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Chat live with J-W KU football beat writer Ryan Wood

April 13, 2007

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

Quarterback battle? Secondary questions? What to expect from the new offense? Whatever you want to know about before heading to the April 15 spring game at Memorial Stadium, we've got the guy to help you out. Joining KUSports.com Thursday at 3:30 p.m. for a live chat session will be Journal-World KU football beat writer Ryan Wood, answering all of your gridiron questions as Mark Mangino prepares for his sixth season at the helm of the Jayhawks.

Moderator:

Hello all and welcome to this week's chat session, I'm Ryan Greene, editor of KUSports.com, and I'll be moderating to day's deal with Ryan Wood, who covers KU Football for us here at the Journal-World. Ryan has been able to work some time for questions into his busy schedule today. And yes, it's busy, with the spring game just two days away. Ryan, what's new in life? The folks haven't chatted with you in awhile.

Ryan Wood:

Everything's going just great Mr. Greene. I was just cruising around MySpace like I do 20 hours a day and I saw the Spodcasters page. Tremendous!

Moderator:

Wow, sounds like an exciting afternoon (and that site is www.myspace.com/spodcasters). How about some questions? Are you logged out of myspace and ready to roll?

Ryan Wood:

I'm ready. Bring it on.

JHawkJunkie74:

Kansas fans had such high expectations last year, thanks to the success from 2005. Do you think that coach Mangino is on the hot seat after a 'disappointing' 6-6 season last year?

Ryan Wood:

I wouldn't say hot seat, but six years into his tenure, rebuilding can't be a reason why success isn't attained anymore. I think it would take a disaster of a season for Mangino to be in any serious trouble, and I don't think it will happen. But these days, any old record won't cut it -- progress has to be obvious.

gbr34:

Wood,
Two questions. On a recent radio interview you said that Mangino is not exactly 'safe' job wise. As long as he's taking them to a bowl game 2 out of 3 yrs, why isn't he safe? Which leads to my next question-why are some Jayhawk fans saying 7-5 and a bowl game (2005) isn't good enough? Are they becoming spoiled?

Ryan Wood:

I meant that in the context that a 4-7 season isn't acceptable in 2007 like it was in 2004, when rebuilding efforts obviously took precedence. As I just said, I think it would take a disaster of a season for Mangino's job to be in serious jeopardy, because Lew Perkins will be and should be much more patient and think things out more than some fans would. Still, Perkins does have high expectations for football that he'd like to see met. KU needs football to be a drawing card because schools all over the Big 12 are raking in cash from their programs.

Are Kansas fans becoming spoiled? Some of them feel an unjustified sense of entitlement, yes. But the harsh cruelty of life is that if you're able to come in and raise the bar with your performance like Mangino has done, expectations change and the bar is set even higher. That's how it is in life, not just college football.

Migady:

In the past 3-4 seasons, choosing the Starting QB has seemed to be a difficult subject which causes a lot of media controversy. What are you looking for in deciding your final choice and why has it always been so undecided right until the last minute before the season?

Ryan Wood:

If it was my choice, I'd have each buy a chicken, paint their number on its back and have a cockfight to determine the starting QB. But I hope you realize I'm not a coach. I'm just the messenger. As for what Mangino and Warinner might look for, it's pretty much who they can trust to lead the offense to the end zone more consistently and efficiently.

It's been pretty undecided every year Mangino has coached except for two: In 2003, Whittemore was the clear-cut guy all preseason, and last year Meier won the job about this time. It's just one of those things with Kansas football anymore.

Moderator:

Well really quick. If you had 5 seconds to pick one to go with for the opener right now, who is it? Or, as Mangino put it, who will win it?

Ryan Wood:

I'd guess Meier.

AzHawk97:

What do you think about the best quarterback on campus next year possibly being a walk on for the basketball team? Is there any chance of Conner Teahan playing football at KU?

Ryan Wood:

I'd say the chances are somewhere between slim and none, and slim left town with Mario Kinsey a few years ago. From what I've heard, Conner Teahan was a fine football player for the Rock. But I think he'll even tell you that Meier and Reesing both probably have him beat on the gridiron. However, they can't shoot three's like Teahan, so Conner's choice of sports is probably a good one.

jhawkfball10:

What are some changes we will see in this years new look Ed Warriner offense?

Ryan Wood:

With good reason, Kansas coaches and players are being somewhat secretive about it, but us reporters have dug around and gathered some clues. Mangino said no more than 50 percent of it will be new stuff. Kerry Meier and Aqib Talib both called it "uptempoed" while Talib said more big plays could be expected. Todd Reesing mentioned that more WR options are out there for him on passing plays, which gives the QBs more options. We could get a glimpse of some things Sunday at the spring game, but I'd guess the Sept. 1 opener is when they really bring the new things out.

