KU linebacker Gabriel Toomey chatted with KUsports.com readers for about 15 minutes Friday afternoon. He answered questions about why he came to KU, the Jayhawks' off week and beating Missouri.
Moderator: We'll begin our chat in just a few moments. We'd like to thank KU linebacker Gabriel Toomey for his time and our KUsports.com readers for their questions.
Brad: What was the biggest factor in your decision to choose KU? Was it the location? Was it coach Mangino? Was it one of the assistants? Was it the chance to play in the Big XII? Was it something else?
Gabriel Toomey: I'd say the biggest factor to choose KU was coach Mangino and the coaching staff are great guys. They were straight up with me and told me what they expected and so far everything's going very well. The atmosphere is great. I'd say the coaching staff, and coach Doeren is a great coach, too.
Larry: What did you think when you saw that the stands were filled for the KU-MU game?
Gabriel Toomey: When I came out for warm-ups and it was full, it was just an unbelievable feeling. It jus showed a lot of emotion from the crowd. A lot of true fans were there and it was a great experience. I hope a lot of Saturdays are like that because we get pumped from the crowd. It was just a great experience and a great feeling.
Matt: My question is how do you plan to prevent Colorado's rushing attack?
Gabriel Toomey: We had an extra week to watch films and see what their running tendencies are, and we just need to continue to improve every week and stay assignment sound and follow our duties on the field. It's a simple plan, but it's about execution.
Dave: What has the team worked on and accomplished during the off week?
Gabriel Toomey: We've been getting after it in practice. We've had a lot of really good practices and getting a lot of hours in the film room and basically just studying Colorado.
Charhawk: Are you surprised with how the linebacking group is playing despite your short time together as a unit?
Gabriel Toomey: I' m not really surprised by it. That we're playing together so well so soon is really good for the defense and the team. I think we click really good on the field and off the field. All the linebackers are really good friends and that carries a lot onto the field, which really helps us play so well together so soon.
Brad: Is there a different feeling in the locker room and all week during practice leading up to a rivalry game like Mizzou?
Gabriel Toomey: We take every game seriously. Especially with a rivalry game like Missouri, all week was really intense, everyone was getting after it and being really serious because of the rivalry and all the years we've played. It was a very, very serious week around the KU locker room and on the practice field. The coaches and everybody really got after it.
Brad: When you were a kid, what football players did you try to emulate and model yourself after the most?
Gabriel Toomey: I never really modeled myself after any pro football players, but I always had my favorites growing up. I played offense and defense, so on offense I wanted to be like Walter Payton. On defense, I wanted to be like Lawrence Taylor -- he played with emotion and played recklessly.
Captain Kirk: How do you feel about being only two wins away from a bowl game?
Gabriel Toomey: It feels really good to be two wins from a bowl game, but you still have to take it week by week. You can't take any game lightly. You've got to prepare and not lose focus of what's been getting you to where you are.
Brad: What has been your best football memory so far in your playing career?
Gabriel Toomey: Definitely the MU-KU game last week. It was a great game to be involved in, and a win always makes it better, but you get a really good feel for the Big 12 and a big-time football game.
Moderator: We have time for one more question, and we'd again like to thank Toomey and our readers.
Matt: How does it feel to be a newcomer to KU and be a fan favorite and leader of a much improved Jayhawk defense?
Gabriel Toomey: It feels really good and I love the fans and the fact that they like me. It's better than the alternative. It feels really good to be looked at like that. I think everybody on the defense steps up at certain times to be leaders when they need to, but it feels really good to be accepted.
Moderator: Again, thanks to Gabriel Toomey and our readers for their time this afternoon. Rock Chalk Jayhawk.