Last season: 4-7 overall (2-6 Big 12). A
touchdown by defensive tackle Brent Curvey and two Bret Culbertson field goals
Key Returners – The Jayhawks will return 52 letterwinners (25 offense, 25 defense, 2 specialists); including 15 starters.
"We think it's going to be the
best football team that we have put on the field at
"Our quarterback position is a competitive situation and some of those kids are just really looking good," Mangino said.
Adam Barmann started eight games for the Jayhawks before ending the season on the sideline with a shoulder injury. He threw for a team-leading 1,427 yards and 12 touchdowns.
"Adam Barmann has had a very, very good summer," Mangino said. "Our staff is ranting and raving about him. He is probably better prepared than he has ever been for this challenge."
Seniors Jason Swanson and Brian Luke also saw action in Big 12 contests, with Swanson completing 21-of-43 passes in 2004.
At running back Clark Green has rushed for 2,003 yards and 12 touchdowns in his first three seasons.
"Clark Green is what you call a steady workhorse kind of guy," Mangino said. "He is not flashy…Clark is a hard-working, dependable guy, and if you look at the all-purpose yardage for career at KU, he has a legitimate chance to probably pass up some people like Gayle Sayers, it's just remarkable. He has done it rather quietly."
Mark Simmons will be the lone
veteran at wide receiver – he is the only player to have more than 10 career
catches for the Jayhawks. A high school teammate of former Cyclone Ellis Hobbs
Improved was one way to describe
the KU defense a season ago. In 2003, the Jayhawk opponents averaged close to
200 rushing yards per game, last year
"On the defensive side of the ball
we became a pretty doggone good unit last season and I think we will be better,"
Mangino said. "We will be more physical in the front seven than we have been,
and have overall speed on defense more than we have ever had.
"I can tell you that we are pretty excited about the upcoming season, looking forward to the challenges ahead."
Four of the top five tacklers return, including senior linebacker Nick Reid, who led the team and finished second in the Big 12 with 109 total tackles. The first-team all-Big 12 selection averaged 9.9 tackles per game and was fifth in the league with 1.23 stops a game behind the line of scrimmage.
Also returning are defensive end Jermial Ashley and defensive tackle Tim Allen. Ashley was second on the team in quarterback sacks and pass break-ups.
In the secondary Charles Gordon
returns for his junior year. Last season he led the NCAA with seven
interceptions after switching from wide receiver to cornerback.
This season Gordon will also be used on offense, but most of his snaps will come on the defensive side of the ball.
"Charles…he brings so much to our team at the corner position that will – unless something changes as we proceed through the season, he will play the majority of his reps on defense," Mangino said.
Scott Webb could be the future of the Jayhawk kicking game – the sophomore will be looked upon to fill the shoes of four year place-kicker Johnny Beck. In 2004, Webb connected on 29-of-29 PATs and two field goals.
After winning the punting job three games into last season Kyle Tucker returns in 2005. The sophomore averaged 40.1 yards per kick and landed 15 punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line. He also forced 11 fair catches.