Kansas University football quarterback Adam Barmann wasn't one to hide behind his situation last year when the blame was dished out.
As a new quarterback suddenly thrown into the fire because of Bill Whittemore's injury, Barmann had a solid showing against Texas A&M before slipping at home against Nebraska. He threw for 204 yards against the Cornhuskers, but had three interceptions and couldn't get KU in the end zone in a 24-3 loss in Lawrence.
"I definitely shoulder a lot of the blame for that game," Barmann said. "Using youth and experience ... that's no excuse at all."
One year later, the sophomore is ready to show the Huskers a more confident quarterback who has rebounded from any first-year lumps he had. He'll get his chance today when KU takes on Nebraska at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. Kickoff is 6:10 p.m.
It wasn't his first game, and it certainly wasn't his last, but the Weston, Mo., native does admit that he learned as much from that contest as any other his freshman season.
"It made me realize that this is Big 12 football, this is what it's going to be like week in and week out," Barmann said. "It was definitely a reality check."
Barmann played in parts of four games as a freshman, throwing for 564 yards and four touchdowns. In four games this year, Barmann has 927 yards and nine touchdowns. He's second in the Big 12 Conference in both statistics, behind Texas Tech's Sonny Cumbie.
But his performance isn't perfect. KU coach Mark Mangino has noticed Barmann sometimes gets happy feet and steps up in the pocket when it isn't necessary. That can cause poorer throwing angles and more interference from the defensive line.
"He's much better this year than he was last year," Mangino said. "This week, it's been a point of emphasis with him, and he's done really well."
If it can translate to the field, the Huskers could see Barmann at his best.
"He's a good student of the game," Mangino said. "He works at it and he watches a lot of film. I'm not making any excuses for him because we don't need to. For a guy that has seven or eight college games under his belt, he's progressing well."¢
Kriewald out: Nebraska starting fullback Steve Kriewald will not play today after suffering a knee injury in practice Tuesday.
NU coach Bill Callahan told the Lincoln Journal Star that Kriewald probably wouldn't miss more than one game. Sophomore Dane Todd will start in his place.¢
No controversy here: If you're searching for a kicker controversy, KU's not the right place to look.
Despite the field-goal kicking struggles of Johnny Beck and Scott Webb this season, KU coach Mark Mangino is adamant that no changes are going to be made for today's game.
Beck will do kickoff duties. Webb will kick field goals and extra points. End of story.
"We don't have a quick hook in our program. We never have," Mangino said. "It's paid off for our program at many positions on the field with many kids to be patient with them. That's where we're at right now."¢
Not much movement: Despite the two states' proximity to one another, not a lot of talent is crossing the state line to play football.
Though both Kansas and Nebraska naturally have plenty of in-state players, KU has just one player from the state of Nebraska, red-shirt freshman Nick Kurtenbach.
Likewise, Nebraska has just one Sunflower State player on its roster, freshman Lance Brandenburgh, who graduated from Overland Park Aquinas.¢
Ready to hit ya: Junior linebacker Nick Reid is leading the Big 12 in tackles in the early going -- by a pretty safe margin.
The Derby native has 41 tackles on the season, an average of 10.2 per game. The next four on the list, including KU's Tony Stubbs, average somewhere between eight and nine tackles per contest.
"He's just more comfortable with the entire system," Mangino said. "He makes a lot of plays out there."
Included in the hits for Reid are 26 solo tackles, six tackles for a loss and a quarterback sack.¢
Stats, facts: Nebraska enters today's game with the nation's best rushing defense, surrendering just 42 yards per game and no touchdowns this season. ... This will be the Big 12 opener for the Huskers, who are 28-1 the last 29 years in their conference openers. ... Despite spending most of his time on defense this season, KU sophomore Charles Gordon still has caught a pass in each of his 17 career games as a Jayhawk. ... With one more touchdown reception, Brandon Rideau will move into a tie for third place on KU's all-time list with 12. Isaac Byrd hauled in 12 from 1994-96. ... Even with a 2-2 record, KU has outscored opponents 131-67 this season.