CB Aqib Talib (PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Jacobsen, Kansas Athletic Media Relations)

2006 Statistics

Coach: Mark Mangino
25-35, 5 years
2006 Record: 6-6
at Toledo LOST 31-37 (2OT)
at Nebraska LOST 32-39 (OT)
at Baylor LOST 35-36
at Iowa State WON 41-10
at Missouri LOST 17-42

2006 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2007 Outlook

Kansas has the same moniker as many teams in the Big 12 – they are a decent, well-built squad that has a tough time getting to the next level(s) due to their top-heavy conference. That means they earned last year’s 6-6 record, and in beating only two teams with winning records and losing to two that were sub-.500, they seem to have enough consistency to prove they are methodically building a worthy program. But with the league looking tougher than ever, that cuts out the work head coach Mark Mangino has to accomplish to achieve a bowl-eligible effort. One area needing attention includes the youthful (but experienced) defense in which their well-manned secondary, though a marginal unit, has much promise with All-American corner Aqib Talib setting the standard for the conference. On offense, many are pointing to how their loss of the Big 12’s top back, coupled with the new starters along the line’s interior, is a concern, but we think KU will probably work through that situation quickly to again pose a formidable rushing attack. Two strong, emerging dual-threat signal-callers, with on-field, pre-snap guidance via messages relayed from the coaching staff, should kick it up a gear or two for their already decent point scoring machine. This is the kind of team most experts will classically look down at – any foes who do such will see just how well disciplined and dangerous the Crimson-and-Blue can be. All they need is a little more weekly consistency to possibly break into the top 25 during the year; KU especially has to do better on the road (1-4 in ’06). The four non-cons to start, followed by three beatable North Division foes, ease the Jayhawks into the meat of their league schedule. This team really has the easiest slate in the Big 12, especially when you realize that Oklahoma and Texas are again missing, and a mere four games are away from Memorial stadium. Kansas could wind up with nine wins if all cylinders are hitting by the time they go to Boulder, but inconsistency could just as easily cause Mangino’s guys to struggle weekly by October’s push. They likely fall towards the former…save an injury rash, there is just too much talent for this venerable program to not earn a winning record in its 108th campaign.

Projected 2007 record: 6-6
OT Anthony Collins (PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Jacobsen, Kansas Athletic Media Relations)
QB - 3 DL - 3.5
RB - 3.5 LB - 3.5
WR - 3.5 DB - 3
OL - 3 ..

Passing: Kerry Meier, 104-184-10, 1193 yds., 13 TD

Rushing: Kerry Meier, 99 att., 344 yds., 5 TD

Receiving: Dexton Fields, 45 rec., 455 yds., 5 TD

Scoring: Scott Webb, 13-18 FG, 37-39 PAT, 76 pts.

Punting: Kyle Tucker, 58 punts, 39.2 avg.

Kicking: Scott Webb, 13-18 FG, 37-39 PAT, 76 pts.

Tackles: Mike Rivera, 90 tot., 63 solo

Sacks: James McClinton, 6 sacks

Interceptions: Aqib Talib, 6 for 82 yds.

Kickoff returns: Marcus Herford, 29 ret., 26.1 avg., 0 TD

Punt returns: Dexton Fields, 1 ret., 3.0 avg., 0 TD


OFFENSE: Adam Barmann-QB, Jon Cornish-RB, Brian Murph-WR, Jonathan Lamb-WR, Travis Dambach-OT, Bob Whitaker-OG, David Ochoa-C
DEFENSE: Wayne Wilder-DT, Paul Como-DE, Jerome Kemp-SS

