Entries from blogs tagged with “ku”
Late last night, we saw the 1,000,000th comment posted, which brings our contest to an end.
It's been a great ride, but now it's time to put this contest to bed, and announce who will receive the prize package that includes KU-NU tickets, concert tickets, some stuff as well as a dinner.
All told, we received 150 entries, 16 of which guessed within 24 hours of the correct time the comment was posted.
Here are the six users who guessed closest to the actual winning time, identified only by their username, except for the winner who has agreed to allow us to recognize her by name.
Megan is from Wichita, registered with the site just in time to enter the contest.
The contest was close, but somewhat strangely the three finishers closest to winning were all from out of town. Everyone from Lawrence was nine or more hours off from the correct prediction. If not for the KU football-basketball brawl Wednesday, someone from Lawrence might have been the winner. Strange how that happens.
I also should recognize Jayhawk1952, our 1,000,000th commenter. He's the retired Rev. Garry M. Wright, 69, of El Dorado, Kan. He signed up to post a comment about the KU football-men's basketball mess, and saw the entry about the countdown. He has four children and 20 grandchildren, a Jayhawk fan for 57 years. He was last in Memorial Stadium in the 50s, when his high school band played as part of Band Day. He's been a follower of KUsports.com, but never posted until Wednesday.
Congratulations to Garry, and also to Megan. And thanks, again, to everyone who made this contest a blast.
09-23-09 at 23:28:15.
That's the moment when comment 1,000,000 was posted.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that in the end the 1,000,000th comment came so quickly.
I was watching the numbers spin by and then went to take a nap (it really was a long day today) with about 300 to go before we hit the milestone, only to get up 25 minutes later to celebrate the accomplishment.
Jayhawk1952, posting on KUsports.com, had the 1,000,000th comment. Appropriately enough, he was commenting on the commenting contest. How many of you predicted the milestone would come as people talked about the contest itself? I can think of a few.
I've got to be honest, I'm pretty relieved comment 1,000,000 didn't have to be removed — and wasn't posted by a banned user. I'm a bit disappointed though, that one of our most dedicated users didn't have the honor.
In the end, along with breaking all kinds of traffic records today, we probably also had one of our biggest days for comments ever. More than 2500 comments were posted — most on LJWorld.com, a bunch on KUsports.com and some on lawrence.com — today, on topics ranging from the closing of Vermont Street BBQ to the latest rumblings between the KU basketball and football teams and even witty captions for a photo of Barack Obama with a light saber.
This 1,000,000th comment contest has been fun for me to watch and I hope it's been fun for you to take part in. It was also gratifying to see the community come together and have fun around something like this.
In the morning, I'll pull out the entries for the contest and figure out who wins the grab bag of goodies for predicting closest to the date and time the milestone occurred. I've also sent an e-mail to Jayhawk1952, hoping to learn a little about who he (or she) is.
I need to tip my hat to Christian Metts, who built the counter that made this so easy to track — and infinitely more fun.
Meanwhile, I want to thank all of you who make this online community a true community as well as everyone else who passes by our site and comments every day. You make this place work and I'm glad we could do something to celebrate a Lawrence milestone in online journalism.
Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas football coach Mark Mangino's comments at his short press conference today.
Full audio is posted here.
• Players of the game, voted on by the coaching staff: Offense: Todd Reesing; Defense: Jake Laptad; Special teams: Alonso Rojas; Defensive scout team: Defensive tackle Duane Zlatnik; Offensive scout team: Quarterback Christian Matthews.
• After watching the film, Mangino feels like the team is improving every week.
• Southern Miss has a wide-open offense with a lot of different formations and a lot of different looks.
• Southern Miss is the fastest team KU has faced to this point.
• Mangino said that KU won't do anything different defensively to match up against 6-foot-6 receiver DeAndre Brown. The coach said his team just had to play fundamentally well.
• Daymond Patterson's transition wasn't easy to cornerback. It took some time, but he worked at it. He's developed confidence and is playing the ball in the air well. He also doesn't leave his feet to play the ball, which is a positive.
• Mangino doesn't see Patterson pressing at punt return. He thinks the sophomore is doing what he's been coached to do: He's trying to find his blocks and follow the path that's been designed for him. Mangino thinks that Patterson is doing a good job.
• The coach is happy with how his team has defended the run. The team still needs to work on not overpursuing the ball.
• The Wildcat offense isn't foreign to KU's defense. The Jayhawks have worked against it in the past and have a plan for defending it.
• Huldon Tharp was eased into his current role at linebacker. He was put in situations early on where he could succeed. As time goes on, though, he's playing more and more, and Mangino thinks he'll end up being a key guy for KU on defense.
• Vernon Brooks is getting better. Mangino is pleased with his progress. The coach looks forward to him playing more snaps.
• Mangino hasn't been disappointed with his linebackers. He's been happy with their effort and their attitude.
Comments are coming in at breakneck speed, especially since we put counters on our sites Monday.
In fact, look at the graph below, which shows total comments per day since Sept. 1. You can see just how many more comments we've been getting since the start of our Millionth Comment Countdown on Sept. 16.
All that leads me to believe everyone is in a hurry to get those "possibly fabulous prizes" just as quickly as possible. Well, the time has come for me to make plain what we'll be offering our user who correctly predicts when the 1,000,000th comment is posted.
From LJWorld.com: A megaphone, so you have a little bit of help in getting your message across
From KUsports.com: Two tickets to the Nov. 14 KU-NU game.
From lawrence.com: Two concert tickets to a local concert that fits you. (Ben Folds has been mentioned as possible...)
From The World Company in general: Dinner with members of the staffs in Lawrence. A tour of the News Center. Various mugs, pens, T-shirts and other World Company schwag. If the winner isn't in the Topeka-Lawrence-Kansas City area, we may substitute the local dinner for a gift certificate.