Jaminrawk:

Who is the starting tailback when the season starts?

Ryan Wood:

All indications point to Jake Sharp being the No. 1 tailback when spring concludes. But I wouldn't expect Sharp getting 250 carries like Jon Cornish did last year. I would guess that Sharp will get his share, fullback Brandon McAnderson will get more touches, and other running backs like Angus Quigley and Donte Bean will be thrown in there. If Quigley is 100 percent healthy by August, he could give Sharp a run for the starting job. Overall, I expect it to be more by committee than it was last year.

Raydude:

I noticed early in your tenure, the Jayhawks struggled to recruit good linemen. How have you been able to get good line recruits lately?

Ryan Wood:

Well Raydude, the key is promising them playing time and NFL riches whether they're a slug or not. No, but really, the local sportswriter doesn't have many recruiting responsibilities. I will say the No. 1 thing I've noticed about the OL recruits lately is that they're getting bigger and bigger. Chet Hartley is a legitimate 315 pounds coming out of Butler, and he looks to be the starting right guard. The two high school recruits, Hatch and Spikes, are both 300-plus. By comparison, David Ochoa and Cesar Rodrguez came in under 250. It worked out just fine for both of them, but coming in huge isn't a bad start.

Colgrove:

Are there any true freshman that you will believe can make an impact this season? Also, will KU ever be able to recruit higher-profile players?

Ryan Wood:

Without having any dead-lock insight to this, the one name I heard who could contribute right away is justin Springer, the linebacker out of little Los Fresnos, Texas, down by the Mexico border. Opposing players were flat-out scared of the dude last year.
As for the high-profile recruits, I always find it to be a bit overrated. Charles Gordon and Aqib Talib were two star guys. But building a reputation and making a run at many four- and five-star guys is a long, long process. It often comes way behind the success on the field, so be patient.

rev79:

Last year I noticed a lack of speed at outside linebacker, Have you noticed improvement in the linebackers getting to the sideline in practice? And how is the running back battle shaping up with Cornish gone? Will we be okay here?

Ryan Wood:

Well, there's only been two open practices, and I was in Chicago for the NCAA Tournament for the first one, so my personal observations are limited. However, moving Joe Mortensen to inside linebacker and Olaitan Oguntodu from strong safety to OLB makes it an automatic upgrade speed-wise at that position. Also realize that James Holt had a broken foot for half the year and may not have been 100 percent. As for the RBs, don't expect one guy to fill the shoes of Jon Cornish. But several of them, including Sharp, McAnderson, Quigley and even the QBs, can collectively smooth the transition.

JuliansWright:

What's the latest with Jason Thompson, Brandon Duncan, and Tertavian Ingram?

Ryan Wood:

The whisperings I've heard is that Brandon Duncan is considering a transfer back close to his home in Texas. He's not with the team this spring and Mangino said he's not expected to be back. As for the others, Mangino said before spring that a few players would be held out for academics. I personally haven't heard anything regarding Tertavian Ingram.

Moderator:

All right, we've got time for three more questions...

jhawkfball10:

What are some improvements, besides winning more, that can be made to Memorial Stadium to make it as formidable as Allen Fieldhouse?

Ryan Wood:

Get Wilt Chamberlain to play left guard? Seriously, I think winning is the answer for now. Memorial Stadium is a nice venue with a beautiful view of campus, so it's not exactly a pit. But the way to make it formidable is to get 51,000 fans every week, not just for the Kansas State, Nebraska and the home game formerly known as Missouri week.

Ranger35:

How good of a chance does Jon Cornish have of being drafted? I've heard it's possible he could be picked on day two. Are there any other Jayhawks who might get picked in the NFL draft?

Ryan Wood:

I think Cornish has a solid chance of getting drafted and having a decent NFL career as a backup RB or special team demon. He's proven his ability doing both in college, and though he's not a freak in any physical testing, he tested decent across the board. I think he's the only one with any shot of getting drafted, but one or two others could sign as free agents.

Moderator:

I wonder who this could be...

ok_city_wang_kang:

How many wings can you eat Ryan. I heard the record is 35....

Ryan Wood:

Every year my belly seems to get bigger, so I'm confident in my wing-eating abilities. However, just thinking about eating 35 of them in one sitting is giving me a stomach ache. I heard a few guys at KU had a wing-eating contest for the ages in Oklahoma City during the Big 12 tournament. I bet they were feeling just spectacular afterward. Real smart, fellas.

Moderator:

Well, thanks for taking the time today, Wood. If fans want to throw things at you, where will you be located at the spring game?

Ryan Wood:

Behind bullet-proof glass in the press box, seven levels up. If you can get to me, you earned it.

Moderator:

Thanks to everyone for reading and submitting questions. We'll talk to you soon.

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