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Chat with Maureen Fulton of the Toledo Blade

September 13, 2007

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

Join us Thursday at 2 p.m., when Maureen Fulton of the Toledo Blade joins KUSports.com readers to discuss Saturday's rematch of last year's 37-31 double overtime thriller.

Moderator:

Hello everyone, and welcome to this week's KUSports.com live chat. I'm Ryan Greene, and I'll be moderating today's session, where it's my pleasure to welcome in Maureen Fulton, who covers the Toledo Rockets for the Toledo Blade. She's here to take some of your questions for a bit leading up to Saturday's game. Maureen, thanks for the time today.

Maureen Fulton:

Thanks for having me. As a Mizzou grad, it will be my first trip to Memorial Stadium since the Jayhawks beat MU in 2003.

Moderator:

I remember that one from my Kansan days. That was a rough afternoon for Mr. Smith. Lets get to some questions.

JHK4EVR:

What's the strength of this Rocket team?

Maureen Fulton:

Toledo's strength is in its returning All-MAC players on offense. RB Jalen Parmele, TE Chris Hopkins and LT John Greco have to play well for UT to be successful. Parmele has been solid but not outstanding so far, and will need to have one of his best games for the Rockets to get the win.

Moderator:

Parmele was especially big in double OT against KU a year ago. Think he's approaching this game planning on KU having it out for him?

Maureen Fulton:

Parmele has a reserved personality and takes his preparation extremely seriously. I don't think he'll do anything too different to prepare. Sophomore DaJuane Collins is his backup and offers a change of pace, he is more shifty. If he can offer KU a different look that will help Parmele.

thabergman:

Which one Kansas player will Toledo need to shut down to have the greatest chance at stealing a win?

Maureen Fulton:

Toledo needs to make Todd Reesing face some adversity. From my understanding he hasn't had much of a test this season. The Rockets have failed to record a sack, so I wouldn't be surprised if they are installing some different schemes this week to make Reesing work.

topekahawk:

Injuries have necessitated Toledo playing a lot of Freshmen and Sophomores on defense. Will the injured players be back for the game against Kansas?

Maureen Fulton:

It's doubtful FS Tyrrell Herbert, CB Nigel Morris, DE Sean Williamson and CB Greg Harris (Morris' original replacement) will play this week. Toledo's next conference game is in two weeks so they have to be looking at that game as the target date for most of these players.

Moderator:

With that said, how does Toledo's young secondary look matchup wise against KU's taller receivers in an open passing attack?

Maureen Fulton:

In the first two games it hasn't been the secondary that has most hurt the UT defense. So far the freshmen are holding their own. The problem lies in the run defense. CMU's back Ontario Sneed had a career day last week against the line and linebackers. I'm not sure if they are still adjusting to switching from a 3-4 to a 4-2-5, but they have had lots of missed assignments.

HowMuchRice:

What is Toledo doing wrong to allow 104 points in two games? Giminy, that's a lot!

Maureen Fulton:

To answer your original question, CB Walter Atkins, and safeties Barry Church and Lester Richmond have been playing the best so far on defense, which has to please the Toledo coaches worried about the Kansas receivers.

Maureen Fulton:

Oops sorry about that ... poor special teams play have turned each of the games into blowouts. Purdue ran back a kickoff for a TD and CMU started at its 40 all game long. That coupled with the run defense has been the downfall.

jeffds01:

What is different about the Rocket team from last year? What new will KU have to worry about?

Maureen Fulton:

A different QB will play this year against KU. Last year Clint Cochran started and completed just 1/3 of his passes. He was actually injured in the game and missed several games after that.

This year the starter at QB is sophomore Aaron Opelt. He is more mobile and has a stronger arm than Cochran. He is coming off his best game (he played several last year) where for the first time he was able to connect with his receivers on a consistent basis.

Moderator:

All right, I've got three more questions lined up...

Jimmy_Dean:

What are toledo fans expectations on the year?

Maureen Fulton:

Toledo fans expected to have a decent shot to contend for the MAC West division championship. A winning record is always expected; last year's 5-7 mark was the first losing season at UT in 13 years.

gutter:

Ms. Fulton -
I would like to know your feelings on what reprecusions the Football team may endure due to the "point shaving" fiasco? Thank you!

Maureen Fulton:

The point shaving investigation has been public for six months, and no findings have been released. Charges were dropped against the running back named in April and at the time it was assumed they would be refiled, but nothing has happened on that front.

Locally it didn't have an affect on the first home game, which was a sellout for the first time since 2004.

Until the FBI comes out with more of its case it's hard to know what will happen.

Jimmy_Dean:

How's the job security for coach Amstutz?

Maureen Fulton:

In his seventh year, Amstutz has won two MAC titles and four division titles. Another losing season would set off some grumbles, but he will be fine for awhile.

Moderator:

Well Maureen, thanks for the time, and have safe travels out to Lawrence for the game. And to our readers, thanks for your questions, and we'll see you for our next live chat session!

Maureen Fulton:

Thanks for having me, I'm looking forward to my return to Lawrence.

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