That's it for now. We'd also like to give some public recognition to both the person who wins the contest as well as the individual who posts comment 1,000,000.
As of noon on Tuesday, we're just a few comments away from punching through 997,000. It won't be long now.
By this time, you're probably tired of me talking about the millionth comment contest.
Now, we're making it easier than ever for you to watch as your dreams are crushed — or come true — with comment counters on our front page and next to every comment you post.
I guess I can make my prediction known now as well. I predict we hit the milestone at 11:30:17 a.m. Thursday (09/24/09). I suppose it's not fair though, because I have easy access to all the trend data we could accumulate to help guide me in my decision.
News on the prizes (yes, we have a whole prize package) between now and when we hit the milestone. Happy commenting.
There are just a few more hours left to enter our 1,000,000th comment contest.
Here's a quick rundown on the rules:
2) Guess the hour, minute and second of the day you guess that the milestone will be reached.
3) The person who is closest to the actual time that the milestone is reached wins a possibly fabulous (but certainly existing) prize package from our three sites.
4) Entries will be accepted until 10 a.m. Sept. 18, at which time all predictions must be in. After that time, a counter will go up displaying the running countdown to the milestone.
As of 9:50 p.m. Thursday, 993,050 comments have been posted. Get your guesses in while there is still time.
Back in May, I first started talking about the approaching 1,000,000th comment, which I expected to be posted on one of our three Lawrence sites (LJWorld.com, KUsports.com and lawrence.com). Some of you have even taken to talking about it.
We're now just days away from hitting the milestone and we're launching a special contest so you can guess when comment 1,000,000 will actually be recorded by our database. In discussions with some of you and amongst ourselves, we decided more harm than good would come from rewarding the person who actually clicked submit for the 1,000,000th time.
So, instead, we're giving you all a chance to predict on exactly what day and at exactly what time (down to the second) we'll cross the barrier and get comment 1,000,000. The person who guesses closest to the actual time of the milestone post will get an as-yet not totally defined prize package. We're thinking concert tickets, T-shirts, a gift certificate, maybe a mug, and something else that represents the commenting community on LJWorld.com, KUsports.com and lawrence.com.
You have until 10 a.m. Friday — or earlier if comments start coming faster than expected — to enter your prediction and register for the contest. Sometime between now and when we get comment 1,000,000, we'll launch a special countdown page where you can stay totally up-to-date on how close we are. Be on the lookout for links to that page soon. We're also considering promoting the milestone comment on the front page of our sites, once we've reached it.
Stay tuned and good luck predicting.
Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas football coach Mark Mangino's comments at his press conference today.
The full audio is posted here.
The full video is posted here.
• Players of the game, voted by the coaching staff: Offensive, Sal Capra; Defensive: Maxwell Onyegbule; Special teams: the entire kickoff return team; Offensive scout team: Erick McGriff; Defensive scout team: Prinz Kande.
• The staff was pleased with KU's effort on both sides of the ball and in the kicking game.
• Mangino felt like KU was in control of the game from early on, but that the Jayhawks left some points on the field.
• Mangino on Duke: "You can see a team that's getting better."
• Capra did just about everything very well. His run-blocking was good and his pass sets were good. He's an intelligent guy that helps communicate things to others on the offensive line. Capra might not be the biggest or fastest guy on KU's offensive line, but he's very sound fundamentally.
• Caleb Blakesley did some nice things against UTEP. He still needs play at pad level and get his pads down so that opposing offensive linemen can't get their hands on him to block him easier.
• Jake Sharp is physically quicker than he was last year. That's because he had a great offseason of working out.
• Mangino believed that, coming into the season, KU's defensive linemen needed to take better care of the little things in pass rushing, like getting a good jump on the ball.
• The coach feels good about his backup offensive guards. Trevor Marrongelli is getting better. Mangino said it was good for the team to be forced to play without Jeremiah Hatch for a while to see how his other offensive linemen would react.
• Hatch is sometimes trying to get off the ball too quickly to go make his blocks. When he does that, his tail rises up, causing the snap to sail. Mangino says the problem is getting worked on and will be fixed.
• Justin Thornton is an intelligent player. Because he understands the mental aspect, he's able to fit in different places and help us. He's like a utility player in baseball. He's a darned good utility player for KU.
• Mangino said to play nickel back for him, players needs safety skills but not necessarily cornerback skills.
• Both Northern Colorado and UTEP's defenses were catered to stop KU's passing game.
• Toben Opurum has done a good job. There's more to this game than getting the ball and running upfield with it. The coach believes Opurum is probably learning something every day on the practice field or in the meeting rooms.
• Maxwell Onyegbule started as a linebacker in the program. After his first year, he switched to defensive end. Onyegbule has worked his tail off in the weight room. Now, he's playing with confidence, and he's playing hard every snap. Every once in a while, coaches saw flashes of brilliance from Onyegbule in practice. The coaches were patient with him and his development.
• The KU coaching staff's expectation is perfection on offense, even though, obviously, that is unattainable. The coaches know the offensive unit has a chance to be really good, so when there are little mistakes, the coaches don't think they should happen. Most teams in America would have like to have KU's offensive performance against UTEP. A few reasons KU wasn't as crisp on offense Saturday: Some routes weren't crisp, there was bad communication on a few passes, and sometimes, flat-out execution wasn't there. Receivers also dropped some passes they don't normally drop. Mangino still said he'd take 34 points in the first road game and run with it.
• Raimond Pendleton is activated, but he'll have to earn his way back into the rotation.
• Mangino on KU's basketball success: "Basketball's not a negative for us; it's a plus."
Sometimes it's hard to know what to take from a blowout victory over a I-AA opponent like Northern Colorado.
