Kansas Football Press Conference Quotes

August 28, 2007

Head Coach Mark Mangino:

On the team’s preparation for the season opener:

“We’re just putting in a lot of time as coaches and our players are really grinding it out in the meeting rooms as well as out on the practice field. I’m confident that they’ll be ready to go and we’ll be prepared.”

On senior running back Brandon McAnderson:

“First of all, he has great focus on his work. He’s a very serious, business-like guy so he’s going to absorb everything that we teach him. When he makes a mistake he learns from it. He has good acceleration, really good vision, and he can cut and make people miss.”

On Central Michigan:

“Let me tell you the truth, every game we play we have to play well. We don’t have any gimmies. We have to line up and be well-prepared every week. We have great respect for (Central Michigan). They are a very good football team. They have three guys playing in the NFL from last year’s team and they’ve replaced them with some pretty good players. We have respect for Central Michigan, and the people in our office, the players and the team do, too. If anybody’s underestimating Central Michigan, they are not in this building. I can assure you of that.”

On the differences between the 2006 season and the upcoming 2007 campaign:

“First of all, we had a lot of young guys last year that gained a great deal of experience. Another year of getting stronger and faster and another year of repetition make us better. I think our linebacker structure is better than it was a year ago, but we still have to go out and prove it.”

On backup quarterback Kerry Meier:

“I don’t think he’s backed off. He’s trying to get himself better. He’s a quiet guy, he’s laid back and he’s competing and he’s still working hard. I can’t say that he feels bad for himself or that there’s a major sense of urgency. He just goes out and practices and does his best everyday.”

On who will be taking the majority of the punt returns:

“We’ve been working two or three guys there. Right now, we’re interested in the guy who can secure the ball first. What he can do with it after we will take as a plus. Right now we have Raimond (Pendleton) and Dezmon Briscoe there. We want them to learn to secure (the ball), when to make a fair catch and how to pick up your blocks. They’re both working at it, and they both have promise.”

On the 2007 freshmen class:

Our recruiting class has improved each year, but this past year’s recruiting class is leaps and bounds better than any recruiting class we’ve brought in here. That’s why there is a possibility that five or six true freshmen will play. They are passing up veteran players. They are really talented. They have to prove themselves, but as far as raw talent, some of these kids are putting the heat on veteran players, and we like that.”

On the possibility of Aqib Talib playing on offense:

“I know he wants to play (offense), but we have to secure the defense first. He’s number one, a defensive player, but he will play some offense. He’ll get some snaps over there.”

On freshman Chris Harris being the long-term starting cornerback:

“Well, I would never say that a true freshman has a position locked up. He’s there right now because we have a player that’s out, but let me tell you, he’s been impressive. He has great enthusiasm, he has great alertness, he runs really well, he’s competitive and he doesn’t back down from anybody. I’m really pleased with what he’s doing, but to say that it is locked up, I couldn’t say that right now. That would be a guess at this point for down the road.”

Middle Linebacker Joe Mortensen

On the season opener:

“We can’t wait. We’ve been preparing since last January and all the hard work we’ve done in the spring, now it’s finally here. This last month has gone by really slow. I can’t believe we are just four days away.”

On blitzing less with a four man rush:

“I think we are going to mix it up both ways. It depends on the opponents we are playing. This team (Central Michigan) is a passing team so I’m sure we are going to have a lot of blitzes in to keep the quarterback guessing.”

On last year’s pass defense:

“Last year we were really young. This year we are a lot more experienced, we know what the game tempo is like, and we’ve got our defense down to a knack. It will be a lot more fun this year. This will be a great test for our pass defense because Central Michigan’s quarterback is really good.”

Senior Punter Kyle Tucker

On the off-season:

“Ever since the last game of last season I have had a bad taste in my mouth because the season was not what I wanted it to be. I worked really hard in the off-season. Scott (Webb, placekicker) has, too. We have both gotten stronger and more consistent. I have more of a drive, a fire for this season because it’s the last one. It will definitely be a big year for both of us.”

Sophomore Quarterback Todd Reesing

On the game’s importance on Saturday:

“It’s important. This will be my first time to start as the quarterback of the University of Kansas. I’m very excited. I’m more ready than anything. I can sense that most of the guys are ready to go out there and hit somebody else. It’s also exciting to play in front of our fans and show them what we have accomplished over the past nine months. We are looking forward to starting the season off right.”

On having some live in-game experience heading into this year:

“It was really good because now I will not have as much to be anxious and nervous about. I know what to expect and what the crowd is going to be like. More than anything, I am just ready to get out there and see how we do against some other competition and see how we can make some plays.”

On preparation as the starter:

“I think there is a little more sense of urgency. Obviously, when you know you are playing instead of thinking you might play, it makes you want to go in there and know what you are doing from snap one to snap 75 and not be surprised by what the defense may do. I’ve been in here everyday in between classes and practice watching film on Central Michigan so that I can get the best edge I can going into this first game and my first start. I want to prove that there is a reason why I won the starting job. I’m just trying to get as best prepared as possible.”

Senior Fullback Brandon McAnderson

On watching Central Michigan last season:

“I didn’t get a chance. I heard they were doing really well and won their conference championship, but I didn’t get a chance to watch them play.”

On if he is offended by comments about the non-conference schedule:

“Not at all. I don’t have any control over that personally. It doesn’t matter who we play. I look forward to playing everyone and every game is going to be a challenge.”

On freshman running back Carmon-Boyd Anderson:

“I’ve been around some pretty good freshman running backs and I think he’s as good or more talented. I love the way he runs—he’s a smooth runner. He’s not afraid and I like to watch him learn.”

On who is going to replace Jon Cornish (2006 Big 12 rushing leader):

“Looks like no one. It looks like it will be several people. I guess we have to go with the committee, if that’s what Coach Mangino thinks will be the most effective, I look forward to doing it.”

On position he will play (fullback/tailback):

“Both. I’m going to say both. Fullback/tailback. I’ll play whatever they want me to play.”

On the importance of a running attack to help QB Todd Reesing:

“I think it will be good for him because any quarterback that has a solid running game can relax a little bit more. The (offensive) line can settle in there and beat people up and then get a chance to pass block and protect. I think it helps everything. Even if he comes out and throws well early, it will help us run well later. All of these things tie together.”

On the one-two punch of Jake Sharp and himself:

“I think it’s a good advantage because Jake is a smaller, really quick, fearless runner. And I’m more of a vision runner, stronger runner, finishing runner. So they get two different people. They get a 190 to 200-pound back and a 235 to 240-pound back. If we switch up, the way we think it is going to happen, I look forward to it.


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