Did you realize that the Jayhawks had the nation’s No.33 offense in 2006 and were led by a redshirted freshman behind center? Coach Mangino also had the top RB in the Big 12 (No.7 in the nation), and though he (Cornish) is now gone, balance, speed and power still describe what will emerge from their worthy backfield. One big difference this time will be improved decision making, and the QB isn’t necessarily the only one who will make the better decisions. Coaches are set to use modern technology to make better defensive reads. The goal seems to be to hurry to the line of scrimmage well ahead of time within a chosen set; coaches can then analyze what they see from the booth and/or sidelines to eventually signal the needed play/adjustments/audibles with plenty of time before the snap. Used against them last year, Mangino knows how much easier this sequence will make things for either QB so they can focus on execution and not be as distracted or mistake-prone (Meier threw an INT every 18.4 throws). Sophomore incumbent Kerry Meier’s arm will develop into a serious weapon, and the Pittsburg-product’s speed is enough to make him more than just a decoy when he tucks it to run. A bit smaller, Todd Reesing will see the field, too, on game day – his arm seems superior to Meier’s with feet to match, and his ability to lead was proven when he spearheaded the comeback win versus Colorado. One of these sophomores will eventually separate himself to become the future of the team, a process that will only help secure more wins. The runners are a lightning-and-thunder pair – slasher Jake Sharp and senior fullback Brandon McAnderson are rarely pigeon-holed for their talents. McAnderson’s presence in one-back sets telegraphs little as to the play-call due to his speedy first five steps, while the toughness of Sharp to play through injury (spring) is a testimonial to his gritty determination and effectiveness. The only thing McAnderson doesn’t do as well is run outside, though, Sharp can live between the tackles when necessary. Depth seems iffy and production would be impacted if these two were to go down. The line’s revampings all occur inside, and the new faces are worthy replacements who will need little time to effectively plowing. Heady junior center Ryan Cantrell moves over after starting at guard (2005), while German-born (and prep wrestling champ) Adrian Mayes has looked solid all spring in his new starting slot. Chet Hartley bumps up from the JUCO ranks to give the new KU interior some valuable experience. Cesar Rodriguez is their athletic left tackle who has started consistently since his freshman campaign, and he started every game last year as did bulked-up ex-DE Anthony Collins. The line’s starters – along with two of the backups – are all experienced upperclassmen, so reestablishing a top 25 rushing attack is within reach. Derek Fine, a team captain last year, cannot be ignored going over the deep middle, and we feel coaches would be wise to break Marc Jones out of his regular blocking-TE role. 6’4 senior Marcus Henry is a leader amongst the snarlers, and along with ‘go to’ guy Dexton Fields, experience and talent go hand in hand for 2007 with three of the top four in the corps returning. Angus Quigley sat out last year, and his move from RB to WR is an intriguing X-factor that will cause exploitable mismatches. The rest of the depth available for the Jayhawk’s multiple-receiver sets is formidable. (Will Talib be seen come fall?) Mangino’s offensive mind has this side of things quietly humming in his sophisticated, yet highly understandable system, and we can expect even more with either QB increasing his ability to run the ship with less mistakes.


RB Brandon McAnderson (PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Jacobsen, Kansas Athletic Media Relations)


Returning Starters in bold
QB Kerry Meier-So (6-3, 215) Todd Reesing-So (5-11, 190)
FB Brandon McAnderson-Sr (6-0, 235) Sam Archer-So (6-1, 220)
RB Jake Sharp-So (5-10, 190) Donte Bean-Fr (5-9, 195)
WR Marcus Henry-Sr (6-4, 200) Jeff Foster-Sr (6-2, 195)
WR Marcus Herford-Jr (6-3, 210) Raymond Brown-Jr (6-3, 200)
WR Dexton Fields-Jr (6-0, 200) Angus Quigley-So (6-2, 210)
TE Derek Fine-Sr (6-3, 245) Marc Jones-Sr (6-4, 241)
OT Anthony Collins-Jr (6-6, 300) Jose Rodriguez-So (6-6, 255)
OG Adrian Mayes-Jr (6-3, 300) Matt Darton-Jr (6-6, 305)
C Ryan Cantrell-Jr (6-3, 285) John Marshall-Fr (6-3, 280)
OG Chet Hartley-Jr (6-4, 315) Rameses Arceo-Jr (6-4, 295)
OT Cesar Rodriguez-Sr (6-7, 286) Ian Wolfe-Fr (6-5, 280)
K Scott Webb-Sr (5-11, 180) ..



