New Year’s Eve 2008 marked the end of an exciting
Full story after the jump…
I myself landed in
Onto the game…after a few beers in downtown
The doors opened, fans filed in and moral was high as
Pregame was great, fireworks, precision parachuting and a flyover. One somewhat humorous moment was right before the national anthem started Todd Reesing and the captains came bursting out of the tunnel in a sprint. I think they were expecting a rowdy welcome but since everyone was showing respect for the flag, it remained quiet. Reesing quickly realized what was going on, removed his helmet and showed his respect. One other thing regarding the pregame, there was a Greg Ostertag sighting. Two rows in front of me a freakishly large man rolled in with his wife and kids, I quickly recognized him as the Big O and glad to see he could make it.
Kickoff came, Briscoe back deep and I had a good feeling about our special teams. One play later and we had scored. Jayhawk fans went wild and Gopher fans had that look on their face like they were already convinced Big 12 offenses were as good as advertised. As we all know the game would swing the other direction before
There were several player performances I was impressed with. The obvious of Todd Reesing, Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier is worth mentioning but there were others who seemed to save there best for last.
The offensive line, a much maligned unit early in the year pulled it together late and between the
The defensive line, another area that has been frustrating throughout the year also seemed to find its way late. The defensive tackle rotation of Blakesly, Greene, Johnson Jr, Wheeler and Parish seemed to really respond to the extra time off and opportunity to heal. The goal line stand showed a lot of what the future may hold for a very young, very raw Parish and with another year in the weight room this unit could be fairly effective. At the ends, Brorson was his usual steady self, but the guy that impressed me most was Maxwell Onyegbule. For the first time the guy with all the potential seemed to really understand the game. He may not have had his name called a ton but he did get pressure, sack the quarterback and showed a lot of athleticism and intelligence on some of the screens shovel passes, and running plays where he put himself in the right position to make the play.
Linebackers are a special group; special guys and they went out the right way.
The secondary did what they had to do. No huge plays here but Daymond Patterson looks the part after half a season on the defensive side of the ball. Stuckey has a chance to be great next year. Finally, Kendrick Harper I know it hasn’t been a smooth ride but he made a big play on the goal line stand and he is a Jayhawk and for that I am grateful.
On the special team’s side of things, Branstetter again proved our best tackler on kick coverage. Alonso Rojas, this guy is brilliant at times and that punt at the 1 inch line was the most remarkable kick I’ve seen in my life. I’ve been to a lot of football games but I’ve never seen a fan base get that excited over a punt.
The coaching staff deserves some serious recognition as well. Watching the fine tuned, well oiled machine work on the sideline is impressive. The coaching staff orchestrates everything so well and smoothly and I think that is why we get the absolute most out of our players. Expectations are high, everything is taken seriously and all these guys have to worry about is making the play. You also see a real good cop, bad cop dynamic from these guys. Just due to pure personality there are coaches down there that strike fear into a player making the wrong move, but there are also those guys that really pick players up. Clint Bowen comes to mind as he shared a moment with each of the senior linebackers as the game wrapped up. Hugs all around for that group.
As the game wrapped up the Rock Chalk Chant was hear loud and proud. If