Posts tagged with Ku
A lot can happen in 10-plus months, but right this minute it feels as if John Calipari and Bill Self will coach against each other in the national-title game for the third time in seven years next April in Cowboys Stadium.
Sure, defending champion Louisville and usual suspects Duke and Michigan State could spoil that rubber match, but landing Andrew Wiggins pushes Kansas right there with anybody. If it happens, it won’t be the first time Self draws a great deal out of a team that sends five new starters out for the center jump. Two of his nine consecutive Big 12 titles came after he lost all five starters.
If Self can convince immediately eligible post player Tarik Black, a bruiser who would complement Perry Ellis perfectly, that Kansas is his best available launching pad to an NBA career, the Jayhawks would boast serious depth at every position.
At the moment, Wiggins, fellow wing Wayne Selden and Ellis, the program’s three McDonald’s All-Americans, shape up as the lone sure starters. Either the 6-foot-5 Selden or 6-7 Wiggins could play inside when Self wants to run with a small lineup.
KU’s coaches think Frank Mason, a pure point guard, has the ability to push improving veteran Naadir Tharpe for starting honors and recruit Conner Frankamp has such deep shooting range he’ll be difficult to keep off the court, even though the 6-footer weighs just 155 pounds.
Landing Black, whose ability to graduate in three years from Memphis prevents him from having to sit out a year, would give Self the depth he likes inside.
Joel Embiid, a 7-foot, 225-pound native of Cameroon, is the most intriguing prospect of a KU class ranked No. 2 (behind Kentucky) by recruiting analysts. Those who have seen him play marvel at not just his coordination for a man his size but his skill for someone who has played so little basketball. The only question centers on how soon he’ll put it together. Rivals ranks him as the No. 25 prospect in the Class of 2013. ESPN.com ranks him No. 6. At the moment, he's more a prospect than a player guaranteed to make a major instant impact.
With Embiid and third-year sophomore Jamari Traylor, Self has two shot-blocking options, a nice luxury. Landen Lucas, a red-shirt freshman, made big strides in building his body and post moves during his year as a practice player. He could push for playing time as well. Justin Wesley also returns.
In Frankamp, fellow recruit Brannen Greene, a 6-6, 215-pound wing from Monroe, Ga., and sophomore Andrew White III, Kansas has three reserve shooters capable of making teams cautious about playing zone defenses.
Wiggins can’t bring as much to the program as Sherron Collins, Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur did because they all stayed longer than the one year Wiggins will, but he can match them in the national-title department.
“Now I just hope he comes out for basketball,” Lawrence attorney Mick Allen said after learning of Wiggins’ decision. “I stole that line from my granddad (Phog Allen) when Wilt (Chamberlain) committed to KU.”
The most shocking aspect of Thursday night’s coverage of the first round of the NFL draft involved the amount of shock expressed over Notre Dame middle linebacker Manti Te’o not getting drafted. Why did anyone consider him a first-round talent? He’s slow and stiff, not nearly agile enough to project as a front-line NFL player.
Te’o couldn’t tackle Alabama running back Eddie Lacey in the BCS title game. The surprise should have been over Lacey not getting drafted. Anybody who had Te’o ranked higher than Lacey must not have seen that game.
During the second round must we endure more speculative talk of teams trading up to get Te’o, when it’s clear he’s not talented enough to motivate a team to go to all that trouble to get him?
Might as well speculate that teams are trading up to get Tanner Hawkinson and Bradley McDougald, the two top prospects from Kansas in this year’s draft. Prediction: Hawkinson will be selected in the seventh round Saturday, McDougald either the same round or not at all. For Hawkinson, a lack of strength by NFL lineman standards will be what keeps him from getting drafted Friday, when the second and third rounds take place. For McDougald, unsure tackling will keep him from being considered earlier than late Saturday.
A year from now, James Sims will be a draft prospect and in 2015 several Kansas players could hear their names called.
Andrew Bolton, a defensive end who was bound for LSU out of junior college until he suffered a knee injury, has more of an NFL look than anybody on KU’s roster. He is expected to report this summer and if his knee has recovered sufficiently projects as a 2015 draft pick.
