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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dugan Arnett’s KU football notebook

Saturday morning, the Kansas football team takes on undefeated Texas Tech. Historically speaking, this has been a one-sided series. The Red Raiders and Jayhawks have played 10 times before. Nine times, the Jayhawks have lost.

KU football vs. Texas Tech

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Audio clips

2008 Oct. 21 press conference

Sharp not frustrated with limited usage

Through two and a half quarters of the Kansas University football team's loss to Oklahoma last Saturday, running back Jake Sharp put together the best performance, arguably, from a Jayhawks running back this year.

The next quarter and a half, he watched mostly from the sideline.

While many in Jayhawk Nation have questioned the limited usage of Sharp late in last week's loss, Sharp himself wasn't voicing any frustration while speaking to reporters Tuesday.

"That's nothing of my concern, to be honest with you," said Sharp, who finished with 103 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. "That's the coaches' discretion, things like that. They know what's best, and that's how I see it."

After a drive in which he carried the ball four times for 58 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown run that pulled the Jayhawks to within 31-24 early in the third quarter of last week's game, Sharp didn't carry the ball again until there was 6:32 remaining in the game and Kansas was trailing by three touchdowns.

Sharp, who went unused for three straight offensive series following his touchdown, carried the ball just three more times in the game, as Kansas coach Mark Mangino opted to use reserve backs Angus Quigley and Jocques Crawford for their pass-blocking abilities.

"We didn't go away from him," Mangino said. "We thought 'Let's call it like we see it. We're having trouble stopping these guys. Trying to run the ball and eat up clock is not to our advantage.'"

Sticking to the basics

Heading into Saturday's 11 a.m. matchup with Texas Tech and it's No. 1-ranked pass offense, there's one thing you can count on: Mangino won't be overhauling his defense in an effort to slow down the Red Raiders aerial attack.

"People that come up with these newfangled defenses and all kinds of different looks and things that they don't normally do, they get in more trouble than people that just try to play the defense they've been playing all year," Mangino said. "You're teaching 11 guys all new, different things. I think it's foolish to do that."

Foolish and, for the most part, futile. Despite seeing a number of different defensive looks this season, the reality is that the Red Raiders have had little trouble piling up yards through the air. Through seven games, they've averaged 418.43 yards a game, including a 490-yard outing in a 58-28 victory over conference foe K-State.

Kansas not sleeping on Tech's run game

While quarterback Graham Harrell and receiver Michael Crabtree have grabbed the majority of the hype surrounding the Red Raiders' high-powered offense, the TTU running attack has fared well on offense as well.

The Red Raiders are averaging 138.6 yards rushing per game and have rushed for a conference-best 5.5 yards per carry with 20 touchdowns on the ground (third in the conference). In a 37-31 victory over Nebraska two weeks ago, meanwhile, they ran the ball nearly as many times (23) as they passed it (25).

Comments

JBurtin 13 years, 11 months ago

People act like Sharp is the only guy that could have run the ball during that stretch.Instead of Sharp we tried something new. Two big backs that stand a better chance of blocking a charging DE. That doesn't mean that we completely stopped running the ball.In fact, what we did try was a pretty nifty scheme.Each of the big backs has had trouble making it past the first tackler, but both have done well once they get to the second level. The coaches were using one as a blocker when the other ran the ball to get the runner past the first tackler. It worked pretty well a few times and I think it's a scheme that can be pulled out at other times in the season.The trouble is, it said Oklahoma on their jerseys, not Baylor. Oklahoma doesn't lose at home to anyone, let alone a KU team that is still breaking in some new freshmen linemen on both sides of the ball.Give the coaches a break, we simply got beat by a better team.

Mangenius 13 years, 11 months ago

OU's offense is good, but I bet they are not going to score from the sideline. This is not a sound theory by Mangino. And we will lose a shoot out with Tech this weekend if that is the plan. If the D is struggling, keep them off the field, as long as possible. It also puts pressure on the other teams offense if they know they aren't going to see the ball as much

number1jayhawker 13 years, 11 months ago

Usually HCMM will admit his mistakes after a game. I don't know why he hasn't on this one.I did read where there might be some differences between some of the coaches on how to run the offense in a situation like that. I hope this doesn't lead to any of our coaches jumping ship.

Gary Denning 13 years, 11 months ago

Anybody who doesn't believe an athlete is frustrated when they don't get to play . . . Well, I've got a bridge to sell you. Of course Sharp's smart enough to say the right things to reporters in the locker room. He isn't stupid. He is a great kid and a great KU story from Bennington/Salina. But he IS frustrated by his lack of carries, as are Quigley and Crawford.For Arnett to make a story of this is to admit that this reporter has no concept of what it is to be an elite athlete. Pretty sad.

jhawk23 13 years, 11 months ago

My thoughts exactly about the running game & tired defense. I've thought all year that our D hasn't looked as good as it is because our offense doesn't give the D enough time to rest on the sidelines.

