Entries from blogs tagged with “ku”
Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self's comments at his weekly press conference today.
• Missouri coach Mike Anderson and Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl do the best job of fitting in their personnel to their philosophies. There are times when teams like that have their leading scorers out of the game, and it's hard to notice. UT didn't play like it was missing players against Charlotte.
• Whatever happens Sunday is not as important as what happens Wednesday. Conference season is more important than non-conference season. The goal every year is to win the conference. The guys will be jacked to play Tennessee, but the more important game will be Wednesday against Nebraska.
• The Big 12 is probably as good as it has been since Self has been here. Texas is as good as any team that Self has seen in the country. Texas Tech has been surprising, and not many people will want to play Missouri.
• In blowouts, Sherron Collins doesn't have to take over. Collins misses being "the guy" every day. Collins has sacrificed more this year than everyone else on the team put together. He's done a good job of making others better, but he needs to take a greater load from here on out.
• The Jayhawks didn't run great offense the other night, but whether you get a guarded shot or an open shot, the point is it has to go in. A lot of Collins' guarded shots were going in. The other night was a good win against Cornell. Against North Dakota State and Dayton last year, two players (Collins and Aldrich) won the games individually for KU. That scenario will probably happen again this year. Collins has to put KU on his back if need be.
• Last year's Tennessee game was a breakthrough game. It gave the players some confidence, because the Volunteers were loaded. That KU team was trying to find itself.
• Tennessee didn't press much against Charlotte. They're the best team in America at keeping opponents from getting the ball inbounds. The Jayhawks struggled against the Vols in that area last year.
• Self hopes that Missouri does not go to the Big Ten, because it would take away something if the teams only played once a year in November or December. But if Missouri leaves, it leaves. If Mizzou left, another high-quality school would want into the Big 12.
• Tyrel Reed has improved a lot. His ball-handling and defense have gotten better. He doesn't look to shoot as much as he should, but he's efficient. His role is similar to last year's. He's more of a two-guard than a point guard, but his handles have gotten better. The Cornell game meant a lot to Reed, because it was against one of his high school teammates. He's competitive. He hates to screw up at anything, and he's too hard on himself. He can dwell on what he doesn't do at times. He will fight to please.
• Self will start Tweeting next week. He's learning this week. He has a password right now, but that's about it.
We gave you a challenge and you came through.
Some of you, anyway. Five of KUsports.com's best fans created videos re-enacting that famous shot from April 2008. Some took the idea literally, others went for something abstract. All five contestants, though, put their own stamp on what was one of the biggest moments in KU basketball history.
In order to vote for the best video, you must be a registered user of KUsports.com. Your vote will count for 1/3rd of the total points awarded to each video. The video that receives the most points from our judges wins a TV from Kief's Audio/Video of Lawrence. There are — of course — other awesome prizes as well.
It's an easy formula. Snowman + picture + e-mail = sled
LJWorld.com, the Lawrence Journal-World and Sunflower Broadband's 6News will give a sled to the person who sends us the best picture of a local snowman.
With all the snow from this weekend, there's bound to be snowmen on area lawns. If you're one of the snowmen creators, take a picture and send it to us.
The contest runs from now until 11:59 p.m. CT Friday, Jan. 1, 2010. The winner will be selected from all entrants by 6News Chief Meteorologist Matt Elwell and myself, online editor Jonathan Kealing.
The time has nearly come. In just a few short hours, we'll start reviewing your creations in the Recreate the Shot contest.
We've received several submissions, but we're still hoping for more. And there's time. Deadline to submit your videos to us is 11:59 CT tonight.
If you find yourself with lots of time on your hands today and want to start from scratch, there's probably time for that too. Just make sure you read the complete rules first.
So get your videos in. The clock is ticking.
Last year, LJWorld.com started tracking Santa's journey toward Kansas for the first time.
This year, we continue the tradition. Beginning about 8 p.m. tonight, by logging onto LJWorld.com, you'll be able to see Santa's progress as he delivers Christmas presents to all the good boys and girls.
We do this with the help of our friends at NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense command, who have been tracking Santa's journey on Christmas Eve for more than 50 years.
As of my writing, Santa had just cruised out of Perth, Australia, where NOAA caught this video:
Make sure to check back after 8 p.m. to see Santa get closer to Kansas.
Over the weekend, we quietly introduced a new feature to our comment threads.
It's one we hope NOT to use often but one that we expect will have a big impact when we do. We recently finished work on what we're calling "moderated comments." In certain, select, circumstances, it allows us to pre-approve comments before they go live on our site.
On the story this weekend about two women who fell off a retaining wall, we enabled moderated comments. We didn't, however, turn it on as soon as I would have liked. Part of using this new technology will be figuring out when we want to use it.
Off the bat, I can tell you we're extremely likely to use it when we're dealing with a story that is about someone who may be fighting for their life. We're also likely to use it when we write a story that could lead to comments attacking children. I can also tell you we're extremely unlikely to use it when we would be the target of criticism. In fact, as you can see from our guidelines , correcting misinformation in a story or providing context to our reporting is a category of information we want to encourage.
Ultimately, our goal is to continue to encourage the free exchange of ideas that our comment threads are known for, but also limit the types of damaging, hurtful comments that often come from accidents or crimes. We hope to use this feature once a week or less. If you have questions or comments on the new feature — or on when and how we should use it — please leave a comment below or contact me directly
A couple weeks ago we introduced you to the Recreate The Shot contest.
We're about halfway through the contest period and we wanted to make sure you were still thinking about how you could go about recreating that famous shot from the 2008 National Championship game. In so doing, you have the chance to win a really sweet TV from Kief's Audio/Video.
Once you're done with your video, be sure to drop us the link and fill out the entry form.
We're still looking for good entries. It's not too late to get your video in.
Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self's comments at his weekly press conference today.
• Michigan has lost a couple of tough games. The Wolverines are definitely a team that has a chance to be a top-25, top-20 type team. Their guard Manny Harris probably doesn't get as much respect nationally as he deserves.
