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Kansas Football Notable Quotables 10.13.09

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Looks like it may have been a rough week if you play defense or special teams for the Jayhawks.  The staff elected not to name either a "Defensive" or "Special Teams" player of the week following the lackluster performances last week during the Iowa State game.

This week Coach Mangino talks Colorado, Jake Sharp, fixing the defense and the play of Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe.

On the player side of things we here from Sal Capra, Chris Harris, Toben Opurum, Todd Reesing, Alonso Rojas, Darrell Stuckey, Justin Thornton and Johnathan Wilson. 

If there is one positive in this weeks opponent, it might be that their offense is in as much turmoil if not more than our defense.

Players of the Iowa State Game

Offense: Todd Reesing

Defense: None

Special Teams: None

Scout Team Defensive Player of the Week: Dexter Linton

Scout Team Offensive Player of the Week: Riley Spencer

Head Coach Mark Mangino

Recap of last Saturday's game vs. Iowa State:

"We handled ourselves pretty well on offense. Several players stepped up and made a lot of plays, as I had said before. Todd Reesing had a really big day, as well as Dezmon Briscoe, Kerry Meier and Toben Opurum, who did a great job with his role. I thought our offensive line played pretty well. On the defensive side of the ball, obviously, we were giving up too many points. We did not get enough three-and-outs, and that is something we will definitely work on this week."

On this week's game vs.Colorado:

"Colorado is a good football team at home. They always play well in Boulder and we understand the challenge there. They have made a change at quarterback. Tyler Hansen will now replace the coach's son, Cody Hawkins. From all indications, they are making that a permanent move. We know that Tyler Hansen is similar in the passing game to Cody Hawkins in a lot of ways. They share a lot of the same characteristics. Obviously, he [Hansen] is a little bit faster. Maybe a little quicker, better athlete, which brings a new dimension to their offense in running. We will certainly be prepared for that challenge. On defense, they can be stellar at times. They gave Texas a rough time in the first half. They had some good calls and made some good plays, so it will be a challenge for us. We are looking forward to going to Boulder and playing well and trying to get another Big 12 North win."

On Colorado's game vs. Texas game last week:

"I thought they did some good things on defense in the beginning. Offensively, they moved the ball a little bit. Texas gave up a big play and Colorado was then able to win the field position battle in the first half. Unfortunately, Colorado gave up some big plays in the second half and Texas was then able to run off with it."

On the progress of Jake Sharp:

"It's day-to-day. It will be a game-time decision. Hopefully, we will get the green light, but it is really day-to-day."

On the relationship between star receivers Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe:

"Well it depends on what kind of an environment you're being coached in. And the other people who are around you also plays a significant role. One of the things about our ball club is we have been able to have some success here in the last couple years because we are unselfish. Kerry Meier is the poster boy for unselfishness. Our kids realize they need one another. No one person is going to do it alone. It is going to take a cast of many. Our players are the type that cheers for each other, pat each other on the back. Our players understand that for the University of Kansas to have a really good football program, everyone has to have their toe on the line in the same direction. They are all smart enough to understand that and they have always done that since I have been here."

On the play of wide receivers Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe complimenting one another:

"I don't know if they compliment each other; I think what they do is put extreme pressure on the defense. You cannot play a combo, double-team coverage on one of them and try to play a single-coverage on the other without any kind of help. It is difficult to do. They create a dilemma for the defenses because they [the defense] are dealing with two pretty high-level players who run well, have good ball skills and can catch the ball in a crowd. They can catch the ball under pressure from a defender, so defenses are trying to make a decision whether to play strictly zone, or play man-to-man by trying to man-up their speedy guys with them or maybe a man-free concept with a man and a safety over the top helping out one another. It is difficult to try and double-up on one of those guys because it really puts the rest of your defense on an island."

