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Archive for Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Young making immediate impact as Hurricanes coordinator

September 2, 2008

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KU defense shines in season opener

Well, it didn't take the Kansas football team long to pick up right where they left off. On Saturday - in front of a packed Memorial Stadium - the Jayhawks sent Florida International packing to the tune of 40-10. Enlarge video

When former Kansas University defensive coordinator Bill Young opted to leave his post for a spot on the staff at the University of Miami after last season, it was looked upon as a significant loss for the Jayhawks.

And following his first game as defensive coordinator with the Hurricanes, it's clear why.

Young, who in six seasons at Kansas built the Jayhawks into one of the nation's top defensive units, helped UM to a 52-7 season-opening victory last Thursday, during which the Hurricanes held Charleston Southern to just 126 yards of total offense, including a minuscule 49 rushing yards and a 1.6 yards-per-carry average.

"Bill did an outstanding job here," Kansas coach Mark Mangino said during the weekly Big 12 coaches teleconference. "In the early years, we weren't very good in any phase of the game - offense, defense or the kicking game. And he, like the rest of us, just hung in there and kept working with the kids, helping them get better as players through repetition and hard work."

Young played a key role in last season's 12-1, Orange Bowl championship season, as Kansas ranked fourth nationally in scoring defense and 12th in total defense.

At the same time, Young's replacement didn't fare too poorly this weekend, either. In his first game as the Jayhawks' defensive coordinator, Clint Bowen led a defense that forced three turnovers and held the Golden Panthers to 139 yards of total offense.

¢ New play clock doesn't faze Jayhawks: One of the most noteworthy rule changes entering the 2008 college football season didn't seem to affect Kansas in its season-opener Saturday.

Previously, the NCAA featured a 25-second clock that did not begin until officials had marked the ball ready for play. This season, however, the play clock will be set to 40 seconds and will begin immediately after the ball is blown dead on the previous play, a move designed to improve the flow and consistency of games.

Having had one game to evaluate the effects of the new rule, Mangino said he doesn't anticipate any problems with his team's offensive pace this season.

"We had practiced with the new play clock for the entire offseason," Mangino said. "But we didn't have any problems at all with it.

"There's plenty of time," he added. "There was not an occasion on the field where I thought our offense was rushed to get a play off."

¢ Mangino calls offensive line performance 'adequate': Mangino said Monday that despite a 30-point victory margin in his team's season-opener, the restructured offensive line has room for improvement heading into this week's game against visiting Louisiana Tech.

The Jayhawks allowed just one sack in Saturday's victory, but the team's running game struggled to get going and quarterback Todd Reesing was regularly under fire throughout the game.

"I would say they played adequately; good enough to win," said Mangino of the line, which played without starting right tackle Jeremiah Hatch. "But they must improve."

¢ Laptad impresses in opener: Saturday, sophomore defensive end Jake Laptad followed up a strong true freshman campaign in '07 with an equally-impressive opening performance against Florida International.

Laptad recorded three tackles and 1.5 sacks against FIU - he finished last season with three sacks total - and provided a feasible pass-rush option, an area the Jayhawks are hoping to improve upon in '08.

"He had a number of stops," Mangino said. "He played gap-sound football. He got his run fits the way he needed to. He put pressure on the football. He's really developing into a fine player for us."

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