Hawk Talk: Duke the Morning After

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A look at News and Notes from Saturday's Game...

Denver's Take...

Well it wasn't the game I was looking for but it was a win.  My hope was the Jayhawks would put the pieces together, look crisp and give us a glimpse of what we'll be looking at for the remaining stretch of the season.  That didn't happen.  Statistically it looked great still and on the scoreboard it looked solid, but there were dropped passes, blown assignments, passes in the dirt and mistakes made.

Here's why I'm okay with all those things though.  Mark Mangino coached teams always seem to follow this trend and continue to gel, come together and save their best football for late.  Now don't get me wrong I think they need to step it up starting next week, but as long as by game 7(OU) we see things really come together, Kansas has a chance to make some serious waves.

The pieces are there.  Jake Sharp was down with a tweaked calf and despite the preseason concerns over running back depth, the running game carried on.  A 4.9 yard average was a bit of a drop from past games but it's certainly acceptable and Duke is the first team we've played that actually put some focus on stopping our run versus just stopping Todd.

In terms of the passing game, we certainly all have become accustomed to expecting perfection.  It isn't there but 338 through the air with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions pretty damn close against a team that's throwing out an umbrella of coverage on most downs.

Defensively we saw our team take a haymaker early but recover for a pretty solid performance bending but not breaking for much of the game.  Repeat Big 12 defender of the week possibly in the works for Max Onyegbule as he registered a sack and an int for a touchdown to boot.  Huldon Tharp a true freshman put together 10 tackles in this one and he was noticably making plays.  Darrell Stuckey also looked like his former self making plays at or behind the line for a total of 10 tackles for the fifth time in his career. 

Kick coverage continues to look solid, Dezmon Briscoe has what it takes to give us a decent return game, Alonso Rojas has been kicking inside the 20 with relative consistency and Jacob Branstetter got back in the action assisting on a tackle once again in kick coverage. 

Was it perfect? No.  Is there improvement to be done before we take on OU, Tech, Texas, Nebraska and Missouri?  Absolutely and it will be necessary.  Still though, this is a very solid coaching staff and Mangino coached teams consistently step it up as the season ticks on.  I wanted a little more on Saturday but I'm happy with how we've used these first three non conference games despite the fact that we haven't put together the "perfect" game.  Besides, we might as well save those for October and November rather than September. 

Postgame Quotes and Notes after the jump...

Kansas Head Coach Mark Mangino

On responding to Duke's fast start:

"We responded very well. We knew Duke likes to throw a lot of screen passes and we worked on it all week, but they executed perfectly and got the draw and got it in the end zone, so give credit to them. Duke overall, I really like what they're doing there. I studied them all week on tape and then watching them today; you can see that they are very, very well-coached. They have some outstanding offensive and defensive schemes. Their players play very hard. So I can see some similarities with what Coach (David) Cutcliffe is doing there compared with where we were here several years back. I really enjoyed watching them because they do some good things and they are very well-coached."

On the play of the defense:

"The defense played well most of the day. The first two plays of the game were not good. I thought we were flat and not sharp. After that we buckled down and then we let that drive take place at the beginning of the fourth quarter that I didn't particularly like. They converted some fourth downs and third downs, we missed a sack, we lost contain on the quarterback and had a couple of costly penalties. I didn't like that drive. But the rest of the day, the defense played very well except for those two situations."

On the play of Todd Reesing:

"Todd did a great job. He did what we asked him to do. He threw some balls in tough coverage. Credit to Duke, they mixed things up pretty well and gave us a lot of looks, man looks and zone looks. But Todd got into a rhythm and he saw what they were doing and did a really good job of managing the game, throwing the football and running the ball when he had to. He was a victim of some crucial drops that we had, one probably would have been a big play and another third down converted. But he played very well."

On Freshman Running Back Toben Opurum:

"Toben did a good job. He was pressed into duty today. Jake (Sharp) was injured in basically a non-contact drill this week; it was just a strange occurrence. We thought he was going to be OK but when he went out in the pregame to cut, he didn't feel good. He just didn't have that explosion or spring in his step. So Toben had to step up and he did a really, really god job. He's a true freshman and he made a few mistakes but he did some really awesome things and it's good to know that we have a reliable guy back there to work with Jake."

