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Hawk Talk Northern Colorado the Morning After

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A look at news and notes about the game...

Denver's Take

Well, there was good and bad to take from this one.  Honestly I was hoping for a more dominating performance but at the same time it's clear we are much more committed to and confident in establishing a balanced attack which is a great thing. 

Todd was Todd accounting for 4 touchdowns while showing off his scrambling skills that we've all come to expect.  The offensive line I thought really looked solid.  Getting on blocks, staying on blocks and finishing them.  It's always tough to tell how much time Todd really has because of his tendency to scramble, but he had plenty of time and the scrambling was due more to receivers not getting open than the blocking breaking down.

The running back corps looked good.  Hard to call it a corps in this one because it was all Jake Sharp for 3 and a half quarters which I was a little surprised by.  Still though Sharp showed why the staff is confident in his consistency.  You have to wonder if we see a little more of a two back look next week though, after Toben Opurum EXPLODED onto the scene racking up 80 yards and 2 touchdowns in just 9 carries.  I think the effectiveness of the running game is just another example of the improved offensive line in this one.

At the receiver spot it definitely wasn't the best performance, but that's simply because Northern Colorado was committed to not letting Todd and our receivers beat them.  This group does deserve some kudos though for what they did in terms of blocking in the running game.  I don't think this improvement can be understated when it comes to our improvement in the running game.   Johnathan Wilson definitely had a few struggles and our whole group wasn't finding openings as they usually do, but you have to take what they give you and our offense capitalized on what we were given so it's hard to complain to much.  I think Dezmon Briscoe's return certainly makes it more difficult for anyone to stall us out in the passing game going forward.

On defense I am still a little concerned.  We did hold them to a fairly low offensive total and obviously kept them out of the endzone, but at times our front seven really struggled to control the line of scrimmage which isn't comforting against UNoCo.  Jake Laptad really stood out up front but that's about it.

The other main concern right now is that #2 corner spot which between Rubles and Davis accounted for 4 pass interference penalties.  It's too early to sound the alarms but this group has definitely been put on notice.  Hats off though to Chris Harris who showed why he's the perfect fit for this 4-2-5 scheme.  He was johnny on the spot all night long making tackles and is it just me or has this guy really bulked up.

Last phase of the game is special teams and from what we've seen so far it looks solid.  Branstetter has added some distance to his kicks.  Rojas showed some pretty accurate placement punts and the kick return game looks better. 

Oh one more thing, the reserves looked impressive.  Pick, Opurum and Trevor Marrongelli all stood out to me as guys off the bench that were getting after things in a big way.  I was also pleased with what Steven Foster showed coming off the bench at the defensive end spot.

All in all this was pretty much an exhibition and there was good and bad to take from it just like any game of this nature.  The staff now has the opportunity to build on some positives, improve on some of the negatives and get this team moving in the right direction.  Mangino coached teams seem to take this path every year and improve over the course of the season.  Good win, not great but I'm probably being overly critical on this one.  On to El Paso!!!

Postgame Quotes and Notes after the jump...

Kansas Head Coach Mark Mangino

On the impressive number of rushing yards (328):

"Northern Colorado came in here and I think they were expecting us to put up big numbers in the passing game. They played some zone, and well, we can run the ball. In order to do that and in order to be effective, we'll do what we've got to do. We'll go through our tailback and we can do it through our quarterback. I'm pleased with the way they did what they had to do given the circumstances."

On KU's defensive pressure on the quarterback:

"Without looking at tape, I thought we got some good pressure. I think we played the run well, although we left some gaps free at times. That's related to having some different kids out there and getting everyone on the same page, but I feel good about it. I think we've got a lot of work to do. The competition is going to pick up considerably here in the next week. Overall, it was a good first night out."

On KU playing without four suspended players:

"(Desmon) Briscoe and (Jamal) Greene's suspensions were related to the spring. They knew when they were suspended in the spring that part of the stipulation would be not playing in the first game. Jeff Wheeler and Raimond Pendleton's issues were different, but they violated a team policy and I didn't have them play tonight."

Freshman Quarterback Kale Pick:

On the young players:

"Toben (Operum) is a great running back, he had a great night tonight, with two touchdowns - and Bradley McDougal also had some great plays. Giving the freshmen a grade: I'd give them an A, both of them made great plays, and Toben had two touchdowns."

On his first career game:

"It was exciting, I haven't been out on the field in a while. For only playing two games my senior year, and being redshirted my freshman year, it was an exciting moment."

On pre-game nerves:

"Actually (Jeremiah) Hatch asked me right before the series, `are you nervous at all?' I was like, `not really.' I was just looking forward to getting out there and playing."

Sophomore Center Tanner Hawkinson:

On communication with the other offensive linemen:

"We all communicated very well - that was a big emphasis going into the game. Coach Redding was just telling us about doing our assignments and we'll be fine."