Is KU's offense that good or is UNC's defense that bad? How well did the Jayhawks' offensive line play? And so on.
Evaluating early-season blowouts can be tough. That's why I called on Friend-of-the-Blog Bill Connelly to help me further breakdown KU's victory.
In his Rock M Nation blog* this week, Connelly used his advanced statistics to break down every Big 12 football game of Week One. The Kansas game is shown about three-fourths of the way down the page if you want to take a look.
* — I mentioned this in my blog last week, but I feel like I need to keep mentioning it just so people aren't surprised. Connelly, himself, is a Missouri fan, and he blogs about the Tigers at his site Rock M Nation. This is actually somewhat good news for KU fans if you like statistical analysis, because he does lots of analysis of the Big 12.
I asked Connelly to break down what he thought stood out most from the KU-Northern Colorado game last week based on his statistics.
Here are three of his observations.
1. KU was ruthlessly efficient.
Connelly has a statistic called leverage percentage that simply gives the "percentage of a college football team's plays that take place on Non-Passing Downs, defined as all first downs, second down with 1-7 yards to go, or third/fourth down with 1-4 yards to go."
The lower a team's leverage percentage, the more tough situations it was in. Conversely, the higher a team's percentage, the less tough situations it was in.
KU's leverage percentage last week was 78.3 percent — the best of any Big 12 school in Week One.
As Connelly says, "Any Leverage percentage over about 75 percent means they very much stayed out of passing downs and in favorable down-and-distance situations. Occasionally this can be a red flag against cupcakes, but KU didn't mess around."
So why is this important? Let's take the Texas Tech game as an example.
Against North Dakota, TTU's leverage percentage was just 67.2 — fifth-worst in the Big 12. That forced the Red Raiders into lots of second- and third-and-long situations.
So what happened? Quarterback Taylor Potts had three interceptions. And, as Connelly points out in his Rock M Nation blog, Potts' three interceptions came on a third-and-15, a second-and-13 and a third-and-15.
Tough situations oftentimes cause mistakes and turnovers. What we can take from KU's high leverage percentage is that the Jayhawks took care of business on first and second downs, and that made Todd Reesing's job on second and third downs much easier.
2. Sample sizes are a problem when talking about one-game sack rates, but that said, the sack rates were right where KU would want them.
Of course, KU didn't allow any sacks against UNC, making for an ideal sack rate of 0 percent.
Perhaps most important for KU, though, was getting pressure on defense. The Jayhawks had a Standard-Down* sack rate of 5.9 percent and a Passing Down sack rate of 11.8 percent.
* — Standard (non-passing) downs are first downs, second down with 1-7 yards to go, or third/fourth down with 1-4 yards to go. Passing downs are second downs with 8 or more yards to go or third/fourth downs with 5 or more yards to go.
"Reesing wasn't touched, except for when he ran it himself, of course," Connelly says, "and (KU) got to the QB in both Standard and Passing Downs."
3. 4.52 line yards per carry is really high.
Let's explain line yards per carry before we go any further. The Football Outsiders glossary defines it as a "statistic which attempts to, even to a small extent, separate the ability of a running back from the ability of the offensive line."
For a more detailed explanation of line yards, click here.
So line yards is one way to measure how successful KU's offensive linemen were run-blocking against Northern Colorado. To put the line yards per carry number in perspective, Nevada was No. 1 in the nation last season in line yards per carry with a 3.66.
KU, against UNC, was a 4.52, again tops in the Big 12 for Week One.
"That means the running backs really didn't have to do any work whatsoever in picking up yards," Connelly says. "Again, this was Northern Colorado, so everything should be taken with a grain of salt, but that's still really good."
Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas football coach Mark Mangino's comments at his short press conference today.
The full audio is posted here.
• Players of the game, voted by the coaching staff: Offensive, Jake Sharp; Defensive: Chris Harris; Special teams: Jacob Branstetter; Offensive scout team: OL Tom Mabry; Defensive scout team: linebacker Chea Peterman.
• UTEP has good quarterback (Trevor Vittatoe) and athletic receivers.
• Justin Springer's twin brother (Jeremy, who is now at UTEP) was not recruited by KU, as he was a quarterback at the time and KU didn't have a need for one.
• 49- to 50-yard field goals are about the maximum Mangino wants to use Jacob Branstetter for with field-goal attempts. The coach said he didn't feel that there was a need for a long field-goal attempt against Northern Colorado.
• Vittatoe doesn't remind Mangino of any Big 12 quarterback of the past. The QB has a low delivery, but it's accurate. He gets the ball there. He doesn't remind Mangino of anyone mechanically.
• Mangino takes a brief look at Big 12 scores at the end of each weekend. The coach wasn't surprised by much this past weekend. He would have been surprised if Oklahoma was at full strength and had lost to BYU.
• A game in El Paso doesn't help recruiting because KU doesn't recruit in the El Paso area.
• UTEP wide receiver Jeff Moturi reminds Mangino of Tertavian Ingram — a solid, dependable guy. KU assistant coach David Beaty coached Moturi in high school.
• The KU coaches are easing linebacker Justin Springer back into the rotation.
I've heard a lot of concern lately about the KU coaching staff's decision to leave Dezmon Briscoe as the kickoff returner.
By putting Briscoe on special teams, the Jayhawks are exposing him to more hits and perhaps increasing his chances of getting injured.
After looking at some statistics, though, this looks to be a risk that the Jayhawks have to take for the best chance of success in 2009.
Thanks to our friends at Football Outsiders, we can tell just how much the Jayhawks' field position hurt them in 2008.
We're going to be dealing with the advanced stats Field Position Value and Field Position Advantage in this blog.
