Archive for Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Recruiting woes: Mangino’s play-calling against MU not the issue

Missouri tailback Derrick Washington breaks past the Kansas defense late in the fourth quarter, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009 at Arrowhead Stadium.

Missouri tailback Derrick Washington breaks past the Kansas defense late in the fourth quarter, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009 at Arrowhead Stadium.

December 1, 2009


I have to admit I often become incensed at television sports commentators.

Take last Saturday’s Kansas-Missouri football contest, for example. The TV throats blistered KU coach Mark Mangino for his failure to use running plays to eat the clock late.

Then they threw it back to the studio blabbers in New York, and those know-it-alls took another shot at Mangino, hinting the clock fiasco was just another reason to fire him along with the seven losses in a row and the internal kangaroo court investigating his treatment of players.

I was mad because I would have thrown the ball, too.

I couldn’t blame offensive coordinator Ed Warinner for putting the pig in the air for two reasons — 1) Missouri had the worst pass defense in the Big 12, and 2) Kansas ranked No. 104 nationally (out of 120 teams) in rushing offense.

As any coach would do, Warinner went with his strengths — quarterback Todd Reesing, who led the Big 12 in total offense, throwing to Dezmon Briscoe, who ranked second — behind Missouri’s Danario Alexander — in pass reception yardage.

If Reesing had connected with Briscoe — the pass was overthrown — Warinner would have been labeled a genius. Kansas wouldn’t have had its back to the end zone and would have felt safer in utilizing its puny rushing attack. Instead, Warinner was a bum.

Another factor to consider was the Jayhawks’ horrid defense.

Even if Kansas had been able to run time off the clock, Missouri almost certainly would have regained possession and, regardless of the time remaining, the Tigers were odds-on to make something happen quickly because KU’s defense couldn’t stop the Toy Bowl champs.

Newsweek has a little feature in which the magazine asks readers to sum up an event or an incident in six words. I can do that for the Jayhawks’ strange five-straight-wins, seven-straight-losses football season.

Could pass, couldn’t do anything else.

In retrospect, the season went down the chute during Februarys past.

On signing days, Mangino failed to land any prospects who could make plays on defense.

Mangino had offensive playmakers, but he had no one on defense who could make anything happen.

During the eight Big 12 games, KU defenders intercepted only three passes and recovered just seven fumbles. Only Baylor, the Big 12 South’s 1-7 team, had fewer take-aways during conference games than Kansas.

I’ll never forget what Mangino said after the Jayhawks outlasted an offensively challenged Iowa State team, 41-36, in early October for what turned out to be their last victory.

“I knew in April they were going to get exposed,” Mangino said of his defenders.

In other words, Mangino was admitting he had made too many mistakes when it came to recruiting defensive players.

Isn’t that what it always comes down to? Isn’t that why all coaches are fired?

They can say all they want about Mangino’s temper and his treatment of players, but the bottom line is he didn’t win because he didn’t recruit enough Big 12-caliber players.


Rickyonealku 8 years, 4 months ago

Both Kansas and Missouri combined created over 1,000 yards on offence. Heck that means run or pass except on that last KU drive which resulted in a 2 point safety for Missouri. For next year???? first Mark Mangion is and should be the coach. Try starting NEW like Iowa State has done twice over the past 4 years and K-State with Coach Snyder back, thank goodness. Nebraska, Missouri are going to be picked 1 and 2 for next year. Now Kansas???? fire Coach Mangino and Kansas will be listed last again for 2010.

leedavid 8 years, 4 months ago

Over the Mangino years our defense has been suspect. We had a great one a couple of years ago, but this year we were awful. Chuck must have forgotten that following the Iowa game, Coach Mangino said our defense was too complicated for our players to understand.

However that was not our defense on the field in the final moments of the Missouri game. And our defense did not fumble the ball, or drop passes, or throw interceptions. The defense did not have an illegal blocking problem, hitting in the back, every game. Our defense was poor, but face it, we were poor across the board from coaching, to offense, defense and special teams. I did think the men and women running water on to the field were quicker and had more hustle than most of the players. Maybe they were the players Chuck thinks we should have recruited.

