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Archive for Friday, March 10, 2006

Mangino faces hectic spring

March 10, 2006

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Mark Mangino's agenda is a mile long, and he only has a month to work through the list.

Kansas University's football team starts spring practice Saturday, perhaps stronger than ever after going through what Mangino calls "by far our best winter."

Still, the KU coach had plenty of points to emphasize within the next month before the April 14 spring game.

Among them:

l Figuring out a quarterback. Mangino made no hints, but freshman Kerry Meier could be considered a favorite in the three-man race. Senior Adam Barmann and freshman Todd Reesing also are being considered.

"This will not be a long, protracted process," said Mangino, adding a full depth chart could be figured out in the next month.

Mangino said Barmann had his best winter yet, and he and Meier will split a majority of the repetitions. Reesing, a true freshman who just moved to Lawrence at semester, will get the remaining reps.

"He'll get the least amount," Mangino said, "because he has the most to learn."

l Toughening up an offensive line that already has proven its athleticsm. The line finished strong after a midseason funk in '05, and only one starter, Matt Thompson, was lost to graduation.

l Polish up special teams and look for young players willing to step up. In particular, Mangino wants better output from the kickoff-coverage team.

l Maintain the identity of the defense, despite losing several senior standouts.

"We've got to continue that mentality we have of swarming to the ball," Mangino said. "Good D's tackle well, and that will be important to us."

KU will have single practices Saturday and Sunday before periodic workouts in the next month. The spring game on April 14 will kick off at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.

No Randle: Speculation continues to swirl - and probably will for some time - about former running back John Randle's status with the team.

Randle was dismissed a year ago following multiple brushes with the law, but has stayed enrolled at KU rather than transferring.

Mangino said "no" in an interview last week when asked if Randle would be involved in spring drills. He added that no pre-arranged deal for Randle ever was made, though he did leave the door cracked by saying once again "I will never say never" regarding a possible Randle reinstatement.

Three out: Mangino said linebacker Eric Washington and lineman Todd Haselhorst would not participate fully in spring drills, calling them "noncontact" participants due to injuries.

In addition, reserve running back Gary Green will miss at least the first portion of the spring after having surgery during the offseason.

Brorsen moves: KU sophomore Russell Brorsen has moved back to defensive end after playing tight end last season as a true freshman.

"He did his teammates a favor by playing tight end," Mangino said.

Brorsen backed up Derek Fine at a thin position in 2005. Fine returns, and KU recruited two tight ends - Bradley Dedeaux and Marc Jones - allowing Brorsen to return to the position to which he's more accustomed.

Opened up: KU will open its practice Sunday to the public. It will take place at 2:30 p.m. on the practice fields adjacent to Hoglund Ballpark.

Key Dates

Sunday: Open practice, 2:30 p.m., practice fields by Hoglund Ballpark

April 1: Open practice, 2 p.m., Hummer Park, Topeka

April 14: Spring Game, 7 p.m., Memorial Stadium

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