Field Position Value (FPV) gives a point value to each yard-line that a team starts its drive from. This is based on the expected points scored by an average offense against an average defense from that yard-line. The point total is determined by running data from tens of thousands of college football drives that start from each yard line.
For example, teams score an average of 1.4 points per possession when starting drives from their own 15-yard line. They score 2.3 points per possession when starting from their own 40-yard line.
From FPV, the guys took it a step further to create Field Position Advantage (FPA)*.
In layman's terms, FPA represents each given team’s share of the total field position in a game. Two teams that face equal field position over the course of a game will each have an FPA of .500.
Why is this statistic important? Well, according to Football Outsiders, college football teams that play with an FPA over .500 win two-thirds of the time, and teams that play with an FPA over .600 win 90 percent of the time.
Obviously, field position matters quite a bit.
Here's a look at the total FPA for all the Big 12 teams last season. For reference, I put the team's final record in parentheses on the right.
Big 12 FPA
Missouri .548 (10-4)
Oklahoma .532 (12-2)
Texas .529 (12-1)
Oklahoma State .526 (9-4)
Kansas State .510 (5-7)
Nebraska .500 (9-4)
Texas Tech .494 (11-2)
Kansas .493 (8-5)
Colorado .492 (5-7)
Baylor .491 (4-8)
Iowa State .490 (2-10)
Texas A&M .461 (4-8)
So, on average last season, KU had worse field position than its opponents. And as we can see from the chart, having worse field position and consistently winning is the exception (Texas Tech, Kansas), but not the rule (Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas were the top three in FPA and combined to go 34-7).
Here's a question I had, though: What was KU's FPA when Dezmon Briscoe was returning kickoffs last year? Remember, Briscoe returned kicks for the final two games of the season.
Thanks to Brian Fremeau of Football Outsiders, we can take a look.
Fremeau was nice enough to pull out KU's game-by-game FPA totals from last season for us. This doesn't include the game against I-AA opponent Sam Houston State.
Here's how it looks.
Kansas 2008 FPA Game Splits
0.521 ... 8/30/08 vs. Florida International
0.582 ... 9/06/08 vs. Louisiana Tech
0.440 ... 9/12/08 vs. South Florida
0.462 ... 10/04/08 vs. Iowa State
0.411 ... 10/11/08 vs. Colorado
0.507 ... 10/18/08 vs. Oklahoma
0.372 ... 10/25/08 vs. Texas Tech
0.597 ... 11/01/08 vs. Kansas State
0.503 ... 11/08/08 vs. Nebraska
0.450 ... 11/15/08 vs. Texas
0.548 ... 11/29/08 vs. Missouri
0.522 ... 12/31/08 vs. Minnesota
KU's average FPA in 10 games without Briscoe returning kicks — .485
KU's average FPA in final two games with Briscoe returning kicks — .535
Two things stand out right away.
The FPA numbers seemed to be good indicators of whether KU won or not. The Jayhawks were 5-2 with an FPA above .500 (.714 winning percentage) and 2-3 with an FPA below .500 (.400 winning percentage).
Though Briscoe doesn't have complete control over FPA (turnovers, special teams and coaching all affect the number quite a bit), it sure looks like KU benefited immensely from him returning kicks. In fact, the Jayhawks' FPA on average increased by .05 (from .485 to .535) in games that he returned kickoffs. Not only that, KU had an impressive FPA (.548) against Missouri when Briscoe returned kicks, when MU was far and away the best Big 12 team in FPA in 2008 (.548).
Yes, it might be a risk to put Briscoe back on kickoffs.
But, after looking into the field-position numbers, Briscoe is too valuable for the Jayhawks to not take that risk.
Much like we did on Media Day, here are the Cliff Notes version of Kansas football coach Mark Mangino's comments at his weekly press conference today.
• KU is still working to get the right players in the right spots.
• Northern Colorado is a team that gives a lot of different looks on offense.
• KU will not be overly concerned with what UNC does on Saturday. Mostly, Mangino says he will have his players compete against themselves.
• On Dezmon Briscoe at kick return: "Dez has made a world of difference back there."
Briscoe should be the starting kick returner Saturday.
• Defensive line and offensive line have been about equal in practice. Neither has consistently dominated the other.
• The game week routine at KU is the same for no matter the opponent.
• Mangino gave no comment on linebacker Justin Springer's injury situation, saying he doesn't discuss injuries.
• On offensive lineman Brad Thorson, who moved from center to guard: "It was a situation where he was doing very well at the center position. ... You just knew that he belonged on the field somewhere."
Mangino said Thorson was still learning some things, but that his switch was a good move for the team, as the coaches want to put the five best offensive linemen on the field.
Talking about how difficult it is to switch from center to guard, Mangino joked: "It would be a lot tougher to go from center to quarterback."
• Jeremiah Hatch is a guy that has a lot of tools and does a good job of getting under defensive linemen. He's becoming more comfortable getting the team in the right protections and right calls.
• Mangino talking about possibly getting backups in the game: "I have to be honest with you: The No. 1 priority is going in there with your 1s and winning the game."
• On Kale Pick: "I think he's been steady. He's been steady everyday."
Mangino said the QB is picking up the little things better and watching tape on his own.
• Mangino would like to get Pick some action against UNC if the game is in hand.
• Mangino said he heard the kids and strength coaches talk highly of receiver Bradley McDougald in the offseason. A few days into practice, Mangino and the coaches realized he was a talented guy. Mangino believes McDougald will adapt to the offense well.
• Mangino said the coaching staff originally moved Tanner Hawkinson to defense out of necessity.
"I'd always had in the back of my mind that he'd be an offensive tackle," Mangino said.
Mangino says he has seen Hawkinson get better everyday, and that his confidence has improved with his repetitions at the position.