Defensive tackle Marquel Combs and safety Isaiah Johnson, junior college transfers on course to join the team in the summer, also have a lot of potential. So do defensive linemen Chris Martin and Keon Stowers, both spring standouts. Does Ben Heeney have a big enough frame to add enough weight? Wide receiver/running back/return man Tony Pierson has speed that will capture the attention of NFL scouts. Wide receiver Justin McCay has everything but blinding speed that scouts like in a receiver.
“McCay reminds me of Keyshawn (Johnson) when I first got to the Jets,” Weis said. “Routes were always a little short, not the fastest guy in the world, big, strong, tough, will catch everything you throw to him, will block everyone with physicality. Keyshawn was the first pick in the entire draft, so if he reminds me of Keyshawn ... They even wear the same number (19).”
McCay’s favorite receiver: “Keyshawn Johnson.”
Jake Heaps is on the small side for a pocket passer, but that won't stop him from getting drafted if he throws with a great deal of accuracy during his two years running the Jayhawks' offense.
KU connections in Thursday's first round were indirect ones. Tight end Tyler Eifert, recruited to Notre Dame by Weis, went to the Cincinnati Bengals with the 21st pick. Wide receiver/return man Cordarrelle Patterson was chosen by the Miami Dolphins with the 29th selection. Stowers and he are cousins.
Not even 24 hours had passed since the Tulsa Shock of the WNBA drafted Kansas point guard Angel Goodrich and she already was responsible for marketing the brand.
“It’s a great feeling to be coming home,” Goodrich, a native of Tahlequah, Okla., said on a Tuesday conference call arranged by the Shock. “A lot of friends texted me and Facebooked me telling me they’re excited and they’re already talking about getting some (Tulsa Shock) gear.”
Angel — only the great ones merit first-name reference — stirs that sort of passion in people who have seen her play basketball. She has that radar certain athletes have that enables her to overcome her one shortcoming, which of course, is that she’s short.
Wayne Gretzky wasn’t the fastest skater, but his instincts sent him on the shortest, most efficient path to goals. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson weren’t as explosive as so many lesser basketball players, but they felt the game so much better. Goodrich has natural ability to bring out the best in teammates.
Selected in the third round of the WNBA draft, the 5-foot-4 Goodrich plans to work out at KU in preparing for Shock training camp, which opens May 5. For what she said she believes is the first time in her life, she will be trying out for a team. The Shock also selected Notre Dame point guard Skylar Diggins with the third selection of the first round.
“She’s a great player,” Goodrich said of Diggins. “I’m looking forward to getting to know her better and learning from her. I’m thrilled to be going to the same team.”
Goodrich led the Jayhawks to back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances and Diggins-led Notre Dame ended her career. Goodrich didn’t sound nervous about making the team. That’s not her style.
“I do love a challenge,” Goodrich said. “If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. I’m going to work my tail off. As long as I know I gave it my all I won’t look back and won’t have anything to regret.”
The 34-game WNBA regular season runs from May 24 to Sept. 15 and the minimum salary is $37,950. Players receive $74 daily meal money on road trips.
Goodrich was the only Kansas player selected in the three-round draft. In the event Shock executives want to invite a free agent post player to camp, Goodrich has a good one in mind.
“I would recommend Carolyn (Davis),” she said. “I was definitely surprised she didn’t get drafted. To be honest, I’m still speechless about it.”
A fifth-year senior, Goodrich already has graduated from KU after majoring in behavioral science with a focus on children. She said she is working toward a minor in sociology.
The man among the 64 Associated Press voters who put Kansas lowest isn’t afraid to acknowledge he has a rooting interest in the Jayhawks. Jason Franchuk has covered BYU for the Provo Daily Herald the past nine seasons and is part of the KU Class of 2001. His wife, Audrey Hickert, is an '02 graduate.
Normally, Jason and Audrey will DVR the KU games and watch them together. Since nothing was normal about KU’s Wednesday visit to Forth Worth, Franchuk didn’t wait. A friend had texted him wondering what was going on in the TCU game.
“I figured Kansas was up 30 and I turned it on to see what was going on,” Franchuk said. “I was shocked. I covered BYU for six years (against TCU) and BYU never came close to losing to TCU.”
