Quotable Mangino

Comments from Kansas Head Coach Mark Mangino at the weekly press conference.

Opening comment:

"We are pleased with last week's victory. We are pleased with a victory on the road in an environment a lot different then what are kids are used to playing in. I feel really good about the production on offense. We certainly have some things to work on offensively. We are making big plays -- you always like to see big plays as a head coach from your offensive unit. We had a little over 450 yards of total offense, which is encouraging. We are catching the ball well and protecting the ball well. Special teams continue to be solvent. As I have said from day one, special teams are going to make a difference in our program. At this stage, as a second-year staff -- special teams have to make a difference. On the defensive side of the ball we are making plays but not at the kind of consistency that we need. We need to get more three-and-outs. We have to work more on third-down conversions. We have to shore up our tackling a little bit and be able to make big plays in the secondary. We have to get pressure on the quarterback -- which we did this week. We need to develop the aspect of pressuring the passer."

"This week we will see a team that does like to run the ball a lot. Our sources tell us they may have made a change at the quarterback position -- a young guy that throws the ball a little bit better by the name of (Anthony) Mayo. Based on some of the tape I have watched from last season, he runs around pretty well. That is somewhat of a misnomer -- that he is going to just sit back there and throw the ball. He has good athleticism and he can do some things with the ball under his arm. They are going to run option and power plays. They will get into some control passing. I like their tailback, I think he is a good player. They have got a really hard-nosed tough fullback that packs a punch. On the defensive side of the ball they have a corner that I think is an excellent player -- he does an outstanding job. They have a big 6-6 defensive end that is pretty athletic and looks like a basketball player. They have three nose guards that they rotate. All of them are well over 300 pounds. They rotate them consistently through the game."

"We need to continue to get better in all three phases of the game. We are not taking anything for granted. We are approaching this game with the same preparation and work that we do any other opponent. In college football anybody can beat anybody on a given day. We know this Jacksonville State team is going to be pumped up coming into a Big 12 stadium. Coming to play at a venue they normally don't get an opportunity to play in. They are going to look at it as having absolutely nothing to lose coming into Lawrence this weekend. If we play sound football and smart football -- that we are capable of. Everything will be fine. We are not taking anybody for granted -- we cannot afford to take anybody for granted."

On UNLV's win at Wisconsin:

"Getting into comparing scores is a slippery slope in college football. Sometimes it tells you nothing at all. On a given day a team was ready to play and another one wasn't. I would have to say, we felt that UNLV had some really talented kids on defense. We thought they had an able passer and a couple of tailbacks. You are surprised anytime a Mountain West team can go into the Big Ten and beat a ranked team on their own field. What we watched on video tape in preparation for UNLV -- some of the things they did against Wisconsin did not surprise us either. We like to think it shows a sign that we are improving and moving forward."

On Banks Floodman:

"Banks (Floodman) should be able to go. He is evaluated everyday. Our medical staff is very optimistic about him playing. They think it will happen. Our medical staff will evaluate him each day to make sure he is fine. He shows no sign of having problems at this point and time."

On shoring up the defense:

"I think there is still some newness. Not so much that we have new players on the field but the communication process on the field is a problem. First of all you have to get lined up where you need to be. In our defense, which is multiple looks with a lot of different ways to stunt and blitz -- like a lot of college football teams. It takes a lot of communication. We don't feel like we are alone. We have watched a lot of videotape of other teams. We see the way the defensive coordinators are trying to play these spread offenses. Everybody, this early in the season, has a lot of problems getting everybody in the right spot -- being in the gap they are supposed to be in and understanding in the secondary where they have help and where they don't have help. Those are things that are still part of the process. We still have to play better fundamental defense. I am not going to give us an easy-out by saying we are young and communication is not what it should be. That is part of it but that is not all of it. We need to play better fundamental defense. We spent yesterday and will spend a good part of today on basic defensive fundamentals."

"I think we have some talented kids on defense. I think we have some spots on defense where we are not highly talented but we depend on some kids that play hard and with a lot of heart and enthusiasm. That can make up for a lot of deficiencies in talent. I think we have a chance to put together a good defensive unit here -- I am confident that we will. We have to play good fundamental football. We have to get lined up and have to communicate. I am not panicking or overly concerned about it. I understand our program and personnel better than anybody and I feel we are on track."

On Remuise Johnson:

"He is competing for that position. He is back in there fighting, working hard and playing with more confidence. Remuise is a guy that played last year and started a lot. He knows what it takes. It is a matter of him pulling it all together and making plays every single down. Not just once-in-awhile but every single down."

On Travis Watkins:

"I was informed by our trainer that his progress is right on target. Travis has been telling me everyday that he is way ahead -- he is trying to convince us all that he is way ahead. Our trainer told me last night that he is not ahead of schedule -- he is on schedule. Travis wants to be ahead of schedule and you can appreciate that as a coach. His rehabilitation and the healing of the bone is right where it should be. We are hoping that he will be ready for Baylor (Oct. 18) -- that is what we are hoping for. We have to keep in mind that after the cast is removed it is going to take him some time to jog and get comfortable with the practice environment. We are hoping for Baylor but we will wait and see."

