Archive for Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dugan Arnett’s KU football notebook

Saturday morning, the Kansas football team takes on undefeated Texas Tech. Historically speaking, this has been a one-sided series. The Red Raiders and Jayhawks have played 10 times before. Nine times, the Jayhawks have lost.

October 22, 2008

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2008 Oct. 21 press conference

Sharp not frustrated with limited usage

Through two and a half quarters of the Kansas University football team's loss to Oklahoma last Saturday, running back Jake Sharp put together the best performance, arguably, from a Jayhawks running back this year.

The next quarter and a half, he watched mostly from the sideline.

While many in Jayhawk Nation have questioned the limited usage of Sharp late in last week's loss, Sharp himself wasn't voicing any frustration while speaking to reporters Tuesday.

"That's nothing of my concern, to be honest with you," said Sharp, who finished with 103 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. "That's the coaches' discretion, things like that. They know what's best, and that's how I see it."

After a drive in which he carried the ball four times for 58 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown run that pulled the Jayhawks to within 31-24 early in the third quarter of last week's game, Sharp didn't carry the ball again until there was 6:32 remaining in the game and Kansas was trailing by three touchdowns.

Sharp, who went unused for three straight offensive series following his touchdown, carried the ball just three more times in the game, as Kansas coach Mark Mangino opted to use reserve backs Angus Quigley and Jocques Crawford for their pass-blocking abilities.

"We didn't go away from him," Mangino said. "We thought 'Let's call it like we see it. We're having trouble stopping these guys. Trying to run the ball and eat up clock is not to our advantage.'"

Sticking to the basics

Heading into Saturday's 11 a.m. matchup with Texas Tech and it's No. 1-ranked pass offense, there's one thing you can count on: Mangino won't be overhauling his defense in an effort to slow down the Red Raiders aerial attack.

"People that come up with these newfangled defenses and all kinds of different looks and things that they don't normally do, they get in more trouble than people that just try to play the defense they've been playing all year," Mangino said. "You're teaching 11 guys all new, different things. I think it's foolish to do that."

Foolish and, for the most part, futile. Despite seeing a number of different defensive looks this season, the reality is that the Red Raiders have had little trouble piling up yards through the air. Through seven games, they've averaged 418.43 yards a game, including a 490-yard outing in a 58-28 victory over conference foe K-State.

Kansas not sleeping on Tech's run game

While quarterback Graham Harrell and receiver Michael Crabtree have grabbed the majority of the hype surrounding the Red Raiders' high-powered offense, the TTU running attack has fared well on offense as well.

The Red Raiders are averaging 138.6 yards rushing per game and have rushed for a conference-best 5.5 yards per carry with 20 touchdowns on the ground (third in the conference). In a 37-31 victory over Nebraska two weeks ago, meanwhile, they ran the ball nearly as many times (23) as they passed it (25).

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