Interestingly, Franchuk this season often has voted KU lower than its ranking, which during one long week toppled from fifth to 14th. On his ballot, the Jayhawks fell all the way to 24th. Franchuk’s doubts predated the TCU clunker.
“I think it started with the Iowa State game,” said Franchuk, who loves the form of Ben McLemore's jumper. “They made it to overtime because McLemore banked in a three. I thought, ‘I’m not going to reward a team for a little bit of luck.’ And the Oklahoma State game ... The pass that made me jump out of my seat was when McLemore stood flat-footed and threw it to one of their guys and he took it in for a dunk.”
Franchuk said he was surprised KU’s losing streak didn’t drop the Jayhawks all the way to No. 20. He even ran his ballot by his wife before e-mailing it. Her response: “Oh yeah. The TCU game. You’ve got to penalize them.”
No. 10 Kansas State, four spots ahead of KU in the AP poll, was No. 11 on Franchuk’s ballot and mine. I put KU 16th.
For the most part, polls are a reflection of what has happened so far with stronger emphasis placed on recent results. Las Vegas oddsmakers are concerned strictly with what they think will happen now. Kansas is favored by eight for today's 8 p.m. tipoff in Allen Fieldhouse. That ought to ease some worried minds around here.
He never says anything around which quote marks could be placed to prove it is so, but KU football coach Charlie Weis appears to harbor bitterness toward Notre Dame, his alma mater.
He uses phrases such as “another institution where I worked,” or “while working at another school.” If he says “Notre Dame,” it’s only in a printed release. Nobody actually hears the words roll off his tongue. The question is not whether Weis harbors resentment toward Ole Notre Dame, rather why?
The answer: Because he’s human.
A closer look at his Notre Dame career suggests 2010 very well could have been a turning point season so successful that if he had been allowed to stay one more year it’s entirely possible he would have been on the job for the duration of his 10-year contract.
Think I’m crazy? By that I mean do you think that even more so than usual? Think again.
Weis got shafted by his school, the very same university at which he used to sit in his dorm room and second-guess every move made by then Notre Dame coach Dan Devine. Never mind that Devine won a national title Charlie’s senior year. Weis was a football-crazed college student. What’s the point of investing your emotions into a football team if you can’t second-guess the coach?
To understand what must boil inside Weis’ belly every time he thinks about what might have been in 2010 requires a close look at his fifth and final season at Notre Dame. The 2009 Fighting Irish went 6-6, not a record that sits well with alumni from a school with such a rich football tradition. But look closer. Not one of those six losses was by a margin of greater than a touchdown. Add up the margin from all six losses and it’s a paltry 28 points.
If Weis had returned, it requires no great leap of faith to believe quarterback Jimmy Clausen would have delayed his NFL career by a year and would be a better NFL quarterback today for having done so. Clausen’s improvement each year under Weis was significant. Plus, he could have contended for the Heisman Trophy. With Clausen and Weis back, maybe receiver Golden Tate returns as well. Both players announced they would forego their senior seasons six days after Weis was fired.
An additional year of experience from countless returning players easily could have turned most of those close losses into close victories. No need to venture outside KU football history books for evidence of a 6-6 football team plagued by close losses bouncing back with a 12-1 team driven to the top by coming out on top in the close ones.
Mark Mangino’s sixth Kansas football team went 6-6. Two of the losses (Toledo and Nebraska) came in overtime, two others (Baylor and Texas A&M) by a combined margin of four points. A year later, Mangino was holding up an orange with that signature semi-smile, an image that represents what is possible when a stubborn football coach is given time to do it his way.
That doesn’t mean Weis would have executed a similar leap forward under the Golden Dome, but the similarities between KU in 2006 and ND in 2009 certainly tickle the imagination. Weis’ first KU season included five losses by margins of seven points or less. That doesn’t exempt the coach. Sometimes close losses can be traced to the head coach’s decision-making.
In the home loss to Rice, the Owls never could have closed the 11-point deficit if Weis, who doubles as offensive coordinator, had stayed with the run. The Jayhawks’ offensive line was manhandling the visitors. Not yet aware he did not have an accurate passer in the huddle, Weis mixed in too many passes instead of staying with the run and opened a door through which Rice stormed.
