Archive for Friday, October 19, 2007

Road tests await KU football

Jayhawks must travel for three of next four games

October 19, 2007

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Jayhawks to face Buffaloes, altitude in Boulder

The KU football team heads to Boulder to play Buffaloes at over 5000 feet above sea level. Enlarge video

The pollsters, who have awarded Kansas University's football team a No. 15 national ranking, seem convinced the Jayhawks are for real.

Still, KU's players have heard whispers from more than a few naysayers that their 6-0 record might be a bit misleading, considering all six games have been played in the state of Kansas.

KU is 5-0 at home and 1-0 on the road - down the road in Manhattan against Kansas State - entering Saturday's 4:30 p.m. kickoff at Colorado.

"I wouldn't say tainted," KU sophomore defensive back Darrell Stuckey said of the record. "At the same time I'd say it's not as convincing because they are all home games. The tendency shows that anybody can win at home. Colorado won at home when they (Buffs) beat Oklahoma, although K-State was away when they beat Texas. I think going on the road shows a lot about a team and its mental stability."

Stuckey says the Jayhawks are ready for the most taxing part of the 2007 schedule - three road games outside the state in four weeks starting Saturday in Boulder, Colo.

"It will tell us a lot about our mental strength," Stuckey said. KU will travel to Texas A&M on Oct. 27, play Nebraska at home Nov. 3 then head to Oklahoma State on Nov. 10.

"I believe winning games on the road shows a lot about a team. It shows that a team plays regardless of the weather, regardless of the situation. Going to K-State was challenging. Colorado is very challenging because of its fans. They love their football there. Winning games on the road, period, breaks the trend that KU has had in the past," Stuckey noted.

KU is 5-21 on the road in coach Mark Mangino's six seasons.

"We have to be mentally ready knowing every week we will play somebody at their house," freshman defensive back Chris Harris said. "We know they will bring their A-game. We have to bring ours. This (CU game) is a really big game to move up in the rankings. OU went there and lost. If we go there and win, everybody watching on national television will know we can play."

Quarterback Todd Reesing said the '07 Jayhawks would relish the challenge.

"Obviously playing three of four games on the road is going to be tough," Reesing stated. "It's going to be a grind. It's going to be a lot of traveling, a lot of tough practices and playing in tough environments. Those are always tough games.

"I don't think you can look too much into playing on the road. It's a stadium. The field is the same length, the same width as ours. We've got to focus like it's any other game, play hard. If we do that, hopefully it will go in our direction," Reesing added.

KU hopes to adjust quickly and better last year's 1-4 road mark.

"It will be pretty weird playing in a different climate," Harris said. "I think we can get used to it fast."

So does Mangino.

"I told our kids that if you really want to be a good football team, you have to play well wherever you go," Mangino said. "Whether it's Boulder or College Station or the Wal-Mart parking lot, you have to be ready to play."

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