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Archive for Sunday, November 15, 2009

From bad to worse

KU’s losing skid hits five; ‘It sucks’

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing walks over to congratulate Nebraska players following the Jayhawks' 31-17 loss to the Huskers Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing walks over to congratulate Nebraska players following the Jayhawks' 31-17 loss to the Huskers Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009 at Memorial Stadium.

November 15, 2009

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They’re running out of adjectives.

As Kansas University football players have attempted to sum up their feelings during one of the roughest stretches in the program’s recent history — a five-game losing streak that has included a fall from the Top 25 and an increasingly murky postseason fate — they’ve cycled through them all: tough; rough; hard; difficult; frustrating; disheartening.

There have been plenty more.

Perhaps aware of this shortage of appropriate verbiage, Dezmon Briscoe opted for a slightly more provocative analysis following the Jayhawks’ 31-17 Senior Day loss to Nebraska on Saturday.

“It sucks,” he said.

It would be hard to argue with the junior wide receiver, especially following what represented the latest chapter in a demoralizing fall from grace for a team that, despite entering the season with visions of a Big 12 North title, now will have to pull a rabbit out of its hat in order merely to qualify for a bowl game.

Since beating Iowa State on Oct. 10 in Lawrence, the Jayhawks haven’t won. They’ve lost in three states, in four stadiums and to teams with various levels of talent, the result being a 5-5 (1-5 in the Big 12) record with two games left to play.

Said senior receiver Kerry Meier, “It’s been one of the more difficult things in my life thus far.”

But Saturday’s game, at least, held a measure of hope. It was Nebraska, after all, and Kansas fans — fickle as they may be, and largely nonplused with the team’s lack of success over the past month — respectfully packed into a sold-out Memorial Stadium as a final farewell to a senior class commonly associated with the team’s rise to respectability in the past few years.

And with the Huskers’ struggling more than expected this season — before beating Oklahoma last week, they’d fallen to Iowa State and snuck past lowly Baylor — there was the sense that the day could be special.

Except it wasn’t.

It proved to be a forgettable day, particularly for the team’s seniors.

Meier fumbled on the Nebraska four-yard line to kill a potential scoring drive. Jake Sharp dropped what would have likely been a 70-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. And Todd Reesing, while playing better than he has in previous weeks, still struggled at times with accuracy, completing just three of his first 11 pass attempts before settling down to finish 19-for-41 for 236 yards and a touchdown.

Even when they got things right, though, they ended up all wrong.

Following a play in which he wrapped up NU receiver Khiry Cooper for a short loss on a Huskers’ third-and-14 attempt, senior defensive back Justin Thornton was flagged for a facemask penalty that gave the Huskers a first down at the KU 20-yard line.

They scored on the next play.

“When it rains, it pours,” Thornton said. “And we’re getting poured on right now.”

Indeed.

It is not a stretch to say that in at least a couple of its recent losses, Kansas has played well enough — with the exception of a turnover here or a coverage breakdown there — to win.

And the same could be said of Saturday’s game.

For the first time in four games, Reesing overcame his recent turnover issues — he’d given the ball away 10 times in the previous four games — and the offense managed to move the ball fairly well against the nation’s No. 2 scoring defense.

When Reesing connected with Briscoe for a 21-yard touchdown pass with 7:34 remaining, it gave Kansas its first lead and seemed to represent a sign that the team’s offense, abysmal as it had been the past month, finally had begun to regroup.

But the Huskers scored on their next two possessions — on touchdowns runs of 20 and 14 yards by NU running back Roy Helu Jr. — as the defense crumpled in the fourth quarter for the second straight week.

“It’s kind of been the story of the last couple games,” tight end Tim Biere said. “We have been so close every single game and just couldn’t get over that hump.”

As the window of opportunity for bowl-eligibility grows smaller by the week — “It went from three chances to two chances now,” Thornton said — players are doing their best to remain optimistic.

One by one, they rattled off the same things they have for the past four weeks — We’re looking ahead, not backward; There are still things to accomplish; Still a lot of football left to play — if not with quite the same level of conviction.

Following Saturday’s game, Reesing was the last player to arrive in the postgame press room. He sauntered in quietly, and given his attire — he wore all black: black suit, black shoes, black dress shirt — and the somber nature of the day’s events, the mood in the room was not unlike that of a funeral.

“Things haven’t turned out this season the way we wanted them to,” Reesing said. “We had high expectations coming in, and we came up short. It’s difficult, especially for us seniors, because we know what kind of talent we have and what we’re capable of. And to not live up to what we expected and hoped for this season has been rough.”

Comments

Steve Miller 5 years, 1 month ago

We’re looking ahead, not backward; There are still things to accomplish; Still a lot of football left to play — if not with quite the same level of conviction

They forgot, lack of focus on the issue at hand. Only Coaching can take care of these issues. Tallent takes care of the rest.

Steve Miller 5 years, 1 month ago

It seems that the coaching skill level was muted by a weak strength of schedule all along..

newmedia 5 years, 1 month ago

Two questions to ponder this week while awaiting the Hawks trek to the Lone Star state.

