Cliff's Notes version: Mark Mangino press conference, 10/6/09
Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas football coach Mark Mangino's comments at his press conference today.
• Iowa State is a disciplined team and plays to its strengths.
• The bye week is good for all young players because you have time to assess what they've done so far instead of worrying about a game plan for the next week.
• Right now, Mangino thinks the offensive line is ahead of schedule. A lot of that has to do with the intelligence of the group. The guys also are coachable. There are bigger challenges for them ahead, but Mangino likes the track they are on now.
• Last year's Iowa State game has been used as an example of, "This is what happens in college football when you take things for granted." The team did a great job of coming back, but if you take your opponent for granted, you're going to get stung.
• Jake Sharp has not progressed as well from his injury as the coaches originally thought. By Thursday's practice, if he can execute everything at full speed and 100 percent, then the coaches will play him. If Sharp shows any signs of not being OK, then he will not play. His quickness and his speed are his greatest asset, so if he's not healthy, Mangino will be hesitant to use him in a limited role.
• Mangino on kicker Jacob Branstetter: "I think the world of the kid. He's competitive." Branstetter gets told by coaches how high and where each kickoff should go to best fit KU's coverage. Mangino said Branstetter is so competitive that if it doesn't go where he's supposed to kick it, he races down the field to try to save the day (much like Superman or Underdog, Mangino said) with a tackle. Branstetter also put on 15 pounds in the offseason. "Now he's really cocky," Mangino joked.
• Mangino told his players at halftime last year against Iowa State, "This is a good test of your courage."
• Mangino said that last year's team perhaps heard too many times about its similarities to the 2007 team. "What you need is to get spanked a few times," the coach said. Mangino said the South Florida game and the first half against Iowa State humbled his players and helped re-focus them.
• Mangino said you have to be practical on field-goal attempts and understand weather and field conditions. Assistant coaches tell Mangino what Branstetter's cutoff point is with and against the wind for each game based on his warmup kicks. Mangino said he wouldn't hesitate to let Branstetter try a 48-yard field goal attempt.
• Defensive lineman Quinton Woods has picked it up a little bit. In the last couple weeks, he's realized there's a certain standard of work ethic that he needs to meet. The demands on a player at KU are probably a little bit higher than in junior college. Mangino thinks Woods made some big strides this week. He's also a likable guy. "I look for him to contribute here before it's all said and done here this year," Mangino said.