Mangino: Looking to Toledo

Kansas fans have waited three seasons for what the football team accomplished Saturday, a season-opening victory.

Head Coach Mark Mangino met with the media Monday and discussed some of the strides the defense made in its 21-3 win over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.

"I am pretty pleased with the defensive play," Mangino said. "It wasn't perfect but it was pretty good. I like the way that we played as an 11-man unit, especially with the way were able to get turnovers, play the run well and play the pass well."

The Jayhawks played hard-hitting defense throughout the game to hold Tulsa to only 141 total yards of offense. Last season Kansas struggled to get pressure on the quarterback but the defense showed signs of improvement with six total sacks in the game.

"It was a good game plan by Bill Young and our defensive staff, who were well prepared for the game and had our players ready to go," Mangino commented.

Leading the way for the Kansas defense was junior linebacker Kevin Kane. Adding to an already talented group of linebackers, Kane filled the box score with a sack, an interception, and 5 tackles in the contest. He was also named co-defensive player of the week with cornerback Theo Baines. Mangino feels Kane's success is due to hard work both on and off the field.

"He has made himself a better player through hard work and being conscientious. He is not the most gifted guy on the field, but there is probably nobody on either side of the field that is playing harder than he is," Mangino said.

While the Jayhawks excelled defensively, the team struggled with the offense in the first half by only scoring 3 points on a Johnny Beck field goal. However, Kansas gained offensive momentum from cornerback and wide receiver Charles Gordon and running back John Randle entered the game. Randle provided a good change of pace for the Jayhawks, which led to 18 points in the second half. Mangino is looking for the offense to improve in the weeks to come.

"I feel like our offense is fine and we will just get better and make a lot of improvements in week number two," Mangino said.

The Head Coach was most impressed with the play of the special teams after wide receiver Brandon Rideau blocked two punts to garner Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week honors.

"I've said all along, special teams is going to be important to our program because in a close game it could make a difference. I think Saturday is a case in point," Mangino said.

Mangino looked ahead to the game Saturday against the Toledo Rockets. He wants his team to not underestimate a Toledo team that was soundly beaten in week one by the Minnesota Gophers.

"We are not taking this Toledo team lightly, we know what they are capable of doing. A lot of other schools have found that out, they beat a good Pittsburgh team last year. They have been known to be spoilers over the years, beating schools like Penn State a few years back so they are a good football team," Mangino said.

Mangino and the Jayhawks will have their hands full when they square off against a Toledo team, which feature an All-American candidate at quarterback. The Jayhawks will also try to start the season 2-0 for the first time in seven years.


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