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The Newell Post: 2008 KU Media Days

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7:04 p.m.You asked them. The Jayhawks answered them.On Monday, I asked KUsports.com readers to come up with their questions for KU's players during media day.Here are some of the answers from the guys.KU linebacker Joe Mortensen(KU1979) Q: What do you think will be the biggest difference in playing for Bowen instead of Young._A: "I don't know if there's going to be a difference. We have complete confidence in Coach Bowen. Most of the schemes we did last year were between Coach Young and Coach Bowen. It's definitely something we're looking forward to. When Coach Young left, I was a little disappointed, because he's a great coach. Once I heard Coach Mangino gave Coach Bowen the job, I was so glad because I have complete confidence in Coach Bowen. It's going to be great. He's got a lot of good schemes, and we have a lot of good schemes this year. We're not really too much changing from last year, which I like."(imnotpaulpierce) Q: What is your definition of a successful season for the '08 campaign?A: "It's hard to say. We're trying to focus one game at a time. We did so well last year, but we're trying to erase that one loss - 12-0. I think that's a big thing. Also, competing for the north and the Big 12 championship. Like coach tells us, we try to focus one game at a time. I think that's why we did so well last year."(bcoJayhawk) Q: Share with me what sort of improvement you've made in coach Dawson's Strength & Conditioning program since January.A: I had surgery in the offseason on my knee, and I definitely just tried to come back full strength. I think I have. I've passed the run test. I got one of the fastest times. As far as the competition in the offseason's gone, it's been the best I've ever seen. We have this hunger in us knowing we're going to be one of the best teams in the nation. We're just competing as hard as hell."6:31 p.m.Here are the answers from Marcus Herford.Kickoff returner Marcus Herford(King_Kaun) Q: Kansas won't be 'under the radar' this year. How are the players getting prepared to handle these new pressures?A: "We know that we still have to work hard everyday, starting with the first day and going into the rest of the season. We can't sneak up on any opponents. We have to try go and outplay that opponent, no matter who it is."(allincalldangit) Q: What have you done this offseason to ensure you beat Missouri this year?"Not Mizzou, per se. We've done everything we can to try to beat Florida International, and then going a game at a time. I feel like with that approach, we'll be just fine."(KU1979) Q: How will the new football facilities help to make you a better football player, and to make KU a better team?<?i>A: "I feel like there's more bonding. We have a great players' lounge, and a very spacious locker room. We enjoy being in there together. I feel like we already have a family atmosphere. Building it the way they did, we're together a lot more, and that's really helping a lot for the unity of this team."(chuckberry32) Q: Exactly what does this team need to accomplish to prove last year wasn't a fluke?A: "We've got to win games. We've got to win the north. We've got to get to the Big 12 championship. Those are our main goals. I feel like if we do those things, then I think some teams will finally come to respect us. That's what we're hoping. If not, who really cares as long as we're out there doing our job."(gutter) Q: Is it not realistic to expect the team to lose more games this year than last year?_A: "It's a week-to-week deal. You never know what's going to happen. The best team wins, and hopefully we're that best team every Saturday and Friday. That's the main deal, just going out there and playing our hardest and wishing the best."4:17 p.m.Just back from media day. A few quick observations first.¢The new football facility is impressive. Even better than I would have guessed. The entryway has a feel much like the Booth Hall of Athletics, prominently displaying the football trophies and awards.Players also commented about how much nicer it was to not have to travel back and forth across campus during practices and games. The facility should help with recruiting and provide addded convenience for the players already here.¢KU players weren't backing down from expectations. The word "undefeated" was used a few times when talking about this year's goals.Head coach Mark Mangino said during the session that no one had higher expectations for his team than the players. I believe him now.Here's a Cliff Notes version of Mangino's 30-minute media session.¢Mangino reiterated that the basic defensive schemes would not change under new defensive coordinator Clint Bowen. Mangino did say, however, that the team's scheme would "evolve" some based on evaluations done from one season to the next.¢Mangino confirmed that there will be a three-person competition for the open kicker spot."I think at the end of the day, we'll be OK," he said.¢As for the punting duties, Mangino said Alonso Rojas and, yep, Kerry Meier were in a competition for the job.Though Mangino said he was hesitant about using Meier in that role, he said he was going to put the best player the team had in that position.¢The coach said his team was best described by using the word "energetic.""When you have enthusiasm like that, you have a chance to be successful," Mangino said.¢Ninety-one percent of the team's players passed the 300-yard shuttle test.¢Mangino said the best part about his team's 12-1 season was that his players' "confidence level was very high."¢ Junior-college transfer Jocques Crawford is not yet running with the first team. Mangino said through only four days of practice, he had not yet earned the right."He's far from a finished product," Mangino said of Crawford, "but he's coming along."¢Mangino didn't shy away from lofty expectations this year either."This program," he said, "has to pass the test of time."For breaking information on Media Day, keep checking back to KUsports.com. We'll be posting your questions (along with the KU players' answers) later Tuesday.1:38 p.m.Perhaps this is a good sign about Kansas football: One of the most pressing concerns seems to be the punter.I'm sure Kansas coach Mark Mangino has other positional worries, but one of the biggest concerns, at least among fans, seems to be the punter and kicker positions.In less than an hour, Mangino will no doubt have to answer questions about the unit as KU football holds its 2008 Media Day. April's depth chart had Kerry Meier as the starting punter, but it would be hard to envision the Jayhawks' jack-of-all-trades continuing in that role.That leaves Kyle Davis and Alonso Rojas, KU's other punters on the roster. Neither player had a punt last year, though Rojas did punt two years ago for Bowling Green.Obviously, Mangino was creative with his use of punters last year. It'll be interesting to see what plans he has this year.One more quick note. [ESPN just released its power rankings.][1] KU is not in the top 20. [1]: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/powerranking?lpos=spotlight&lid=tab3pos1

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