Coach Mangino weighs in on much of what we've been discussing around here this week. Bradley McDougald going both ways, John Williams at defensive tackle and putting Colorado behind them.
On the player side of things we hear from Todd, Kerry and Jake as well as Bradley McDougald himself.
I also thought the special teams player of the week was a little bit interesting. Not who I expected.
Players of the Game (at Colorado)
Offense: Todd Reesing
Defense: Darrell Stuckey
Special Teams: Kayl Anderson
Scout Team Offensive Player of the Week: Nick Plato
Scout Team Defensive Player of the Week: Randall Dent
Head Coach Mark Mangino
On last week's game vs. Colorado:
"Once again, I felt like Todd Reesing played really well, and he had a lot of help from his receivers. We did not run the ball well, which is something that we need to get back to doing. On the defensive side of the ball, Darrell Stuckey played a strong game. Also, Drew Dudley played extremely well. He is really settling in there at linebacker and we like the way he is progressing. The defense played pretty well, or at least improved. There were some new faces and some personnel changes that I think have boosted our defense. As those players continue with experience, they will get better and better. It has really helped our defense both against the run and the pass."
On Oklahoma's defensive unit:
"It is a good defensive unit; there is no question about it. It is the same aggressive style that OU always plays on defense. They are up front. Their front four are very talented and very quick guys who jump the ball. You have guys like Gerald McCoy, Jeremy Beal and Austin English, along with others who are quick, athletic and run to the ball. The linebackers are always good players. Ryan Reynolds in the middle kind of anchors it down. Their secondary is very quick, very athletic and are good tacklers, as usual. You have people like Dominique Franks back there with a lot of experience. So, yes it is a very, very good defensive unit."
"It is difficult, but sometimes out of necessity, you have to do it. What you need is a young guy who is willing to do it, willing to understand the frustrations and disappointment early on, but I think if you have kids who are mentally tough, you can do it. We have had kids in the past make those kinds of moves and be very successful. For John Williams, it has been a sudden change, but not for Bradley McDougald, because we have worked him on defense for several weeks now in practice. We have given him work each and every day on the defensive side of the ball. He is still not ready to play every down and we do not expect that. He will be helpful."
On both teams (KU and OU) coming off a tough loss:
"Well I can speak mainly for us, obviously, it was disappointing to lose, but that is long gone out of our system. It is behind us. We can't change it, we can't do anything about it, but we can do something about the games we are about to play and our next game is against Oklahoma. Now, I can't speak to them, but I have been a part of their program and they will not have any problem getting their players ready to play. I know that."
On players playing on both offense and defense:
"Our philosophy here has always been ‘try to put our best guys on defense.' There are some guys who are extremely talented, but they are not made for defense. Dezmon Briscoe is not built for defense. That is not what he does. Kerry Meier is not built for defense, he is an offensive player. He and Dezmon are so strong in what they do on offense; it would be ridiculous to have put them on defense. But there are some kids who have the skill sets for both and Bradley McDougald is one of them. We have tried to put our most athletic guys and our guys that can play a physical-style ball on defense, as well as trying to recruit to that. Everybody is throwing the ball around and spreading the ball around, so I don't care who you have on defense, in the Big 12, there are just not a lot of low-scoring games anymore because the style that is being played is utilizing the entire field."
On recruitment of John Williams:
"We recruited John to be a defensive tackle, but then his freshman year he had an injury that kept him out the whole year. So, we he thought to get him back, he would be better suited on the offensive line to take some of the pressure of the injury that he had suffered. He was doing well on the offensive line, but I kept looking at him and seeing a defensive lineman. The more I watched him in practice, the more I kept saying ‘this guy is a defensive lineman.' He has quickness, explosion and a low center of gravity. He plays the game with power in his lower body. He can jump the ball. He is extremely quick for a guy his size. So, I finally decided to pull the trigger and said ‘we are going to do this.' And I really think it is for the better. There is no question he will help us on the defensive line. I think he is very talented."
