Archive for Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Kansas coaching staff not second-guessing

September 20, 2006

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A fade pass play in the second overtime. A shotgun formation on an obvious running situation in the first overtime. Running back Jon Cornish getting just 20 carries in a game featuring 81 offensive plays for Kansas University's football team.

Truth is, the Jayhawks' 37-31 loss to Toledo on Friday was followed by criticism from all over about KU's play-calling, particularly on offense. Message boards, talk radio, columnists and water-cooler chatter were big on second-guessing, something KU coach Mark Mangino has said is every fan's right.

But the coaching staff? Nobody's saying "What if" among them.

"No second-guessing," Mangino said. "We sit down (after the game) and we decide, 'What are the issues? What are we not executing well? What could we execute better? Each situation we're in, how do we handle it? What are we going to see in the future?' That's how we do it."

Kansas misfired several times with the game in hand, including a pick-six interception in the fourth quarter, a muffed handoff in the first overtime and a costly interception in the second overtime.

In addition, though Cornish did seem to be keyed on at times, pundits wondered whether he got the ball enough at Toledo, especially with a young quarterback who appeared to be banged up in the fourth quarter. Cornish had 89 yards on 20 carries and caught three passes for 26 yards.

Similar questions were brought up last year after KU's offense went through a dreadful mid-season funk against Kansas State and Oklahoma. Mangino said pretty much the same thing Tuesday that he said a year ago, regarding his role in the offensive playcalling.

"I interject things that I want from time to time. That's the head coach's privlege," Mangino said. "But we have an offensive system that's set up, and I dont call the plays nor do I have the time to be involved with that, to call all the plays."

¢ Meier letting on?: Three players in the huddle were asked they could tell Meier was injured during Friday's game.

Only one - receiver Brian Murph - noticed anything wrong with Meier at the time.

"I saw it when he got hit," Murph said. "But being a competitor, you want to be out there on the field. I take my hat off to him on that. I don't fault him for that at all."

Meier suffered an undisclosed injury during the Toledo game which affected his range of motion and held him out of Sunday's practice. Mangino said Tuesday that all indications remain that Meier will play against South Florida on Saturday. He was to be monitored closely at practice on Tuesday.

¢ Laid back?: Mangino drew chuckles when asked about his time as an assistant at Kansas State, working under former coach Bill Snyder. Snyder was well-known for his long hours and high demands on everyone around him, though Mangino tried to fool reporters on Tuesday.

"He was really laid back," Mangino quipped. "We came to work when we wanted, we left when we wanted. We took a two-hour lunch."

Mangino couldn't even finish his joke before the room of reporters broke out in laughter.

¢ Fine honored: Derek Fine was named KU's offensive player of the game for the Toledo contest after catching five passes for 49 yards in the loss.

Strong safety Jerome Kemp was cited for defense, but nobody won the honor on special teams.

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