• Michigan will play some zone, including a 1-3-1 and 2-3 zone. The 1-3-1 zone is a staple of coach John Beilein's teams.
• Brady Morningstar will play Saturday. Jeff Withey might not. Self just isn't comfortable with Withey yet, as the big man hasn't been able to practice for the last seven weeks. That's not a knock to him, but there's not many coaches that would give players a lot of minutes when they've missed that much practice.
• Morningstar and Xavier Henry can play a lot together. The combinations of guards don't matter much as long as Self has a point guard on the floor. Morningstar could play a lot with Tyshawn Taylor as well.
• Self thinks Morningstar has grown up a lot as a result of the suspension. KU's players now realize the consequences of their actions from an individual basis are probably greater than they assumed. The experience has been humiliating and disappointing for Morningstar, but Self said he's handled it beautifully. It's tough when both of Morningstar's parents live in the community, too. Brady's a winner, Self said. The coach thinks Morningstar will be a better man because of the incident/suspension.
• Self doesn't know if Morningstar is a better player than he was last year, because practice is a lot different than games. It's a lot easier to play on the red team (KU's second team in practice) than it is the blue team (first team). Self would like to think Morningstar is a better player, but Self needs to see Morningstar in a game before saying that is the case. Self thinks Morningstar will probably be better, though.
• Morningstar will be put defensively on Manny Harris when he's in the game.
• Tyshawn Taylor will start over Elijah Johnson against Michigan.
• Self believes this is KU's first true home game. He would like to see great energy from the fieldhouse.
• Self will remind his guys that KU is 0-5 against Michigan.
Before you make any judgment on KU's hiring of Turner Gill, do yourself a favor and watch this ESPN Outside the Lines special on Gill.
We're in the midst of big changes to how we cover health in our community.
In the big picture, it's less about us and more about you. Less, "we talk, you listen," more, "let's start a conversation." As part of that process, we have an interim health site up and running right now. Journal-World reporter Karrey Britt took the plunge into the digital space to be our lead reporter on the health project, which will ultimately become a new site we're calling HealthCommons. We hope to unveil it in early 2010.
In the meantime, Karrey's working to try out techniques on LJWorld.com that we will want to use on our new health site. In recent weeks, you might have seen her tweeting live from an event, or encouraging other reporters and the community to post personal stories of encounters with the health system and trying to find tips and information you'd never expect from a newspaper to share with you.
We also have formed a series of advisory groups that will help us determine what is and isn't the right content for our health site. You'll soon see this group of community members blogging on our Web site. Part of our advisory group meeting this week was a discussion about the proposed healthcare legislation before Congress. It was an active discussion with people expressing very passionate opinions about whether it was the right or wrong change to our healthcare system.
So, when a couple of legislators put out two press releases about that very legislation, Karrey knew it was something that would prompt a very active online conversation. That was part of her goal — which is a primary goal of our new site — to prompt people to have a conversation. In that sense, posting the press releases was 100 percent successful.
But where we failed was in not explaining what our goal was with this; not to pass professional politician's talking points as a verified news story, but rather to give people a place from which they could start a conversation. And to let people know what the politicians who represent them are thinking and — probably more importantly — saying. If you disagree with their opinions; if you think that the current healthcare system is broken and needs help, we want you to know who you should be talking to. But we didn't really explain any of that to you.
So, what have we learned? We've learned that we need to be even more transparent with you. Part of our goal with our new HealthCommons site will be to create a trusted place where you can get the facts and have a conversation about how we can be a healthier community.
Practically, for us, that means we'll probably do more explaining, summarizing and linking to press releases, and less straight posting of politician's talking points. We'll also try to do a better job of letting both sides of the debate know what we're doing. If you're pro the new bill, we want to let people know where to find your opinions. If you're anti, there's a place for you too.
Ultimately, that's what has to be at the heart of our new site, and the heart of what we deliver you: trusted information, balanced opinions and a place for respectful conversations that lead to a healthier Lawrence and a healthier Northeast Kansas.
Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self's comments at his weekly press conference today.
• Tyshawn Taylor made some shots against Tennessee Tech. He's back to shooting 44 percent from three. He played better. He can guard better, but it was good for him to have the lid come off the basket.
• Xavier Henry is ready to shoulder a load on this team as well as any freshman has been able to do so far in Self's tenure.
• Sherron Collins can guard better. So can the whole team. Against Memphis, KU was outstanding defensively. The team has to get back to playing that way. The faster KU plays, the looser it has been defensively.
• It's human nature to see a lopsided scoreboard and take it easier defensively. The great teams don't do that.
• KU's non-conference schedule is about to get tougher. From this point forward, KU's non-conference slate will be about as tough as any team's in the country.
• The team took Monday off, as a couple guys were beat up and a couple of guys were run down.
• Self likes to schedule five to six non-conference games against high-major teams. Self isn't going to apologize for his team's non-con schedule so far, especially because four of those games were part of one tournament.
• Self isn't upset that his team hasn't had more road games so far. KU has plenty of road games coming up.
• The main thing Self hopes to see against Alcorn State is his team getting better. Self thinks a lot of time, players get more out of practices than games.
• One of the improvements Self would like to see is for his team to pressure the ball defensively without getting beat. Self also would like to see better rebounding. KU should be a better rebounding team. With a lot of blocks and steals, though, there are less opportunities for rebounds. KU's rebounding numbers are not good, but they are probably better than the statistics look right now.
• Self saves a lot of his team's "best stuff" and best sets for later in the season so that his players get down the fundamentals first and understand the offensive and defensive basics before they start executing more complex schemes.
• As a coach, if you're worried about being ranked No. 1, you're trying to hold on to something instead of trying to take something. Self prefers to go and take something.
• Self hopes his players don't think about their No. 1 ranking much, because it's not a big deal. It's an irrelevant thing.
• After being asked if the No. 1 ranking means something in recruiting, Self had the quip of the day: "Obviously not recently." Most of the reporters laughed, understanding the obvious reference to Bradley Beal choosing Florida over Kansas on Tuesday.
• Aldrich was better against Tennessee Tech, but Self said the big man had not played to his capabilities or potential so far this season.