On "bulldozing" the defensive line and tallying up a lot of rushing yards:

"Yeah, it definitely is (really fun), it's really encouraging, looking to see how many rushing yards you have in the game. Looking at the different sets they had, we knew coming in to the game that they'd come in with three down linemen. We had to create some seams and get to the linebacker, and get them blocked."

Junior Defensive End Jake Laptad:

On starting the season and being able to hit someone in a different colored uniform: "It was a lot of fun getting out there and finally getting to hit someone else for a change.

On the overall performance of the defensive line:

"We were just going out there, and we've got to take it one game at a time, to be able to get better and practice every day. I felt like we took a step forward today.

Junior Safety Chris Harris

On the pass interference woes:

"They are problems that we can work out. Those plays were just mental mistakes that we can fix, so it was not too big of a deal."

On his position change:

"I am way more comfortable, the reason that I love this position is because I am just free to play."

Freshman Running Back Toben Opurum

On his first college game:

"It was an opportunity that I have been waiting for, and when I got that opportunity I took advantage of it. It felt really good."

On his two touchdowns:

"It was not something that I expected, but when that opportunity comes around you definitely have to take advantage of it."

On his nerves:

"I actually was not nervous, I kept my calm tonight. It was more excitement. I have been thinking about this game for a very long time."

Senior Wide Receiver Kerry Meier

On the game:

"We got off to a good start on the opening play. After that we kept rolling and I think that we played pretty well."

On the blocking of the receivers:

"Blocking is something that we have worked on and stressed throughout camp and the offseason, becoming physical blockers and throwing up physical blocks. We came out tonight and were in the right position.  Coach made the right play calls so it made it easy on us."

Northern Colorado Quarterback Bryan Waggener

On what got the game out of hand:

"We struggled in the red zone; we had some penalties that killed us in the red zone. The missed field goal hurt a little bit and Todd Reesing took over the game today and showed why he's one of the better quarterbacks in the nation."

On Todd Reesing:

"I feel like he's just a playmaker out there. He's just real scrappy and knows how to get it done and finds ways to make plays all the time."

On not getting any touchdowns:

"We always expect to score. We expect to play with them and be in the game, we come out here trying to win every game and it was a disappointment not to get in the end zone, but they're a Top 25 team for a reason."

 

-- The crowd of 52,530 set a new single-game record for home attendance, surpassing the crowd of 52, 230 that attended last season's 52-21 victory against Kansas State. KU has played in front of four-straight sellout crowds at home. The game marked the 25th home crowd of at least 50,000 at Memorial Stadium.

-- Six Jayhawks made their first career starts. On offense: LT Tanner Hawkinson, LG Brad Thorson and RG Sal Capra. On defense: DE Max Onyegbule, DT Patrick Dorsey and CB Anthony Davis.

-- QB Todd Reesing now owns a 21-6 record as a starter after KU's 49-3 victory against Northern Colorado.

-- Reesing's two rushing touchdowns gives him 11 for his career. This was the first game in his career that Reesing recorded multiple rushing touchdowns in a game.

-- Reesing's 79 rushing yards were his third most in a single game behind the 90 and 84 yards he recorded against Colorado in 2006 and 2007.

-- Reesing has thrown a touchdown pass in 19 consecutive games.

-- With 13 completions against Northern Colorado, Reesing (632) passed Jason White of Oklahoma (626) to occupy the 10th spot on the Big 12 career completions list. Reesing needs (23) to pass Josh Heupel of Oklahoma (654) for ninth.

-- Kerry Meier has caught at least two passes in 22 consecutive games.

-- Meier's 71-yard reception to end the third quarter was the longest of his career, surpassing his previous best of 68 yards against Sam Houston State.

-- With 115 yards receiving against Northern Colorado, Meier (6) tied two others for third on the KU career 100-yard receiving games list.

-- RB Jake Sharp's 122 rushing yards against Northern Colorado moved him into the 11th spot on the KU career rushing yardage list and were his third most as Jayhawk (181 vs KSU in 2008, 127 vs Toledo in 2007).

-- With 122 rushing yards against Northern Colorado, Sharp (7) moved into a tie for seventh with five others on the KU career 100-yard rushing games list.

-- Sharp's 12 points moved him into ninth place on the KU career points list with 144 points.

-- S Darrell Stuckey made his 31st career and consecutive start.

-- RB Toben Opurum rushed for two touchdowns in his first game as a Jayhawk. Opurum finished with 79 yards on eight carries.

--The last time a true freshman rushed for two touchdowns in one game was in 2006 when Kerry Meier rushed for two touchdowns against Northwestern State.

-- WR Tertavian Ingram caught his first career touchdown pass in the second quarter. His two catches against Northern Colorado were one short of his previous career total of three.

-- DE Jake Laptad recorded his first career two-sack game against Northern Colorado. He had two games of with 1.5 sacks in 2008.

-- Laptad also tied his career high in tackles with six. His also had six tackles against Texas in 2008.

-- LB Drew Dudley recorded his first career sack in the fourth quarter.

-- CB Chris Harris recorded his first career forced fumble and DT Steven Foster recorded his first career fumble recovery on Northern Colorado's first drive.