Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reesing: Benching ‘was a big deal to me’

Todd Reesing hangs his head during the loss to Oklahoma on October 24, 2009. The Jayhawks look to bounce back against Texas Tech in Lubbock on Saturday.

Todd Reesing hangs his head during the loss to Oklahoma on October 24, 2009. The Jayhawks look to bounce back against Texas Tech in Lubbock on Saturday.


There are not a lot of college football players who appear to enjoy the game more than Todd Reesing.

This is obvious to anyone who has seen the senior quarterback bouncing across Big 12 football fields in the fall, first-pumping and hip-thrusting and generally carrying on like an over-caffeinated 5-year-old at Chuck E Cheese’s.

“Having fun is part of his deal,” KU offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said. “... He wears his emotions on his sleeve. That’s part of who he is, and that’s been good for us.”

For the past three weeks, however, Reesing hasn’t looked like a guy having all that much fun. Not during a recent stretch in which the Jayhawks, who started the season 5-0, have dropped three straight games. Not while the quarterback has committed an uncharacteristic seven turnovers in those games, five of which directly resulted in opponents touchdowns.

And certainly not during a second-half Kansas collapse in Saturday’s 42-21 loss to Texas Tech, which resulted in the team’s coaching staff — with just over seven minutes remaining in a two-possession game — informing Reesing that he was being benched in favor of red-shirt freshman Kale Pick.

“They just said ‘Kale’s in,’ and that was it,” Reesing said Tuesday. “And so it just kind of happened really fast, and next thing I knew, I wasn’t playing.”

In the days since the benching — which, given the level of success Reesing has had during a superb four-year career, predictably set off a media frenzy — Kansas coach Mark Mangino has contended that the decision to pull Reesing from the game wasn’t a big deal. It was performance-based move, he said. With a struggling offensive line and a stagnant offense, it was time for a new look.

And Tuesday, he reiterated that sentiment.

“I think (the media) make it a big deal,” Mangino said. “It’s not a big deal. When you look at the circumstances and what has taken place over a period of time, it was the appropriate thing to do.”

Reesing, however, views the situation differently.

“It was a big deal to me,” the quarterback said. “It is what it is. It’s above my pay grade. It’s his decision. (But) I’m still the starting quarterback here, there’s no doubt about that. This job is not up for grabs. I’m going to move forward.”

As of Tuesday, Reesing said he hadn’t received an explanation from Mangino as to why he was benched and, at this point, doesn’t see the need for one.

“I guess you can take it for what it is,” he said. “I don’t know if he was trying to send a message, or if he just wanted to let Kale play a little bit. I don’t have an explanation. It happened, it’s over, we’re moving forward.”

In an effort to do so, Reesing organized a players-only meeting for Tuesday afternoon in which he planned to address the team.

With just four guaranteed games left in a career that will go down as perhaps the most decorated in school history, time is running short, and ensuring the team’s players make the most of their remaining time together was something Reesing aimed to accomplish during the meeting.

“The times we’ve performed best, everyone was relaxed and having fun and just playing football — the game they love,” Reesing said. “If we can get back to doing that, in addition to working hard and preparing hard, then I have all the confidence in the world that we’ll get this thing going like it should be.”

While Reesing declined to label Saturday’s 11:30 a.m. road matchup with Kansas State a season-defining game, it’s safe to assume that a Kansas loss in Manhattan effectively would end the team’s hyped preseason goal of a Big 12 North title.

At 1-3 in the Big 12, Kansas will have little margin for error from here on out, and if the team hopes to battle for what appears to be an up-for-grabs spot in December’s conference championship — which likely will take at least three victories in their next four games to secure — an effective Reesing will be key.

The quarterback said Tuesday that he has received encouraging words this week from former teammates Derek Fine, James Holt and Mike Rivera, and various teammates and coaches — including Mangino — repeatedly have insisted they haven’t lost confidence in the quarterback.

“He realizes that all of us need critiqued,” Mangino said. “When I coach lousy like I did last week, then I say I coached lousy. I told the players I did a terrible job of coaching. He’s just like a coach in the sense that he has a lot of pride, so just like I’m finding a way to get the kids on track, he’s finding a way to get himself back going the way he was. And he will.”

And despite the forgettable recent stretch, Reesing appears far from ready to throw in the towel.

