Press Conference Quotes...11.25.08

Head Coach Mark Mangino

 

Opening remarks:

“This Saturday we are preparing for our border rival, Missouri. It is a game that everybody in both states looks forward to and all of the fans look forward to. The players look forward to it as well. We have been off for a week and it seems like it has been a month since we have played a game. Our players are very anxious to get back on the field and play again. We have had about a week and a half of practice. The practices have gone very well and they have been very spirited. They have been very fast paced. Our players are looking forward to getting back on the field and finishing the season on a high note.”

 

Missouri is a very good football team. They have a very explosive offense led by their quarterback, Chase Daniel. He has a lot of quality people around him, people like Jeremy Maclin, Chase Coffman, Derrick Washington and others. They can run the ball, as well as throw the ball. They haven’t changed much on defense. They have a good group up front, led by Stryker Sulak. He is very active against the run, as well as the pass. They have good linebackers, led by Sean Weatherspoon, who runs very well. He makes a lot of plays sideline to sideline. Their secondary is led by William Moore, who is one of the best safeties in our league. He is a sure tackler, a good cover guy and a very physical player.”

 

“This is a very good challenge for us. We look at it as an opportunity and we are looking forward to playing a very good Missouri team on Saturday.”

 

On the Missouri offense:

“They take their time and they are very patient. They will take the short pass or run the ball when it is there. One thing I noticed about them is that they have a lot of things taking place behind the line of scrimmage. They have quick screens, reverses, wide sweeps and play action passes. That means that they have faith in their offensive line, they trust their offensive schemes and they do a good job of executing those schemes. They are a very well-coached offense.”

 

On the KU-MU rivalry

“The people here in this region want this to be a big game. It is being promoted in the Kansas City area very aggressively. I think the fact that both programs have been playing better football in the last couple of years has helped out the rivalry. I think it has a chance to be a great national rivalry, but both schools have to do their share of coming in with winning records and programs that are having success. If both schools can do that over a period of time then I believe this rivalry can capture national attention.”

 

On former KU coach Don Fambrough’s annual speech before the MU game:

“I think he enjoys doing it and we enjoy having him do it. It is fun and the players enjoy listening to him. It is something that he really enjoys and he is a part of the program. He comes to practice nearly every day. He loves the program, he loves the players and we have embraced him. He gets really excited about this game and he has earned the right to say what he wants to say about it.”

 

On the mindset of the team coming into this game:

“This game is against our border rival. It is the last game of the year. We want to finish strong. Emotion will be a factor, but you can’t win a game just on emotion. You have to go out and play good, smart, tough football. Emotions are great leading up to the game, but you still have to play smart, aggressive football.”

Player quotes after the jump...

Junior Safety Darrell Stuckey

 

On how Missouri matches up with the schools in the Big 12 South:

“I think a lot of times in the Big 12 it depends on which day you play each team. It’s one of those cases where every Big 12 team has the ability to beat each other.  It’s the one’s that show up every day, day in and day out, that get the job done.  I think Missouri has a lot of potential to be as good as any other team we have played from the South.”

 

On whether he thinks the rivalry should leave Kansas City:

“I think it’s a good location for the game.  I think it allows more fans to come and it is more of a neutral site, kind of like the Cotton Bowl with Oklahoma and Texas. It allows us to be seen by more people and gives the game a bigger stage, so it’s fun to play on a stage like this.”

 

Senior Offensive Lineman Adrian Mayes

 

On why this game is more important than normal:

“It could be because it is Missouri.  It is also could be because it is a rivalry game.  It is a huge game for all of us.  The opportunity to go 7-5 is huge for us and it is something that we have worked for.  Hopefully we can make it happen this Saturday.  Offensively to win this game we have to take care of our assignments and win the turnover battle.”

 

On the dislike involved between the two teams:

“I am not sure it is hatred or whatever, but I know it is a rivalry game and is just part of what comes with it.” 

 

On his favorite location to play Missouri:

“I would say Arrowhead is the best.  Playing in an NFL stadium is awesome and it’s one of the loudest stadiums that I have ever been in, so it makes it pretty exciting.”

 

On what the coming game means for Kansas:

“To have the chance to go 7-5 in the regular season is really important. I think it’s as big of a game as last year and it’s a rivalry, so it’s always going to be a big game. Even if neither team had won a game all season it would still be a big game.”

 

His thoughts on playing his last regular season game:

“I haven’t really thought about that yet.  I guess when it is done I will think about it, but right now I’m just thinking about beating Missouri.”

 

Junior Quarterback Todd Reesing

 

On this week’s game against Missouri:

“It’s a rivalry game.  It’s an important one for a lot of the people in the state. A lot of the fans think anytime you can get a win over Missouri it makes the season a good one, whether it’s your first win or your 10th. So it’s a big game for a lot of people.”

 

On playing the game in Arrowhead:

“The atmosphere was unbelievable last year. There were 80,000 people and having the split stadium was pretty cool. It’s a great environment; it’s a big game and that’s the type of game you want to play in college.”

 

On what he can take from last year’s game and use towards the coming one:

“I think having played there before, you know what to expect. You know what it’s going to be like noise-wise and you have played on the field before. “

 

On if he has had a talk with Coach Fambrough about Missouri:

“Yeah I’ve gotten to hear Coach Fambrough and that will get you pretty jacked up. He has a pretty deep hatred and it’s pretty cool listening to him talk about the games he has played over there when he was coaching.”

 

 

Junior Cornerback Justin Thornton

 

On the bye week:

“It was good.  Coach gave us a few days off here and there.  We got a lot of good mental reps during practice.  It is not about how long you practice for, it is about the work that you do in practice.  We got some good work done this week.”

 

On the implications of this week’s game:

“It is a big game for us.  Coach Mangino told us last week that this game will define our season.  If we win then people will view our season as a positive season and if we lose everyone will say that it wasn’t a good season.  We definitely are going to put some emphasis on this game and it is going to be a fun one.”

 

On the contempt in this rivalry:

“I think it goes both ways.  People around here hate Mizzou just as much as they hate us.  It is a really good rivalry and for all the guys on our team that aren’t from around here, we try to emphasize to them how much this game means to the fans and everyone who is from around here.  For the people that grew up around this area, it is definitely a special game.”

 

On what you can draw from last year’s game against Mizzou:

“It definitely can help because you can go back and look at some of the things that we did wrong and some things that we can get corrected.  Even though the game went the way it did, it was still a close game.  We only lost by eight points while making plenty of mistakes in that game.  We are looking forward to playing.”

 

Senior Linebacker Joe Mortensen

 

On the Missouri offense:

“(Jeremy) Maclin definitely is the man that they try to get the ball to.  Chase (Daniel) is a great quarterback and they have a lot of weapons including Chase Coffman, but Maclin is the guy that at any moment with the ball in his hands he can break one for a touchdown.  We are going to try to have to find a way to lock him down.”

 

On if a win this weekend could make the season:

“This is that kind of game for us.  Last year we lost and this year we want to come back and win this game.  This is a huge rivalry game.  A lot like the Army-Navy game that every year you circle it on your schedule before the season starts.  This is a game that you want to win and bring back to Kansas.  You want to make your fans proud.

 

On if this game can erase some of the disappointments of the season:

“It has been kind of a rough season, but we have a great chance to get a big win against Mizzou and get things moving in the right direction heading into a bowl game.  They have a great offense, great defense and we are looking forward to going out there again on national TV showcasing our skills.”

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