Larry 8 years, 4 months ago

The offense scored 150 points over the last seven games. (a bit more than a 3 touchdown average).... That should be enough to win at least two games for bowl eligibility.

The defense allowed 251 points in that same span. No doubt 1/3 of those points, many a bit more, could be attributed to offensive turnovers but the defense still gave up way to many points along with terrible timing in regards to costly penalties. No the defense didn't drop passes, throw interceptions or fumble the simply missed tackles, failed to get enough interceptions/caused fumbles, pressure the quarterback (remember Colorado's quarterback), etc. etc. etc. The offense struggled at times but the defense almost always struggled. Over 30 pts per game bad.

wolfy 8 years, 4 months ago

Nonsense. Line up and run the ball down hill. There was no other reasonable way to play the last possession.

jonas_opines 8 years, 4 months ago

"Line up and run the ball down hill. There was no other reasonable way to play the last possession."

Unless, of course, that didn't work.

Write2Know 8 years, 4 months ago

I'd put more blame on the DC. Seems like he has gotten a free pass this year since he is a KU guy.

MrShades 8 years, 4 months ago

I thought this was going to be an intelligent article on what troubles lie ahead in the recruiting of quality football players; then I saw it was written by Chuck, oh well. Maybe Dugan Arnett was busy yesterday.

newmedia 8 years, 4 months ago

Take a chill pill Chuck. It is what it is. That's why I usually turn off the sound on the TV and listen to Bob on the radio. If those guys were any smarter than the rest of us they would be coaching instead of flapping their pie holes for money. Nice gig !!

BigAl 8 years, 4 months ago

LarryNative, you have a point. However, one good season out of eight does not deserve top notch money or job security. In Mangino's eight years, he has had one winning season in the Big12. Just one. Currently he is on a seven game losing streak. He has NEVER won the North let alone a Conference.

A lot of the improvements in and around Memorial Stadium are mostly due to the money being raised and spent by Lew Perkins. Like him or not.

Mangino is still a bully. His treatment of the parking attendant and his actions at the LHS football game should tell you all you need to know.

It is time for Mangino to go.

yankeevet 8 years, 4 months ago

Could of; would of; should of;....................its over; and KU lost............get ready for next year; hoorah;;; go KU

Steve Miller 8 years, 4 months ago

So dudes, quit flapping you pie holes, is he in or is he out for next year ???

Bobo Fleming 8 years, 4 months ago

I have a great idea. Yeah sure thats run a draw play that starts inside our goal line. Great idea. MU will fall for that because they know only an idiot would run that play so the surpirse will be great. Yeah.

Bobo Fleming 8 years, 4 months ago

rats- MU sacked our QB. They figured out that only an idiot would run the play and that the guy called the play was an idiot.

Joe Hyde 8 years, 4 months ago

If memory serves, KU's last possession was at the 1-yard line, maybe even the 1/2-yard line. Since KU's offense operates in the spread formation, whichever back took Reesing's handoff would have needed to run five or six yards through end zone turf just to reach the line of scrimmage. Too great a chance for a Missouri lineman or linebacker to shoot through and stop him in the end zone for a safety.

So it was puzzling to me as well, that the TV announcer was criticizing coach Mangino and his staff for calling passing plays in that final possession. We've got a great passer and four great receivers; pass plays were the best and safest way to move the ball away from our goal line. It just didn't work out that time.

What mystified me more than anything about that game was how often the players were slipping. On TV the turf looked solid enough, but on passes thrown to the sideline or the flats the receivers and the defenders would lose their footing. Had the field been over-watered?

Richard Heckler 8 years, 4 months ago

If Mangino has been so bad over the last few years it seems the AD dropped the ball long ago. Then increasing his pay to $3 million supporting the coaching style and/or just to advertise that KU has money to burn in order to attract coaches..... who we don't know if they can win in a KU program.

Next these contracts come loaded with golden parachutes that which cost a few million to buy out a coach who is having a real bad year. Why not have 12 month contracts and look at the coach performance annually?

Is this why the AD blew off Lawrence home games to KCMO? To raise money for reckless spending? Plus screwing Lawrence taxpayers out of tons of tax revenues that Lawrence never had to lose?

