The Sideline Report with Toben Opurum


Let's get right to this week's sideline report with freshman running back Toben Opurum.

Notice in his interiew below, his initials are "T.O." I'm just wondering how long it will take until all KU fans call him by that nickname ...

The Sideline Report with Toben Opurum

Jesse Newell: Why the mohawk? [Ed. note — He has one now. I promise.]

Toben Opurum: I just wanted to do something different in high school. It started out as just something out of boredom, but I just liked the way it looked. It keeps it different. It's cool.

JN: Do your teammates like it or not?

TO: Nobody really comments on it (laughs). I mean, I don't tell anybody else I like their hair (laughs). It's just really nice to have something different than everyone else.

JN: Are you a better rapper or a better singer?

TO: I'm just OK at both. I enjoy listening to music more so than anything.

JN: So neither one's better?

TO: No, they're about the same.

JN: I read in a Jayhawk Slant story that you worked at a place called Amazing Jake's. Tell me about that experience.

TO: Basically, it's kind of a mixture of a Chuck E. Cheese and Main Event type of arcade place.

It had all types of different things there. It had its ups and downs, but dealing with kids sometimes can get tiring.

JN: What's the worst experience you had with either kids or parents at that place?

TO: All the time we get kids that want to get mad at us for not letting them on rides because they're too short. We have signs that you have to be taller than ... just having to deal with that all the time.

JN: So you're a little kid heartbreaker is what you are. You make them have to be this tall to ride the ride?

TO: Not on purpose (laughs).

JN: What's an embarrassing TV show that you watch?

TO: That's the weird thing. I actually don't watch that much TV. Since I've gotten here, I haven't watched TV, unless I was watching a football game.

JN: That's it?

TO: Yeah.

JN: So you have a lot of time on your hands then, right?

TO: Usually my free time is spent on my laptop or on my Xbox. Watching TV I haven't done too much of.

JN: What's your favorite Web site?

TO: I'm just always searching up new music, just searching the web for random facts and stuff.

JN: What's the last book you read?

TO: See that's the thing. A lot of books I read online (laughs). I couldn't even say. I just like reading different articles, things like that. Novels and books, I'm not really into.

JN: Favorite Disney character.

TO: Don't like Disney (laughs).

JN: Didn't watch any of them growing up?

TO: I was more of a South Park type of a guy (laughs). I wasn't really into Disney and everything.

JN: All right. Favorite South Park character.

TO: Cartman.

JN: Why's that?

TO: He's hilarious. He's the center of attention on the show all the time.

JN: Do you think you're like him or not?

TO: No, not at all (laughs). He's just funny to watch.

JN: Who are you most like on South Park?

TO: I don't think anybody in the world is like anybody on South Park.

JN: That's probably a good thing, then.

TO: Definitely.

JN: Tell me about the first KU game you saw.

TO: I can't remember what it was, but the one that sticks out to me the most, though, is the game against Missouri last year.

That's the one I really sat down and got a chance to watch from beginning to end. It was definitely a good experience. A little while after, I committed to the program, so it was a chance to see the people that I would be playing with in the future, and I was definitely impressed they pulled it out in the end. It was an exciting game to watch for anybody.

JN: Where'd you watch it?

TO: I watched it at one of my friend's houses. He's actually a big Notre Dame fan. At the same time he's seeing them do well, he's trying to talk to me about Notre Dame. It was definitely a feeling of excitement. I was rooting for all of them, and it was fun to watch.

JN: When you watched Todd Reesing on that final throw, did you think he was in trouble?

TO: Nah. Reesing, he's not going down in that situation. He knows where he's at all the time, and he's a playmaker. That's what playmakers do.

JN: What was your first impression of coach Mangino?

TO: The first time I actually got to talk to him in person was on my visit up here. The thing I liked about him was that he was real honest with me. He didn't try to just tell me things to keep me around or anything. He just kept it real honest. That's the thing I like most about him.

JN: Were there other coaches that weren't as honest with you that you thought maybe were just giving you things that you wanted to hear?

TO: I think there's a bit of that in recruiting, people telling you what you want to hear. But here, my expectations were realistic. He just kept things honest with me.

JN: Ever cried at a movie?

TO: No. Never.

JN: Ever come close?

TO: Never.

JN: Nothing huh?

TO: No.

JN: Titanic. That doesn't make you cry?

TO: (laughs) Not at all.

JN: If you could have a superhuman power, what would it be?

TO: (pause) Flying. Flying definitely.


JN: Why's that?

TO: It's a good way to just get away from everything else on the earth and get places on time (laughs). A lot of people have issues with that. That or telepathy.

JN: Oh, telepathy. Tell me why you want that.

TO: That's mind control. You'd be able to move things with your mind. I like X-Men characters, so I just think of all the different things that they can do with their powers and stuff.

JN: Would it be nice to move the linebackers out of the way when you're running toward the secondary?

TO: See, that'd be simple. With telepathy, you wouldn't even have to worry about it (laughs).

JN: We wouldn't know why you were so good, but that would be why, right?

TO: Exactly. But it's just fun to think about different things like that, supernatural things.

