programs have suffered recent flu outbreaks that have resulted in significantly depleted rosters. Nearly 30 Ole Miss players were forced to miss practice last week as a result of the flu, including starting quarterback Jevan Snead, and 40 Wisconsin players suffered flulike symptoms leading up to Saturday’s double-overtime victory over Fresno State.

The Kansas team would seem to be at a particularly high risk, due to the high number of H1N1 cases on campus. As of late August, 32 confirmed cases of the illness had been reported at KU, and, at one point, more than 300 students were exhibiting flulike symptoms.

So far, however, the Jayhawks have managed to dodge the bullet.

Kansas center Jeremiah Hatch was forced to leave Saturday’s victory over UTEP due to flulike symptoms (and subsequent snapping problems), but the coach said that with the exception of a small flu issue during training camp, the Jayhawks have avoided a significant outbreak so far this season.

“(Grant) was on the cutting edge of getting flu shots for our players a couple weeks ago,” Mangino said. “He was staying on top of when flu shots were coming out and how quickly he could get them for our players.

“But you can’t fight every strain of flu,” he added. “You just can’t.”

Branstetter, Hawkinson OK

Junior kicker Jacob Branstetter, who was hit on a roughing-the-kicker penalty in the first quarter of Saturday’s game at UTEP and later missed two field goals, has been evaluated by the team’s medical staff and is expected to be ready for Saturday’s game against Duke, Mangino said Sunday.

The coach also indicated that left tackle Tanner Hawkinson, who was injured on the final play of the game and spent a couple minutes laying on the field before being helped up, practiced Sunday with no issues and would also be ready to play this weekend.

“It was scary for a moment,” Mangino said. “But he’s OK.”

Switches please Mangino

Mangino lauded the play of the secondary against UTEP.

Featuring a starting lineup that had a few faces in new places — Justin Thornton played nickelback; usual nickelback Chris Harris was at cornerback in place of struggling sophomore Anthony Davis; and Phillip Strozier made his first start this season at safety — the Jayhawks held the Miners to just 204 passing yards and seven total points in the victory.

“I think some of our sacks in the game came from real good coverage and the quarterback not able to find people open,” the coach said. “We were really good at running seams and getting read progression, attacking the ball in the air, attacking the receiver right after a catch on the short game stuff, which you like.

“So I was really pleased.”

Jayhawks improve in polls

Kansas improved its position in both major polls Sunday, jumping two spots to No. 22 in the Associated Press poll and up one spot to No. 23 in the USA Today Coaches poll.

Comments

Dirk Medema 10 years, 4 months ago

Is that a first for Coach to comment on potentially injured players? Regardless, it is appreciated, and glad to hear.

It is crazy to hear about the flu (still) going around.

waywardJay 10 years, 4 months ago

when it's two key guys like your kicker and the guy who backs blindside.... well those are two pretty important guys..... whether hawkinson's healthy or not... i expect coach to SAY he's alright.... We'll see come Saturday.... as for Branstetter, WE won't know until game time if he's still a kicker .... Kicker's can get rattled by those sort of things and start missing ( or making ) just off contact.... Both cases i woudl sugeest a wait and see atitude.... and hope mangino's not jsut playing the evasive card

Kent Wells 10 years, 4 months ago

I watched the center play at UTEP and I experienced flu-like symptoms.

Reesing probably woke up 10 times Saturday night dreaming he was running after footballs. What a great job he did keeping that from being a huge negative.

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 4 months ago

MM ALWAYS comments about availability....he just NEVER comments about what the injury is.

Branstetter hopefully was just dinged from that penalty....because those two misses weren't even close. he's a better kicker than that.

Rivethead 10 years, 4 months ago

Weren't even close? He dinged one off the upright! That's pretty close if you ask me.....

gardenjay 10 years, 4 months ago

I can understand how Branstetter could get injured (seriously injured), but what happened to Hawkinson? I didn't get to see the game...

KGphoto 10 years, 4 months ago

Branstetter can do the XPs. Bring in Rojas for the FGs.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 4 months ago

Garden - I watch the game and didn't notice Hawkinson getting hurt. From comments here, it was on the last play - Pick's 55 yd run. Sounds like it ended up being nothing. At least he's practicing alright a day later, so he should be fine for Saturday.

I missed Branstetter's roughing call, but sounds like he really got his bell rung. I can see that being real disorienting. My guess is we'll have an indication how he's doing on his first KO. Does he run up there and make one of his kamakaze tackles or act like a kicker.

troutsee 10 years, 4 months ago

No way am I going to bail on Branstetter. The guy hit a big field goal against MU last year and he has improved his range. He'll be just fine. Not only that, the guy is fearless in covering kick offs.

gardenjay 10 years, 4 months ago

..and even an extreme penalty doesn't seem to stop this kind of thing (roughing the kicker). Mangino didn't make it sound like he was OK at the time. These guys need time to recover too, it is not like they received 'no' impact from the game.

Someone is going to argue that Duke might have a decent football team, for example, they beat Army. But one thing is for sure: we will not have to put up with their annoying and hostile basketball fans. The Duke basketball fan focus group is as channel-visioned as the KU basketball fan focus group.

Since we have a better university than Duke, there must be some way we can figure out how to lure our hostile basketball fan focus group at least to the hill, to partake in some beers and supportive yelling and what not. It is outside fun, the grass is green and the best drawing card is....it's Duke! Who cares if it's football, KU is playing Duke! C'mon! No WAY can the focus B-Ball heads stay away from this game!

That's it, I am putting some posts on the LJW b-ball articles, come what may.

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