• The Big 12 has been pretty good so far, according to Self. Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Iowa State have been pleasant surprises.
• Xavier is more advanced than Self thought he would be. Xavier is a smart player, he likes to learn and he's picking up things quickly. Xavier has bought in. It's been new for him to go from a situation his whole life where a bad shot for him was better than a good shot for teammates. Now, a marginal shot for him is not as good as an open shot for the guy next to him. You don't want to take away his aggressiveness, but it is different for him now.
• Self says the team has to understand that it needs to play offensively through Aldrich and Collins.
One day in November, we were sitting around wondering what we could do that would be a cool, fun way to reward you, our awesome users, for visiting us at KUsports.com.
Slowly, after many false starts and bad ideas, we hit on this.
To make a long story short, we want you all to recreate THE SHOT. You know the one I'm talking about, right? The Shot. The important one. From April 2008. Yeah, that one. Do you have it yet?
OK, good. Now, I know lots of you know how to use iMovie, and some of you are probably wizards with the Final Cut as well. But this challenge is going to be a little bit more difficult.
First, you can't use any photos, video or anything else that has the likeness of any current or former KU player or coach. Sure, that's a concession to the folks in our legal department (OK, we don't really have a legal department, but it's still a concession to The Law), but think of it as an extra special challenge. The entry must be precisely as long as the example video on the complete rules page: 1:05. No longer, no shorter. You also have to incorporate our site logo in there somehow.
What? You thought we weren't going to squeeze ourselves in there some way?
It's a big challenge. We know. But with a big challenge comes a big reward. This time, we're giving away a 1.5-inch thin, $2,000, 32-inch, HD TV from Kief's Audio Visual in Lawrence. We're also giving away a pair of men's basketball tickets to the runner-up, and a free buffet from Prairie Band Casino to everyone who enters.
So there it is. You have until Dec. 28 to put your video together. Get creative. Use videogames. Claymation. Who knows? The sky's the limit. Before you get started though, kindly read the full rules.
Once you've done that, got your video created, post it to YouTube and drop us the link.
From the sounds of it, Kansas coach Mark Mangino believes his Kansas team is a near-lock to make a bowl game if it defeats Missouri on Saturday.
“Everything I’m hearing from my sources, which I think are pretty credible, (tells) me that 6-6, for us in the Big 12, would qualify for a bowl,” Mangino said Tuesday.
Is it that simple for the Jayhawks, though?
According to Bob Burda, the Big 12’s assistant commissioner in charge of communications, the Jayhawks perhaps aren’t a slam dunk to qualify for a bowl even if they picked up their sixth victory.
Let’s start with the scenario that would 100 percent put the Jayhawks in a bowl game: If KU picked up its sixth win and two Big 12 teams also qualified for BCS bowls.
The Big 12 conference receives seven automatic bids to non-BCS bowls. If KU picked up its sixth victory this weekend, it would be the ninth bowl-eligible Big 12 team.
So the math is simple. If two Big 12 teams make BCS bowls, then seven Big 12 teams are left for the other seven bowls.
If only one Big 12 team makes a BCS bowl, though, then the other eight bowl-eligible teams would be left to fight it out for the final seven spots. More on that a little later.
So what would need to happen for the Big 12 to get two teams in the BCS? It could actually occur two different ways.
If Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma on Saturday, then most likely the Big 12 would get both Texas and Oklahoma State into BCS bowls, as both would currently have BCS rankings in the top 12.
There’s another zanier way for the Big 12 to get two teams in the BCS: if Texas lost to Nebraska in the Big 12 championship game. In that scenario, Nebraska would get an automatic berth into the Fiesta Bowl as the Big 12 championship game winner, and Texas would still most likely receive an at-large BCS berth with only one loss.
What should be scary for KU fans is another likely scenario that would only put Texas in a BCS bowl.
If UT wins against Nebraska, and Oklahoma State loses to Oklahoma on Saturday (OU opened as a 9 1/2-point favorite; another way of looking at this is that Vegas believed if the two teams played four games, OSU would approximately win once), then Texas would be the only Big 12 team eligible to play in a BCS bowl, as BCS bowl teams have to finish 14th or better in the final BCS poll. Oklahoma State, which is currently 12th in the BCS, would likely drop more than two spots with a loss to OU.
So, let's say OSU has a 25-percent chance of beating OU on Saturday*. And let’s say Nebraska has a 10-percent chance of beating Texas in the Big 12 championship (though that number might be a bit optimistic).
Assuming those numbers and probabilities, the Big 12 would have two BCS teams in 13 of 40 possible outcomes. That would give KU a 32.5 percent chance of being assured a bowl game.
That’s hardly a slam dunk.
* — The line has since moved to OU being an eight-point favorite, so perhaps you can bump the numbers up a couple percentage points.
There are other scenarios, of course, but they’re much more risky. If KU did pick up its sixth win, it would be fighting for the Big 12’s final two bowl slots with Texas A&M and Iowa State (assuming OU beats OSU). The two final bowls with Big 12 ties are the Independence Bowl (Shreveport, La.) and the Texas Bowl (Houston, Texas).
It would be hard to imagine a bowl not taking Texas A&M, especially with its devoted football fans.
Iowa State also would be a compelling draw, as the Cyclones haven’t played in a bowl game since 2005. A bowl game also could provide a nice reward (and extra month of practice) for first-year coach Paul Rhoads.
Consider this as well: If the Independence Bowl took ISU, the Texas Bowl would jump at the chance to take A&M, as College Station and Houston are less than 100 miles apart*.
* — And, this is pure speculation on my part, but I guess it’s possible the two bowls could come to a gentleman’s agreement to allow the Texas Bowl to take Texas A&M.
KU’s only hope here would be for the Independence Bowl to take Texas A&M and then have the Texas Bowl decide between KU and ISU.
Even then, it might not work out for KU. Everyone saw two years ago how important an athletic director can be in this process, as Lew Perkins helped convinced the Orange Bowl to take Kansas over Missouri even though MU had defeated KU a few weeks earlier.