JN: Give me an athlete that you admire.

TO: I admire Kobe Bryant. His passion for the game is the passion that I have for my game. He loves the sport, and he makes it a bigger part of his life than most people do. I definitely admire that. He's a great athlete. Everybody knows that they won a championship last year on his back. Everyone knows how good of an athlete Kobe Bryant is, so that's definitely who I admire.

JN: What's your favorite Kobe Bryant moment?

TO: There's really too many. He's crossed so many people over, dunked on multiple people. It's really hard to just sit down and pick one.

JN: What's something that would stand out if I walked into your room?

TO: I keep my room pretty simple. There's nothing crazy on the walls. It's kind of just my Xbox there and my laptop here and that's it.

JN: Nothing too crazy then?

TO: No, not at all.


Jaminrawk 13 years ago

I have a feeling this kid is going to be one of the best backs in KU history. It's the eye test. Watching how he moves, hit's that second gear and dips his hips when he cuts, he just looks like an NFL back. Plus he is a load. He very well could end up being our Eddie George.

kansas22 13 years ago

Keep working hard Toben. You will be a big part of the team's success this year and in years to come. More performances like last week's are welcomed with open arms. Good game against UNC, now lets see another versus UTEP.

waywardJay 13 years ago

OK there something i don't like about him now... He's a kobe fan. I agree Jamin, when i saw him at the game, i thought he's a pretty big guy for a freshman. There was one instance where he was warming up next to reesing and i swear it looked like he was two of todd wide, and about 6 inches taller. I got this feeling when i first saw Dez Briscoe, and I always get the feeling watching the Basketball team. Same feeling i got when i lived i saw UConn play basketball in 2002 and saw number 50..... you look down the bench and see this massive hulking frame and go.....That's a Pro-Player right there, he's playign with kid's right now, but he's definetely a pro in there.

Eddie George, maybe. Shifty, elusive but powerful. Definetley graceful runner. seeing him run that second touchdown.... it looked like he was driving down the street in first gear. running fast but looked in slow mo..... To me, That's more Emmitt Smith than Eddie George.

Rivethead 13 years ago

He runs a bit high. If he doesn't learn to get his pads down, the Big 12 LBs and Safeties are going to get some good shots in.

But the raw talent is there and there is plenty of time for teaching and adjustments. What I like most about Toben is that he very well-spoken and intelligent.

Dirk Medema 13 years ago

Note to Jesse: I referred to Tobin as TO in the spring and was told by someone with HS connections that Tobin does not like to be referred to by his initials b/c of the associations it conjures up.

As for the future with Tobin, one of the really encouraging things is the development a young, deep, talented OL. Combining him with the assortment of speed backs we have behind our OL looks a lot like 2007, only better and better. Not sure if it is Eddie George/Emmit Smith better, but just glad to be moving in the right direction.

Jesse Newell 13 years ago

dagger — This is from his chat we did earlier this year:

CaramelMacchMan February 4, 2009 at 4:36 p.m. What nick name do you want Kansas fans to call you? Toben Opurum February 4, 2009 at 6:15 p.m. Haha that's up to the fans isn't it? I've kept it simple and people have called me T.O. forever.

dmitch86 13 years ago

I think you're confusing telepathy with telekinesis.

gardenjay 13 years ago

Jesse - so then you did mean 'T.O.' the abbreviation, as in the Terrell Owens T.O. (the NFL WR)? Because in this article you wrote it so that it could be spoken either as TO the abbreviation, or as the acronym TO (as in the number two).

Couldn't help myself. Beak 'em Hawks! Anyway, if dagger is correct overall, we as fans want to get it right by Toben, so please look into this LJW. Go Toben, go KU!

Jonathan Allison 13 years ago

what is TO an abbreviation for? Toben? And how is TO an acronym for the number 2? I'm so confused...

The initials TO typed without periods is actually an acronym for Toben Opurum. Written as T.O. it would simply be his initials. But in no way is TO an abbreviation for anything, nor does it refer to the number 2..

gardenjay 13 years ago

No, the initials TO typed without periods could be an acronym or an abbreviation. Look at NASA - do you say 'Nasa' or do you say N - A - S - A? I think we know. What about EPA? Do you say 'Epa' or do you say 'E - P - A'? Neither are commonly used with periods.

Besides, who would need an acronym for two? Anyway, I was trying to be over-critical to be funny, but on re-reading my post I can see how it came out as mere criticism. Will focus on the game tomorrow, trust you-all will too! RC

DallasHawk 13 years ago

Jesse. Nice work again. I enjoy getting to know the players on a more personal basis. TO has stood out to me as a great kid since he committed to us. I can't imagine what he's going to be like in a few years. He's so explosive and tough to bring down. Beak Em' in the border town boys!

MNHawk23 13 years ago

on facebook his name is "Toben T O Opurum" so i think he likes the TO nickname

rasta_meta 13 years ago

I like this kid. He has looked pretty good so far as well.

waywardJay 13 years ago

almost 200 yards in 2 games.... cannot argue with that

RVArlington 13 years ago

Toben, just keep doing what you are doing. DFW metroplex is proud of you.

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