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Archive for Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Spring slopfest

Players show rust at scrimmage

Blue team cornerback Kendrick Harper (24) looks to snag a fumble by White team running back Carmon Boyd-Anderson as he is trailed by linebacker James Holt. Harper ran the recovery in for the Blue team's first touchdown. The Blue team defeated the White team, 17-3, on Monday at Memorial Stadium.

Blue team cornerback Kendrick Harper (24) looks to snag a fumble by White team running back Carmon Boyd-Anderson as he is trailed by linebacker James Holt. Harper ran the recovery in for the Blue team's first touchdown. The Blue team defeated the White team, 17-3, on Monday at Memorial Stadium.

April 15, 2008

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Spring game showcases team for eager fans

It's been three months since the Kansas football team knocked off Virginia Tech and was crowned Orange Bowl champions. Tonight at Memorial Stadium, the Jayhawk faithful caught their first glimpse of KU for the 2008 season. Enlarge video

Fans flip from hoops to football

Over the past 24 hours many Jayhawk fans have turned their attention from the hardwood to the gridiron in what has been a seamless transition from one season to another. Enlarge video

Kansas University's spring football game ended fittingly - a bullet pass by Todd Reesing down the middle of the field, right off Dezmon Briscoe's hands and to the turf.

An oopsie. One of many.

Officially, the Blue team beat the White team, 17-3, Monday at Memorial Stadium. But really, both defenses dominated both offenses the entire night. If the offense wasn't forcing itself into sloppiness, the defense pushed the offense into that smelly pit.

"I didn't think it was that pretty," said Reesing, who threw for 227 yards but had two interceptions. "We struggled with a lot of execution things, myself included. We had too many mistakes on the offensive line, too many dropped passes. Running backs didn't protect. I missed some throws. It wasn't the way you want to go out for spring ball."

Reesing, competitive and frustrated, even put his own health on the line to try to make something go right. Twice in the first half, Reesing threw ill-advised passes right into the hands of a defender. The first interceptor, Patrick Resby, was tackled by Reesing as he tried to return it for a score. The second, Drew Dudley, broke a Reesing tackle before being forced out of bounds. Reesing's helmet flew off at contact, causing a little uneasiness among the estimated 10,000 fans in attendance.

"We never went over what to do on interceptions. That's bad coaching on my part," KU coach Mark Mangino said with a smile. "After two of them, we told him, 'Number one, don't throw any interceptions, and let him run for a touchdown if you're the only guy that can tackle him. It's not that important.'"

Countered Reesing: "They didn't score."

Not those times, but one of the two touchdowns on the night was a defensive score. Right before halftime, running back Carmon Boyd-Anderson fumbled the ball near the sideline. It was scooped up by Blue team cornerback Kendrick Harper and returned 23 yards for the touchdown.

In all, the defenses were credited with a combined 20 tackles for a loss, including six sacks. And until Reesing found Dexton Fields for an eight-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, the defense took credit for most of the scoreboard, too.

"The spring has been back and forth," defensive coordinator Clint Bowen said. "We had several other live scrimmages that we didn't win and the offense came out and got after us pretty good."

Still, Mangino found some bright spots in the offense - and maybe an answer to one burning question in the trenches.

While the interior of the offensive line returns from last season's 12-1 team, Kansas is trying to find replacements at each tackle position. Four guys were rotated into the Blue team lineup, and the end of the game featured Jeff Spikes at left tackle, Matt Darton at right tackle and a happy Mangino in how it looked.

"We may have found the right combination," Mangino said, "and that's something we're pleased with."

So something was found Monday, though it deserves to be stressed that the spring game was little more than just the 15th and final practice of the season. The regular season doesn't start until Aug. 30 when Kansas plays Florida International.

Until then, KU's defense will take Monday's victory - while knowing that the offense eventually will come around and fight a better fight in the future.

"It takes a while for the offense to get clicking," said KU cornerback Chris Harris, who had seven tackles and a fumble recovery. "Fifteen practices just isn't enough. When we get in the season : and everybody gets together and gets clicking again, they're going to be ready."

Comments

Jeff Kilgore 6 years ago

Being realistic, this year may be better than last year. OU? Did you see them in their bowl disaster? Texas, they're beatable. So is Missouri. Belief is the first key. I'm happy that the D was ahead of the O. The D might be more suspect, so that's good.

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fu7il3 6 years ago

Being realistic, next year won't be near as successful as this year was anyway.

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oldvet 6 years ago

I remember when the Dallas Cowboys signed world-record sprinter Bob Hayes in 1964... he had never played football but was (at the time) the world's fastest human... needless to say, his pass catching skills had to be developed from scratch... his nickname in preseason was "Oops"

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nobody1793 6 years ago

"An oopsie."Award winning LJW journalism.

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Bubarubu 6 years ago

davidsmom, while the writing about that isn't terribly clear, do you really think college football teams don't practice at all between April and August? This is the last practice of the spring and the team will reopen camp over the summer to get ready for the season.

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Rickyonealku 6 years ago

Spring football is nothing close to how August 2008 will be..meaning lets get ready for another great great year!!!!

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davidsmom 6 years ago

That's it? No more practices before the first game? Sounds like the offense is still way too rusty. Uh, oh!

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