Would Perkins be willing to go to bat for this year’s team? Especially when the Jayhawks might fire their coach in the next few weeks?
KU’s only other hope would be to grab an at-large bid from a lower-level bowl that is affiliated with a conference that can’t fill all its bowl slots.
The chances here aren’t great, either*.
Burda says that two bowls for sure will have an at-large spot available, and based on the rest of the season’s results, there could be the potential for two to four more spots to open up.
When picking at-large teams, though, bowls are required to take teams with seven or eight wins before they take six-win teams.
Middle Tennessee State (8-3) and Northern Illinois (7-4) will automatically take two of those at-large spots.
Here are some other six-win teams that could help their bowl chances with another win this weekend: Bowling Green, UCLA, Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe.
If those teams win this weekend, they would automatically move in front of KU in the bowl pecking order by getting to seven wins.
Here’s another problem for KU: Notre Dame (6-5) will not qualify for the BCS and will clog up another at-large bid. Even if the Fighting Irish are 6-6, you can bet they will be the first ones chosen among any six-win teams.
KU also has to worry about another group: those teams that have five wins now but could still pick up their sixth win.
According to Burda, as of today, there are 69 bowl-eligible teams and 68 bowl slots. There also is the potential for nine more teams to become bowl eligible. They are: Kansas (5-6), Toledo (5-6), Kent State (5-6), UAB (5-6), Wyoming (5-6), Hawaii (5-6), Duke (5-6), Army (5-6) and UConn (5-5 with two games left).
So even if an at-large spot was available for a six-win team, KU potentially could be competing against the six-win teams above (most notably UCLA) and also the five-win teams above that get to six wins. UConn could even get to seven wins, which would allow the Huskies to leapfrog the Jayhawks for an at-large bid.
It’s not impossible for KU to sneak in, as ESPN’s Bruce Feldman has KU as an at-large team in the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho, in his latest bowl projections.
After breaking it all down, though, a whole lot would have to go right in the final two weeks for a six-win team like KU to have a chance at an at-large bowl. And even then, the Jayhawks would have to be chosen over a team like UCLA and probably would have to make a great pitch to get themselves in a bowl.
* — I posted this two weeks ago in the comments section of one of my blogs: “Other bowls have spots to fill because some conferences do not have enough bowl-eligible teams. If KU goes 6-6, it will 100 percent go to a bowl.” Yep, I was wrong, too. Can I get a retraction?
The point is this: KU fans wanting their team to make a bowl need to cheer their hearts out Saturday for the Jayhawks at 2:30 p.m.
But they also need to make sure to cheer for the Oklahoma State Cowboys at 11:30 a.m.
Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas football coach Mark Mangino's comments at his press conference today.
• Players of the game, voted on by the coaching staff: Offense: Dezmon Briscoe; Defense: Justin Thornton; Special teams: Dezmon Briscoe; Offensive scout team: Receiver Reece Petty; Defensive scout team: Defensive end Shane Smith.
• KU did all it could to compete with Texas, but UT was just the better team.
• Mangino says he believes he has had a good working relationship with athletic director Lew Perkins.
• After being asked if he would want to coach at KU going forward, Mangino said that he has a lot of hard work invested into Kansas. Players have made great investments and assistant coaches have great investments. Mangino has put every waking moment of his life into this football program. When he's not at work, he's still at work. He's put his heart and soul into this program.
• Mangino says he has had overwhelming support from players, fans, coaches on his team, coaches on other teams and complete strangers. Mangino has received lots of emails and text messages in the last week. Mangino regrets that he can't return all of the messages yet because he's focused on Missouri. Some players that have contacted Mangino are Marcus Henry, Nick Reid, Brandon McAnderson and Charles Gordon. Mangino thinks he's appreciated by a lot of people. He just doesn't know who everybody is that appreciates him.
• Mangino on whether he believes this is his last game: "No. I'm coaching, and I'm focused on coaching," Mangino said. He says he's focused on Missouri. The preparation is all the same. The coach is moving full-speed ahead.
• If Mangino's tenure here is based only on the MU game, that would be a sad day for everyone.
• Mangino thinks the players believe in what the coaches are doing. The seniors still have a chance to leave a legacy with three straight bowl games. The kids aren't distracted. They won't be. They understand all the hard work invested can still pay off by winning against MU.
• One of Mangino's regrets about the situation is that not many people in the media wrote about Todd Reesing's return to Austin, Texas, last week. He thinks many people missed an opportunity to write about a great player returning home last week.
• Mangino said KU is not going to take MU lightly. "We're not fools," Mangino said. From everything he's heard, six wins would get KU into a bowl.
• MU's offense is unique and gives teams trouble. The Tigers give you a lot of different looks, and you have to prepare for a lot of different things.
• Safety Lubbock Smith is day-to-day. It will probably be a gametime decision.
• Mangino says he and Todd Reesing have had a great time at KU together. Mangino has enjoyed being around Reesing and his wit. "He's a wonderful kid," Mangino said. Reesing's a smart guy, and the two occasionally talk about economics and the market. The coach would love to see Reesing go out in style this weekend.
• Arrowhead Stadium is a great atmosphere, though it's not necessarily a true college football atmosphere. When you win the game, you think it's a good idea to play in Arrowhead. When you lose the game, you think it's a bad idea. That's the way coaches think.
• Mangino sees two talented young men in quarterbacks Kale Pick and Jordan Webb. Both are bright guys. They've both watched Reesing closely and have learned things from him.
• Kerry Meier is a phenomenal player and person. Kerry is a unique individual. He possesses traits that you don't normally see in a college student. He's a guy that like to give and also is unselfish. Mangino tells his players all the time that he can't always remember former players' stats, but he does remember their character. And Meier will be remembered for a long time. Mangino won't remember the number of catches that Meier had, but he will remember his character.
• Darrell Stuckey has made the most of his ability. KU was his only Division-I offer. He's another guy that reaches out to others. Who knows what the final record of this team will be, but the character of the players is what will mean the most to Mangino.