I'm saying the AD has made some real bad decisions as well.

Linda Aikins 8 years, 4 months ago

I believe the issue was that the special teams receiver (whoever was in at the time at the end) didn't catch the ball on the near 20 but let it bounce to the 3? If he had just caught it, we would have had some breathing room.

DB Ashton 8 years, 4 months ago


As the Mangino Turns, for what it's worth, the radio folks reported that the turf takes a beating as the season rolls on and is re-sodded only between the hash marks.

I believe the officials were over-watered; there were something like 20 penalties for something like 200 yards, pretty equally shared. I couldn't say what the impact might have been on the outcome...

Tricky Gnosis 8 years, 4 months ago

I think anyone paying attention knew this season was over when they gave up 395 yards to DUKE. I don't care how improved Duke is over last season, if you give up what could have been 5 touchdowns worth of yardage to one of the historically awful teams in football, your defense has NO chance against high level teams like Texas or OU.

randysavage 8 years, 4 months ago

What about the special teams coach? There is this thing called the "fair catch", and if the special teams coaches would have told the punt return man to fair catch the punt at the 5 or 8 yard line (or wherever the ball landed) then we would have had at least a smidgen of breathing room on that last drive. And considering their punter pinned us deep at least three times during the game this should have been done.

The two Briscoe fumbles, a soft defensive scheme, no pressure on Gabbert from the front four and suspect play on the corner, no running game....tough game all around, not just that last drive....

It can only get better (I guess). Keep Mangino, rebuild the linebacking corps, develop the D-line and CB's. Looking forward to the Kale Pick/Toben era.

Bill Lee 8 years, 4 months ago

Perkins and Mangino have raised the money needed to hire a coach who can recruit and win consistantly. With the pay and facilities that KU can now offer, why not go after someone who's winning at a smaller school, but is ready to step up to the Big 12? It's time.

ModerateOne 8 years, 4 months ago

Punt returner Daymond Patterson let balls bounce 10 yards in front of him all year. It seemed like the only time he actually caught the ball was when it was going to get its first bounce inside the 10. This was the difference on Saturday.

It doesn't take a great coach to teach a 20 year old kid a simple rule: when the ball is going to bounce inside the 10 let it bounce, when the ball is going to bounce outside the 10 CATCH IT!

mtnfreak 8 years, 4 months ago

I don't have a problem with a pass play; I have a problem with a 30-yard bomb. And no one is mentioning the special teams player that let the ball go over his head and roll to the one-yard line. There should have been a coach telling him to fair catch that ball and not risk getting pinned deep. A fair catch at the 10 is better than the ball rolling to the goal line.

And what's up with Mangino wearing a black coat at the game? He should be fired for not having any school pride - by now he knows if there is one game you wear red and blue to it is the Mizzery game. Definitely don't wear black against Missouri.

jimmyjms 8 years, 4 months ago

wolfy, that's just stupidity, and that call lost the game.

dinglesmith 8 years, 4 months ago

This is basic football. KU didn't need yardage and they didn't need more points. They needed the clock to run down. The one way to ensure that is to run the ball and don't go out of bounds. If they really had no choice but to pass, then a fly pattern down the sideline is not what to run.

I also agree the punt should have caught rather than allowed to roll to the 1. But, our special teams pretty much sucked all day. Every Mizzou punt ended up inside the 10. Did anyone else notice that Mizzou ended up somewhere between the 35 and 45 yard line on every kickoff?

hbjayhawk 8 years, 4 months ago


Your points are well noted. You are largely correct and your observations are timely.

I do take exception that you write this piece at this time. After all, you are the one who wrote in 2001 when KU Basketball lost to Illinois in the 2nd Round of the NCAA's, "at least we take solace that Coach Williams doesn't run a rogue program like Coach Self, recruiting thugs who go straight to the NBA."

Do you still feel that way, Chipper? You hypocrite!

Joseph Kuebel 8 years, 4 months ago

Wow. Whack Woodling...More like roast him!

Excellent roasts by the past two KU fans- giving examples to back your bashing!

This is what I like to see! A+ guys...(HBJAY and BABBOY)

That is how it is done fellas.