In the overtime loss at Texas Tech, a surprising pass-play call on second and five at the Tech 15 predictably failed and took the momentum right out KU’s upset bid. Kansas had started that fourth-quarter drive on its 11 and gained 75 yards on six plays, all runs. A Nick Prolago field goal tied the score with 45 seconds left. Nothing suggested Tech was going to keep KU from getting five yards on two more running plays. By then, Weis had changed quarterbacks and knew accurate passing was not Michael Cummings’ forte. It was a strange call in a game Kansas might have won had Charlie called a run play there.
With promising Brigham Young transfer Jake Heaps at quarterback the next two seasons, Weis’ team has a chance to perform better in close contests. Even if it doesn’t, that won’t change the reality that Weis deserved one more year on the job at ND, a year that might have been so successful it earned him many more.
Monday night was far from the first time Baylor looked like a collection of talented basketball players thrown together at the last minute and sent to the lions to play against a highly organized, disciplined, talented Kansas team.
It was, however, the first time while I was watching a true team play against an All-Star squad that a thought pitched a tent in my cloudy head: Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey, a driven, smart (high school valedictorian), intense leader who commands so much respect from peers and players, could get the Bears to play better basketball and win more games than Scott Drew wins.
No Division I school ever has hired a woman as head coach of its men’s basketball team. Tennessee did once discuss the men’s job with its women’s coach, the legendary Pat Summitt, who retired after last season and is in the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease. During an interview on ESPN Radio in New York City a decade or so ago, I asked Summitt why she did not want to make the jump to the men's game. She said she seriously considered it, but thought she could do a better job of promoting women’s basketball by staying put. We’ll never know if Summitt’s opinion on that matter was on target.
But if Drew decides to take his considerable recruiting talents elsewhere, Baylor would be wise to try what Tennessee tried with Summitt, as classy a coach as there is in basketball.
The women’s game has grown since Summitt decided to stay in it, but its popularity still lags. Something needs to happen to jolt it. UConn coach Geno Auriemma’s recent suggestion to lower the hoops to bring dunking into the game didn’t gain much traction. (He’s not the first one to make such a suggestion, just the smartest). Should Mulkey coach a talented group of men into a national powerhouse, that would gain respect for the women’s game.
It’s no insult to Drew to suggest that Mulkey could do a better job with his players than he does. Mulkey has a great basketball mind, knows how to communicate what she knows in understandable fashion and holds her players accountable without coaching the joy out of the game. Her players show steady improvement.
In fairness, Drew’s recruiting has elevated the program. He has reached the Elite Eight twice, which suggests his laid-back style might result in his teams playing less tight than others during the NCAA Tournament. But his players are not dragged out of their comfort zones often enough to stay on a rapid improvement curve. Still, Drew’s recruiting touch makes him a hot coaching prospect. If he bolts for a fatter wallet, Baylor doesn’t need to leave the building to find his replacement.
As a player, Mulkey won four Louisiana state high school titles, two national titles for Louisiana Tech and an Olympic Gold Medal in 1984. As a coach, she has won two national titles (2005, 2012) and has a team that has a good shot to win a third.
It would take a woman unburdened by insecurity to crash the men’s gate and Mulkey certainly qualifies. She doesn’t shy from the big stage.
A year ago at Big 12 Media Day, the fiery, stylish Mulkey grew her considerable fan base when asked if she would continue to schedule Texas A&M after it left the Big 12 for the SEC, a move A&M’s president compared to a divorce. (Mulkey is divorced).
“My feeling is this: If a man wants to divorce me and says our relationship has no value to him and then asks me if he can sleep with me, the answer is, ‘No,’ “ Mulkey said.
Talk about a memorable moment.
Mulkey loves her current job so much she might never want to change it. But if she ever decides to blaze a trail, stand back and watch her shoot to the top.
Best-selling author and GolfChannel and ESPN regular John Feinstein always has the most interesting, independent ballot in the weekly Associated Press poll.
Every voter claims to not care what the nation thinks in filling out his or her ballot. Feinstein proves it weekly with votes that often are quite different from the consensus. This week, Feinstein stands alone in putting Kansas at the top of his ballot. Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis is the lone voter to rank Kansas second.
