Quigley Making a Case for More Carries

KU's leading rusher probably isn't who you think. Phog.net's Jim Williamson with more on Kansas runningback Angus Quigley, inside...

Patience is paying off for Angus Quigley.

The 6-2, 222-pound Jayhawk runningback spent last season languishing in mop-up time in a few blowout wins. He didn't get many opportunities to play in 2007. Some said he was hurt, some said he was in head coach Mark Mangino's doghouse. Either way, until midseason, Quigley walked the sidelines, watching other runningbacks get carries.

Quigley waited his turn. He worked hard, he listened to his coaches and he maintained a positive attitude. It wasn't always easy, but Quigley paid his dues.

“I didn't feel forgotten; we all worked the same amount,” Quigley remembered. “I just kept working and waited for my opportunity. I told myself that if I ever got the opportunity, I'd just try and do the best I can.”

Earlier in the year, when it became fashionable for little-used KU runningbacks to quit, Quigley said the thought of leaving never occurred to him.

“When I look around and I see all these guys I came in with – (Darrell) Stuckey, Kerry (Meier), (Rodney) Harris – I could never quit on my teammates like that.”

Kansas has struggled in the rushing game so far this season. Quigley saw fourth quarter action in KU's opener against Florida International and gained 47 of KU's 128 rushing yards on just six carries. After starters Jake Sharp and Jocques Crawford combined for just 45 yards on 15 carries in the first half Saturday night against Louisiana Tech, Mangino turned to the big, fast Texan early in the third quarter. The call caught Quigley off-guard.

"I can't tell you I saw this chance,” Quigley said, smiling. “I was amazed when Coach came to me at the end of the first half and said that I might be going in at the start of the next half.  I was thinking, `What? I'm a fourth quarter guy, what am I doing in the third quarter?'”

Quigley delivered. He gained 84 yards on the ground and caught two passes out of the backfield for 12 yards. He now leads Kansas with 132 yards after two games. His head coach liked what he saw Saturday night.

Mangino said, "I thought Angus did a lot of positive things. He still ran a little bit high, his shoulder pads aren't easy quite down as much as you'd like, but I thought he did a nice job of picking his way and accelerating through lanes.”

Quigley runs like a man possessed, when he gets an opportunity. He's still got good acceleration, even though he's had some injuries. He runs extremely hard, and he's plenty big enough and strong enough to move a pile. He's the kind of runner who enjoys putting a shoulder into a smaller defensive back. That's just how his coaches want it.

"I'm one of those downhill runners,” Quigley said. “I'm not going to get fancy. I'm going to do what I'm asked to do. If they want me to run downhill, that's what I will do.”

Experience may also be working in the redshirt junior's favor. He's been in the program for four years and he's familiar with the offensive line. This, Quigley said, is part of why he's seeing the field this year.

“I know the offense inside and out, so when the chance comes, I know what I'm doing. That helps a lot,” he said.

Now that he's had a couple of opportunities, he's being smart about the situation. He's seen this movie before.

“I'll continue to do what I've been doing, do whatever I need to do to help my team. That's it.”

Sharp and Crawford are struggling to gain rushing yards, so it would be understandable if Quigley thought he deserved some first half touches Friday night when the Jayhawks play 17th-ranked South Florida in an ESPN2-televised game from Tampa. But he knows that “deserve” doesn't figure into it. He knows what he can and cannot control, and playing time is not one of those things.

“That's entirely up to Coach,” he said, laughing. “I have no say in that.”

Then he paused and grinned. “If the coaches say that I deserve some first-half carries, then I will gladly accept those.”

Sounds like a player who's hungry for more carries and more success. After watching Quigley patiently wait for his turn to come around, no one would like to see him realize that success more than his coach.

“It's been a long road for Angus,” Mangino said, “and no one wants to see Angus do better than we do as coaches. Maybe this is a sign of things to come for him.”

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