Just when you thought Kansas University's football season was dead in the water, along comes a kid named Todd Reesing to make you care again.
KU coach Mark Mangino did something unprecedented - certainly in school history and perhaps in college football history - when he wiped out a quarterback's red-shirt year after halftime.
Four years earlier, Mangino had rescinded Adam Barmann's red shirt in early November, but under different circumstances. Mangino had announced early in the week he would use Barmann as a replacement for the injured Bill Whittemore.
Everybody knew Barmann would start against Texas A&M, yet to make such a bold move at halftime with Reesing and to do it without a hint of foreshadowing was a real stunner. I mean, just when I thought I had seen everything :
As far back as my memory goes, the only other freshman quarterback who had his red shirt pulled late in the season was Kelly Donohoe. That was 20 years ago when coach Bob Valesente - remember him? - was so displeased with starter Mike Orth that he switched to the previously unused Donohoe in the ninth game.
And thus Donohoe, now football coach of Blue Springs (Mo.) High in suburban Kansas City, is proof that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
You no doubt heard Reesing, who stands 5-foot-11 in waffle stompers, compared to Doug Flutie, the measuring stick for all undersized quarterbacks. If you're a small QB and you excel, you're automatically compared to the former Boston College and pro standout.
Sure enough, while Donohoe was quarterbacking the Jayhawks in the late '80s, his teammates called him "Little Flutie."
I'm thinking that if you stood Donohoe and Reesing side-by-side, you wouldn't be able to discern an iota of physical difference. That's just a guess, though, because during his four years on Mount Oread, Donohoe rode a height-weight roller coaster.
As a freshman, Donohoe was listed at 6-1, 180. The next year, Donohoe slipped to 6-foot, 175. Then he took a big hit the following season when he shrank to 5-10, 180. By the time he was a senior, however, Donohoe had regained those two inches and seven pounds to be pegged at 6-foot, 187.
Check out these coincidences: Both Donohoe and Reesing share the same jersey No. 5 and each shed his red shirt against Colorado. Donohoe's opener was in Boulder, Colo., where the Buffaloes notched a 17-10 victory. Reesing fueled Saturday's 20-15 come-from-behind win over the Buffs at Memorial Stadium.
In terms of size, Reesing and Donohoe may be virtually identical, but only time will tell if the KU newcomer can match Donohoe's durability. Despite his relatively small stature, Donohoe never missed a game due to an injury, and, believe me, he sustained a ton of punishment while playing with some of the worst teams in KU history.
Mangino, as everyone knows, has presided over a veritable bevy of brittle QBs. During his four-plus years at KU, Mangino's
signal-callers have toppled like ten-pins. No Mangino QB ever has been able to start every game of a season.
Not that Reesing's longevity is a concern. The important thing is the kid stopped the bleeding.