• Mangino said though offensive lineman Sal Capra was a linebacker in high school, the coach knew he wasn't going to play that position at KU. The coaches thought maybe be would play on the defensive line at first, but then moved him to offensive line because of need.
"At first it was difficult for him, but he did everything he had to do to make himself a better player," Mangino said. " ... Sal Capra is a guy that I would term a program guy."
A "program guy," Mangino says, is one of the highest compliments that he gives. That means Capra has done everything that the team has asked of him.
"We'd be in trouble without him," Mangino said.
• Special teams have been highly competitive. There will be a lot of personnel changes there from last year. Mangino pinpointed special teams as an area that needed improvement from last season.
"I'm convinced we'll be better," Mangino said.
From time to time, classes at Kansas University or Washburn will ask if they can use our Reader Blogs for their classes.
For instance, during the 2008 elections, a Washburn political science class used one of our blog groups to enable the students to publicly analyze and debate the election's course. This week, we launched another blog group — this one for KU students in a journalism class.
These students are working on a multi-faceted project in coordination with The World Company. For about eight weeks, half the students will be working for our various media outlets. You might see their work right here on LJWorld.com. Or on our sister TV station, KTKA. Or their work could appear in the printed Journal-World, on 6News Lawrence or in our weekly newspapers.
The other half of the students, though, will be working on a project to get detailed, neighborhood-level information on Lawrence. They'll be profiling neighborhood leaders and identifying what information someone new to Old West Lawrence or East Lawrence — among others, for example — would need to become integrated with the neighborhood. They'll be posting a lot of that information to their blogs as they find it: videos of these neighborhoods, links to scheduled meetings and anything else that might be relevant.
Then, about half-way through this fall semester, the students in each group will switch, so you'll see traditional work from each half — and neighborhood-level work from each.
Eventually, we'll roll all that neighborhood information out in integrated, more comprehensive neighborhood sections, probably sometime around the first of the year.
Be sure to let me know what you think — and feel free to comment on the student's blog entries. They'll also be posting regular classwork, which is why some of you may have seen a series of reactions to an article out of Vanity Fair.
Thanks for reading.
[Ed. Note: This is a blog post from four years ago, but I figured it was relevant this week because this shows video of the last Kansas University football victory over Oklahoma on Oct. 4, 1997. What follows is the exact wording from my blog post on Aug. 28, 2009.]
On media day two weeks ago, Kansas coach Mark Mangino said that winning six or seven games per year wasn't what he came to Kansas to accomplish.
The coach hinted that his program needed to take the next step and starting beating top-tier programs — the Oklahomas, Texases and Texas Techs of the Big 12.
So when was the last time that the Jayhawks defeated the Sooners in football?
Let's rewind back to Oct. 4, 1997 — a year when I was in middle school, Bill Clinton was inaugurated for his second term as U.S. president, Titanic debuted in movie theaters and the Florida Marlins, led by MVP Livan Hernandez, defeated the Cleveland Indians in the World Series.
The highlights of KU's 20-17 victory over OU at Memorial Stadium are below. The TV highlights are shown first, and after that, some other game highlights are tacked onto the end.
Because this game is older, and because photos and stories from it are not in the archives our Web site, we're going to go with a little bit of a different formula for this flashback.
I pulled out the microfilm of the Lawrence Journal-World from Oct. 5, 1997, to come up with these notes from the game.
• The victory was actually KU's third straight over OU. That hadn't happened since the 1922-24 seasons.
• After OU's final missed field goal, KU simply knelt-down twice to run out the clock. KU coach Terry Allen went to shake hands, but OU coach John Blake left him empty-handed.
"I don't like to run across the field and not get a handshake," Allen said after the game, "but I'm not throwing stones."
• Tony Blevins' punt return for touchdown in the video was officially 56 yards. Eric Vann's long run, however, was officially 99 yards. At the time, Vann was only the fifth player in NCAA history to have a 99-yard touchdown run, and he was the first to do so since 1977.
As you may know, KU's Gale Sayers also accomplished the feat in 1963 against Nebraska.
• Vann's 99-yard TD run was KU's only first down of the second half. The Jayhawks ran just 13 offensive plays in the game's final 30 minutes.
• This was the last of 95 consecutive seasons that KU and OU played in football. Because of the newly formed Big 12 conference, Oklahoma State was substituted for OU on the schedule in 1998.
• Other KU names of note from this game: Joe Garcia, who kicked a 51-yard field goal; and Dewey Houston III, who blocked OU's final field-goal attempt.
• Blake lasted just one more year as coach at OU. He was with the Sooners three years, from 1996-98.
• The victory improved KU to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the conference. It was only the fourth time out of the previous 30 years that the Jayhawks started the conference season 2-0*. The Jayhawks ended the season 5-6 overall and 3-5 in the Big 12.
OU, meanwhile, fell to 2-3 overall and 0-1 in conference after its loss to KU. The Sooners ended their year at 4-8 overall, 2-6 in conference.
* — KU has started the last two seasons (2007, 2008) 2-0 in the conference.
• The Jayhawks trailed 10-3 at halftime and won despite having fewer yards than the Sooners (334-254). KU also had the ball 10 minutes less than OU (35:27-24:33).
• The final two field-goal attempts caused quite a stir in the OU locker room. The Sooners made a 27-yard field goal attempt to tie the game at 20 but were flagged for an illegal formation penalty for only having six men on the line of scrimmage.
"We made the field goal. We cheered. Then the flag came out," OU coach John Blake said afterwards.
Added OU quarterback Eric Moore: "I didn't see any illegal procedure. I guess that's one of those home things."
• The penalty turned out to be a double-whammy for OU. Because the Sooners faced a fourth-and-1 on their 27-yard field-goal attempt, Allen elected to keep his base defense on the field. After the penalty, though, fourth-and-1 became fourth-and-6, and the Jayhawks substituted to get their field-goal block team on the field.