On Kyle Knighton:

"I don't know if he is an inside player based on (last) Saturday. We have evaluated that carefully and our thought process indicates that he is not suited to be an inside player."

"We have to see some other kids' progress. We have to make sure that our defensive tackles are progressing. We are trying to get Chuck Jones back in the equation. For this week we will try to get Chuck Jones back to being able to help out. If that is the case then we can relieve Kyle of that duty of being inside."

On winning:

"When you win life is better -- everything looks better to you. Our kids, even through tough times, have shown great attitude and enthusiasm. I am proud of them for that. There is nothing like winning. All of the bumps and bruises heal up by Monday. The gatorade tastes better to them. Life is better when you win. I told them, 'Now that you have the taste of winning, you should hold onto that taste.' Instead of focusing on games down the road we need to be focused on Jacksonville State and playing extremely well against Jacksonville State. That is all we talk about and all we think about. There is nothing like starting conference play with a 3-1 record rather than a 2-2 record."

On Bill Whittemore:

"Bill was getting in a groove last year. As he played, he was gaining confidence and getting better and better. Then he came up with an injury. I underestimated how long he had been removed from game competition. That responsibility lies with me. There is no question that he wasn't sharp and a little rusty. It is because he hadn't played since his injury in October of last season. I underestimated how much it would take to get him back in game condition. Then he practiced and threw a dry ball for three weeks in three-digit temperatures. Rain shows up that day, we should have had him better prepared and he should have prepared better for inclement weather. He is doing the things that he is capable of doing. He is a big-play player. He can orchestrate drives. He is cool and calm and does not get rattled easily. When he does get rattled he recovers rather quickly. Bill is a good player. He has got some weapons out there. Mark Simmons has a year under his belt. Charles Gordon was in our program for a year. Brandon Rideau has improved his game tremendously over a year. He has a tight end that he can throw the ball to. He has Clark Green that has been a sure-handed back out of the backfield. You have kids like Moderick (Johnson) that are coming along as well as other receivers. It is getting back to what I said earlier about the supporting cast. If he has a supporting cast then Bill can continually get better and be a real workhorse for us."

On Mark Simmons:

"He likes to catch touchdown passes. He is a guy that has made big plays for us. He played last year as a true freshman. He probably wasn't ready last year but he went to the school of hard-knocks and learned the tough way. He has benefitted from that experience."

"He is a guy you can call a smart football player. He has a knack for getting open. He is deceptively fast and not a burner. He can set you up. He will come off the ball with just a jaunt then accelerate right by you. He can find the holes and settle in a zone defense. He is a sure-handed young guy. He has a lot of attributes you need to be a wide receiver. He is deceptively fast and athletic."

On receiving fundamentals:

"I thought they left to many catchable balls on the ground last season. All of the wide receivers, tight ends and running backs were required to go through jugs gun drills and tennis ball drills. They did those drills throughout the winter, spring and summer and we still do it out here on the practice field, during the season -- before and after practice. It's paid off but we just have to keep at it. It's just like any other fundamental such as blocking or tackling. I am a firm believer that you can learn to catch the ball."

On Austine Nwabuisi:

"I have always thought that Austine has talent but he has had to learn how to do things around here -- what the expectations are for our players. He is not a bad person -- he is a likeable kid. He had to settle in and find out what our work ethic is, to go hard all of the time during every single play and that's an area where he was inconsistent on the practice field. He would make some fantastic plays and then the next play it would look like he didn't even get out of his stance. We told him that he will play for us when he develops consistency and work ethic on the practice field. He has had a really good training camp with us, has been hard working and has made great strides. Austine is a work in progress but he has made some great strides. He just needed to mature and understand what it takes to compete at the Division I level. He didn't have a great understanding about it but when he found out we have standards here and we aren't budging -- he found out it is not fun being on the scout team everyday when you know you can play at this level. I think he realized this year he had to get moving and I commend him for that."

On nickel defense package and Kenneth Thompson:

"It's important we do a good job with our nickel package because teams are spreading the field out. Kenneth Thompson has been our nickel back and he is gaining some confidence. He is a true freshman and he is getting some confidence now and because of that confidence he is gaining. We are now working him more and more at the cornerback position as well. He is not quite ready to take it on by himself but in the future I could see him getting more and more reps at the corner position. That is great for a guy who is in the first year of our program. We have a pressure defense in our nickel package where we make some personnel changes and try to get a little more speed on the field. Brandon Perkins is a quick young guy who came up with a big play on Saturday. When you look at our nickel package and you see a second year player and a first year player -- that is really encouraging. "

On the offensive line and receivers making strides:

"I think the strides the offensive line have made are noticeable from the outside as well as catching the football, but we have made strides in a lot of areas on our ball club."

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