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Archive for Saturday, August 21, 2004

Bumps, bruises abound

KU banged up from two-a-days

August 21, 2004

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Kansas University's offensive line was muddled last weekend when senior right guard Tony Coker suffered an injury that will sideline him for at least three games.

Friday's football practice -- KU's first open workout since Coker's injury -- didn't exactly clarify the situation.

Kansas University offensive linemen, front row from left, David
Ochoa, Joe Vaughn, Nick McCaslin and Matt Thompson listen to
quarterback Adam Barmann (7). The Jayhawks had an open practice
Friday at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas University offensive linemen, front row from left, David Ochoa, Joe Vaughn, Nick McCaslin and Matt Thompson listen to quarterback Adam Barmann (7). The Jayhawks had an open practice Friday at Memorial Stadium.

Sophomore guards Bob Whitaker and Matt Mann both were held out of contact drills because of what KU coach Mark Mangino termed "minor injuries."

"We have a lot of bumps and bruises and things like that that come with two-a-days," said Mangino, whose team wrapped up two-a-days Wednesday and took a day off Thursday -- the first day of fall classes -- before resuming workouts Friday.

With starters Coker and Whitaker and backup Mann sitting out, Friday's workout was more of a "Who's That?" than a "Who's Who."

Mangino previously had said that Air Force transfer Matt Thompson had won the job at right tackle, and that red-shirt freshman Cesar Rodriguez and sophomore Travis Dambach were battling for the job at left tackle.

The situation was flip-flopped Friday with Thompson at left tackle and Dambach at right tackle. Rodriguez, meanwhile, was backing up Dambach.

"When kids get banged up in camp, especially offensive linemen in particular, you decide you better start moving guys around and see who fits where because we're not going to have two deep at all five offensive line positions," Mangino said. "We're going to have a center, two guards, two tackles, and probably two swing guys. We're not going to have 10. That's a luxury to have 10 deep."



Mann and Whitaker were expected to return in time for the Sept. 4 season opener against Tulsa, but that fact didn't help Mangino on Friday. Whitaker was replaced by fifth-year senior Nick McCaslin, a former walk-on and longtime scout-team player who recently was awarded a scholarship.

Senior Joe Vaughn was at center, and sophomore David Ochoa was filling in for Coker at right guard.

Aside from Rodriguez, the smattering of fans at Memorial Stadium had to be wishing for rosters so that they could figure out KU's second-team line. Freshman Scott Haverkamp, who is expected to take a red-shirt season, was at left tackle. Freshman walk-on Adrian Mayes was at left guard. Freshman Ryan Cantrell was at center, and Monmouth University transfer Mitar Rudanovich was at right guard.

Jonathan Lamb catches a punt during Friday's practice at Memorial
Stadium.

Jonathan Lamb catches a punt during Friday's practice at Memorial Stadium.

Alas, a roster wouldn't have done fans much good because Mayes and Rudanovich weren't on it.

Don't expect to see either player against Tulsa. After Whitaker returns, Mann and Ochoa likely will battle to fill Coker's spot. Whoever loses that fight could be the "swing" guard. At tackle, Mangino said that whoever loses the battle between Dambach and Rodriguez would backup both tackle spots.

KU's defense dominated the offense during Friday's workout, but the Jayhawks weren't worried.

"It has been disruptive but not to the point that we shouldn't be able to function offensively," sophomore quarterback Adam Barmann said of the injuries. "Any time we have a starter out of the lineup, we expect our No. 2 guy to come in and fill in for them. I think our guys are doing a fine job right now. They're going to get better. Hopefully we'll get some guys healthy again, and we'll be back on track."

A few other notable players were held out of most drills, including junior running back Clark Green, junior defensive end Charlton Keith and freshman receiver Marcus Henry.

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Freshmen will play: Mangino said freshmen defensive tackles Todd Haselhorst and James McClinton will not take red-shirt seasons. Both newcomers were working with the second-team defense.
Kansas University wide receiver Marcus Henry prepares to make a
catch. Henry and the Jayhawks practiced Friday at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas University wide receiver Marcus Henry prepares to make a catch. Henry and the Jayhawks practiced Friday at Memorial Stadium.

"Haselhorst and McClinton are going to play," Mangino said. "There's no question. Haselhorst has had a tremendous camp, and McClinton is coming on. The more he learns the more confident he is."

Freshman linebacker Mike Rivera also is likely to play, while freshman punter Kyle Tucker is in a "dogfight" with senior Chris Tyrrell for that job, Mangino said.

Receivers Henry and Dexton Fields also could play as true freshmen.

Freshman running back Gary Green has been slowed by illness, but Mangino said no decision had been made on the highly-touted Texan.

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Etc.: Mangino confirmed that sophomore receiver Moderick Johnson would not be eligible this season. The coach did not elaborate on Johnson's situation. ... Junior linebacker Gabriel Toomey was working with the first-team defense at middle linebacker and the second-team defense at outside linebacker. ... In addition to McCaslin, senior receiver Chris Steppig and senior linebacker Clark McCracken also have been awarded scholarships. ... KU's Fan Appreciation Day is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Aug. 25 at Memorial Stadium.

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