Head coach Mark Mangino spoke with the media Tuesday in high spirits for the upcoming match-up against the Colorado Buffaloes. Mangino was pleased with the defense that gave the Jayhawks a chance to win the game.
"Once again I am very pleased with our defense," Mangino said. I like the way we are running around with a lot of enthusiasm. We are playing the run very well. We did a good job against the pass against Iowa State. Anytime you can hold a team under 200 total yards, it is a great day for your defense."
Injuries began to snake bite the Jayhawks in the Iowa State game, which they used three quarterbacks in the defeat. Brian Luke entered the contest after Adam Barmann injured his shoulder trying to scramble away from defenders. Junior college transfer Jason Swanson also received playing time and Mangino will start Swanson for the game Saturday.
"We recruited Jason because we felt we needed competition at the quarterback spot. We felt like we needed to create depth, and we wanted him to be the one or two guy. Our intention was for Jason to be able to play this year and compete. Now that he is the main guy at that position, getting the repetitions and getting the majority of the attention from the quarterbacks coach, we feel like he will respond in a positive way. Believe it or not, he is not a lot faster that Adam, but his feet and his change of direction are a little quicker. I think that all of the things we have used with Adam we will use with Jason."
The offense struggled to get started against Iowa State and have only accumulated 17 points in two games. Swanson will try to spark the Jayhawks to a better offensive output against the Buffaloes.
Mangino understands why the defense is struggling and can see the team improving for the last three games of the season.
"It boils down to execution and making plays on offense. I think it has been a little bit of a confidence factor with our bumps in the road. This is a hard working bunch of kids that really care and I have to get them working better," Mangino said.
In some ways, Colorado is like us. They have lost some tough games. Their offense, at times, has been explosive throwing the ball. Joel Klatt is certainly a quality quarterback. When he is hot, he can do some damage. They have not run the ball the way they might have liked on a consistent basis, but they can hurt you because they throw the ball well. Defensively, they seem pretty sound fundamentally. They have a bend don't break philosophy. Statistically, they don't give up huge plays. You have to earn it against them. We are looking forward to this game and playing much improved in all three areas of the game."
The Jayhawks will have a difficult climb to a second consecutive bowl appearance. Kansas is now 3-5 overall with a 1-4 Conference record in search of its first Big 12 victory.