The 2009 Kansas University football contingent exudes a quiet confidence but so far hasn’t shown any tendencies for hot-doggery. Hope it stays that way. This seems to be the kind of group, from the coaches on down, that is willing to let its performance do most of the talking. Show-offery not required.
Sure, quarterback Todd Reesing sounds quite positive in his evaluation of the Jayhawks and their potential. You’d expect the mainspring of the operation to be a little outgoing. But you don’t get, so far at least, any brash and boorish predictions from the likes of Jake Sharp, receivers Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe and defensive whiz Darrell Stuckey. They know how good they are and plan to show it, not yap about it.
Front man Mark Mangino takes the same low-key approach in addressing the season while minimizing poll ratings. He has established a dependable assembly-line rate of progress, admits his outfit could be pretty good, but stresses there’s still much to get done in the program. What’s important, says Mark, is the record after the Missouri game on Nov. 28. And down the line.
Not that the Jayhawks can’t or won’t get excited and celebratory when they do well. While Mangino continues to deliver those predictable, often dull public evaluations, he’ll be as bombastic as anyone when victories accrue. For all those bland presentations in media appearances, Mark has an explosive temperament that can bubble over with the best of them. He also loves the joy of victory. We’ve seen evidence of his inner fire in sideline fragging of errant players. Remember that infamous hassle with an official after he thought his son had been unfairly battered in a Lawrence High game? Mark can erupt.
Spring training in major-league baseball always finds daydreaming managers declaring they have all it takes to win their division, league and even the World Series. Same kind of optimism for college footballers this time of year. Kansas and Nebraska have legitimate reasons to believe they can win the Big 12 North, Missouri thinks it’s being underrated, and Kansas State is gurgling about good things with the return of Bill Snyder as coach.
Down south, at least four of the six league teams, headed by Texas and Oklahoma, are also thinking really big. They make valid points. What it amounts to is terrific excitement and enthusiasm in all the camps and among the fans.
Backing up to Kansas State, I’ve had two bankers, one with a K-State background, the other a KU follower, who’ve asked about the progress of the audit processes at KSU and KU — dictated by the fact president Jon Wefald and Robert Hemenway are history.
The biggest mystery is whether KSU will be stuck with that outlandish 2015-2020 “deal” of $3.2 million involving departed coach Ron Prince. How did that ever get by the president? Why? And what’s the status of the KU athletic program, which also should be covered in the required mandatory audit?
KSU coach Snyder says he’s perturbed about a report that indicates he might have received loot he didn’t deserve. He denies wrongdoing, says he even took less from the questionable $845,000 pot than he was due.
Any skeletons in KU’s closet? When do we find out?
Those bankers and the rest of us are like the gal in the old Wendy’s commercial asking about the beef: Where’s the audits?