741hawk 13 years, 11 months ago

OU Left Tackle 6'8" 332OU left Guard 6' 6" 330 They "squished" our DEs. TE 6' 6" 265 runs like a WRTE 6' 5" 245 runs like a WR How do you cover guys like that?It was like watching David and Goliath.PS: Quoting from the Game Day Program . . ."The first rennovation to Owen Filed occurred in 1948 when the track was removed, the field was lowered and 7,000 seats were added."Hey, Lew. Get with the program and get our fans close to the filed where we can have home field advantage like OU, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma St., all the SECF, all the Big 10, etc., etc.

Ted Toulouse 13 years, 11 months ago

Well said mvjayhawk. My thoughts for the second half were that we needed 1 TO to make it close, 2 TOs to win and neither happened. for some reason the D is not in position to create the turnovers we had last year. Granted the competition is better, but good defenses force the issue. We win the TO battle on Saturday, we win the game.

Alex Lent 13 years, 11 months ago

We had to catch-up (no pun intended) in HCMM's opinion. I agree with him on this. We had to give our offense time later in the game to score, so scoring quick and getting off the field when behind two scores was probably the best thing (later in the game). Although OU did a very good job of keeping their offense on the field. The one thing I didn't agree with was not running the ball more early and failing to convert early in the game, that's what screwed us. But then again, OU is a very good team.

eastcoasthawk 13 years, 11 months ago

"We didn't go away from him," Mangino said. "We thought 'Let's call it like we see it. We're having trouble stopping these guys. Trying to run the ball and eat up clock is not to our advantage.'"Trying to run the ball and eat up clock would have kept our defense (the one having trouble stopping these guys) and their offense off the field. I don't see how that is not to our advantage when only down by 7? I love Mangino but don't agree with this line of thinking. I still state we had a commendable game against one of the best programs in the country. However, we need wins, not commendable effort, to finish out the season.

Dyrk Dugan 13 years, 11 months ago

I see MM's point...about getting back into the game. We needed the bigger backs in their to block...totally understand. But down one score, midway thru the 3rd...we could have done anything we wanted. And Sharp should have been in there. MM's thinking that his defense needs to shut them down at some point, was probably also in the forefront...but alas, it was not to be. I have no doubt, that if we had scored to make it 31-31, then Sharp would have been back in there. But it's bascally all meaningless, when you give up 250 yds. in the first quarter and nearly 700 for the game.we won't see anything new from TTech that we've seen from OU....basically, we have to improve the defense to win....rush the passer, force some bad throws, and hit the receivers and make them fumble. We didn't hit ANYBODY vs. OU. So let's get after them, and get some TOs, and win this homecoming game.....Go Jayhawks!

FlaHawk 13 years, 11 months ago

Mark Mangino opted to use reserve backs Angus Quigley and Jocques Crawford for their pass-blocking abilities.I'll give you that Sharpe is too small to block and the oppositionrushes hard to put pressure on Reesling, but QUigley and Crawford are not blocking backs. They never had to block in HS or JUCO and the best they can do in KU is get in the way of DE that blow by rookie tackles.If you want a blockign back you get a FB type. Does KU even have anyone like this. Move a TE to FB or use them like West oast offense schema. Quigley and Crawford are not much at RB and even less skilled at blocking or pass protection.Leave Sharpe in and give him a chance. You really have no choice as I see it.Go Hawks!

Ted Toulouse 13 years, 11 months ago

FlaHawk,We heard about a FB named Stephen Foster early in the preseason/training camp. He sounded wild-spirited and promising as far as opening holes and creating havoc. But according to the roster, he and Tyler Hunt are the only 2 guys listed at FB - Foster is listed as a RS frosh and Tyler is a true frosh. So maybe the learning curve is still pretty steep for them, but it seems like Foster should be on the field because I think he was a RS frosh last year too.

GridironHawk 13 years, 11 months ago

Mangino didn't want to use the running attack because he knew the clock was working against him. The defense can get just as long of rests with a passing attack as running attack if used correctly. However, people always seem to measure this with the "game clock" instead of real rest time. Sure the "game clock" rest wasn't much but that was Mangino's whole idea. With that said.... I do think KU went away from Sharp too early. Reesing got more pressure without Sharp then with him because of the run threat. If given a second chance, I don't think Mangino would have taken Sharp out so early. Easy to say in hindsight :)

Ted Toulouse 13 years, 11 months ago

"We didn't go away from him," Mangino said. "We thought 'Let's call it like we see it. We're having trouble stopping these guys. Trying to run the ball and eat up clock is not to our advantage.'"My concern with this philosophy is our defense. If we're not deep enough to rotate more players, I say the longer our offense stays on the field, the better. OU was killing our D, so grinding back into the game would have helped. Not only that, but the drive to bring it to 31-24 didn't take that long - those were big chunks of yardage.As far as Tech, I'd like to see our run D re-establish itself to what we've been used to the last several years. Making them one-dimentional is still scary but I think we'll be better at stopping the run than the pass.