• Xavier Henry's scoring numbers are not inflated, but he did have a big game where he scored 27. Self isn't surprised at all by the scoring. Xavier has a chance to lead KU in scoring in every game.
• Self has been really pleased with Sherron Collins. So much of postseason accolades is based on statistics. Collins doesn't buy into that. He's only taken 14 shots in the last two games, and that's pretty unselfish.
• Brady Morningstar has been only back in practice for a week, but he's looked good. The offense has flowed well with him. Jeff Withey (still injured) is an unknown. Self doesn't know what to expect from him.
• Self says KU is not good at rebounding. The Jayhawks did well rebounding against Memphis, but they didn't do well against Central Arkansas. Cole Aldrich has to become better this season at rebounding. KU needs 10 rebounds out of him per game. KU has the pieces to become a good rebounding team, but the team hasn't done it yet.
• Oakland is up as a program and it should be up. The team returns nearly everybody, and it returns a 26-year coach. It's always a team that can beat some highly rated programs because it schedules well. Oakland lost a close game to North Dakota State in the Summit League championship game last year. The challenge could be comparable to what Memphis was. Self will tell the team that Oakland has a history of beating highly ranked teams.
• Self doesn't know C.J. Henry's role. C.J.'s been doing well in practice, but he hasn't had enough repetitions to know what the future holds for him. He's going to have to get comfortable in a lot of areas before a role is defined for him.
• Tyshawn Taylor hasn't played as well as the coaching staff had anticipated him playing, but he hasn't played poorly. Lots of players have gotten off to slow starts, and if you make shots, your whole game looks better. Taylor is a really good player, and he'll play better. The coaches have confidence in him.
• Brady Morningstar hadn't gotten first-team reps in practice until two days ago. The offense flows with him in because he knows how to move the ball and also because he can hit open threes.
• Self went to the National Collegiate hall of fame inductions of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson on Sunday in Kansas City, Mo. Self saw how much joy that they had when the open man took the open shot. KU's guys don't think selfishly, but Self doesn't think they understand how much fun things can be when they don't care who gets the credit. The team two years ago "got it," but this year's team isn't there yet. Morningstar is a guy that "gets it," though.
• Self tries to recruit the best players possible. You need blend guys, though — guys that allow other players to be as good as they can be.
• To score in the post at KU, the post players have to score before they get the ball — they have to score by getting good positioning. If players don't have that positioning, the ball needs to continue to move. Before you catch it, you know if you're open or not. If you're not, the ball needs to move.
• Teams are harder to guard when you have five guys to defend rather than two guys to defend. The 2007-08 team was like that. One game against Nebraska, Mario Chalmers didn't take a shot in the first 30 minutes, and Self told him to look for his shot. Chalmers said to the coach, "It's not me tonight." Self said, in that circumstance, Chalmers understood how the offense should work. Last year, Self didn't care that the ball "stuck," as long as it stuck in two guys' hands (Collins, Aldrich). This year, with the talent KU has, the ball should move more.
• Conner Teahan has gotten a lot better. How much he plays remains to be seen. Self has confidence in him out there.
A big part of my job involves meetings. Meetings about what we can do to make our Web site better for all of you, meetings about what sort of content we should be creating, meetings about how we'll cover the Turnpike bridges coming down and even meetings about our new health project.
But a strange thing happened Thursday; almost all my meetings were canceled. So I spent my day working with the Federal Cash for Clunkers database and looking at what vehicles were purchased in Lawrence and in other select communities in northeast Kansas.
First, let me say, the database does not seem to be exceedingly accurate. For example, according to the data, a 2000 Nissan Xterra with 1,257,367 miles on it was traded in for a 2009 Honda Civic at Jack Ellena Honda.
Don't get me wrong. I don't doubt a 2000 Xterra was traded for a brand-new Civic. But more than one million miles in 10 years? Please. Typo!
And in another extreme, a 1984 Chevrolet C10 truck with just 15,586 miles, was traded for a 2009 Nissan Frontier at Briggs Nissan. Of course, it's possible that a person bought this car 26 years ago and basically left it in the garage. Doubtful though that he or she would then trade it in as part of Cash for Clunkers.
Here are some other goodies, and even some graphs that I've already put together.
This first graph looks at the total number of miles on the cars taken off the street at each dealer in Lawrence. Keep in mind, that big, million mile Xterra turned in at Jack Ellena.
And this graph examines the MSRP of the all the new vehicles purchased as part of a Cash for Clunkers transaction in the state of Kansas. You can see millions of dollars in sales were generated at least in relation to this program.
Some other facts: Of seven dealers in Lawrence that reported a total 306 sales in Cash for Clunkers transactions, here's how many sales they each made:
- Briggs Nissan-Subaru: 38
- Dale Willey Pontiac-Buick-Cadillac-GMC: 21
- Jack Ellena Honda 50
- Jim Clark Volkswagen: 5
- Laird Noller Ford-Lincoln-Mercury-Mazda-Mitsubishi-Hyundai: 75
- Crown Toyota Scion Chevrolet: 117
And, what was the most popular car to be purchased as part of Cash for Clunkers in Lawrence? That would be a tie between Hyundai Accents (27/33 mpg) from Laird Noller and Honda Civics (24/31 mpg) from Jack Ellena. The data shows 18 of each sold, including one Civic Hybrid, which would get higher gas mileage.
Surprisingly, the data shows only two hybrids were sold as part of the program in Lawrence: the aforementioned Civic and a Ford Fusion.
I've got a lot more numbers that I'm still making sense of, but I want to know what you want to know. What's the most interesting statistic for you, in terms of Cash for Clunkers. Is it how much in sales (at least at MSRP) that each dealer brought in? Or is it why the data is so inaccurate? Or is it a story about that million-mile Xterra? Let me know what you think. Or if you were one of the folks who traded in an old clunker for a slick new ride, I want to talk to you too.
Or, if you've got a good eye and some experience with databases, I'm making all of my Lawrence data available as a .csv file. If you see something interesting in there that I might have missed, post a comment here or drop me a note.
Look for more on this story in the next few days.
Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas football coach Mark Mangino's comments at his press conference today.
• Players of the game, voted on by the coaching staff: Offense: Dezmon Briscoe; Defense: Chris Harris; Special teams: Darrell Stuckey; Offensive scout team: Running back Deshaun Sands; Defensive scout team: Safety Brian Blackwell.
• Last week's game was a case where KU made mistakes and Kansas State did not. The team with the fewest mistakes usually wins.
• Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh is as fundamentally sound of a football player as there is in the conference. He's strong and quick and is hard to get off his feet. He's a smart player, and he's hard to fool with blocking schemes.
• KU didn't change its offense in the second half against KSU. The Jayhawks didn't play more conservatively because of the three first-half turnovers.
• Mangino thinks the offensive line needs a leader to emerge.
• Mangino is not going to try to push Toben Opurum too hard, because he is just a freshman.
• Right now, KU has to focus on today. Therefore, Brad Thorson gives KU the best chance to win at right tackle for these games. His best position will be reassessed in the offseason.
• Daymond Patterson didn't play Saturday partly because he's banged up, but partly because other guys have stepped up at cornerback. Mangino is thinking of the now, so he won't examine a potential position change for Patterson back to receiver until the offseason.
• Through the years when KU has had a tough spell, the team has stayed the course. The team keeps its same routine and keeps encouraging players. When you take drastic measures during a tough time, players start to question if the coach is panicking.
• Defenses are catching up to offenses. Mangino says you could see it coming. The coach says he started to see it toward the middle of last year. An observation the coach has had is that more and more teams are fading out of the spread offense. There are more bunched formations and more two tight-end formations. When you're throwing the ball, a lot of bad things can happen. There are great things that can happen, as KU has seen in the past, but many teams are becoming more conservative. KU will continue to function out of its spread set, even though the team has tried different looks. Mangino says the spread isn't dead, but teams are adjusting. Football is always going to change. It goes in cycles. It's like old clothes — hold on to them and they'll come back in style.
• Mangino is still comfortable with his spread offense. He isn't ready to abandon it just yet. KU is still going to throw the football. The coaches thinks it fits KU right now, with the personnel it has.
• Mangino knew the spread wouldn't last forever, but it's surprising to some degree how quickly more teams are going to bigger personnel formations. People want to be able to control the clock. A lot of teams want balance to their balance. When you're spread out, you have to have some talented guys to run the ball effectively.
• The coaches thought the time was right to get Anthony Davis back on the field. He has some talent. He's fast and strong and has good hip movement. Davis worked with the scout team for a few weeks, and Mangino likes the way he looks right now.
• If C.J. Henry was healthy, he would have played the same minutes as the other guys Tuesday. He needs to be out there to gain confidence. Self is hopeful C.J. will be out there for the next exhibition game. Self is a little bit concerned about the injury because C.J. needs to get out there to get in a rhythm. Self isn't concerned about C.J.'s long-term health, though.
• Tyshawn Taylor will probably start next Tuesday, but Markieff Morris has been playing well. Markieff is probably the most improved player KU has.
• Self wants be able to give Marcus Morris the opportunity to play on the perimeter. KU can be a big team if it wants to be. The "big" team could be a pretty good zone defensive team (the rotation that had Xavier Henry playing at the two and Marcus at the three).
• Tyhsawn will be fine, but he goes through times when he's careless.
• C.J.'s injury situation doesn't affect Mario Little, Travis Releford or Conner Teahan's red-shirt possibilities.
• Self and the players will probably decide Monday about red-shirts.
• All the guys want to play, but the reality is, some of them might be better with another year's experience. If you're a good player, and the deck's stacked against you and you feel like you are the odd man out, then red-shirting is not a bad scenario.
• The future is, 'What are we're going to do this weekend?' for a lot of college kids, so it is sometimes tough to get them to think about a year from now.
• Self thought a month ago Elijah Johnson was a definite redshirt candidate. Self doesn't see that now. He didn't expect Johnson to impact the program the way he has this quickly.
• Markieff's body has changed. He's put on 30 pounds. He's confident. Self's son even commented that Markieff dunked on his first attempt when he didn't dunk much last year. Cole Aldrich might not get as many rebounds because he'll be more contested by his teammates. Markieff has a good feel for the game.
• Self thinks the twins have the chance to be really good players. From a fan's perspective, Self thinks those guys could be frustrating to watch last year because they were inconsistent. Early in Julian Wright, Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers' careers, they were also inconsistent as well. Self thinks perhaps the Morris twins had too much expected of them last year.
• Self see Tyrel Reed's role as being one that he can make shots and make big shots. Reed also tries so hard and cares so much. Reed is an unbelievable leader for KU's players. Everybody respects Tyrel. There's no way you can play here and not respect his effort. KU fans should respect everything he does because he tries so hard. Self sees his role as comparable to last year, but perhaps with a few more minutes, especially early in the season. The coach doesn't know for sure, though, as it's too early to tell exactly what guys' roles will be.
• Self thinks some of the new recruiting rules are favorable and rules that all coaches would agree with. Some rules need to be tweaked, especially regarding summer camps. The thought is good, but some tweaking need to be done. With the current rules, Self couldn't bring in any coaches to speak at camp.
• KU needs to get Aldrich more shots. Self thinks a different way, though, in that instead of more shot attempts, KU needs to get Aldrich more touches. He needs to have double-digit shot attempts each game.
Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas football coach Mark Mangino's comments at his press conference today.
• Players of the game, voted on by the coaching staff: Offense: No selection; Defense: Arist Wright; Special teams: Alonso Rojas; Offensive scout team: Offensive lineman Joe Semple; Defensive scout team: Linebacker Chea Peterman.
• Mangino still thinks his team squandered a good defensive effort against Texas Tech. The coach is very pleased with the progression of his defense.
• The offense's problems are numerous, including poor blocking on the perimeter, bad decision-making by players and drops by receivers.
• Mangino thinks "you guys" (the media) make Todd Reesing's benching a big deal. It's not a big deal. It was the appropriate thing to do to take him out of the game against Texas Tech.