On Oklahoma's current quarterback situation:
"Well Landry Jones is a pretty talented kid. He is a good player. One of the things I see in him is he understands their offense really well, so that tells me he is paying attention to what they are doing. He has the ability to throw the ball very well and with accuracy. He has enough escape ability from the pocket to give you trouble. He looks poised to me and looks like a very intelligent player. He is a quality player. Obviously, I understand that when you lose a guy of the caliber of Sam Bradford, there is going to be a drop-down to some degree. But it is not a horrific drop; they are not falling off a cliff after Sam Bradford."
On Oklahoma's offense this year vs. last year:
"They are still a productive offense. They are in the top 20 in total offense in the country. They have a lot of weapons. If you look at their running backs in DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown; those are good running backs. Murray is a tough, hard running guy who is a veteran guy. Brown has a lot of speed and is really a handful back there. OU's receiver, Ryan Broyles, has to be one of the fastest receivers in the league. They have some other kids who can receive too, like Brandon Caleb, who are just playmakers. Their offensive line is probably not what they had a year ago, but it is still a big, physical offensive line. They are not putting up the kind of numbers as they did last year. But you lose a Heisman trophy quarterback and maybe a top-five player in the draft in Jermaine Gresham; obviously you are not going to have the same production you had a year ago, but they are still pretty doggone good."
On added pressure when playing as good a defense as Oklahoma's:
"It puts a lot of pressure on your entire offense, not just your offensive line. Now, let me tell you, they will blitz. They are going to dial up blitzes, I know that for a fact, but they play a zone defense very well. The key is, they will mix it up and we have to understand the difference and be able to play with both. Anytime you have a pressure defense, it puts pressure on the quarterback, on the offensive line and on the receivers. They [receivers] have to understand the checks and call for the ball and get ready to make a play. The running backs have to protect as well."
On coaching philosophy employed by Bob Stoops and himself [Mark Mangino]:
"It is a pretty simple philosophy that I have carried here, but is something that I believe, and that I did really get from Bob. You cannot change what is done. You lose, you lose. The sun is going to come up the next day. There is no sense in crying or pouting about it, because you cannot do anything about it. The things that give me pause in life are the things that I know that I can control; the things that are in front of me. The things that have happened behind me do not bother me. Am I disappointed we lost? Yes, but I got over that disappointment at about 2 p.m. on Sunday because I watched the tape, graded it and then started look at Oklahoma, our next challenge. And I have not looked back. Life is too short to worry about things you cannot control. I tell our players all the time, ‘the next play is the most important play, what you did a play ago, whether it was good or bad, is gone, the next game is the most important game'. I think Bob did a great job of that with the kids at OU when we were there. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the kids follow the head coach's lead. If the head coach is going to walk around with his head down and pout and feel bad for himself, so will the players. If the head coach runs out on the practice field ready to go, then the kids will do that. They will follow the lead of the coaches. Being around Bob for a long time, he would always say ‘hey, we are not going to let anybody beat us twice.' And that is the way we are too, so hopefully this will be a great matchup for us Saturday."
On his years coaching in Oklahoma:
"Well, they were important years in my career, but they were also a lot of fun. The best way to explain it is we had a really good coaching staff. Bob put together a really good staff of people that had known each other for a lot of years. There was a sense of family and community when we got there. The people of Oklahoma welcomed us with open arms. The first year we went to the Independence Bowl and they were thanking us. Now, there is nothing wrong with the Independence Bowl, but Oklahoma and the Independence Bowl? And the fans were still thankful. Then we won a national championship and the football program got its swagger back. The fans were energized about their football program. You know, even if you do not go to school at OU, if you live in Oklahoma, all the people there call it ‘their football program'. So, I was comfortable there and I liked the folks there. They reminded me a lot of western Pennsylvania people, where I grew up. They are hard working, not pretentious and just love football. It was an exciting time for my family and me and because of the success there, I had the opportunity to come here to Kansas. It was an important time of my life. I enjoyed it and I'm glad to hear I am still popular there even though I wear Crimson and Blue now."