The unit ended up winning the game for KU.
Open practice No. 2 was Wednesday, and it's probably the last time we'll be able to see the Jayhawks on the field before their Sept. 5 season-opener against Northern Colorado.
Let's get right to the depth charts from what I saw. Here was the depth chart from Aug. 11 if you want to compare.
Left tackle — Tanner Hawkinson
Left guard — Brad Thorson
Center — Jeremiah Hatch
Right guard — Sal Capra
Right tackle — Jeff Spikes
Tight end — Tim Biere
Wide Receiver — Dezmon Briscoe
Wide Receiver — Kerry Meier
Wide Receiver — Johnathan Wilson
Running back — Jake Sharp
Quarterback — Todd Reesing
Others who were with the first team, based on formation — WR Bradley McDougald, RB Toben Opurum.
Obviously, the big news here is that Brad Thorson has moved from backup center to starting left guard. On the last depth chart, Carl Wilson was the starter. I'd heard teammates talk about Thorson performing well in offseason drills, and this looks to be the coaching staff's way of getting him into the lineup. He was with the first string every snap I saw, so if I had to guess, I would say he will be the starter at left guard come Sept. 5.
Also, McDougald and Opurum subbing into the first units tells me that they will most likely be playing as true freshmen.
The running-back depth chart at this point, if you're interested, looks to be Sharp, Opurum, Rell Lewis then Daniel Porter.
Left end — Maxwell Onyegbule
Defensive tackle — Patrick Dorsey
Defensive tackle — Richard Johnson, Jr.
Right end — Jake Laptad
Linebacker — Drew Dudley
Linebacker — Arist Wright
Linebacker — Justin Springer
Defensive back — Daymond Patterson
Defensive back — Anthony Davis
Safety — Justin Thornton
Safety — Darrell Stuckey
Others who were with the first team, based on formation — Safety Chris Harris, LB Steven Johnson, LB Huldon Tharp, DE Jeff Wheeler.
KU coach Mark Mangino mentioned last week that Onyegbule had made progress, and it looks like that improvement has moved him up the depth chart.
Dorsey is definitely a surprise with the first team, though the D-linemen were rotating quite a bit.
The linebacking spots still look to be open as there was quite a bit of substituting there as well. Springer, who has been limited because of injury, had some snaps with the first team, so that should be a positive sign for Kansas fans. Don't know if Angus Quigley is hurt or not, but I didn't see him on any snaps with the first or second units.
Here are the unofficial second teams I had down. Take them with a grain of salt.
Left tackle — Ian Wolfe
Left guard — John Williams
Center — Alex Smith
Right guard — Trevor Marrongelli
Right tackle — Michael Martinovich
Tight end — Ted McNulty
Wide Receiver — Isiah Barfield
Wide Receiver — Reece Petty
Wide Receiver — Chris Omigie
Running back — Rell Lewis
Quarterback — Kerry Meier
Others who were with the second team, based on formation — QB Kale Pick, RB Daniel Porter, WR Willie O'Quinn, TE A.J. Steward.
Left end — Jeff Wheeler
Defensive tackle — Duane Zlatnik
Defensive tackle — Travis Stephens
Right end — Quintin Woods
Linebacker — Vernon Brooks
Linebacker — Steven Johnson
Defensive back — Ryan Murphy
Defensive back — Calvin Rubles
Defensive back — Greg Brown
Safety — Lubbock Smith
Safety — Phillip Strozier
I wasn't able to get down most of the defensive second-team subs, so it's likely I'm leaving out a few folks that were with the second team. I know I saw Steven Foster, a former fullback, play some defensive end, though I can't remember whether it was with the 2s or 3s.
Some notes from the scrimmage at the end of practice:
• Dezmon Briscoe made two spectacular catches, taking in one ball after it was batted up in the air and another with one hand on a bullet pass.
• Freshman Chris Omigie had a highlight-reel catch of his own, snagging a sideline pass with one hand before pinning it to his arm. He also had the presence of mind to make sure he had a foot inbounds.
• Kerry Meier dropped a wide-open pass. Again, something you just don't expect.
• Quintin Woods made an athletic play, knocking a Kale Pick pass up in the air before diving to intercept it himself.
• Pick did have one nice long throw, hitting Raimond Pendleton in stride on a pass about 40 yards downfield.
I've always been one that hates when a team rushes the ball on fourth-and-1 or fourth-and-2.
Is there any worse feeling than seeing a running back get stuffed at the line and immediately thinking, "A pass would have gotten the touchdown easily"?
Well, my friends, let me be the first to admit that I was totally wrong. Bill Connelly has helped to show me the light.
Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows my open love the college basketball site KenPom.com.
So forgive my excitement, because I have found the football equivalent of KenPom: Football Outsiders.*
* — As a side note, I just ordered the PDF version of Football Outsiders Almanac 2009 and have been fascinated by it. For those of you interested in statistical analysis, it's well worth the $12 (or $5 if you just want the college football analysis).
Anyways, Connelly has been posting college football statistical analysis in his Varsity Numbers blog on the site.
On Dec. 26 of last year, Connelly ran all the numbers from the 2008 college football season up to that point to come up with some interesting findings regarding fourth downs.
Here are the fourth-down statistics. Fake punts and fake field-goal attempts are not included.
Run success rate — 73.8%
Pass success rate — 51.0%
Total success rate — 70.1%
Percentage of times that teams ran the ball — 83.6%
Run success rate — 68.3%
Pass success rate — 44.1%
Total success rate — 56.0%
Percentage of times that teams ran the ball — 49.4%
Run success rate — 55.8%
Pass success rate — 51.7%
Total success rate — 53.0%
Percentage of times that teams ran the ball — 32.1%
The data clearly shows that my gut feeling on fourth-and-short was not only wrong, it was way wrong.