• The coach doesn't think you can look at the North standings. You have to look at yourself. The Jayhawks need a win more than they need to get caught up in the standings. This KU-KSU game is an important game because it's an in-state rival. To Kansans, this is one of the biggest sporting events in the state.
• In Mangino's world, benching a quarterback is the same as benching any other player. KU has 11 players on the field and all are asked to do specific things. When he goes into a house to recruit, Mangino doesn't tell parents he'll treat quarterbacks different from right guards.
• Hard work and teaching fundamentals will be the key to get the offensive line back to playing better. The coaches will just go back to teaching all the little things that are important.
• Quinton Woods is learning to use his hands. He's relied on his speed and quickness prior to coming to KU. He's learning how to gain leverage and learning how to make moves instead of running around people.
• Kansas State is back to playing basic football. The Wildcats are not really flashy. KSU doesn't leave anything to chance. Everything is carefully choreographed.
• Mangino thinks some position changes have helped the defense. The defensive line also is coming together. Last year, the coach felt the unit was inconsistent. This year, he feels the defensive line is much more consistent. The younger players on defense also are becoming more comfortable.
• Mangino thinks Alonso Rojas has improved his game in directional kicking. When he first got here, he wanted to kick with all his might. The coach thinks he has to be one of the best punters in the nation in sky kicks and dropping them inside the 20. Rojas is doing a great job.
• A lot of kids growing up in Kansas grow up in a KU or K-State household. That means most of the Kansas recruits you find are either K-State kids or KU kids already. Therefore, the coach thinks the result of the Sunflower Showdown game does not impact recruiting as much as the coaches would like for it to.
• KSU running back Daniel Thomas is a pretty good player. He has the quickness to make you miss. He has a strong lower body, so you really have to wrap up. Mangino is really impressed with Thomas.
• Arist Wright is getting more comfortable in the run game and also is jumping the pass routes.
• Mangino has spent 95 percent of his time with the defense this year in practice. That's unusual, as he's usually closer to 50-50 with the offense and defense. The coach said he knew back in April that the team had some major problems on defense. Now, the coach has turned his attention to the offense. It's not because he has a magic wand to fix things, but the coach wonders if it's a little like children: that without the head coach paying much attention to the offense, perhaps the players get the impression that the offense isn't as important.
• Reesing is running the same plays that were working earlier in his career. Mangino is not going to panic, because he has a lot of faith in Reesing. Mangino thinks he'll be fine. Ressing isn't happy with the way things are going, and he's going to change it. There's no panic and no worry from the coach.
• Mangino told the players in the locker room after the Texas Tech game that he coached lousy.
So what exactly happened during the first offensive play for Kansas against Oklahoma when Todd Reesing threw an interception?
Welcome to "The Breakdown," where we'll look at one KU play each week and try to go a little more in-depth into why it did or didn't work.
For help with this blog, I have consulted a Division-II defensive assistant coach, someone we'll just call "Coach" in this blog.
Hat tip to the Missouri football fan site, Rock M Nation, which has been doing this for a few weeks now and inspired the idea for this type of blog.
First off, here is the replay of the Reesing interception for reference. You can also click back to this as you read later in the blog if you need to.
Before we go any further, I asked KU offensive coordinator Ed Warinner about the play, and this is what he said:
"We were going to take a shot at them and see if we could get them on the first play. Their kid made a great play. There's a lot of safeties in this league and a lot of safeties that we've played against over the years that couldn't have made that play, but he ran a long way.
"They disguised a coverage, and you know, he made a great play. So there's some risk in taking a shot after them in the first play. It came back to bite us in the rear. ... You'd like to have that one back, but if you don't take any chances against Oklahoma, you play conservative, you probably have a hard time beating them, too."
Let's take a look at what happened.
You can see the KU players looking to the sideline. This is where the Jayhawks are confirming the play call.
Warinner mentioned that OU had disguised a defensive play call. At this point, it appears that OU has lined up in a Cover 2 shell.
In this Cover 2 scheme, four players rush the passer and each of the other seven defenders drops into a zone. Those seven players guard the areas I have indicated in the above photo.
So, seeing this setup, Warinner most likely believes the Jayhawks will go against a zone coverage.
This is where it all changes. Notice right before the snap, one of the OU cornerbacks comes up late toward the line of scrimmage and will be blitzing on the play.
"He does a very good job here," our D-II defensive assistant coach — or Coach — says. "You can do this if you've got a lot of speed at this position. If this guy isn't going to be a very good athlete, obviously he's going to have to cheat down so he can get a good blitz. But what makes the play, obviously, is this guy plays at Oklahoma. He's an excellent athlete."
By coming late, the cornerback tries to catch KU's offense off-guard. Notice also that the backside safety takes off toward the middle of the field, indicated with the other arrow.
So what is going on? OU is not going to run a Cover 2, but instead is running a Cover 1 with a cornerback blitz. This means that instead of two safeties splitting the deep coverage of the field, one safety covers the entire field.
This also means for a significant change in coverages for OU. Instead of seven defenders playing seven zones, OU instead will go man-to-man on KU's four eligible receivers, with the safety playing deep. Take a look at what OU's coverage is with the Cover 1.
Suddenly, KU's play call to take advantage of a Cover 2 defense might not be so effective because of a well-timed and well-disguised blitz.
Let's take a step back before we go forward, though. Let's pretend OU had stayed in the Cover 2 defense (which it did not). What was KU's play call trying to accomplish? As you can see from the next slide, Meier goes out in the flat and gives a fake leap for the ball, letting us know that it was a planned fake for Reesing the whole way and that Meier was not an option for this play.
So what purpose does the fake serve?
According to Coach, the purpose of the fake bubble route is to widen out OU's No. 1, who is the bottom cornerback on the screen. By having him break toward Meier to the outside, that opens up the field for Dezmon Briscoe, the second receiver from the bottom.
The goal now could be to put a "two-way stretch" on the back safety. This simply means overloading the safety's zone with more men than he can cover.
