In a defensive-dominated game, the Blue team beat the White, 17-3. The point total was a far cry from last year’s spring’s game, when the Blue won 48-0. This game wrapped up the 15th and final spring practice for the defending Orange Bowl champions.
Blue team junior quarterback Todd Reesing completed 23 of 43 passes for
227 yards and one touchdown. However, he also threw two interceptions.
His second, pick, though, went right through the hands of sophomore
receiver Dezmon Briscoe. Reesing set a Big 12 record last season with
213 consecutive attempts without an interception.
“On offense, I didn’t think it was very
pretty,” Reesing said. “We struggled with a lot of
execution things, myself included. We had too many mistakes on the
offensive line and with dropped passes. The running backs
didn’t protect and I missed some throws. We did get some good
things done, (though); we just have to build on this.”
KU coach Mark Mangino thought Reesing had a “respectable
night” considering the offense didn’t use its full
arsenal of plays and the coaching staff was blending in new faces on
the offensive line. KU lost two starters on the O-Line from last season
in Anthony Collins and Cesar Rodriguez. Senior center Ryan Cantrell
also did not play; he was held out of spring drills due to injury.
“(Reesing) had a tough role because we knew we were going to
have to juggle guys on the offensive line to find the right
combination, and he didn’t have a whole lot of protection at
all in the first half,” Mangino said. “I
understand the game and how it was set up. The limitations we put on
the offense were more detrimental to the offense than the limitations
we put on the defense.”
While Reesing threw for 200-plus yards, the Jayhawks looked more like
last year’s No. 4 ranked scoring defensive team in the
country than the No. 2 scoring offense. With the score tied at 3-all,
the Blue team didn’t notch the game’s first
touchdown until 35 seconds left in the first half. That’s
when cornerback Kendrick Harper recovered Carmon
Boyd-Anderson’s fumble and raced 23 yards into the end zone.
The fumble came immediately after the Blue team lost possession when
Reesing missed running back Jake Sharp in the end zone on a fourth-down
The game’s only other touchdown came after Reesing hit Dexton Fields with an eight-yard TD pass at the 9:58 mark in the fourth
Despite scoring just seven points after halftime, Mangino liked the way
the Blue team moved the ball in the second half with the insertion of
redshirt freshman Jeff Spikes at left tackle and senior Matt Darton at
“We protected better (in the second half),” Mangino
said. “I think we might have found the right combination and
that’s something we’re pleased with. We feel really
good about Spikes right now at left tackle and Darton at right tackle.
That’s probably the most exciting part of the night, that and
the way our defense played.
“I think we got our tackles position settled (Mangino was
also pleased with sophomore offensive lineman Sal Capra) and
that’s been a concern. When we get Cantrell back,
we’ll be fine up front. ... (Spikes) will give you everything
he has. He is going to fight, scratch and claw. And that’s
part of that left tackle position. You need an athlete with range, you
need a tough kid, and he fits that. And Matt Darton I think is more
comfortable at right (tackle).”
Mangino is also feeling very comfortable with his defense.
“We knew our defense was going to be pretty good
again,” he said. “Tonight is a good springboard
into August, so we feel good about it. I thought our defense looked
Mangino said several of the defensive players on the White team will
see action this season in different packages. White team junior
linebacker Arist Wright led all players with 10 tackles, while junior
linebacker Jake Schermer had nine tackles, including two for loss.
Senior safety Tang Bacheyie recorded eight tackles; sophomore
linebacker Drew Dudley had seven tackles (one tackle for loss and one
interception); and senior safety Patrick Resby and sophomore defensive
end Jake Laptad both had six tackles. Resby also had an interception,
while Laptad recorded a sack.
“We are looking for depth on defense and I think we are
finding it,” Mangino said.
Senior linebacker Mike Rivera led the Blue team with eight tackles,
including a sack and two tackles for loss. Sophomore cornerback Chris Harris had seven tackles, including one tackle for loss and a fumble
recovery. Senior defensive end Russell Brorsen and sophomore linebacker
Justin Springer both had four tackles.
Like Mangino, Rivera was pleased with the team’s defense.
“I felt that we learned a lot this spring,” Rivera
said. “We came together a lot on defense and we have been
learning like crazy. It’s been a really productive spring for
On offense, Briscoe led all players with eight receptions for 92
yards. Senior Dexton Fields caught five passes for the Blue
for 40 yards, while backup quarterback and starting receiver Kerry Meier had four receptions for 40 yards.
Blue team sophomore Jake Sharp rushed for 40 yards on 10 carries, while
junior Angus Quigley ran for 28 yards on six carries. Quigley also saw
duty with the White team, rushing for 30 yards on seven carries.
Meier was solid at quarterback for the White team, completing 13 of 18
passes for 69 yards (eight for eight at halftime). His favorite target
was senior Gary Green (five receptions for 34 yards), who saw time last
year at defensive back and special teams. Senior Raymond Brown and
sophomore Rod Harris, Jr. each had three receptions.
Redshirt freshman A.J. Steward and true freshman Kale Pick also saw
duty at quarterback for the White team. Steward completed three of six
passes for six yards, while Pick had one rush for minus three yards.
Mangino was excited about the fan turnout, although many had left
before the 7 p.m. game ended at 8:57. The biggest cheers of the night
came when Mangino was given The Sporting News National Coach of the
Year trophy and the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year ring at halftime.
“Overall, it was a good night’s work,”
Mangino said. “We got plenty of snaps in, but we know what
our weaknesses are. We got a good picture tonight. When we grade the
film, it will even be clearer. We know the areas we are strong in and
we have to continue developing those kids and getting better and better
as we go.”
After the historic Orange Bowl victory last season and now finishing
spring practices, the players look to take their work ethic up a notch
“We are just trying not to get complacent and know that we
have to work hard to get where we were last year,” Chris
Harris said. “We are not even talking about last year,
because it is a new year. We just have to rebuild and get ready for
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