Sixth-year coordinator Bill Young has some work to do after his defensive ranking slipped from 11th in ‘05 to 94th last year. A few good showings versus some top teams were negated by inconsistency against others…often lesser squads. But like in years past, Young’s ability to coach up his linemen still stands above his ability to motivate the Jayhawks in coverage. The exception to the latter is All-American junior corner Aqib Talib, a shutdown-type who will send lots of business away from his side. That means JUCO-transfer Kendrick Harper will become a target until he proves his worth. You can bet former-starter Anthony Webb, “demoted” to nickel upon Harper’s arrival, will see almost as many reps as the other two and could possibly start depending on the opponent. What is most promising from a statistical standpoint is how, though ranked 119th – dead last in I-A – for pass defense, they came in at 47th for efficiency. With a rushing defense that allowed a stingy 109 yards per game, foes threw it almost 100 times more than they ran against Young’s guys, ergo the inflated passing yardage allowed. With Darrell Stuckey’s and Justin Thornton’s admirable showings as RS freshmen at free safety, these two starters should be that much sounder in the deep middle. Canadian-born Tang Bacheyie and classmate/JUCO-transfer Pat Resby represent no weak link at strong safety, so improvements to the pass defense are coming. Also boosting the coverage will be three returning starters at linebacker; they replaced departed seniors last year and struggled at times as a unit. Statistically, they individually rock. All-Big 12 middle-man Mike Rivera and then-OLB Joe Mortensen finished first and (tied for) second in tackles, with Mortensen also second in TFLs (12). Big and fast, these juniors/roommates are now both playing in the middle by committee. Will we see some 3-4 in, let’s say, second-and-six situations? Mortensen bumping back inside (after helping outside in ’06 due to needs there) is due to the emergence of James Holt on the outside. Like Holt, Arist Wright plays light like a safety/LB hybrid to help against five-receiver sets and formidable TEs. With Maxwell Onyegbule bumping up to the line, disguising the Jayhawk defense becomes even easier. All-conference tackle James McClinton has to be an All-American consideration after his team leading totals of 16 TFLs, three forced fumbles and six sacks show that his 38 unassisted tackles from an inside slot are no fluke. The other juniors along the front all fit into the mold of what Big 12 linemen need to have for success – size, speed, and the ability to work as a unit are why this unit stacks up annually here in Lawrence. The two-deep features only one senior (McClinton), but when nine starters return and some have been displaced in healthy position competitions, things are sure to improve across the defensive landscape. Young’s pension to incorporate creative blitzes works well with fast OLBs and all his multiple hybrid players. Still, if KU can’t keep foes from again scoring 123 fourth-quarter points – more than twice what was scored in any other single quarter – it will be another break-even year in the heartland.


DT James McClinton (PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Jacobsen, Kansas Athletic Media Relations)


Returning Starters in bold
DE Russell Brorsen-Jr (6-4, 238) Jeff Wheeler-So (6-7, 260)
DT Todd Haselhorst-Jr (6-4, 300) Justin Pessetto-Fr (6-3, 285)
Jamal Greene-Fr (6-4, 265)
DT James McClinton-Sr (6-1, 283) Caleb Blakesley-So (6-5, 285)
DE John Larson-Jr (6-3, 245) Maxwell Onyegbule-Fr (6-4, 230)
OLB James Holt-Jr (6-3, 200) Jake Schermer-So (6-2, 215)
MLB Joe Mortensen-Jr (6-1, 245) Mike Rivera-Jr (6-3, 250)
OLB Arist Wright-So (6-0, 210) Olaitan Oguntodu-So (6-0, 200)
CB Aqib Talib-Jr (6-2, 180) Gary Green-Jr (5-9, 175)
CB Kendrick Harper-Jr (5-11, 185) Anthony Webb-So (6-0, 180)
SS Tang Bacheyie-Jr (6-1, 205) Patrick Resby-Jr (6-2, 195)
FS Darrell Stuckey-So (6-1, 202) Justin Thornton-So (6-1, 195)
P Kyle Tucker-Sr (6-2, 205) ..




Punter Kyle Tucker drops 40% of his tries inside the 20 and forces over 20% of them to be fair caught…so why can’t they earn better net results? Senior Scott Webb persevered convincingly after missing three straight FGAs (that arguably cost the Jayhawks) against Oklahoma State and Baylor (went 5-for-5 from then on). Marcus Herford was 18th in the country for his kick return efforts, but there is no guarantee as to whom will be back on punts (Sharp seems to have the inside track after spring).