“The point when this game isn’t fun for you anymore, it’s time to hang it up,” Reesing said. “I still love playing this game. It’s still fun as heck for me ... and I just want everyone to realize that and make it be fun. Because when you’re having fun and you’re performing well, nothing’s better.”


murph 12 years, 11 months ago

It was a cheap-shot move by Mangino to bench Reesing. Todd has produced 14 points in less than 7 minutes in the past - he should have had the opportunity to do it again. Now the poor guy will be looking over his shoulder for all of the few remaining games of his career at KU - he's earned MUCH better treatment than that. If you get down to brass tacks, Mangino pretty much owes not just the fat raise he got a couple of years ago, but his very job to Todd Reesing and Kerry Meier. That classless move was a pretty shabby way to repay them.

After all - what was the worst that could happen? The Hawks lose the game? Ummm - that happened anyway.

Don Everett 12 years, 11 months ago

Murph - you are just like most of the media in that you are blowing this way out of preportion. I'm not pointing fingers, but has anyone looked at the overall status of the football team? The defense hasn't performed as advertised and the special teams aren't what they were last year. Benching Reesing was not a big deal in the grand scheme of things as KU more than likely was destined to loose anyway at the time he was removed. This team needs to come together as a team and hammer the kitties and get the season back on track. They should, at worst finish 8-4. That is my expectation and regardless of the outcome, I will support KU and not cry and whine in the long run.

murph 12 years, 11 months ago

No, Jayhawkdon, YOU are missing the point. This football team has ridden on Todd Reesing's confidence and Kerry Meier's sacrifice. To give Todd a vote of "no confidence" and then to pass over Kerry to replace him was a tacky move, and may well come back to destroy the team's chemistry. It was a stupid and petty thing for Mangino to do.

Kevin Kelly 12 years, 11 months ago

So what if he got benched. He deserved to get benched. I agree it will effect his confidence but I realize something you don't Murph....

He was already playing without confidence and doing everything tentitively. He was already loosing the game. What's the worse that can happen? His confidence gets even lower and we loose even worse? One thing was clear. This situation wasn't fixing itself and action was needed.

We need playmakers. Todd needs to realize he's only here because Meyer couldn't get things done during the Colorado game in 06. He has since earned his spot but he rents it...its not his. The exact same thing can happen to anyone.

I don't know about your experience in football....but I spent my whole carrer looking over my shoulder and it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Steve Brown 12 years, 11 months ago

since the tug of war with the BB team, we've lost our mojo.

we aren't having fun, lost confidence, besides predictible plays and easy to read sideline checks.

I said then and will repeat, university unity is needed, have BB players 'in service' to university unity load the FB team buses w. gear or serve them breakfast this friday to showcase university unity.

jahawkdave 12 years, 11 months ago

Since when is it such a problem to bring in a back up QB these days. Of course Todd is our starter and KUFB is indebted to what he's done for us. But he is in a slump and you bring in a "reliever" that is all it is plain and simple. KU has gaps that we are trying to fill, where most teams reload (we are getting there) we have an undersized overachieving QB (& RB) neither who are 100% healthy playing behind an inexperienced OL.

Todd and Jake are phenomenal! But to compete at this level it is esspecially hard for them to produce being nicked up or worse. These guys need 100% of their speed quIckness agility and strength to produce and make up for what they lack in size. It has been obvious Todd is not the same QB injured he has been off for awhile throws that are off the mark more often then not, scrambling ability and ilusiveness diminished. He was not going to bring us to victory down 14 at Tech.

Meier was not going to bring us back either nor does he want to as QB, he's a WR, one of the best in the nation, that's how he's going to make a living at the next level, he does not want to play QB or throw passes other than an occasional trick play.

Kale is our #2 QB and when your #1 is struggling or not producing or injured you bring in your number 2 simple as that, it is no big deal! If Kale starts a game over Todd then there is something to write about.

For Todd to even mention his injury, it must be worse than we know and bothering both his mobility and throwing quite a bit. I have never seen so many off throws by 5, Meier and Briscoe have made quite a few saving catches on poor throws this year. Everyone was upset Dez dropped a sure touchdown against OU, fact was the ball was at his ankles, even getting his hands on it at full stride was remarable, a healthy Todd puts that on the numbers.

jakzhumans 12 years, 11 months ago

I thought Reesing earned every bit of that benching. It's not like he just had a bad series, or a bad half, or a bad game. He had three stinkbomb games in a row, and that pretty much demands that the coach address it. Name another player on the team that could be terrible for three straight games and retain their playing time. It's good to let everyone know that favorites aren't going to exist on this team and players can't sit on past accomplishments and expect to keep their jobs.

Michael Leiker 12 years, 11 months ago

I agree w/Murph. Bad move by Mangino. If Todd has ever had an issue with his confidence it's right now and the last thing he needed was to feel like Mangino was jumping off the Reesing bandwagon in a game KU had about a 10% chance of winning at that point. There is absolutely no reason of taking any chance of undermining Todd at this point.