"Kansas has the most impressive win of the year: At Ohio State, as Michigan found out," Feinstein told me in an e-mail exchange. "Bunch of one-loss teams. I give them the edge because of that."
Nineteen of us put Kansas third and fifth was the most common Kansas ranking, appearing on 26 ballots.
No. 1 Louisville received 36 first-place votes, No. 2 Indiana 13, No. 3 Duke 14 (including mine). Kansas is ranked fourth and Michigan, with one first-place vote, fifth.
Feinstein has written several best-selling sports book, the most famous "A Season on the Brink," a fascinating all-access look at a season of Indiana basketball under Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight.
The book ended a friendship but led to a priceless exchange between men at the top of their professions.
Knight, upset with his foul language being used verbatim, referred to Feinstein as "a pimp and a whore." With a counter-punch better than any Ken Norton threw in upsetting Muhammad Ali, Feinstein retorted: "I wish he would make up his mind so I'd know how to dress."
I don't know any Knight fan who read the book and didn't think even more highly of Knight after reading it, four-letter words notwithstanding.
Tonight’s games wrap up the first month of the college basketball season, so it’s a good time to check the temperature of the Big 12, which appears weaker than in most seasons.
First, consider the all-conference team for the opening month: Pierre Jackson (Baylor), Ben McLemore (Kansas), Le’Bryan Nash (Oklahoma State), Will Clyburn (Iowa State), Jeff Withey (Kansas).
Now a look at the teams, listed in order of predicted finish. The best-game/worst-game selections adhere to the tenet that a horrible performance in victory ranks ahead of a terrific one in defeat. As Kansas football coach Charlie Weis reminds us on an every-other-week-basis, there is no such thing as a moral victory.
Top newcomer: McLemore. Team’s quickest and most explosive player also happens to have the best three-point touch, despite recent 0-for-7 effort. He’s good for at least one loud dunk a game, is an unstoppable offensive rebounder and even blocks shots. Will make better decisions as he gains experience. Best game: Defeated St. Louis, 73-59. Worst game: Lost to Michigan State, 67-64.
Oklahoma State (5-0)
Top newcomer: Marcus Smart. The tougher the competition, the better the 6-4 freshman from Flower Mound, Texas plays. His 17 points and nine rebounds helped the Cowboys to defeat Tennessee, 62-45, and his 20 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, four blocked shots and four steals led OSU to a 20-point victory against North Carolina State. Smart already has established himself as a candidate for first-team Big 12 honors. Best game: Defeated North Carolina State, 76-56. Worst game: Defeated Akron, 69-65, in overtime.
Top newcomer: Isiah Austin. The 7-1, 220-pound freshman from Arlington, Texas averages 14.2 points and 8.2 rebounds and has shot .364 from three-point range. He doesn’t block shots and has a long way to go. Austin was ranked No. 4 in the Class of 2012 by Rivals.com. Best game: Defeated St. John’s, 97-78. Worst game: Lost to College of Charleston, 63-59.
Iowa State (4-2)
Top newcomer: Clyburn. Versatile 6-7 senior Utah transfer from Detroit leads team in scoring (14.8) and rebounding (9.2) and is shooting .813 from the line. Best game: Defeated Campbell, 88-68. Worst game: Lost to UNLV, 82-70.
Top newcomer: Amath M’Baye, a 6-9 Wyoming transfer, averages 10.5 points and seven rebounds. He’s no Tony Parker, but he is a native of France, hometown Bordeaux, a town you might not want to mention in the presence of wine snobs for fear they might bore you to death with their grape knowledge. Best game: Defeated West Virginia, 77-70. Worst game: Lost to Gonzaga, 72-47.
Top newcomer: Javan Felix, a 5-10 point guard from New Orleans, has played like a freshman, rushing his shots, missing far more than he makes and turning it over at too high a rate. But he wasn’t supposed to be playing this many minutes and has been forced to do so because Myck Kabongo has not played while the NCAA investigates his relationship with an agent. Best game: Defeated Fresno State, 55-53. Worst game: Lost to Chaminade, 86-73.