Senior Wide Receiver Kerry Meier
On the slow offensive starts in games this season:
"A lot of times it's what the defense is doing. Stuff we plan for and stuff we think we're going to see in the opening drive and looks we think we're going to get-the defense then comes out with an entirely different look. A lot of times a team does that. What we've prepared for and what we thought we were going to see and then we come out on the first drive and they're not in the same defense. When a team does that it might take a couple drives, or a couple series, or maybe even a half to try and figure it out and beat them at what they're doing."
On how good the offense can be when it gets going:
"Once we get one, we get hungry and are looking for another one. Once we get another one, then we get that momentum going. What's crucial for us is to get into the flow and get started early. That's what we're going to have to do this week straight from the get-go. As soon as we get the ball, we're going to have to put points on the board."
On the difference between OU's defense this year and last year:
"It's crazy; we watched them on film last year and thought they were really good. Then they come out this year and their stats are even better. They've got some different faces, but there are a lot of familiar faces on that defense and they have the same coordinator. It's going to be a stiff challenge. There's no beating around the bush, these guys are good at what they do."
On the loss at Colorado
"Once we got the day going and got through lifting and practice all thoughts were gone. We watched the film and learned from it, but we knew it was time to get ready for Oklahoma. We took the right steps to work out the kinks and dings from last week's game."
On winning the Big 12 North
"It is very much within our reach. Every goal that we set for ourselves in the off-season is still right there and that's the good part. There were a couple of other teams in the Big 12 North that didn't quite take care of business like we did, which is good for us. That leaves our goal right in store for us. It is going to be a long and tough race for the Big 12 North title, and it is going to come down to who ever wants it the most."
Senior Quarterback Todd Reesing
On the loss at Colorado:
"That's behind us. We've moved on. We're not thinking about last week's game. We are more focused on the game this week ahead of us."
On OU's defense this year:
"They're more experienced and they've got a lot of guys back. They're extremely talented, extremely athletic and big and physical and their coach has given them great schemes. They are ready to play every week and that side of the ball has definitely not been a reason why they've had their close losses. Their defense is playing about as well as anyone else in the country."
On OU's defense being the best defense they've faced thus far:
"I think it is (the best defense). I think from top to bottom on their defensive personnel size-wise, athleticism and the way they play, I think we've got the biggest challenge ahead of us. They do a lot of things really well that we have to get ready for. They played Texas really well and pretty much shut that team down and they are one of the better offensive teams in the country. We have a big challenge ahead of us this week to get ready for them."
On what it would mean to the program beating OU:
"Well it's big anytime you beat a team like Oklahoma regardless of how they're doing or how people think of them. OU is a great team year after year and they have been for a long time. They're recognized nationally as a team that puts out a great team every year. To get a win over a team like that, no matter what year it is, is big. We've got a great opportunity ahead of us and hopefully we'll get prepared this week and get ready for it."
Senior Running Back Jake Sharp
On the difference between the second and first half against Colorado:
"I think collectively, as a team, we kind of felt different in the second half. Things kind of got rolling for us and we started doing what we expected to do."
On putting the loss behind them:
"There's no question we've got to put it behind us. This is a whole new week and anything can happen and our focus is on Oklahoma."
On getting the running game going:
"I think we all need to get on the same page and keep working and we're going to do that this week. We just need to keep working at it and keep improving it."
Freshman Wide Receiver / Defensive Back Bradley McDougald
On seeing playing time on defense at Colorado, while also starting at wide receiver:
"Coach Mangino called me into the office, asked me what I thought about playing a little on the defensive side of the ball. He said the offense was going well and he didn't want to take anything from me from the offensive side of the ball, but he wanted to maybe add on a little bit of defense and see how that worked out for me."
"I think playing both ways will be exciting. It's going to be a lot. I have to make sure I'm on top of everything because mistakes are very costly in Division I and now that we're in conference play, they're going to become even more costly, so I just have to make sure I know what I'm doing."