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Archive for Monday, December 22, 2003

Chat wrap with Journal-World football writer David Mitchell

December 22, 2003

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— Welcome to our online chat with KU football writer David Mitchell.

The chat took place on Monday, December 22, at 12:00 PM and is now closed, but you can read the full transcript on this page.

Moderator: Thanks for joining us. We're chatting with David Mitchell, sports writer for the Lawrence Journal-World.

Dave: Who does NC State's offense most resemble in the Big 12?

David: I would say they are really different than most teams in the Big 12 because a lot of the teams in the Big 12 have quarterbacks who are threats to run or pass, and Phillip Rivers is really more of a pocket-passer. He stays behind his linemen as long as he can. NC State throws the ball a lot more than any conference team KU saw this year.

Nachoman: What is to become of KU's defense with the loss of Weekley and Jones?

David: Chuck hadn't played in the last four games and probably wouldn't have played if he made the trip, so that's not a big loss. They both have been in and out of the lineup and inconsistent and if they can't get their acts together, it's better not to have them in the locker room no matter how much potential they might have had.

James: What's more important in your mind - getting some early pressure on Phillip Rivers, or early success against T.A. McLendon?

David: I guess I would say Rivers. McLendon is kind of an unknown since he's had so many problems on and off the field this year.

Hawkman: David, any last-minute reports on whether defensive tackle Travis Watkins is going to start?

David: Coach made it sound like that would be a gametime decision based on how well Travis was feeling. I think he will play a lot regardless of whether he starts or not. Travis told me that if it was up to him, Sid Bachmann would start because Sid's a senior and he's been in the lineup most of the year.

KUfan: With all the distractions of going to Orlando, do you think the players are as focused on the game as they would normally be?

David: I think the coaching staff has done a good job of balancing the fun and the work. They practiced every day until yesterday, and their curfew has gotten earlier every night.

Mark: I just don't see how KU's defense can be expected to stop N.C. State. What do you think needs to happen for KU to pull this upset?

David: Like most people, I could easily see it being a shootout similar to the Colorado game. KU needs to make the most of every offensive opportunity. They can't have any turnovers or special teams break down. If the offense plays the way that it's capable of and the special teams play mistake-free, KU will have a chance to stay in the game.

Bob: Do we still have a basketball team at Kansas? The Bill Whittemore fueled football team is much more fun to watch these days than the Hi-Slow Bill Self offense.

David: Just remember last year's basketball team started off 3-3. Don't panic. When you have freshmen playing starting roles, you're going to have an up and down team, especially early in the season.

James: What do you think the Jayhawks secondary can do to slow down the passing attack of Phillip Rivers and NC State?

David: I would say it's more a question of whether the defensive line can put any pressure on Rivers. If the defensive line gives him all day to throw, the defensive backs don't stand a chance.

Sean: So what are Whittemore's chances at going pro?

David: Coach Mangino said that several teams have inquired about getting video tapes so they can evaluate him and there are supposed to be scouts from the NFL, CFL and the arena league at today's game. I think that Bill has a lot of skill and could play somewhere on the professional level if he can find a team willing to overlook the fact that he's only 6-foot.

mrclutch: Is Charles Gordon and John Randle getting the start at cornerback? Do you think they will play the majority of the time on defense?

David: Coach Mangino told us that Charles would start at one cornerback and Remuise Johnson would start at the other. I would expect to see Charles and John play both ways in addition to their duties on special teams.

Will: Can KU overcome losing its senior class and put together a solid (and bowl-worthy) football team next season?

David: I would say that KU already has some players in place to replace some of their more vital seniors, including Adam Barrmann and Cesar Rodriguez. KU has already signed five junior-college playeres for next season and has several high school players who have orally committed. The biggest challenge for KU will be a much more difficult schedule when the Big 12 rotates its schedule next season. KU will play Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas instead of Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.

Mo: Do the boys believe they can win this one?

David: These guys have believed in themselves all season long, even when other people did not. If they had settled for the expectations other people tried to set for them, they wouldn't be here in a bowl game.

Moderator: Thanks for joining us for our chat with David Mitchell. Be sure to come back to KUSports.com for continuing Tangerine Bowl coverage. The game starts at 4:30 p.m.

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