On other teams' different attempts to defend Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe:

"We see all kind of things. Since the beginning of the year, we have had several different types of approaches from dropping eight, blitzing play after play, man concepts, two-deep zones, cover four. We have seen a three-man rush and a lot of other things. Todd is doing a really good job of managing all that. That is probably the reason we are 5-0 because he is prepared to deal with those different looks."

On fixing the defensive problems exhibited in last weekend's game vs. Iowa State:

"As I watch the tape and study it, I feel like we just need to play to our players' strengths. I think in some areas we need to just have them do what they do best. Not try to make them do things that may be really good, sound schemes, but do not fit our personnel. We have to continue to work on the things that fit our personnel. We have to do a better job with communication on the field between our players. I don't think we tell each other much what is going on. We are going to get our calls out sooner, when it is needed. That is something, strategically, you do not want to do all the time, but when it is needed, we'll try to get our calls out sooner to give them a chance to get lined up and talk to each other. I think we have to tackle better. I think more than anything, we, as coaches, have to know what our players are capable of doing and do that. We have a lot of good things in our package, but we have to do only what our players can do. I think we will rebound nicely and our defense will be able to feel a lot better about the direction we are going."

On the play of Todd Reesing and talk of the Heisman:

"I can't tell you I have been obsessed with it. But when you get an opportunity to go home in the evening, since we have played a lot of these morning games, I have had a chance to watch a lot of college football lately. They talk about all these different players, who I'm sure all deserve to be mentioned in the Heisman talk. But it's early; we have only played five games. For Todd to make a true run at it, we have to win a lot of games. It is on us as a team as much as it is in his hands. He is not obsessed with it and neither am I. But, I really believe that if you look at his body of work over the last three years, what he has done here...he is off to a 5-0 start, he is in the top five or six in a lot of passing and offensive categories. The real appreciation I have for Todd Reesing is watching him play. Statistics don't tell the whole story, they tell part of it and his stats are impressive. But the way he controls the line of scrimmage, the confidence he plays with, the throws that he makes and the times that he is in difficult situations where it looks like it is going to be a minus-yardage play and he turns it into a plus or a first down, that is the beauty of Todd Reesing. I just would hope that all the people who have a vote for the Heisman would at some point in time have an opportunity to see him play. If not in person, then watch him play on television because I think they will have greater respect for what he does for his team and how he plays and not just match statistics up. He will bode well against most in statistics, but it is actually how he plays the game. If the Heisman is truly for the best player in college football, then I really believe that mid-season, he deserves to be mentioned in that group."

Junior Offensive Lineman Sal Capra

On blocking for an offense that can make plays:

"It is fun knowing that if you make a block it could turn into a touchdown or an amazing play by Kerry Meier, Todd Reesing or Dezmon Briscoe."

On being a starter this season:

"It is gratifying after all the hard work and of three years of playing behind people."

On the bond of the offensive line:

"Pretty much all we do right now is football. Through two a days to right now we have formed a bond together, joking around, hanging out and playing football."

Junior Cornerback Chris Harris

On the Jayhawks' performance against Iowa State:

"I felt like we were kidnapped or something. It didn't feel like us playing out there and I couldn't figure out why we were playing so terribly."

On what they will have to do to improve:

"We all need to hold each other accountable and make sure everyone is doing his job. Once we do that, I think we should be fine."

On preparing for Colorado:

"They're going to throw a lot of different formations at us so we have to be ready. We saw that they changed their quarterback, so we don't know what they will try and throw at us."

On whether the defensive leaders talked to the defensive line after the Iowa State game:

"We just said that pretty much we have to keep believing and keep working - working for each other and playing for each other."

Freshman Running back Toben Opurum

On playing Colorado:

"Colorado is a team that is looking to pull out a big win to continue the season. It's going to be tough to go to Boulder and pull out a victory there. We will be tested at the level we're playing right now. A win at Colorado would be big for us."