In every situation — fourth-and-1, fourth-and-2 and fourth-and-3 — running the ball, statistically, is the correct call. And on fourth-and-1 and fourth-and-2, the numbers aren't even close. Both scenarios see a success rate jump by more than 20 percent when a run is called.
Still, most coaches seem to be stuck like me, hating the thought of a running back getting stuffed at the line and perhaps dreading the second-guessing that will come afterwards. Why else would coaches call passes on 50.6 percent of fourth-and-2s, when overwhelmingly their best chance of success is within a run?
Connelly didn't stop there, though. Here are the success rates for all fourth-down plays:
Fourth-and-4 — 47.5 percent success rate
Fourth-and-5 — 43.2 percent success rate
Fourth-and-6 — 36.0 percent success rate
Fourth-and-7 — 29.0 percent success rate
Fourth-and-8 — 38.6 percent success rate
Fourth-and-9 — 27.9 percent success rate
Fourth-and-10 — 17.7 percent success rate
So, statistically, Kansas had only a 29-percent chance of getting a first down on its fourth-and-7 against Missouri with under a minute remaining last season.
Of course, Todd Reesing and Kerry Meier did one better, not only converting the fourth down, but also securing the game-winning touchdown on the same play.
One more interesting thought presented by Connelly: the idea that a team should almost never kick a field goal from the opponents' 1-yard-line.
The statistics seem to back this up.
Fourth-and-1 from opponent's 1
Run success rate — 69.5%
Pass success rate — 46.2%
Total success rate — 65.3%
Percentage of times that teams ran the ball — 81.9%
Let's assume that every time you score a touchdown, you get the extra point for the full seven points. That would mean that, on average, you will score 4.571 points by going for it on fourth-and-1 (and 4.865 points if you decide to run it).
If you kick an 18-yard field goal, and make 100 percent of the time, you will average 3 points.
Again, there's a time and situation for everything (and I wouldn't advocate going for it if there were three seconds left and my team was trailing by two), but the numbers do seem to indicate that coaches don't go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1 as often as they should.
Thanks to the statistics, I'm starting to second-guess my own second-guessing.
While the search continues for the elusive 1995 Colorado tape, here is a game that was probably just as significant and even more dramatic: KU vs. Iowa State on Nov. 26, 2005.
If you remember, both teams had a lot to play for. ISU just needed to beat KU to earn its first-ever bid into the Big 12 championship game.* The Jayhawks, meanwhile, needed a win to become bowl-eligible.
* — Iowa State, if you were wondering, still has never reached the Big 12 championship game in football. Neither has KU, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.
Not only that, there were whispers that KU coach Mark Mangino might be coaching for his job in that game. Going into the contest, Mangino was 17-29 in his four years at KU and was on the verge of his fourth straight losing season.
If Brian Luke wouldn't have pulled out his Superman cape against the Cyclones, would Mangino still be the coach at KU today? How would history have changed? I guess we'll never know for sure.
Of course, we all know how things turned out. After beating ISU, KU's Jason Swanson did his best Joe Montana impression in the Fort Worth Bowl, throwing for 307 yards and four touchdowns as the Jayhawks rolled Houston, 42-13.
Perhaps the ISU game was the turning point for Mangino and his program. Since then, the coach is 28-12 (.700) at KU, and it's hard to complain about those numbers.
The highlights of the game are below.*
* — Sorry for the poor sound quality. I had to adjust the volume so you could hear some of Kevin Romary and Chip Budde's commentary.
• Wow, those were some ugly throws early from Swanson. It's hard to believe that was the same guy that tore up Houston in the very next game.
• What would a Jayhawk Flashback be without an Aqib Talib interception? Here's hoping he gets everything else sorted out so that we see more of him in the NFL. With the way commissioner Roger Goodell has been cracking down on players lately, I'm guessing Talib might face a suspension of about four games for his most recent off-the-field actions.
• Two really nice throws in a row late by Brian Luke, with both coming in heavy traffic. With KU down 21-14 and just 1:51 remaining, Luke led the Jayhawks on a four-play, 58-yard touchdown drive. Also of note: The touchdown catch was the first reception of Dexton Fields' KU career.
• "Boom goes the dynamite!" I love it. Great call by Chip.
• Just an FYI to avoid confusion: ISU kicker Bret Culbertson's 41-yard field-goal attempt was in the first overtime, not at the end of regulation. His miss gave KU the opportunity to win the game in the first OT with just a field goal.
• Iowa State fell to 7-4 with the loss. Three of the Cyclones' losses came in overtime.
• Coach Mangino on reaching a bowl game: "We just want to play another game. Whoever will have us, we'll come with a smile on our face and gratitude."
• A note from Ryan Wood's notebook: At 6-5 with a bowl game to play, KU was assured of its first non-losing season since joining the Big 12 Conference. The Jayhawks were 10-2 in 1995, then finished below .500 in the nine seasons to follow. That included the 2003 Tangerine Bowl team that finished 6-7 with the bowl-game loss.
The contest was also the final home game for linebackers Banks Floodman, Kevin Kane and Nick Reid.
• As Chip mentioned in the broadcast, the goalposts came down for the third straight home game.
The posts also were knocked over after a 13-3 win over Missouri and a 40-15 triumph over Nebraska.
KU finished with a perfect 6-0 record at home that season.
Bob Novak died today, according to the Associated Press. He was 78. Here is his obituary from the Associated Press:
Political columnist Robert Novak, who was a central figure in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case, has died after a battle with brain cancer.