If Johnathan Wilson runs vertically up the hash and Briscoe runs vertically up the numbers, it's very difficult for OU's safety to cover them both. That's why the cornerback's job in front of the safety is important as well.
In Cover 2, the cornerback (standing on the bottom hash at the 25-yard line) has the job of collisioning the receivers. If Wilson runs toward him, his job is to try to funnel him to the outside to make him run his route closer to Briscoe.
"If those receivers are running 15 yards apart and both are running vertical, that's hard for the safety to cover," Coach says. "But if those guys are running five yards apart vertical, that's easier for that high safety to cover."
So, if KU read Cover 2, the goal was most likely to get Briscoe in single coverage against OU's safety (who also had to worry about Wilson) and try for a big play down the field.
Obviously, that's not the way it worked.
Let's take one more step forward and go through how the play actually turned out with OU running its Cover 1 defense.
Let's go back to this slide, because it's important. Notice how the OU safety cheats toward the bottom of the screen right away?
There's two reasons he can do this.
For one, he's very confident that the linebacker up top (the one on the Big 12 logo) can guard KU's tight end (Tim Biere) in single coverage without any safety help. Coach says this isn't a slight on Biere; typically, teams figure they can get by covering a tight end with a linebacker man-to-man.
There's another reason the safety can cheat immediately: KU doesn't have another receiver to the top of the screen. Because KU has trips, or three receivers, to the near side, the safety can cheat over to where there are more receivers.
If KU had split its receivers, putting two on each side, Coach says it would have been much tougher for the safety in Cover 1 to cheat over so much to one side, as he would have had to worry more about covering the entire field.
As you can see from this next slide, Wilson and Briscoe cross routes, essentially running the common "pick" route. OU schemes it well, though, according to Coach.
"What you don't want to do in man-to-man coverage is have your defensive backs or defensive players play on the same level," Coach says. "You don't want to have them both at five yards, because when teams run crossing routes like that, if the receivers cross paths with each other, that causes your defensive players to run into each other."
As you can see from the picture, OU has it played nearly perfectly, as the defensive backs are three yards apart and are in no danger of running into each other.
Coach does see one big mistake from OU, though, and that's from the cornerback covering Briscoe at the bottom of the screen.
"He should have his hips open ready to run," Coach says. "He thinks he's going to get a jam right there on (Briscoe), and that's very hard when that receiver's got two yards of cushion, and he's going to be able to make a move. That (cornerback), essentially, should have his hips open and be ready to run."
The poor hip position costs the OU cornerback. As we can see in this photo, Briscoe has the cornerback beat by nearly two steps. Even worse for the cornerback is the fact that he's not guaranteed safety help in a Cover 1 scheme.
"If that safety didn't get over there and help him out," Coach says, "that was a big play for Kansas."
Most likely, Coach says, Reesing sees Briscoe beat the cornerback and figures he can throw it over the top to his receiver without any issues.
The problem is, Reesing either doesn't see the backside safety, or he doesn't think the safety will be able to get all the way across the field to make a play*.
* — Remember what Warinner said earlier: "There's a lot of safeties in this league and a lot of safeties that we've played against over the years that couldn't have made that play, but he ran a long way."
OK, so the throw gave the safety enough time to come over the top to make the interception and save his cornerback.
Why didn't Reesing just throw it harder, you ask?
Simple. It would have been nearly impossible.
Let's go back to the first slide.
Notice KU's play starts from the top hash. That makes his throw to the right sideline an extremely long throw.
"Reesing has a good arm, but that's a tough throw, and he's not going to be able to put it on a line," Coach says, "so it's going to give a guy time to come over and help on it."
Perhaps the only way Reesing could have safely gotten the ball to Briscoe would have been an intentional underthrow, hitting him on his back shoulder near the 40. That way, Briscoe could have reacted to the ball and caught it in a spot that the safety couldn't have gotten to.
OK, so how could this play have been successful for KU against OU's Cover 1 scheme?
Let's take a look.
The irony of this play is that perhaps the best pass KU could have completed was the bubble screen that Reesing faked at the beginning.
If you look above, because of the blitzing cornerback, OU is forced to put a linebacker in man-to-man coverage against Kerry Meier.
"This is a pretty risky coverage," Coach says, "but it's also smart knowing (OU's) got a pretty good athlete out here at outside linebacker."
OU's hope is that its linebacker has as much speed as the possession receiver Meier and will be able to run with him down the field.
However, to start the play, the linebacker is beat by alignment, as he is playing a huge distance off Meier.
If KU had called the bubble screen, Reesing could have taken the snap and immediately gunned it to Meier. Briscoe and Wilson then simply could have blocked the cornerbacks in front of them, as the picture above shows.
"If you throw it to Meier and just run out here and get what you can," Coach says, "you've got a good play."
There's another option as well.
After the fake to Meier, Wilson crosses with Briscoe and has a defender running with him.
At this point, he is facing man coverage, not a Cover 2 zone*.
* — Take a look at the first slide again.
Wilson is pointing up at an angle. Did he already notice that the OU cornerback was blitzing? Was he trying to alert Reesing and/or Warinner that perhaps the Jayhawks weren't going to go up against a Cover 2?
It's hard to know, but I'm guessing the receiver was trying to communicate something.
With the safety bailing towards Briscoe at the bottom of the screen, it's Wilson's job to beat the cornerback and get himself open against the man coverage.
However, Wilson doesn't get much separation at first from his defender.
"The corner does a great job on him. See how he jams him right there and doesn't let him off and basically has him blanketed. He does a nice job there," Coach says. "So what has to happen is 81 has to beat that guy. We ran a play similar to this, and what has to happen is that guy, if you get man coverage, you have to win right there. (No.) 81 has to beat No. 1 right there."
Though we can't be sure of KU's specific receiver routes, most likely Wilson has the option of multiple routes to get himself open.
"He just needs to keep running straight up the hash and let the quarterback lead him to where he wants him to go," Coach says. "It's probably going to be straight up the hash or straight up the middle of the field. That could have been the throw."
It wasn't, though, and for the second straight week, a first-half turnover put the Jayhawks in an early hole they couldn't recover from.