Cliff Notes version: Mark Mangino press conference, 9/1/09
Much like we did on Media Day, here are the Cliff Notes version of Kansas football coach Mark Mangino's comments at his weekly press conference today.
• KU is still working to get the right players in the right spots.
• Northern Colorado is a team that gives a lot of different looks on offense.
• KU will not be overly concerned with what UNC does on Saturday. Mostly, Mangino says he will have his players compete against themselves.
• On Dezmon Briscoe at kick return: "Dez has made a world of difference back there."
Briscoe should be the starting kick returner Saturday.
• Defensive line and offensive line have been about equal in practice. Neither has consistently dominated the other.
• The game week routine at KU is the same for no matter the opponent.
• Mangino gave no comment on linebacker Justin Springer's injury situation, saying he doesn't discuss injuries.
• On offensive lineman Brad Thorson, who moved from center to guard: "It was a situation where he was doing very well at the center position. ... You just knew that he belonged on the field somewhere."
Mangino said Thorson was still learning some things, but that his switch was a good move for the team, as the coaches want to put the five best offensive linemen on the field.
Talking about how difficult it is to switch from center to guard, Mangino joked: "It would be a lot tougher to go from center to quarterback."
• Jeremiah Hatch is a guy that has a lot of tools and does a good job of getting under defensive linemen. He's becoming more comfortable getting the team in the right protections and right calls.
• Mangino talking about possibly getting backups in the game: "I have to be honest with you: The No. 1 priority is going in there with your 1s and winning the game."
• On Kale Pick: "I think he's been steady. He's been steady everyday."
Mangino said the QB is picking up the little things better and watching tape on his own.
• Mangino would like to get Pick some action against UNC if the game is in hand.
• Mangino said he heard the kids and strength coaches talk highly of receiver Bradley McDougald in the offseason. A few days into practice, Mangino and the coaches realized he was a talented guy. Mangino believes McDougald will adapt to the offense well.
• Mangino said the coaching staff originally moved Tanner Hawkinson to defense out of necessity.
"I'd always had in the back of my mind that he'd be an offensive tackle," Mangino said.
Mangino says he has seen Hawkinson get better everyday, and that his confidence has improved with his repetitions at the position.
• Mangino said though offensive lineman Sal Capra was a linebacker in high school, the coach knew he wasn't going to play that position at KU. The coaches thought maybe be would play on the defensive line at first, but then moved him to offensive line because of need.
"At first it was difficult for him, but he did everything he had to do to make himself a better player," Mangino said. " ... Sal Capra is a guy that I would term a program guy."
A "program guy," Mangino says, is one of the highest compliments that he gives. That means Capra has done everything that the team has asked of him.
"We'd be in trouble without him," Mangino said.
• Special teams have been highly competitive. There will be a lot of personnel changes there from last year. Mangino pinpointed special teams as an area that needed improvement from last season.
"I'm convinced we'll be better," Mangino said.