"The media is blowing it out of proportion." What do you expect reporters to do when you sit a "Heisman Candidate" down and put a red shirt freshman in a game that was still to some extent winnable, not write about it.

FSUJHAWK 12 years, 11 months ago

Represent the way you know to and win or lose we'll always have your back Todd. Now go out there and whip some kitty cats...!!!


Jetson 12 years, 11 months ago

"Heisman Candidates" don't turn the ball over several times a game, one-hop wide open receivers, and they don't stay in the pocket forever to get sacked. He has been playing with no emotion, playing hurt, and I fully support Mangino's decision to bench him. Should Todd be above all the rest of the players on the team? What message does that send? I am sure we can all agree that the Todd of the last 3 games is not the Todd we are used to seeing. This may be what he needs to get him back on track. I fully expect Todd to rebound from this, and play with the swagger we are all used to while destroying the Mildcats.

Blake Post 12 years, 11 months ago

The coach gave us an Orange Bowl and other great victories. So did the quarterback. I think I will just let them handle it, rather than the media or posters. Some of the posters, especially the first few think it is possible to loose a game. How do you loose a game. Are there loosers? There must also be winers, eh? An online dictionary is needed right now much more than your comments about the coach or QB. Just remember this, one and all: often the first and worst commenters on here are from missouri in reality, and they like to do all that they can to criticize a coach in an attempt to make him want to leave. They were always doing that to Roy, and I'm not certain he caught on. I am not so certain that murph is not one of those tigers. They will try anything.
The last comment is correct. It is time. The lowly mildcats have won where we have not. They are winning games and we are not. Undoubtedly Snyder is a better coarch than the "conartist formerly known as prince". (Ha. There is a gem) But it is time. Mash the mildcats. They must die.

troutsee 12 years, 11 months ago

Agree with those of you who felt the benching was justified. Events in the game were going south in a hurry anyway. However, having said that, it was still surprising. Particularly surprising in that it occurred at the end of a winnable game. Oh well, let's move on. It's all about team. Let's hope all three teams show up to play this week. It will take maximum effort.

okiedave 12 years, 11 months ago

If anybody needs to be benched, it was the special teams coach. HCMM apparently explained (as reported in the KC Star) that the reason an onside kick or squib kick was not used against Tech was because we do not have anybody capable of kicking an onside or squib kick. REALLY? Has the team not developed anybody through patient practice that can at least take a reasonable shot at it? BENCH THE SPECIAL TEAMS COACH. He has not completed a basic job performance goal.

kranny 12 years, 11 months ago

This may sound like a shot against Sharp, but I feel the offense hasn't been the same since Sharp came back in the CU game. Opurum was wearing down the D line and keeping them honest. Now the D line simply bull rushes and stunt blitzes with nothing keeping them in check.

Mike Johns 12 years, 11 months ago

first... where did the statement "it is what it is" come from... it is popping up so much lately and is a pretty lame statement

second.... TODD - do you really need an explanation from HCMM? I mean for real... look at the game... look at the past 3 weeks... all i can say is ... it is what it is and it deserved riding the pine.

KU 12 years, 11 months ago

Reesing talks about wanting to have fun......the way you have FUN is to PLAY WELL. You play well and THEN you have fun. You can't go out with the attitude that you're gonna just have fun without playing up to your abilities because that is no fun.

Get it together on the FIRST DRIVE this Saturday and score a TD. Then we'll believe that you really want to have fun, Reesing.

Michael Leiker 12 years, 11 months ago

Jetson - Mangino rejected the idea that Reesing was hurt the other day. Didn't say, no comment, said that he's not hurt.

Jeff Hargate 12 years, 11 months ago

I agree with jakzhumans. Reesing has had a LONG leash. Look at all the demotions, especially to Thornton, a senior who has been there with Reesing the last 4 years. Nobody cares about him getting benched. Todd gets all the glory (most of the time he deserves it) and now must deal with the reality of failure. Hopefully he digs deep and can give the team his best. Did anyone really think he would not start this weekend?

100 12 years, 11 months ago

Coach Mangino -- let's put the spread back in "the spread". When we do it right (and like Todd said "have fun") we are more electric to watch then how Oregon looked last weekend against USC. And the great part of it being fun to watch, is we score points & score them fast.

Bring back the spread!!!!

  1. More Receivers -- simple cut routes. No more winding interception routes. Quick hitters. It's auto-catch everytime. There will simply be too many open receivers if... (see below)...

  2. Todd absolutely must be dropped back again into a true shotgun. His on close to the pocket position currently simply benefits the other team. It's like shooting ourselves in the feett. I know we have a new snapper, but it's a necessity. Drop Todd back. He has to have his vision back!