On playing in an unfriendly environment:

"I've heard stories about all the Big 12 teams we're playing on the road. That's how teams are supposed to be when other teams come to play. Fans are supposed to be intimidating and they're supposed to get into the game. It really sets the emotions for the game and the players."

Senior quarterback Todd Reesing

On Mangino talking about Reesing's contention for the Heisman:

"Obviously it's not a focus but it's nice to hear. Any time your own coach thinks you're worthy of mention for an award such as that, you can't help but be happy about it. For Coach Mangino to mention an individual award is pretty out of character since we all know his focus is more team-oriented, as well as my focus. But for him to say that and think that I'm worthy of being mentioned as a candidate, it is good to have his support on my side."

On the performance between him, Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe against Iowa State:

"I don't know how you can get much better than that - with those guys getting the numbers they did with yards and catching-wise. The whole offense was pretty unbelievable. For having three guys like that put up those kinds of numbers, those are numbers that anybody would take for a career-day and on any given game, having three numbers like that is pretty spectacular."

On the different ways teams have tried to stop the Kansas offense:

"Every team has its own approach. Certain defenses are better at certain things. Every team knows its limitations and its strengths. Everybody is going to have their own game plan and their own way that they feel is best-suited for their team to defend us. It's going to change every week - one team is not going to play us the same as another team. We have to be ready for it. The teams may do something different than they've done all year. We're known to put up a lot of yards and a score a lot of points and people are going to give us different looks to try and throw us off balance. We're ready for anything they'll throw at us and we'll adjust on the run as we always have."

Junior Punter Alonso Rojas

On his contributions:

"The field position battle is very important for us. We feel like the further back a team is, the harder it is for them to get downfield. It gives the defense a lot of breathing space. I take a lot of pride in being able to help and that the defense can benefit off my good play."

Senior safety Darrell Stuckey

On the change in quarterbacks at Colorado:

"The quarterback play may be slightly different, but the play calling will be exactly the same most likely. It's one of those things where we'll go out there and play against a complete team. The quarterback is obviously a big part of their offense, but at the same time, he has to be willing and able to fit within the scheme of their offense too. And, at the same time, we have to be prepared for anything and everything when we go out each game."

On Coach Mangino's statement that the elevation will not be an issue:

"I agree with that. It's one of those things where you may find yourself breathing a little faster, but the air is the same and just as clear - you may just be a little shorter of breath."

On whether the team prepares differently for Colorado:

"Not at all. We run and condition after practice every week the same way. It's one of those things where we need to be prepared to play them."

Senior cornerback Justin Thornton

On whether the team will change its preparation to deal with Colorado's new quarterback:

"We probably won't change too much. They're kind of similar type players. We'll just be ready for it. We've seen him (Chris Hansen) a little bit earlier in the season, but not a whole lot. I'm pretty sure they're going to do a lot of the same things they did with their other quarterback (Cody Hawkins) in there. It's not too big of a difference. I think we'll be all right."

On the defensive wake-up call against Iowa State:

"That would be fair to say (the team got a wake-up call). Any time something like that happens to you, you either have to make changes and get it fixed, or you're just going to be an average team."

On the team being unbalanced:

"We know that we can be a good defense. After a performance like that (Iowa State), what else can you say? It was an unbalanced performance throughout the day. The offense carried us the entire day. If it wasn't for Todd Reesing and the o-line and the offensive skill positions, we would have had a loss to Iowa State. It's definitely a wake-up call for us and we're going to make some changes and try and get things fixed. I promise we won't turn in a performance like that the rest of the year."

Junior Wide Receiver Johnathan Wilson

On the success of others helping him improve:

"It definitely helps Bradley (McDougald) and me. Other teams will try and play up to our level of talent, so we have to be ready."

On playing with other talented wide receivers:

"You can't be selfish because this is a team atmosphere."

On playing with Todd Reesing:

"He takes control of the game and makes plays on his own. He scrambles all over the place, and usually those plays are not designed to do that. That's what makes him so special."