  1. Has Mark Mangino already coached his last win at Kansas?

  2. Will it be even harder this week to dial for football dollars?

mae 5 years, 1 month ago

Those are some idiot comments. KU has a fine coaching staff for people to ditch after 5games.

Must be a bunch of haters in town still.

greenworld 5 years, 1 month ago

Why is Meier the only one getting thrown to? Outside of Briscoe's one Td catch I dont remember Briscoe getting thrown to but once or twice. If Briscoe is in single coverage we should be throwing to him about 10-15 times per half. Last time I remember Briscoe having a big game was Tx tech game and that was because we threw to him. Yes Meier is sure hands and good but why line up 4-5 receivers if you are not going to utilize all of them.

Now lets get to some obvious (positive) things about yesterday. Whoever gameplanned against Suh pulled a rabbitt out of a hat. Great job Spikes. I do not believe Reesing was sacked all day. I guess they still beat us but at least Suh didnt beat us himself. Now who is Huldon Tharp? This kid was everything and I believe left the game with about 12 or more tackles. Great job Huldon. This kid was a true freshman doing this and if you add 40 or more pounds to this kid he will be something.You were noticed. Stuckey I believe netted another 12 some tackles. C Harris with 10.Next question why are these the only guys making all the tackles and their reletively small guys. IDK but it goes to say if you play with heart and I little bit of pych that you can be a great player. Number 99 and 71 might as well not be on the field as they are big dudes that netted like maybe 1 tackle the whole day. And 90 (Onyegbule) you are at the end spot, you might need to be benched to get your attention that there is a game going on out there. Im calling a few guys out because I have a feeling over the next few games these individuals are going to make a few more plays than what they did yesterday. I think the game itself was not as bad as the other losses but overall it all comes down to what the coach said, giving up big plays on "D" and getting the offense started and keeping them started.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 1 month ago

Remember when they ran the article about how Reesing had a shot at the Heisman this year? Maybe the article ought to be amended to read that "Reesing has a shot to still be the team's starter at the end of the season". I'd say it's 50/50. I'm wondering why our best quarterback is a wide receiver.

Snoop 5 years, 1 month ago

“Sucks” doesn't even begin to describe the joke that is the KU football coaching staff.

DITTO!

Until KU brings in a coach and coaching staff that is capable to taking this team to the next level I won't be fooled again by any future football hype. I say this as a first time season ticket holder. I'll save that money next year.

Nebraska was better prepared (as most teams who face KU are) and Mangino was seriously out coached.

And to Mae...."KU has a fine coaching staff"

what the *&%$ team were you watching this year... "fine staff" REALLY!? SERIOUSLY!?

Amazing!

Sean Livingstone 5 years, 1 month ago

"Seamus (Anonymous) says… I guess these Mangino-haters aren't “team players.”

Seriously though, it's great that Mangino can tear up the Hill for athletic facilities and no one cares, but lose a few games? Why that's just intolerable.

It's just a game, folks.

mae (Anonymous) says… Those are some idiot comments. KU has a fine coaching staff for people to ditch after 5games.

Must be a bunch of haters in town still."

Hey, if our coaching staffs ain't getting 3-5 times more than our own faculties, people won't be that critical. It's no longer game if you're getting $2 millions per year as the head coach... it's reality. It's just games when it's a bunch of low-paying players.... or a bunch of school kids.... for them, it's just game.... and for fun. I never see $2 million per year as playing for fun......

ku_tailg8 5 years, 1 month ago

Mangino needs to find a way to make sure his departing seniors are leaving the years when we don't play Tech, Texas, and OU. We have a 2 year window where we don't play those guys and I would much rather have a loaded team with seniors those 2 years instead of rebuilding and continuing the current trend. That being said this season isn't a real shock. After watching ISU move the ball at will and lost a game they should've won, I knew this conference season wasn't going to be pretty even in a weak north division.

greenworld 5 years, 1 month ago

Look at the whole big 12 north. Is any team really setting the world on fire. No, so lets not come up with excuses for losing. Also has anybody noticed what Mangino is really doing, sometime count the number of freshman that played on defense this year and offense. I remember a couple different times on defense a couple of freshman even starting. Also last time I checked Operum is a freshman. I dont know how good Kale Pick will be but I guess we will find out. If Briscoe doesnt leave as a junior there is still a chance we could be better next year and the time all these freshman become seniors that played this year we could be in good shape. Dont forget we held our own with freshman out on the field and stayed in alot of close ballgames and didnt get blown out. That should say something.

shadowbox66044 5 years, 1 month ago

Wow, I didn't realize how many fair weather fans KU has. What a shame...

