Into the Fire

This Saturday all eyes will be focused on the man trying to fill the shoes of Bill Whittemore.

Sophomore Adam Barmann enters the 2004 season as the starting quarterback with the difficult task of taking the Kansas Jayhawks back to a bowl game. Barmann is more confident heading into this year after coming off the bench last season.

"Last year I was kind of thrown into the fire," Barmann said. "I was glad to get to play but I was a little wet behind the ears but with a year under my belt, I think it's helped a lot."

The young quarterback was planning on a red-shirt season last year before Whittemore went down with an injury and he was placed as the starter for three games. Barmann completed 57 of 85 passes for 564 yards and connected on four touchdowns during the 2003 season. After achieving success last year, Barmann is trying to not let the pressure get the best of him.

"I think I just have to go out and play my game. It's not really all on my shoulders, there is 10 other guys out there with me and if we all play well and execute as an offensive unit we will be fine," Barmann said.

Saturday's opponent, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane was the most improved team in all of college football last year. Barmann feels one of the keys to a victory is making sure to maintain the aggressive Tulsa defense.

"They like to bring pressure and we are going to have to be ready for it," Barmann commented. "They like to blitz from a lot of different ways, so picking up those blitzes in protection is going to be key for us."

After three starts last season and a full off-season to work with the offense, head coach Mark Mangino thinks Barmann is ready for the challenge.

"He's more comfortable than he's been at anytime," Mangino said. "But, you have to understand that he is a guy with only a few games under his belt. He is awfully poised, he is a fiery competitor and he believes he can get it done and that is half the battle. We are confident in him and we think he is going to do just fine. He has done everything we have asked him to do in practice, that's for sure."

Kansas is poised for another explosive offense this season by returning all of the receivers and running backs from the record-breaking 2003 year. Barmann can really see the offense becoming a cohesive unit the past couple of weeks in practice.

"We are really coming together. Everybody is getting all of their checks and reads and I think we are getting everything down and we're ready to go," Barmann said.

The long summer workouts are over and Saturday the fans will get a chance to see if Barmann is the quarterback of the future for the Jayhawks.


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