Kansas Coach Mark Mangino and all of the players faced a number of questions about where the Jayhawks sat on the respect totem pole, whether it was too high, too low or just about right. Mangino deflected several of the questions, stating that the Kansas program would compete for championships when it defeated the likes of Oklahoma or Texas. Another writer asked Mangino whether the Jayhawks' ranking of 26 in the USA Today poll was high enough, with Mangino declining to make predictions for this year's team.
Not that the respect level seems to matter to Mangino. Mangino said
perceptions from within the program were more important, and added that
any program that was complaining about a lack of respect probably
didn't deserve it.
"If you win, you get respect," Mangino said.
Some quick hits from today's Media Day include:
* Speed Kills: Ed Warinner was quoted by ESPN stating that running back
Jake Sharp ran a 40-yard dash in the 4.2-second range. As for Jake's
"I don't remember the exact numbers, but some of the strength coaches
had me in the 4.2s, while a few of the coaches had me in the low 4.3s,"
Sharp said. "So I think we rounded it to a 4.3-flat or something like
Cornerback Daymond Patterson said Sharp's 40 was the fastest one he'd
"It seemed like he was 10 yards down the field before he even started,"
Patterson said. "I don't think people around the country realize and
respect Jake for how fast he really is."
Patterson was also named among the team's fastest players, along with
Darrell Stuckey, Chris Harris and Greg Brown. Patterson said he ran one
40 at 4.35 and a second one at 4.41.
"We return a lot of guys on our offense and defense," Patterson said,
"and those guys are now faster than they were a year ago. You can see
it, especially on defense."
* Count Warinner among Tanner Hawkinson's fans: the Kansas Offensive
Coordinator talked about the things that stood out about Hawkinson
before moving him to tackle. Among them were Hawkinson's intelligence,
athleticism and a frame that Warinner said could "easily" hold 300
"Hey, that's a perfect guy (for left tackle)," Warinner said.
* Depth at defensive back: Mangino mentioned it, and it was seconded by
Defensive Coordinator Clint Bowen. Bowen talked about newcomers Prinz Kande and Dexter Linton, and said both were players who would have
started for KU just a few years ago. Now, both are fighting an uphill
battle for playing time in a safety group that includes returning
starters Darrell Stuckey and Phillip Strozier and backups Olaitan Oguntodu and Lubbock Smith.
"There are six guys there who are legitimate Big 12 football players,"
Former Girard High School Safety Darian Kelly will join the Jayhawks
next semester, Bowen said.
* It's not the 4-2-5 folks: Mangino explained "for the last time" that
the Jayhawks will not be moving to a 4-2-5 defense as has been reported
in other outlets. He said Kansas will still operate out of a base 4-3,
as there are a few teams in the Big 12 who can still line up and run
the ball. Instead, Mangino said the changes were minor ones within the
Jayhawks' nickel pacakge, from alignment to responsibilities that won't
show up for your average fan.
* Rubber stamp it: Mangino said true freshman linebacker Huldon Tharp
was a strong candidate for a starting job at linebacker, and said that
the coaches wanted to see him in scrimmage action before "rubber
stamping" it. Linebacker Coach Bill Miller said Tharp "is a bright
spot," but added that there was a long way before that first game. To
win the job, he'll have to beat out an experienced player in Arist Wright. But you can color the competition impressed.
"He's a little beast," Wright said of Tharp. "He's going to take over
the strong (side) spot down the line."
* The right stuff: Mangino was asked about the number of top-flight
Kansas kids who have chosen to go to schools other than the one on Mt.
Oread. Some, Mangino said, were nice players who chose to play
elsewhere. But Mangino said the staff steered clear of others, who
appeared to have "outside agendas."
"We are not an extension of PT Barnum's circus," Mangino said.
* Good decision: Mangino was also asked about other offensive tackles
that he had to try to convince to play the spot, and he referenced
Adrian Jones, who he said was a "mediocre" tight end. Mangino said that
at first Jones didn't believe that he could make money playing tackle,
as the coaches told him. Eventually, Jones came around, and he's stuck
in the NFL since. Where would he be if he didn't heed the coaches'
"He would have been a good insurance salesman," Mangino said.
* Bowen's defense: Mangino said that Miller would serve the same role
as co-defensive coordinator as Bowen did under old defensive
coordinator Bill Young. Miller will serve as a sounding board for
ideas, but in the end, it's Bowen's call on how the Jayhawks play
"Clint is solid as a rock," Mangino said.
As for Bowen, he said that his first year served as a learning
"You have a better sense of what to expect," Bowen said. "You're more
familiar with the personnel and your comfort level continues to grow."
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