Bring back the spread & let's have fun again!!!!!!!!

Jetson 12 years, 11 months ago

Pretty sure that Todd said he tweaked his groin. Mangino may be downplaying his injury, or maybe it isn't bad at all, but doesn't change the fact that Todd mentioned it.

100 12 years, 11 months ago

There's no doubt about it that he hurt his leg. It was CU, off of that pass from Meier where Reesing dove for the zone. Wouldve been a Heisman moment, but unfortunately a defender sprawled on top.

That said, he's had time to recover & it's time to have fun again.

thehawkster 12 years, 11 months ago

All I am going to say is that you wouldn't see Tebow or McCoy getting benched.

Steve Brown 12 years, 11 months ago

beat State, Corndogs and Misery @ Arrowhead and we're 8-4 with a decent bowl opponent. We control our own destiny, as does State, Huskers & Misery.

the season begins this sat. in kitty land: I hope their hot shot kick off returner returns about 4 for 6 as that means we are scoring and kicking off. Hope we think twice before kicking to him. Also, we want the strong ks wind in 4th qtr.

Bud Stagg 12 years, 11 months ago

Hawkster, you are wrong. You can hang at least two opponent touchdowns a week for 3 weeks on Reesings' poor play. If Tebow or McCoy had lost a game for those guys in Reesing Fashion, the fans and boosters would be livid.

Marcia Parsons 12 years, 11 months ago

In the interview I heard, a reported told Mangino Todd had mentioned the groin problem, and Mangino just said it wasn't a problem. He didn't deny that the condition existed.

beebe1 12 years, 11 months ago

The word is 'losing'; loose rhymes with 'goose'. Sorry, but for me it sure makes the reading difficult.

Sean Rodger 12 years, 11 months ago

I so agree with you beebe1 - I get so sick and tired of people that can't differentiate between "lose" and "loose". It's something you learn in like the 3rd grade!

Other than that I agree with the benching - I think he got to complacent with what was going on. I think the football team believed people would just roll over when we strolled into the stadium. Not the case - when you're great - you have a bullseye on your back. Other teams want to knock you off the pedestal. We need to get that swagger back!


Beat ksu and the classless fan base they call "wildcat nation".

KURocksChalk 12 years, 11 months ago

If we expect to lose the rest of the games this year, maybe some people might be loser. One thing is sure, if we keep going in this direction we will lose them all. There seems to be no innovation this year. I remember one fake punt and one quarterback throw back and that is it. And what happened to the running game?

I do not know entirely what the problem is, but I hope that Coach M knows and can fix it. This is still a good team and can beat anyone when they play their best game. We can only wring our hands so much, so may God Bless this team the rest of the year. May they have fun, play well, and live a life on and off the field that is sober, self-less, and a good example to all. And may the coaches have wisdom. AMEN!

jayhawkintexas 12 years, 11 months ago

The game is still "fun as heck" to Todd? It didn't look like it after he threw that amazing touchdown pass to Briscoe (after escaping what looked like a sure sack). Where as the "fist-pumping, hip-thrusting" QB we all know and love? Instead, he just walked off the field with a nonchalant attitude. Todd--we WANT you to pump your fists and thrust your hips (that could be painful now but at least pump your fists) after a touchdown.

Dirk Medema 12 years, 11 months ago

Inspite of Todd's poor play, I was still a bit surprised that Kale came in only down 14. Kale did fine as well, but was also undermined by a dropped 1st down b y a WR.

I was also surprised that Coach wouldn't talk to Todd specifically. Spikes was replaced late in the game as well, and I wouldn't expect Coach to have a special talk with each demoted player. Todd is not every other player. He is a captain and leader of the team. I think the "talk" was left to Warriner as appropriate, but I would think that one team leader (Coach) needs to be talking specifically with the other team leaders - captains.

I am pleasantly surprised that Todd called the team meeting. He is still the leader, and it gives me all kinds of confidence in the team winning at least 3 of 4 (+ a bowl game) to end the season strong.

Dirk Medema 12 years, 11 months ago

It is also interesting that the LJW chose to emphasize the negative with the headline, focusing on the benching (past) instead of the positive of the QB calling the team meeting to rally his team (future).

The culture needs to change for the community even more than the team. Change their minds Todd, et al.

rockchalkxii 12 years, 11 months ago

Honestly, Mangino practically owes his job to Todd Reesing. If it wasn't for the 2007-08 season and winning 12 games, Mark Mangino more than likely wouldn't be the coach here. I seriously doubt that if we were still a team that wins 5, 6, or seven games a year he would be here, espically after the way we are playing right now. Just beat K Suck.

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