Kansas State (5-1)
Top newcomer: D.J. Johnson. A 6-8, 250-pound freshman from St. Louis, Johnson is an absolute monster on the offensive boards. He averages 17 minutes and shares team lead six rebounds per game. Is particularly hungry on the offensive boards with 23 in 102 minutes, compared to 13 defensive boards.. Best game: Defeated Delaware, 66-63. Worst game: Lost to Michigan, 71-57.
West Virginia (2-3)
Top newcomer: Aaric Murray. The 6-10, 250-pound transfer from La Salle averages 10.2 points, seven rebounds and 1.6 blocks for the struggling Mountaineers. Best game: Defeated Marist, 87-44. Worst game: Lost to Gonzaga, 84-50.
Texas Tech (4-0)
Top newcomer: Dejan Kravic. A 6-11 center who spent his first two years of college playing for York University in Toronto, Kravic sat out last season as a red-shirt transfer. He’s averaging 13.5 points, six rebounds and 2.5 blocks. Freshman guard Josh Gray, averaging 12 points and four steals, has a higher ceiling that Kravic. Best game: Defeated Grambling State, 91-56. Worst game: Defeated Jackson State, 84-75.
Top newcomer: Devonta Abron, a 6-8, 255-pound Arkansas transfer averaging 8.5 points and 6.3 rebounds. Opponents will foul him late in close games. The native of Seagoville, Texas, is shooting .452 from the line. Best game: Defeated Cal Poly, 53-46. Worst game: Lost to Northwestern, 55-31.
An All-American running back, John Hadl obviously didn’t let that get to his head. He had enough humility to look at two running backs on his team and figure they could beat him out. So he paid a visit to coach Jack Mitchell’s office.
Sitting in a leather chair in his Williams Fund office, where he holds a job as closer extraordinaire with the big-ticket donors, Hadl explained how that visit went: “I just walked into his office and said, ‘You’re looking for a quarterback. Why not give me a try? We’re running the Oklahoma split T so I’ll be like a running back anyway.’ He said, ‘OK.’ Then of course when he talked about it he said that the coaches had discussions about it and decided this would be the best option.”
Hadl became an All-American quarterback and had a great career at the position with the San Diego Chargers and Los Angeles Rams and also played with the Green Bay Packers and Houston Oilers.
What motivated Hadl to take the bold step of visiting his coach, the same coach who convinced Hadl’s father it was in the best interest of his son to switch his commitment from Oklahoma to Kansas?
“Curtis McClinton and Bert Coan were flying past me in practice every day,” Hadl said. “I figured I better change positions because those guys were so much faster than I was.”
Hadl said he never regretted turning down Oklahoma and legendary coach Bud Wilkinson.
“They would have put me on defense and nobody ever would have heard from me again,” Hadl said.
At Kansas, he played some defensive back, returned punts and once led the nation in punting with an average of 45.6 yards. He had a knack for big plays long before he made so many for the Chargers. At KU, he returned an interception 98 yards and had a 94-yard punt.
Hadl also has the distinction of having been Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young’s first professional head coach with the Los Angeles Express of the USFL in 1984, and Hall of Fame QB John Elway’s first professional quarterbacks coach with the Denver Broncos in 1983.
On the topic of position switches
For a man who weighs 218 pounds, fullback Brandon Bourbon runs so swiftly and exhibits so much agility that it’s tough not to picture him playing linebacker. Excluding quarterbacks, Bourbon ranks fifth on the team in rushing attempts (11 carries, 38 yards), behind James Sims, Tony Pierson, Taylor Cox and D.J. Beshears.
Couldn’t Bourbon help the team more at linebacker? One of the nice things about KU first-year coach Charlie Weis is you can ask him a question like that and he’ll give an honest answer. So I asked and he answered.
“If Brandon Bourbon were good on defense, he’d be playing defense,” Weis said. “OK. I love when people say, ‘God, he looks like he’d be a great linebacker.’ Well, come to practice and you’ll get answers to some of those questions.”
The early segment of Tuesday and Wednesday practices were open to the media this season, so I went out to Wednesday’s practice. Man oh man, you should have seen Bourbon get low and hit hard during a running back drill in which the players blast what looks like a boxing heavy bag.
