Archive for Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Big plays focus for KU

Mangino: Quarterbacks capable of big passes

October 27, 2004

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There's really no one person to blame, but Kansas University's football team does recognize its need to make bigger plays.

Speaking Tuesday at his weekly media session, KU coach Mark Mangino addressed the need to have a more downfield passing attack, something that largely was unseen in KU's 41-10 loss to Oklahoma on Saturday.

Sophomore quarterback Adam Barmann completed passes of 78 and 33 yards Saturday, the first for KU's lone touchdown.

But of Barmann's and back-up Jason Swanson's other 15 completions, only one -- a 10-yard pass from Barmann to Brandon Rideau -- went for double-figures in yardage.

As the Jayhawks prepare for Saturday's game at Iowa State, they're looking to work out kinks that might open up the passing attack.

"There's a lot of factors involved in that," Mangino said. "We want to. We have called several plays that were headed downfield. For one reason or another, we've had to check them or get into a different protection.

"Our quarterbacks are capable of doing it, but I think there's been some other issues where we haven't done a good job of exploiting different coverages with our receivers."

Not all of the blame should fall on Barmann, who likely will start against the Cyclones.

Often, Barmann is hurried before receivers can get downfield -- either because the pocket collapses or because of his own lack of comfort even when the offensive line is executing.

"We're trying to get better every practice," lineman Matt Thompson said. "We're learning form previous games and getting better at our techniques. There's a lot we can improve on."

Barmann has room to grow, too.





Mangino demonstrated the downfall of Barmann's happy feet to the media Tuesday.

He said Barmann's movement could lead to inaccuracy because his vision bounces from his steps, and defensive linemen are more likely to reach Barmann when he's moving from a safe area to an unsafe zone, which is common when he's moving up in the pocket without reason.

Barmann, who wasn't available to the media, has passed for 1,372 yards and 12 touchdowns, but his numbers have declined since the Big 12 Conference season began.

"He feels like he has to carry the offense," Mangino said. "He doesn't. He only has to play quarterback.

"I think he'll be fine. I'm confident in him."

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Swanson update: Much of Mangino's quarterback talk circled around Barmann, who played a majority of the offensive series against Oklahoma.

Mangino was asked Tuesday if the Jayhawks would use Swanson against Iowa State.

"I really couldn't answer that with all honesty," he said. "We're not sure yet if we will."

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Injury update: Mangino reiterated Tuesday that cornerback Theo Baines likely would be good to go for Saturday's game against Iowa State. The junior injured his right leg against Kansas State, then aggravated the injury and missed most of the Oklahoma game.

Also, Mangino said his running backs were feeling "so-so" following Saturday's contest. Clark Green was announced as "questionable" prior to the game, while John Randle set out several series against OU after suffering an undisclosed injury.

Green filled in when Randle was out, rushing for 11 yards and catching three passes.

"We're not sure how it's going to play out," Mangino said. "Are we totally healthy at the position? Heck no."

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Heaggans back: Kick-return specialist Greg Heaggans returned Saturday for the first time since being arrested for drunk driving last month.

Heaggans returned one kick for 26 yards. He could play more this week, though he's not listed No. 1 on the depth chart.

"There's a chance that he could possibly be doing some of that this week," Mangino said. "He's not listed as a number, and he has not earned the job back. It depends on the health of the other guys returning the ball."

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McMillan, Tucker honored: Mangino announced Tuesday that David McMillan was named KU's defensive player of the week for his two sacks and one forced fumble against the Sooners.

Freshman punter Kyle Tucker was named special-teams player of the week after punting 10 times for a 45.3-yard average.

No offensive player was selected.

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