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 1 month ago

I am an OU fan that has lived in Lawrence for 30 years (grew up in Oklahoma in the same city your place kicker hails from). Being a long time and long suffering Sooner fan, I can sort of identify with all the discouraged KU fans at the results of this season. The year started out with huge ratings and expectations and when they did not materialize, everyone starts looking for a scapegoat. Pre-season ratings are pure hogwash,(basketball fans beware!!) and nothing counts until the last numbers are on the scoreboard. But the team had some pretty good early games, the talent is there for sure. But one must not lose sight of the fact that other teams have talent and ability also. I recall several games of the past where KU went into Norman, Oklahoma and won. Remember Bud Moore?

Coach Mangino coached OU's national championship team as offensive coordinator under Bob Stoops. Both gentlemen worked with Bill Snyder at KSU. These are not slouchs in their profession. The 1971 OU team (Coached by Chuck Fairbanks) that lost to Nebraska that year (I was there) had little known coaches (at that time) like Barry Switzer, Jimmie Johnson, Galen Hall, Larry Lacewell, Jim Dickey (and my old drivers ed teacher, Don Jimmerson) Coaching is not a done-deal corporate profession, regardless of how much the athletic director soaks the alumni for basketball tickets. You are going to win a few, lose a few. But you show up for all and do the best and hope for victory. I think fans who attack the coaching staff and team after a little less than the expected results fail to recognize the lessons of life presented in these sports, you can't will "em all. But you need to keep trying and hoping.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 1 month ago

This is why it is bad to play creampuffs in the non-conference schedule, as KU routinely does.

On the positive side, playing creampuffs builds wins and gets the players used to winning.

On the negative side, it fails to prepare a team for good competition.

Playing a strong non-conference schedule allows a coaching staff to identify problem areas and work on them.

If you play creampuffs, these problem areas do not present themselves and everything seems hunky dory. Until you play a good team.

This is what KU suffered fro this year. Their weaknesses (especially on offense) were not made clear early, so they did not adjust.

Steve Miller 5 years, 1 month ago

strenght of schedule fellos says it all in the long run.. don't get excited when they win first half of the seaon playing silo tech.. get excted when they win against texas tech......

3up3down 5 years, 1 month ago

Sure, you can bring in and develop a quality coaching staff, but for how long? This is the problem that the majority of the programs across the nation face that are trying to get established at the next level. Example: A defensive coordinator comes in, builds a solid reputation by recruiting and results, he is going to be noticed, offered big money to move on. Now you have to plug the gap created. We didn't when our defensive coordinator went to Miami. Got to pay'm or lose'm.

Graczyk 5 years, 1 month ago

That was a painful game to watch. I'm looking forward to next year though. Hopefully there will be some coaching adjustments in the off-season. I think they are more to blame than the players for this year's performance. It seems to me that they aren't coaching to the talent they have on the field, but are trying to force the players into roles that don't fit them very well. How many times do you have to run Opurum to the outside to figure out he doesn't have the speed (or the blockers) to make the corner? But the dude can flatten some people between the tackles. That was fun to watch - and decently effective.

brett conrad 5 years, 1 month ago

It looked like terry allen was coaching sat." it sucks said briscoe" was he talking about the coaching or the players, there is a chance this team could be better next year,"greenworld said", how could it be any worse. this team is going to finish with 1 win in the big 12 north when it is as bad as it will ever be top to bottom. the offense is so bad we have thought the defense was playing better, but in fact it is pathetic also. defensive backs cannot cover anyone, can't find the ball when it is in the air or are tripping over their own feet. Mangino said his kicker could not pooch kick at texas tech and pooch kicks sat with the lead and the wind. take away 2007 season and his record is not good.The fans stepped up on building facilities its time for mangino and staff to take responsibility for a very poor season. Lose the last 2 games, which would be 7 in a row and it will be time for a major change .

heybluekc 5 years, 1 month ago

Serioulsly??? Who do you want to bring in to coach? Who is going to do it better right now at Kansas? Are people calling for Stoops at OU?? They might finish 6-6. I want answers skipper.

brett conrad 5 years, 1 month ago

we can pay a losing coach alot Less than 2 or 3 million a year. alot of coaches can play 4 cupcakes and go 1-7 in the big 12 . watching this team play is painful, game coaching decisions have been terrible. we have invested to much into the football program to be last in the big 12 with our so called history making team.heybluekc, if you don't think big LEW is not sharpening that ax right now, you are mistaken. if this team loses out, coaches are going to be replaced. something is really out of whack in the program.

heybluekc 5 years, 1 month ago

I think the O coordinator is gone, hence Mangino looked to be calling the plays yesterday. As far as Mangino and his pay, fine lets pay someone the likes of the Baylor and ISU so we can have boring saturdays in Larryville. Memorial stadium was sold out for everygame this year. Thats something that is pretty darn incredible. Even KSU didnt do that and they brought back "their chosen one" I will take Mangino and put my stock in him and see what happens next year. Lots of fresh and soph on this team and lots of impact from them.
Southren Miss on the road and Georgia Tech on the non-con next year are those cupcakes?

brett conrad 5 years, 1 month ago

if mangino couldn't win the big 12 north this year he will never do it. last in the conference this year is poor coaching.

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