Jayhawks get physical
Any worries Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino might have had about how his team would rebound from its 37-34 loss to South Florida last Friday were quickly dispelled during the team's practice Sunday in Lawrence.
Normally a laid-back workout in which the team makes corrections and completes a basic walk-through, last Sunday's practice had a certain edge to it.
"It ended up in a real battle," Mangino said. " ... I mean, guys were knocking the crap out of each other. And that's the way it ought to be. If you don't like losing, you have to do something about it."
The loss marked only the team's second in its past 16 games and dropped the Jayhawks from a No. 13 national ranking to No. 19.
But Sunday's response left Mangino confident that his team would bounce back against Sam Houston State this weekend before beginning conference play Oct. 4 against Iowa State.
"I think they reacted the way I would expect them to react, like a good football team does," Mangino said. "They're angry. They're mad. And that's the kind of reaction you're looking for."
The next Todd?
Luckily for Mangino, he doesn't have to worry about replacing quarterback Todd Reesing anytime soon - the junior from Austin, Texas, and current NCAA leader in completions-per-game will be under center through 2009.
But it's never too soon to begin discussing possible replacements, which is what the coach did Tuesday when asked about true freshman Kale Pick.
"He can run, because he's big and strong, (but) he can throw the ball," Mangino said of Pick, who this week was named the team's offensive scout team player of the week after emulating South Florida's Matt Grothe in practice. "He has great spin on it, great velocity. Very accurate, and he will sit in the pocket. Down on the scout team, they're knocking him around down there, and he'll sit in the pocket and deliver the ball."
Pick, a Dodge City native who initially committed to Arkansas before signing with the Jayhawks, said Tuesday that, barring injury or some other unforeseen development, he'll take a red-shirt this season before fighting for a spot as Reesing's No. 2 next season.
Defensive back Kendrick Harper, who was hospitalized after the team's victory over Louisiana Tech with what appeared to be a head or neck injury, is scheduled to undergo some follow-up tests later this week, but isn't expected to play against Sam Houston State.
"Kendrick will get on the practice field a little bit later in the week and run around, but he's not ready yet," Mangino said. "He's having some follow-up work done. We'll know a little more, I think, (after) the follow-up work is (done) Friday afternoon."
Mangino added that injured receiver Dexton Fields, who has missed the past two games, is "day-to-day."