He rarely shows it publicly, but Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino has a clever sense of humor when he lets it out.
Lately, quarterback Todd Reesing has been his number-one target.
Well aware of Reesing's easy-going personality, Mangino poked fun at his QB during a recent practice when Reesing threw an awful pass.
"Are you OK?" Mangino asked, sarcastically. "Do we need to get the trainer for you?"
Reesing shrugs it off with a smile. Such looseness is crucial for a team going places, and KU's regular-guy quarterback is nothing if not loose.
"You've got to be able to have some fun and lighten up with them a little bit," Mangino said. "I think that's good. It doesn't affect the work. It just shows that we're all human."
Yes, life automatically is a little more fun for a 7-0 football team like No. 12 Kansas, which heads out today to College Station, Texas, for a Saturday showdown at Texas A&M.
One of the perks of being successful, of course, is the luxury to cut up a little bit out there so long as the winning continues. And Kansas definitely is taking advantage at this point.
"We try to have some fun," Mangino said. "It can't all be work out there. Kids will wear down."
That's why stories surface such as this one: During the fourth-quarter of a nonconference snoozer last month, Reesing was standing on the sideline, his night complete, when Mangino in a dead-serious tone demanded that the quarterback go find his helmet.
"What if you had to go in the game right now?" Mangino barked.
"I'd go get it, I guess," Reesing said.
Reesing scrambled to find his lid, only to find Mangino laughing when he got back.
"You can just pull his chain a little bit," Mangino said. "He'll give you that look and go back to the huddle. His personality is what helps him be so successful. He has the makeup where not too much is going to bother him. He likes to have fun, he likes to pull chains."
Such lightness spreads. Senior running back Brandon McAnderson became a fan favorite while on ESPN last week, when in one take he breezed through a voice-over introducing KU's offensive starters, referring to Reesing as the "Fun Slinger," Marcus Henry as "They call him Mute, we call him Mutation" and Anthony "Mama's Gotta Eat" Collins, a character in his own right.
Reesing, interestingly enough, claimed he never had heard of "Fun Slinger" before, but whatever.
Sometimes fun has to be done on the run.
"We work the kids very hard. We've never ever said we didn't," Mangino said. "But you've got to be able to have some fun and lighten up with them a little bit."