Seeing the finished product of an unsteady week at practice forced Mark Mangino to get proactive.
Kansas University's football coach told reporters Sunday that players who miss the week of practice due to injury won't play in the upcoming game anymore. It's a move intended to create stability on the practice field, which Mangino hopes carries over to games at the end of the week.
"Even though it might be a number two on the depth chart," Mangino said, "we're probably better in the long run going with that person."
KU's 21-18 loss to Texas A&M; on Saturday came about in part because of an offense that never clicked, save Jon Cornish's 128 rushing yards. Mangino said afterward that "four or five" offensive contributors were held out of practice during the week, and he felt strongly that it showed against the Aggies.
All but one of the dinged-up players - wide receiver Marcus Herford - played on Saturday.
"We had a bunch of guys that missed a bunch of practice on offense," Mangino said. "We just couldn't get continutity on the practice field, and consequently we couldnt get continiutiy on the game field."
As it turns out, the new policy KU's coaches are going with may have kept Cornish off the field for the Texas A&M; game, had it been in place a week ago. Cornish revealed afterward that he didn't practice until Thursday because of an undisclosed injury. He ended up being a major source of offense for the otherwise punchless Jayhawks on Saturday.
"Despite the fact that Jon had a rough week, he stayed focused enough and played well," Mangino said. "We just can't afford to not have continuity. We've got to have the people in the huddle and in practice that are going to participate (in the game)."
That includes the always-important quarterback position. Senior Adam Barmann, who started and played the entire game Saturday, didn't get normal work in during the week because of the uncertainty of regular starter Kerry Meier. It wasn't determined until Thursday that Meier would be unable to play, and that may have slowed down Barmann's preparation.
Meier practiced extensively on Sunday. The Jayhawks have today off, and Mangino said Meier would be evaluated before Tuesday's practice and a decision would be made at that point as to whether he'd play against Oklahoma State.
"We'll see how he recovers Tuesday before we get on the practice field," Mangino said. "If he's feeling good, we will go with him."
Meier has missed the last three games with a shoulder injury suffered in the fourth quarter against Toledo. Further frustrating the situation is the day-to-day uncertainty of how Meier's feeling. Last week, he and Barmann split repititions between them, which Mangino thinks ultimately hurt both.
"The number one quarterback," Mangino said, "has to get 75 percent of the repititions."
Even with the new philosophy in place, Mangino doesn't think it will be exercised this week, despite how dinged up the team was before the Texas A&M; game.
"We are a little nicked up," Mangino said, "but according to our trainer, everybody should be a full go for Tuesday."