Swanson Out

<p>Call it voodoo. Call it bad karma. Whatever you chalk it up to, Mark Mangino just has bad luck with his quarterbacks.</p>

And now it appears another victim, Jason Swanson, has been added to the string.

"It doesn't look good," Mark Mangino said. "He's certainly not going to play this week."

While the most recent incident may have come when Swanson was injured in the Colorado game, but it was hardly an isolated incident.

Consider the past:

In 2001, Oklahoma had the defense to make a second consecutive bid for the national championship game.  But the offense under quarterback Nate Hybl struggled, forcing Mangino to go with a mobile backup named Jason White. Voila! White's legs and arm propel the Sooners' offense in a few big wins and everything appears to be saved. But White injured his knee, a torn ACL and was lost for the season. That same offense that started to produce touchdowns began to sputter again, and an upset loss to Oklahoma State where the offense failed to show up kept the Sooners out of the title hunt.

In 2002, Mangino's first season at Kansas was mired by poor defensive play, but was competitive in some games due to the multiple talents of a junior named Bill Whittemore. But Whittemore injures his knee in the Missouri game, and Kansas loses the rest of its games.

Backup quarterback Jonas Weatherbie also gets knocked out for the season, prompting safety Zach Dyer to move back to quarterback for the season-ending loss to Oklahoma State. Brian Luke also saw time in the season.

Last year, Whittemore came back and was the man.  Spurred by the heady play of its senior, Kansas started the season 5-2, including a victory over rival Missouri. But in the Kansas State game, Whittemore went down and Kansas proceeded to use Brian Luke, then John Neilsen to cap off the loss. The redshirt for quarterback Adam Barmann was burned for the next three games, all losses, and Luke relieved Barmann in a solid Oklahoma State effort. Now 5-6, Whittemore comes back from injury to end the year with a victory over Iowa State and a bowl berth.

Fast forward to this year. The quarterback play was one of the inconsistencies of this year's team.

Barmann looked sharp to open against Iowa State, but he was knocked out of the game, and the year with a shoulder injury after he was slammed into the turf scrambling out of the pocket. Luke relieved but gave Iowa State the deciding score on a fumble return.

Swanson couldn't quite pull the game out at the end.  Swanson started the Colorado game, and the offense looked as strong as it had since the Toledo game in rolling up a 14-0 lead.

But on the Jayhawks' next drive, Swanson waited a second too long to release the screen pass and fell awkwardly on his right shoulder. In an injury that Mangino said was similar to Barmann's, it appears that he too is now lost for the year.

Bring on John Neilsen.

"Just three weeks ago, he was running the scout team offense," Mangino said. "He was (Bruce) Gradkowski and (James) Killian and the other quarterbacks we've faced."

Neilsen relieved Swanson in the losing effort and led the Jayhawks to one touchdown during his time of work.

He'll have to do better than that against Kansas' next opponent, the big, bad Texas Longhorns. Texas hasn't lost since its 13-0 blanking by Oklahoma and its defense is among the nation's best.

So will Neilsen, a walk-on quarterback who hasn't started a game at Kansas, be ready?

"He's proven that he can manage the ball," Mangino said. "He's not the most talented guy we have, but he's very intelligent."

He'll have his work cut out for him against that tough Longhorn defense, but the hardest part may be to find motiviation for a team that is now, at 3-6, officially out of the bowl picture. If the Jayhawks win out against Texas and Missouri, a tough task even with the starting quarterbacks, the 'Hawks would finish 5-6 and fall just short of eligibility.

But Mangino insists there's still plenty to play for this season.

"If we're not gonna have a party at the end of the year, maybe we'll spoil somebody else's," Mangino said.


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