Joseph Kuebel 8 years, 4 months ago

I actually don't mind woodling, he comes off strong sometimes but thats what a writer needs to do...

I will always respect an quote that uses some sort of fact though, as I do every time in all of my posts...for some reason I'm viewed as the "california jerk" for having an opinion based on actual facts.

Don Whiteley 8 years, 4 months ago

Even gaining a couple yards and having Ressing take a knee would have ended up with Kansas in a better position than running 10 seconds off the clock and then blundering a Quarterback Draw. First, running 3 downs, even if you didn't gain a yard, would haver forced Missouri to use their last timeout and ran at least a full minute off the clock. That would have placed far more pressure on the Missouri offense when they returned. The draw is the most dangerous play in football to run if you're in your own end zone. Sure, you can call Mangino a risk taker; I call him the bozo who blew the game.

garyr 8 years, 4 months ago

Mr_Pink. I don't know where you get your info. According to my inside info, Kelly is taking the job with the Golden Domers, Mangino is going to be the Bearcats new coach and Turner Gil is going to be KU's new head coach. That's just what I've heard from some reliable sources.

justsmile2day 8 years, 4 months ago

Hey yankeevet he is probably at your house, haha.

cg1029 8 years, 4 months ago

I want Mangino fired ASAP and it is not just one series of plays. That series was the crowning achievment of blunders from a season where FATBOY refused to even attempt to run the ball, and where FATBOY refused to use his best RB in Oporum instead opting for Sharp who is a Div II back at best if he is healthy which he was not all season long.

Anyone who defends the play calling on the last series of the MU game is an idiot who knows nothing about football and thus their opinions about weather Mangino should be coaching are irrelevant. YOU RUN THE BALL KILL THE CLOCK AND FORCE MU TO MOVE THE BALL 60+ YARDS IN 30 seconds WITH NO TIME OUTS.

yankeevet 8 years, 4 months ago


Gosh I hope he is not here; I don't have enough groceries for both of us.......

ravenjayhawk 8 years, 4 months ago

How can a defensive back not ever look for the ball. Not once this year did I see even one of KU's dbacks ever look for the ball. I would have thrown mid to deep fly route passes 10-12 times a game against us.. They would be completed or our dback, not having a clue where the ball was, would get whistled for pass interference. It would take some dbacks with speed. We either have zero speed, or lack of coaching technique. No other program's d-backs play receivers like we do. Would really like some real progress in the secondary. I do realize we have to also have a decent pass rush.

hbjayhawk 8 years, 4 months ago

Mangino isn't going anywhere. They will give him next year to shape up--literally.

Armen Kurdian 8 years, 4 months ago

Yes, hindsight is 20/20, and if we'd made a 1st down on a pass play, we wouldn't be having this conversation. But you run Reesing on a sneak on 1st down, then depending on how that goes, either another sneak or two handoffs to a fullback. We could have run the clock down to about 1:20. Still no guarantee, but I disagree w/Chuck on this one.

justsmile2day 8 years, 4 months ago

I'm just curious why our diehard KU fan base isn't complaining about playing these home games AT HOME!! Twice in my mind it has jumped up and bit us in the a**. When your playing on your home field your at an advantage for the most part. But when your playing at a neutral site and the crowd is 50-50 how is this considered a home game other than the fact it's all about the money. When I buy season tickets I want the ALL THE GAMES to be played in LAWRENCE not Arrowhead, heck that isn't even in KANSAS.. Not too mention you have to pay out more for parking, gas,extra tickets that didn't come with your season package that you paid for and etc.. As a player I know that I loved looking up into the crowd and loved seeing more fans rooting for our team than rooting for them. Never, Ever should a home game have a 50-50 fan base crowd, this is ridiculous flat out ridiculous. Again, this is the old, old days Lew, We Love Memorial Stadium so lets keep all of our HOME GAMES THERE PERIOD.. Come on people if everyone would complain about this as much as they do about a game that is OVER AND DONE with heck I bet we could make an impact.. And cg1029 why do you have to resort to name calling, would you want someone to be calling and making fun of your children? Just sayin..

