Impressions of Media Day

Having had time to digest, here are some thoughts and observations about Media Day 2007, Jayhawk style…

The KU football team continues to get bigger and, it's reasonable to assume, stronger and more athletic. Second-year QB Kerry Meier is bigger and better built than some of Terry Allen’s offensive tackles. Seriously.

I suspect Mark Mangino feels some heat to win and win convincingly this season. Something about his demeanor yesterday was more cautious than the last two media days. He was less effusive in his praise and maybe a more on the defensive.

The name of junior James Holt – a starting linebacker – was conspicuous by its absence. It never once came up, even when Mangino was asked about what he thinks of his LB group.

If the rest of the Jayhawks were half as passionate about football as senior all-conference DL James McClinton is, Kansas would go 9-3. Every. Single. Year.

Junior all-American DB Aqib Talib talks like my teenager eats: all day long.

Junior LB Joe Mortensen looks like he could be a professional wrestler. Or like he could eat small children.

Sophomore QB Todd Reesing is not big. I'm only 5-8 and I looked him dead in the eye. And according to his head coach, Reesing’s lost 20 pounds. Being a 5-9, 175-pound quarterback in the Big XII can make it really tough to crawl out of bed Sunday morning.

When asked what he thinks of moving to outside linebacker, junior Mike Rivera talked about some of the subtle nuances of the position before saying, “It’s all the same: you fly to the ball and hit someone.” I have a feeling that Mike Rivera would take the same philosophy if he were playing small forward for Bill Self.

By now, we’ve all seen the players’ mug shots, and apparently sophomore RB Jake Sharp grew his hair out to cut it off for media day. On a related note, Kerry Meier missed the media day haircut memo.

Senior TE Derek Fine is one of the most thoughtful and funny college student-athletes you’d ever want to meet. He’s the only athlete I’ve ever heard get halfway into an answer to an interview question, stop then say, “That’s not an accurate statement,” and ask to start over.

Reesing and Sharp give Fine a run for his money.

Unless I missed it, not a single wide receiver other than Marcus Herford participated in media day festivities. Just seems odd.

It was nice to see sophomore Darryl Stuckey walking apparently pain-free, and KU fans should be looking forward to their first look at a healthy Stuckey in crimson and blue.

Center Ryan Cantrell was a welcome sight, too. He’ll provide much-needed upper-classman leadership and experience to an offensive line that lost its quarterback – David Ochoa – to graduation.

I feel a great disturbance in the force. Aqib Talib must have stopped talking.

TE coach and recruiting coordinator Brandon Blaney could sell ice cubes to Eskimos. His enthusiasm is genuine and infectious.

Finally, media day is like the sound of cicadas in the trees in the evening. It’s a harbinger that summer is starting to wind down and that fall will be here soon. And it can’t get here soon enough. It’s time to tee it up and hit someone.

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