The loss to Texas Tech wasn't bad at all. The same couldn't be said for the horrendous debacle at Kansas State. Then there was Brian Luke's Oklahoma meltdown. The bully job Colorado pinned on Kansas University's football team in Boulder made it an 0-4 start to the Big 12 season.
If you feel bad about what you were saying about KU coach Mark Mangino then and would like to show support for the coach the players never quit on now that the Jayhawks are going to a bowl game, here's your chance.
The KU Quarterback Club's final meeting takes place today from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Alvamar Country Club. It's open to the public. For $20, you'll be treated to a highlight film at 11:30, lunch at noon. Mangino speaks at 12:30.
To reserve a spot, call Louise Ecord at 864-3991 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Unless your boss is a fan of Missouri, which has lost three in a row to Mangino, blowing off work for 90 minutes shouldn't be a problem.
QB Club president Pat Henderson, former Jayhawks player and assistant coach, will be there, even though he's hobbling around town on crutches after undergoing knee-replacement surgery. (Can you believe someone actually was dumb enough to ask him if the new knee came from a cadaver?)
"People forget now, but there was a time there when this team looked like it was going south quick, and they never quit," Henderson said. "Going back to the summer, when they were in the weight room, I saw the work ethic these players had, and I knew there wasn't going to be any quit in them at any time. It's like Mark always says, 'Just keep sawing wood.'"
The about-face was best captured in Luke's reversal from the beaten man who limped off the field in the middle of the Colorado game to the hot-hand Luke who was on fire after subbing for Jason Swanson when he was injured against Iowa State. The team didn't quit after getting blown out by Colorado. If Gary Barnett could say the same of his players, he'd still have a job, instead of a $3 million parachute.
Mangino has the support of the football brains around KU. John Hadl calls him the best football coach the school has ever had, and Don Fambrough calls himself "a Mangino backer, 100 percent."
"He's smart, he's super-organized, nobody works harder than him, and the players like him," Fambrough said. "And he's a good recruiter. He was taking players three years ago that he wouldn't take now."
I want to believe Coach Fam on the recruiting upgrade, but is it true? KU football beat writer Ryan Wood says it is. (For Wood's explanation, go to KUsports.com and click on The Spodcasters to listen.)
Rivals.com reports that Jake Sharp, the No. 2-ranked player in the state, remains "100 percent sold on being a Jayhawk." That didn't stop new K- State coach Ron Prince from visiting Sharp at Salina Central High on Tuesday.
"Coach Prince told me that he wished that he would have been able to recruit me a little sooner, but I am definitely going to Kansas," Sharp, an all-purpose speedster, told rivals.com. "My official visit last week really sealed the deal."
Chalk up another victory for Mangino. And stop by Alvamar today to give him a hand.