Monday, September 15, 2008
As of Sunday night, Kansas University coach Mark Mangino had watched enough film of his team's 37-34 loss to South Florida to know this: The Jayhawks' receivers, despite their statistical achievements, have a long way to go.
Asked whether he thought the Jayhawks' receiving corps was as deep and talented as any he's had at Kansas, Mangino replied, "I thought they were up until (Friday) night. I think we have a mentality with some of our receivers where they want to catch passes. But as far as the other things that come with the game - running precise routes and blocking - I thought we were very sub-standard."
The coach's biggest gripe seemed to be with the lack of blocking, which he said contributed to the team's stagnant running game. Kansas totaled only 61 rushing yards against South Florida - 13 of which came from quarterback Todd Reesing -and averaged just 2.9 yards per carry in the third straight game they've failed to rush for 130 yards or more.
Part of Friday night's woes likely could be attributed to the absence of senior receiver Dexton Fields, an astute blocker who has missed the team's past two games due to injury.
But such factors did not seem to ease Mangino's concerns.
"I think the receivers, watching tape, had some opportunities to get some blocks for our run game and did not do it, did not sustain their blocks," he said. "And that's disappointing when you can get running backs through the next level and not get help from the receivers."
Following Friday's loss, the coach also issued a warning of sorts to his receiving corps.
"I made it very clear to those guys: If you don't block, you can't play," Mangino said. "We have to put somebody in there that will, and we'll get the ball to them and have them make the catches. Because you cannot be one-dimensional and be successful at the wide-receiver position."
Mangino also addressed the Jayhawks' struggles along the defensive line.
"Nobody jumped out at me on the tape," he said. "Nobody was overly impressive."
The lack of pressure applied by the defensive line played a large part in the Jayhawks' forfeiture of a 17-point first-half lead.
"We were very poor on line stunts and twists, which normally we're pretty sharp at," Mangino said. "I didn't like the way we executed those. We've just got to do a lot of drill work and get it fixed and get it fundamentally sound."