Nice Save

After answering dozens of questions in a row during the preseason media day blitz, one television reporter finally posed one that stumped junior offensive lineman Matt Thompson.

"What is one question you haven't been asked that you would like to answer now?"

Under the watchful eye of the camera, Thompson stumbled a little. He stammered. A few excruciating seconds ticked by. But the Air Force transfer made a full recovery, gracefully stating he just wanted everyone to know how excited he was about the opportunity to play for Kansas and represent the University. Nice save, Thompson.

Afterwards, Thompson admitted he was a little overwhelmed with the hectic pace and whole media day experience.

"I don't even know what all I have said today. People could quote me on saying anything and I wouldn't know the difference," joked Thompson.

Thompson may not recall his own exact quotes, but he does know the difference between the style of play he was accustomed to and what he has learned at KU since arriving here prior to the 2003 season.

"The offense is very different here. Distributing your weight differently in your stance and thinking less aggressively, by looking at the defense instead of blocking a spot. It was not a difficult offense to learn, just takes a change in mindset," explained Thompson.

"I've been able to adapt well to (style of blocking.) I haven't had very much of a problem getting into it."

Thompson had plenty of time to adjust, as he practiced with the team all last season but was ineligible to play due to NCAA transfer rules. The long wait time had him even more geared up for the start of the season.

"I personally haven't played a football game in a long time, so this will be extra special for me. I am very much looking forward to it," said Thompson prior to the opener with Tulsa.

As primed as he was for the opener, Thompson experienced a bit of a let down as inconsistent play by the offense characterized the win over Tulsa.

"I guess for a lot of us it was just getting our feet wet and having that additional intensity. After the first week, I felt as if we almost didn't even win," said Thompson.

"I was disappointed in how I played in the first game so we really wanted to go out and prove ourselves in the second game."

Thompson may have felt he stumbled a little in game one, but seems to have recovered nicely and it looking forward to the first away game on Saturday.

"The hunger is still there and all of us are anxious to get on with Northwestern and come back with a win," said Thompson.

Winning is one thing Thompson has expressed a quite confidence in all along.

"Being from Montana, I grew up in awe Oklahoma and the Texas schools and so on. Now that I am playing in the Big 12 Conference, it is just amazing," said a sincere Thompson in the preseason.

"To think I am going to go out there and share the field with those teams, and beat them, is just so exciting," added Thompson.

Yes, that is what he said. No bravado, no maybes, no chest thumping. Just a matter of fact statement of belief that Kansas will defeat some of the best teams in the nation – not someday, but now. A statement tossed out like an afterthought, as if this was a natural presumption. This is mindset of Matt Thompson and KU football.

After KU's performance this past Saturday, perhaps some fans are starting to believe it as well.

There is no doubt KU has stumbled, falling to the bottom of the conference for consecutive years. Head coach Mark Mangino has started the slow, upward climb. And maybe someday, maybe even someday soon, Kansas will not only fully recover but fulfill the prophecy Mangino asserted in his first days as the head coach at KU. "Our goal is to be the best football team in the Big 12."

That would be a nice save, huh?


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