Every season, the most popular question asked by the media during the week leading up to Senior Day is the same: What’s your best memory at Kansas?
For the handful of KU seniors asked that question this week, those memories included everything from team accomplishments to individual moments.
For running back Angus Quigley, the 2008 victory against Missouri in the snow at Arrowhead Stadium, in Kansas City, Mo., was the first vision that came to mind.
“That was the greatest,” Quigley said. “I played in the game, and it was of one of those moments that I always wished for playing football. It’s snowing, it comes down to the last second and (KU quarterback Todd Reesing) threw a touchdown and we ended up winning the game.”
Defensive end Jake Laptad also mentioned that Missouri victory — a 40-37 triumph over the 12th-ranked Tigers — when recalling his most memorable moment.
“I think my two big safeties against Colorado and Missouri, both my sophomore year,” Laptad said. “Those were some big plays and I’ll always remember those two.”
For wide receiver Johnathan Wilson, it wasn’t so much a single memory that came to mind, as a series of memories occurred during his freshman season (2007), when the Jayhawks went 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl.
“Just the atmosphere of running out of those gates and seeing the crowd and the support we got,” Wilson said. “That’s mostly what I’ll remember about playing at Memorial Stadium.”
With just one game remaining at their home field — 11 a.m. Saturday vs. Oklahoma State — Wilson and the Jayhawks are hoping to go out on a high note. Junior wideout Daymond Patterson said the rest of the team was focused on sending the veterans out in style.
“The seniors have been a really big part of our program,” Patterson said. “I really respect all of our seniors. This is a big week for the team, but more importantly for the seniors. So I think we need to finish out strong for the seniors more than anything. Because they deserve it.”
More on Senior Day
The Jayhawks are 8-6 in Senior Day games in the Big 12 era. That includes just one meeting with Oklahoma State, which came in 2002, when OSU beat Kansas, 55-20, in the final game of the season.
Kansas leads the all-time series with OSU, 29-28-3. OSU leads 16-15-1 in games played in Lawrence.
KU’s most Senior Day success in the last 15 years has come against Iowa State, as the Jayhawks are 5-1 against ISU on Senior Day since 1996.
During that same stretch, the Jayhawks are winless in four Senior Day tries against Texas, 1-1 against Sunflower State rival Kansas State and 0-1 against Nebraska.
Jayhawks recognized for academics
Seniors Jacob Branstetter, Drew Dudley and Justin Springer earned first-team academic all-Big 12 honors for the third time in their careers, highlighting a total of 17 KU football players who were named to the league’s academic teams Thursday.
Jayhawks who earned first-team recognition included: tight end Tim Biere, offensive lineman Trevor Marrongelli, safety Olaitan Oguntodu, offensive lineman Brad Thorson, safety Brian Blackwell, fullback/defensive end Steven Foster, cornerback Tyler Patmon, wide receiver Reece Petty, fullback Justin Puthoff, offensive lineman Alex Smith and offensive lineman Riley Spencer.
Wide receiver Daymond Patterson, defensive end Jake Laptad and defensive end Toben Opurum were named to the second team.
Gill part of upward trend
The Black Coaches and Administrators on Thursday released the results of the 2009-10 “Hiring Report Card,” which analyzed the progress and process of hiring African-American football coaches at colleges and universities throughout the country.
In all, 34 schools participate in the study — 20 FBS schools and 14 FCS schools — and, in the last year, 20 of them received A’s.
One such school was Kansas, which hired Turner Gill away from Buffalo last December. Gill’s move to the Big 12, along with Louisville hiring Charlie Strong and Kentucky hiring Joker Phillips brought African-American head coaches back to each of those BCS conferences (Big 12, Big East and SEC) for the first time in a few years.
Historically speaking, such hires were big news, as well. Between 1982 and 2009, there were 499 head football coach openings at FBS schools and just 38 of those were filled by an African-American (7.6 percent). Last season alone, six African-Americans were hired at the end of the year. From 1979 and 2002, a total of 19 full-time African-American head coaches were hired.