His wife of 47 years, Geraldine Novak, tells The Associated Press that he died at his home in Washington, D.C. early Tuesday. He was 78.
Novak was long known as the co-host of CNN’s “Crossfire” and had been a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times for decades.
He was diagnosed with a brain tumor in July 2008, less than a week after he struck a pedestrian in downtown Washington with his Corvette and drove away.
In recent years, he was perhaps best-known for being the first to publish Plame’ name. He came under withering criticism and abuse from many for that column, which Novak says began “a long and difficult episode” in his career.
I noticed that we received one comment on last week’s Jayhawk Flashback YouTube video.
This was from the user jfalbe06:
“next flashback should be the cu game where we pulled reesing redshirt.”
Sounds like a plan to me.
This week’s flashback takes us back three years to the game that perhaps changed the entire complexion of the KU football program: The game when KU’s fans were officially introduced to Todd “Sparky” Reesing.
The highlights are below.
• From watching this video, we all should take a moment to appreciate just how far the KU offense has developed under offensive coordinator Ed Warinner. The boo-birds were out early on Adam Barmann in this game (:45), and KU fans went bonkers at the 1:42 mark when Reesing completed a 5-yard out (which, really, should never receive a cheer that long).
Not too long ago, KU labored for completed passes and points in general. The Jayhawks, at times, were painful to watch.
That’s not the case any more, and the KU coaching staff deserves credit for turning things around so quickly.
• Though Reesing received rave reviews after the game for his performance (and deservedly so), it still was far from perfect. The first interception at the the 1:10 mark is ugly, and his fumble at the CU 12 gave a struggling Buffs offense six free points. He also fumbled another time earlier in the second half, though that muff was covered up by Anthony Collins.
Still, in one half, Reesing had 106 passing yards, 90 rushing yards and three combined touchdowns.
• Nice call by Kevin Romary at the 2:30 mark on the quarterback keeper. How did he know?
• Reesing’s run at the 3:30 mark is the highlight I’m sure most KU fans remember from this game. It also seemed to open up the imaginations of KU fans: This kid can run and scramble and throw?
Funny thing is, he might have even turned out better than any KU fan could have hoped on that day.
• Our own Tom Keegan needed just one game to label Reesing as the starter: “What Reesing did in the second half of Kansas University's season-saving 20-15 victory over Colorado at Memorial Stadium killed any notion of a quarterback controversy. The job is his until someone can steal it from him. Period.”
• With the victory, KU improved to 4-0 with its red jerseys.
• Aqib Talib never was one that was shy with his words. After intercepting two passes against CU, the sophomore was his normal outgoing self.
“They gave me a lot of balls,” he said of CU. “They gave me a lot of opportunities to make plays today. I got at least eight or nine balls. I feel like, if a team gives me that many opportunities to make plays, I’m going to make plays.”
“That's on their coach,” Talib added. “It's smart to me. If you ask me, that's very smart. Teams should keep doing it.”
• Quarterback Kerry Meier didn’t play because of a shoulder injury. Darrell Stuckey also made his first career start at safety.
• CU coach Dan Hawkins summed up his team’s performance in four words: “Good defense, no offense.”
• Todd looks kind of young there at the end of the video, huh?
For anyone who's interested, we have posted the full audio of KU football coach Mark Mangino's press conference at media day.
For anyone who is in a hurry, here's a Cliff Notes version of what Mangino had to say.
• The linebacking position still needs a lot of work and still needs a lot of attention. Some of the young guys are putting heat on the veterans.
• One or two of the freshmen receivers will probably be in the rotation this fall.
• The team has a chance to be really good and deep at the running-back position.
• The Jayhawks will have more than five quality offensive linemen.
• Defensive lineman Duane Zlatnik has made lots of improvement, and Mangino is hoping that he will be in the rotation to help the team.
• On linebacker Angus Quigley: “His growth at that position has not been nearly as fast as I’d like for it to be.”
• On the switch to offensive tackle for Darius Parish: “Darius had offensive line written all over him from Day 1.”
Mangino said the team didn't have the defensive line depth to move Parish to O-line last year, but the coach thinks Parish has found a home at offensive tackle.
• On junior-college linebacker Vernon Brooks: “I can’t tell you what impact, if any at all, that he’ll have.” Brooks left camp today to attend to a family emergency, and the coach said he didn't know when the linebacker would be back.
• Junior-college defensive end Quintin Woods is not just a pass-rush guy, but he can also be a good run-stopper, too. He still needs to get stronger, though.
• The coach said that his teams needed to take the next step and win against the OUs, UTs and Texas Techs of the world. “I didn’t come here to be 6-5, 7-4 every year, and everybody just think that’s good.”
• KU's base defensive set is 4-3 (not a 4-2-5), but the team has modified its nickel package.
• On freshman linebacker Huldon Tharp: “He’s going to be out there playing. He has been impressive as a freshman. I think it’s a matter of time before he wins a job. I think we’re just counting the days.”
• Junior linebacker Drew Dudley has done nice things and is improved.
• Linebacker Justin Springer has not gotten a lot of work because of injuries, and the coach can’t tell what he will be able to contribute this year.
• Offensive lineman Ben Lueken had medical considerations, but ultimately decided to leave the program because he wanted a fresh start.
• On punt returns: Daymond Patterson has looked good, Bradley McDougald also will get a chance.
• Dezmon Briscoe will probably do kickoff returns. The coach wants to keep Dez healthy, but if he’s best guy at the position, the team will need him there.
• Cornerback Anthony Davis is much improved and is understanding his position better. He's right there battling for a starting position, and there's a good chance he’ll be one of the starting corners.
• Junior-college running back Daniel Porter has a good attitude and is super serious. He's quick, has good speed, and the coach doesn’t think he will struggle with the transition from junior-college to a Division-I tempo.