Jonathan Allison 13 years, 11 months ago

At least give Sharp the ball on the 3rd and 2, the drive after he ate up 58 yards on 4 carries.

Cowgirl1920 13 years, 11 months ago

Ok everyone, you are getting beside yourselves. Jake Sharp isnt that good that he has to be on the field. That's hilarious!!!!! He is not better than Crawford or Quigley. He has only had more opportinities. Give Joc or Angus the ball 31 times and see what happens. Sharp knows he cant block and when he is in the game. He is the reason why Reesing had to rush and pass or gets sack. Sharp has had two good games; however, I dont feel like he should be the feature back. The more teams they play, you will see!

kranny 13 years, 11 months ago

I agree with many of the above statements. Sometimes I think coaches overthink the game. Why go away from what is working?

pmohr13 13 years, 11 months ago

I was commenting to my friends after we scored the touchdown early in the second half that we needed to stay with the two back set, seeing that we scored so easily in that formation. I don't care if Sharp or Crawford gets the ball, preferably I would like to see Crawford get the ball because he is the bigger back and JUCO POY, as long as Quigley is lead blocking i think that formation will work wonders for our lack of running game, which in turn will help our defense out with them not being on the field 70% of the game.

Jonathan Briles 13 years, 11 months ago

I agree with cowgirl. Sharp is not the best runner on this team. I believe he is honestly the third. He has gotten so many more carries and opportunities that of course he is looking better to the coaches and everyone else. I will say that he would be my pick for the second half and especially the fourth quarter. He is very fast and could take people by surprise if he came in late in the game, but AQ and JC should be in for the first half. They know how to grind out runs for every extra yard and they do have the ability to bust one out big especially since they can break the first one or two would be tacklers. Sharp is good but just not the best one to start. Also I think people are looking to much into the OU game. KU broke two incredible OU streaks. OU had scored in some way on every opening drive of the season, and they were perfect inside of the red zone so far this year but both streaks went down as we held them to a field goal attempt (which was only the second time out of 29 times that a team had done that when they reached the red zone) and they missed it. KU showed a lot of good things they just didnt finish it off but who cares its over no going back just be happy that we are still in the top 20 and gained a little respect even with a loss.

jayhawkintx73 13 years, 11 months ago

It doesn't do any good to second guess Mark Mangino, but after that first drive in the 3rd quarter when KU flat out dominated OU with our running game that noone thinks we have, I think it was a mistake to not keep using that and making their defense tired. I think we would have been driving for a tie ball game in the last few minutes of the game with OU if we has balanced the passing game more with the running game, its ok to switch out Crawford, Quigley and Sharp every now and then, but get Crawford in the open field where he can use his strengths. Maybe a couple of middle screens to him instead of the shovel passes to make the opposing defense guess more. Because Crawford does have the tools to be a great back. Sharp though, he is fast, and maybe faster than most defenders we will play against. A couple of wheel routes to get a Linebacker to have to cover him, and Sharp wins that matchup every time. And do that a couple of times early in a game, and no double coverage on Briscoe or Fields. And maybe get Jake Sharp out there and throw a block or two for Meier. We have maybe the best overall wide receiving corps in the country. And we are in a way under utilizing it because we don't throw to the tight end very much and Biere is a big a guy, a Freshman, who is going to get much better if he gets some balls his way. Then we have the option, put crawford and Sharp both in the back field in a pro set and make the defense try to defend 3 good runners because Reesing can run pretty well too. Maybe just 4 or 5 times per game use that set, and you can throw from it, and get great blocks in blitzes and get some of the quick hitters over the middle to Fields or Briscoe, and they both can make things happen after the catch. The upside of this team is HUGE. It is possibly a NC team this year if and only if we use our players to their strengths and make the defense defend ALL OF THEM on every single play!

thiknthinhawk 13 years, 11 months ago

The stats speak for themselves as far as production by the RB's is concerned. Sharp is just more productive on a consistant basis. Sharp should be the feature back. Keep in mind that he had over 100 yards against...OU- and this on their turf and this also only through 2/12 quarters. I'm not one to question MM, because he's a darn good coach, but Sharp was a major factor in the game until he was pulled with us only being down by 7. I would have liked to see him stay in the game....this aside, we won't lose the TT game. Go Hawks!

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