Kevin Randell 8 years, 4 months ago

You know.... I for one am not afraid to take a leap of faith and find a coach that wants to take KU to the level we could be. Ya... KU in the past was a joke and has always been considered a "Basketball" school. I want to see us become a school that is more than a one sport wonder. There are a lot of coaches out there that would love to come in with our facilities and build the program to a level it has never been. But....ooooo we are just so scared to take a chance.

Bottom line a change needs to be made. If you all are happy with a football program that goes on a 4 - 7 game skid then lets keep Mangino. But know this..... I know for a fact that if Self would have lost one more time in the first round you all would have been calling for his why are we fighting to keep a guy who has ONE just ONE +.500 average against Big XII teams?

Oh, one more it true that Mangino will not practice on those expensive practice fields the university built for fear of being spied on?

heybluekc 8 years, 4 months ago

Chuck Woodling knows it all. He said in October Zach Grienke dint deserve the Cy Young award and he would not vote for him given the chance. Knowledge Chuck right great insight. Defense improved throughout the season, we were small with no depth. Mostly freshmen and sophmores in two years that is a big defense with depth. Write about something else maybe the upcoming Curling competition at the olympics.

sitdownnorm 8 years, 4 months ago

Mangino was able to recruit players to form a team that went 12-1 and won an Orange Bowl. This year's team had a reasonable chance to win at least 10 of their games but just seemed to be snake-bit with proven players making too many turnovers along with others making too many untimely penalties. Not sure how much blame goes to the coach but my take was the players were in a position to win the games if they executed.

As far as Mangino's record that so many believe warrant his firing - I assume they realize that in the previous 20 seasons before Mangino (1982-2001), KU had an 89-132-5 overall record, a winning percentage of 40.3% and a 45-99-3 league record, a winning percentage of 31.3%.

In Mangino's last 5 years, KU had a 38-24 overall record, a winning percentage of 61.3% and a 15-17 league record, a winning percentage of 45.0%. So under Mangino over the last 5 years, KU's winning percentage in both its overall record and league record has improved by roughly 50% from that over the 20-year period prior to his arrival.

I'm sure most would agree to give Mangino a pass on his first three years which were used to build the program to where it has been over the last 5 years by redshirting freshmen and focusing on high school prospects.

The Jayhawks have been competitive in almost every one of their games over the last 5 years and the fan support has grown to levels I have never seen before (I attended my first KU football game in 1981).There may be other reasons Perkins wants to fire Mangino but I just can't believe his coaching record or his teams progress is one of them.

slowplay 8 years, 4 months ago


Your comments are valid to a point. Yes, Mangino did a credible job early on and he deserves that credit, but, he has been unable to take that next step (with 5 years to do so). And, whether justified or not, this latest fiasco, will prevent that from ever happening. Mangino is not a victim here. He cashed in on his 15 minutes of fame and failed to follow through. Now let's bring in someone new that the program can rally around and see if KU can make BCS appearances a regular tradition rather than a 1 year aberration.

heybluekc 8 years, 4 months ago


He has one victory against a big twelve team that finished with a winning record in conference at seasons end. Oklahoma state 07....Now thats success???? really are you and the writer of this story in the same fantasy world?

riverdrifter 8 years, 4 months ago

What heybluekc just said. BTW, the punt returner was doing exactly what his coaches told him to do: do not field the ball. Logic being that fielding & fumbling it away would have been fatal. True, that. Misery also got real lucky with the roll of the ball. Jeeze, why not a big, fat reverse bounce to the 10 yd line? Crap. But Mangino & staff did screw it up by not putting in a couple of fresh offensive linemen & running the ball straight up the middle 3 straight times. There are a lot of good young coaches who would jump at the chance to coach here. Let's find the best one. I don't care where he's from long as it's from deep in the heart of you-know-where...

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 8 years, 4 months ago

And how is Perkins' strategy of creating utter chaos during an important recruiting period going to help KU? How about recruiting a new AD.

jayhawklawrence 8 years, 4 months ago

I agree with the point about recruiting, but they should have run the ball.

People get too hung up on stats and forget about what their eyes are telling them.

They should have asked the audience before they called those plays...and sometimes it is a good idea to change the tempo of the game. You don't have to stop and call in every darn play.

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