Kansas senior quarterback Todd Reesing

On getting off to a slow start:

"We came out and were moving the ball from the very beginning but we just weren't able to convert a few third downs and kind of faulted a little bit. But we got it going, it really picked up in the second quarter. I felt like we moved the ball pretty well all day long. We had a little trouble running the ball, obviously Jake (Sharp) wasn't in there all the time but a lot of things were open in the passing game. We missed a couple big plays that we had. A couple guys dropped some passes but that's going to happen. For the most part I think we did a good job of protecting the ball and a good job up front on the line. A lot of stuff we can learn from but for the most part we just did what we had to. We came in, it was a home game, we expected a win and we took care of business."

On Duke making it hard to move the ball:

"They were showing some different coverages and stemming around and doing some different things. They were playing really aggressive on the short passes and that's why we decided we needed to take some shots down the field and we got some guys open deep down the field and got some big plays. That's just kind of how we do it. If they are going to take away the short stuff, then we have to throw deep. We made the adjustments we had to and went from there."

On whether it's a challenge to be played differently now that teams have more respect:

"It's nothing different that we haven't seen last year and the year before. Teams are going to make adjustments that they sit fit. I'm sure a lot of teams are going to try and keep me in the pocket and not let me scramble and make plays when things aren't open; but our offensive line does such a good job up front of staying on blocks and keeping fighting the whole play that we're still going to have some big plays in the scramble game. Teams are doing some things that are different. We've played a lot of games over the last couple years where teams do things that we're not expecting and it's just up to us to adjust and make some changes here and there and go on."

 

Kansas senior safety Darrell Stuckey

 

On the win today:

"I feel like we played great most of the time but there were a couple times in there where we had a couple wrinkles, which is a good thing early in the season so we can get those worked out and we can get better as a defense."

On the first Duke drive of the game:

"I think it was just because it was the first play, the defense is excited and you're running to the ball, flying to the ball, and you just over pursue. As the season goes on we'll get better at that and be able to sit on that first play instead of being too anxious to go to the ball."

 

On the pressure the defensive line is putting on the quarterback:

"They're doing a great job and they keep getting better every week. They do whatever they can to get to the quarterback and that is one thing we emphasize over the off season. It's one of the things that we continue to get back at and its understanding each person's responsibilities and making the defense one unit instead of individuals."

On how the defensive line helps the secondary:

"It helps us out a lot. It gives us a realistic look and we can actually cover a receiver instead of trying to chase him or letting him do whatever he wants to do because they're scrambling or buying too much time in the backfield. It's one of those things that it's always great as a defense to have pass rush."

Kansas junior wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe

On how he felt about his own performance:

"I felt like my first half game was what we needed to have the offense get to where it was. In the second half I felt like I left a couple balls on the field that I normally catch. I can't do anything about it now but let it go and focus on next week."

On the number of passes dropped by Kansas:

"It's surprising because we go through practice and we catch everything that usually around us. For us to come into the game and have it end up happening is disappointing to a wide out. All we can do is let it go."

On whether or not he feels like he is making up for lost time:

"I thought about that but not really. Whatever the game plan coming in is what I've got to do. Nothing changes about that."

Kansas senior defensive end Maxwell Onyegbule

On the interception he returned for a touchdown:

"The defensive end is supposed to drop. The quarterback didn't see me and he threw it right to me. I just ran for my life into the end zone."

On whether or not he showing signs of reaching his potential:

"Yeah, I kind of see that. I'm just playing one game at a time and trying to do my best."

On when he knew he was going to be able to score:

"I just took a glimpse back to see where everybody was at and there wasn't anybody behind me."

On the last touchdown he scored:

"The last touchdown I ever scored was my senior year in high school versus Lamar High School. It was a punt block. The ball got blocked and I guess I just caught it in the end zone."

Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe

On the game:

"It's very difficult to come in and have any magical words, we got beat and we got beat handily. But what you do know is that if you think you are defeated then you lost. That mentality is not something that we embrace or are going to. We have a lot of goals and obviously one of those every week is to win. Where we are right now I can't have goals just to win games, we have a lot of things that we have to try to accomplish each week. We are going to focus on what we did well, because as a staff we can learn what this team is capable of."

On Kansas:

"They are far better than the No. 22 ranked team. People are going to have a hard time defending that team. They make you look a little worse than what you are."

On the Onyegbule interception:

"The big defensive end just popped out of a pile and we threw it right to him. It was unfortunate and not the way that you want to start out the second half. We turned around and fought back after that which is a good sign."

On scoring first:

"The first drive was the product of a big play and we need more of those. We did start well; we hung in there and played some good defense."

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