Kansas University quarterback Todd Reesing, who was benched in the fourth quarter of Saturday's 42-21 loss to Texas Tech, will start this weekend in the Jayhawks’ road game against Kansas State, KU coach Mark Mangino said Monday.
“Of course (he will),” the coach said during the Big 12 coaches teleconference.
The announcement ended what had been two days of speculation that began when Mangino benched the senior quarterback midway through the fourth quarter against the Red Raiders and didn’t indicate after the game whether Reesing would be under center this week against the Wildcats.
In the team’s past three games, all Kansas losses, Reesing has endured the roughest stretch of his four-year Kansas career, turning the ball over seven times — five of which have resulted in opponent touchdowns. In that period, his production has steadily decreased. He threw for 401 yards against Colorado, 224 against Oklahoma and just 181 against Texas Tech.
Following the Tech loss, Reesing admitted that he’d been playing through a groin injury sustained during the team’s Oct. 17 loss to the Buffaloes, though he refused to blame the injury for his recent performance. Mangino confirmed the groin injury Sunday, but said Reesing had been cleared to play by the team’s medical staff and had told coaches he was fine.
“I don’t see any problems with him about anything,” Mangino said Monday. “I think the least of his worries ought to be coming out of the game. He is going to focus on getting himself better and getting back into sync.”
Mangino, who acknowledged that Kerry Meier is the team’s third-string quarterback and that Kale Pick is the backup, reiterated Monday that the decision to remove Reesing last Saturday wasn’t any more difficult due to the quarterback’s storied Kansas career.
He also said Reesing wasn’t to blame for the all of the offensive issues.
“I think it was the appropriate thing to do,” he said of removing Reesing. “Number one, he wasn’t getting great protection from the offensive line, and I didn’t want him taking any more shots. Number two, things just weren’t in sync for our whole offense. Not just him, but the whole offense. ... We’re not running the ball well, we’re not protecting well, and we’re dropping balls all over the place. We’ve had drops that are uncharacteristic for us, and they’ve been at crucial times, and they’ve hurt us. And that has nothing to do with Todd.”
Meeting with Snyder ‘just another game’ for Mangino: Saturday’s game against the Wildcats will mark the first time in four years that Mangino will coach against former mentor and current Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, but given the number of former colleagues the Kansas coach regularly runs into during the Big 12 season, the novelty of the situation appears to be wearing off.
“I’ve been in this league a long time, so I’ve got friends coaching everywhere,” Mangino said. “Every time you turn around there’s a team we’re playing I got a friend coaching or something to do with. I’ve been in the conference since ’91, when it was the old Big Eight Conference, so every week there’s going to be some kind of sidebar story for me.”
Snyder still not sure what to make of ’09 Wildcats: Although his team is perched, for the moment, atop of the Big 12 North standings, Snyder admitted Monday that he’s still not sure what to make of his team — or its chances of a berth in December’s Big 12 championship game.
“I’m not sure where we are in any reality,” said Snyder, whose team is 4-0 at home this season. “We’re very, very fortunate to have a better record than some others, but it gets tougher as we go, so (a conference championship-game berth) is not in our line of thinking right now. But stranger things have happened.”
Snyder, who returned to the sideline this season after Kansas State suffered through a difficult three-year stretch under then-coach Ron Prince, also spoke of the importance of winning games against teams from the Big 12’s North Division, which includes Saturday’s matchup with the Jayhawks.
“If you win all of those, you’re probably pretty much assured that you’ve got a chance that you’ll play in the championship game,” Snyder said. “We’ve won the ones in the North, but we’ve got the two losses in the South, and the way it’s divided up right now, I’m not sure who all has got how many losses and what the projection might be.”