Relax, Jayhawk Nation.
Bob from Salina persevered through the busy signals and worked his way onto Mark Mangino's weekly radio show again Thursday night, so that football game in the west Texas wind should be a breeze on Saturday.
With urgency dripping from every syllable, Salina Bob broke it all down for the Kansas University football coach, free of charge.
"Texas Tech likes to have its backs run a lot of underneath routes," Bob shared with the coach and the statewide radio audience. "Keep an eye out for that."
Mangino was one grateful football coach.
"Thanks, Bob," Mangino said with a devilish grin that belied his serious tone. "I appreciate it. Bob's our north-central Kansas scout."
It is during his weekly radio show at Longhorn Steakhouse, 31st and Iowa, that Mangino comes closest to going public with his true personality. When not talking football with the sole purpose of hiding information, Mangino's funny and friendly and not the boring guy he sounds like through most of his news conferences.
It's not a contentious show. Host David Lawrence of KLWN 1320-AM isn't looking to start any fights. And certainly no secrets are revealed, but the coach's brief interactions with the diners during breaks and after the show, and his occasional quips on the air, make it a worthwhile way to kill time.
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The crowd cheered Mangino's entrance and exit and Lawrence's revelation that KU's kick-coverage team ranks No. 1 in the Big 12. Hey, a fan base starved for a winner will take its titles where it can. Mangino threw some of the credit for that not only to the players and special-teams coordinator Clint Bowen, but also to unit leader Earnest Collins, the cornerbacks coach.
During his happy hour, Mangino also:
¢ Lauded linebacker Nick Reid for regularly attending sporting events on campus to root for the Jayhawks.
¢ Said of my favorite KU receiver: "We haven't seen the best yet of Brian Murph."
¢ Vowed the new football facility "will not obstruct the view of The Hill," and, "we don't even know where we're going to put it yet. We might put it in Lew Perkins' back yard."
¢ When asked to grade the units, said: "Football's a pass/fail course. We have three passing grades so far. (This kindled fond memories of pass/fail courses. They were such great equalizers for those of us in the C's-get-degrees crowd.)
If Mangino can finish this season with more passes than fails, he'll be on his way to bigger and better bowl games.
Mr. and Mrs. Lew Perkins, Mr. and Mrs. Jim Marchiony and Mr. and Mrs. Pat Henderson all were at the Longhorn, supporting the coach in the last Lawrence supper before the start of a brutal Big 12 schedule. John Hadl was not there in body, only in spirit. He was standing where he always does: 100 percent behind Mangino.
"I really believe this, because I see what he does every day," Hadl said earlier in the day, "I really believe he's the best football coach we've ever had here."
The numbers don't come close to saying that yet, but if Salina Bob's insights can spur the Jayhawks to an upset that would bring a national ranking, such talk won't sound so wild.