Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino is beginning to realize that he just might be cursed with his quarterbacks and their health.
So the fourth-year coach has resorted to planning around it - precisely the reason both Adam Barmann and Brian Luke played in Saturday's 30-19 KU victory over Florida Atlantic.
"It's based on the entire history of the position since I've been here," Mangino said Sunday. "We feel like we have to be smart enough to realize that three years in a row, we've dealt with multiple players at the quarterback position. We've got to keep that in mind."
Though Barmann wasn't impressive, Mangino said Luke would have played even if Barmann was lights-out. It's apparently a strategy to keep the cobwebs off of both, since either could be the guy with an awkward tackle here or pulled muscle there.
Mangino made no indication of which would start against Appalachian State on Saturday, but he said a two-quarterback system was possible again.
"We do have a long-range and short-range plan," Mangino said. "The short-range plan we're going to try and set into motion this week."
But with freshman Kerry Meier out, who's the third-string QB? Last year, KU needed four because of the rash of injuries that occurred.
"To be honest with you," Mangino said uncomfortably, "an injured Jason Swanson would be the No. 3 guy."
Quarterback is just one position dealing with injuries and ailments early in the season, causing career backups to become starters and players at one position to become players at two.
The other unexpected move Saturday came when junior-college transfer Rodney Allen lined up at defensive tackle. A 6-foot-3, 275-pound defensive end, Allen had two stops Saturday, rotating with Tim Allen and James McClinton in the interior of the line. Rodney Allen and McClinton started, partly because Tim Allen is "slowed down a bit," according to Mangino.
"It was a situation where we kind of game-planned it," Mangino said of Rodney Allen. "He's been outside most of training camp. You could see him outside or inside. We'll use him where we need him, and that's fine with him."
Other news Mangino discussed Sunday:
¢ Theo Baines, who played late Saturday and recorded a tackle, continues to mend from an undisclosed injury suffered at the beginning of two-a-days. He's still behind senior Ronnie Amadi on the depth chart.
¢ Kick-return specialist Greg Heaggans, who missed Saturday's game to tend to a personal issue, will be back practicing with the team today.
¢ After watching film Sunday, Mangino said he was pleased with the play of the offensive line, run game, run defense and special teams. All was not perfect, though, as the 40,930 fans in attendance could see.
"We've got to be smarter assignment-wise," Mangino said. "We had a couple of breakdowns that were not acceptable, but are correctable."