“Those are the type of things you don’t do during the season,” Weis said of switching positions. “Those are the type of things if you’re going to give it a shot you do it in the spring time when you can do it full-time. I don’t think in a week or two, you can transfer a player from one side of the ball to the other. You can, if you see a guy buried in the depth chart, where there is no end in sight.”
Weis sounds as if he believes Bourbon will help Kansas carrying the football before he graduates.
“Remember, the kid’s only a sophomore and he’s got a lot of time left here,” Weis said. “OK? But the kid’s a natural runner and he’s playing at a position where there are a lot of good players. But if you’re buried in the depth chart and it’s the spring time and you want to take a look, that’s the time to do that. But based off the evidence I see I think he’s playing the position he’s best suited for.”
Must an athlete want to play defense to become a good defensive player?
“Well there’s hitting and then avoiding hitting,” Weis said. “So offensive guys are trying not to get hit. Defensive guys are trying to hit. So when you’re spending your whole life trying not to get hit and then have to go start hitting, it’s not usually a good match, in case you’re wondering.”
Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn swung and missed on his first two coaching hires, Dan Hawkins and Jon Embree. So it’s no surprise that the first name to surface as a candidate to become Colorado’s next coach is a proven winner hungry to get back into coaching: Mark Mangino.
Bohn, a 1983 graduate of Kansas University, where he played football and baseball, knows how tough it is to build a winning football program at KU. Bohn knows his KU history well enough to know that Mangino was the first football coach to leave Kansas with a winning record since Jack Mitchell.
Colorado is in the midst of seven consecutive losing seasons. Mangino inherited a Kansas program coming off six consecutive losing seasons.
If Bohn is allowed to make the hire, nobody should be surprised if he picks Mangino.
Living in Naples, Fla., Mangino’s interest in returning to the sidelines was put on hold last season while wife Mary Jane battled breast cancer. Friends are happy to report Mary Jane is doing well and has completed treatment.
“She’s given me a directive: Go find a coaching job,” Mangino told the Oklahoman in an October interview. “So we’ll see what happens. I don’t know where it will be. Could be anywhere.”
Could be Colorado.
If Mangino lands the job, he could become quarterback Jordan Webb’s first and fourth coach. Webb redshirted one season under Mangino at Kansas, played two for Turner Gill at KU and one for Embree at CU.
Mangino’s former assistants thriving
Dave Doeren left Mangino’s staff for Wisconsin, where he worked his way up to defensive coordinator. Doeren’s in his second season as head coach at Northern Illinois, where his team is 11-1 and ranked 19th in the nation. He has a two-year record of 22-4 (1-1 vs. KU) and is in line for a BCS conference job. His name has been mentioned in speculation for the Purdue job.
Doeren’s recruiting coups at Kansas included James Holt, Kevin Kane, James McClinton, Joe Mortensen, Mike Rivera, Darrell Stuckey and Aqib Talib.
Former KU defensive coordinator Bill Young left Mangino’s staff for Miami, where he spent one year and has been at Oklahoma State since then.
Ed Warinner, offensive coordinator for Mangino, left his job as Notre Dame’s offensive line coach to join Urban Meyer’s Ohio State staff as co-offensive coordinator/O-line coach.
Ineligible for the postseason, the Buckeyes went 12-0. He’s ready for a big head-coaching job.
John Reagan is offensive coordinator for the Rice squad that upset Kansas in Memorial Stadium in September.
David Beaty knows better than just about anybody the value of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel’s Heisman Trophy worthiness. Beaty is the Aggies’ wide receivers coach.
Brandon Blaney is a defensive assistant coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Bill Miller is assistant head coach/linebackers coach at Minnesota. Je’Ney Jackson is strength and conditioning coach for Tom Crean’s top-ranked Indiana basketball team.
Louie Matsakis handles special teams and running backs and is recruiting coordinator at Youngstown State, where Tom Sims is assistant head coach/defensive line.
Chris Dawson has been Kansas State’s strength and conditioning coach since getting fired with Mangino. Dawson reportedly accepted an offer from Washington State’s Mike Leach shortly after his hiring, but quickly changed his mind and decided to stay with Bill Snyder.
Tommy Mangino is Hutchinson Community College’s offensive coordinator. He apparently inherited his father’s fiery personality and was ejected late in an early season game Hutch won, 49-12.