Media Days: Texas Connection

KANSAS CITY — Kansas QB Todd Reesing talks about fellow Lake Travis alum and Five-Star Texas recruit Garrett Gilbert; it’s also clear Reesing is stoked about Texas’ visit to Lawrence on November 15. Plus, will the Horns be inhospitable guests when facing freshman RB Darrell Scott in Boulder? Colorado coach Dan Hawkins weighed in on the subject of the Texas recruit that got away.
KANSAS NOTES Lake Travis’ Garrett Gilbert is a record-setting QB and Texas’ first commit for the Class of 2009; former Lake Travis QB Todd Reesing was just hoping three years ago that someone would give him an audition. Gilbert stands 6-4, 190 and led Lake Travis to its first state championship last year after throwing for a state-record 4,827 yards. Reesing is generously listed at 5-11, 200 and didn’t have such a bad year for Kansas in 2007.

Entering his junior season, Reesing is already KU’s all-time leader with 36 touchdown passes; his 3,486 passing yards in 2007 is now the school’s single-season record. He’s no small part of the reason why Kansas finished second nationally in scoring offense (42.8 ppg) and eighth in total offense (479.8 ypg). A strong defense and a soft schedule contributed but, all told, a team that was picked fifth in the Big 12 North became the league’s only program to win a BCS Bowl (Orange).

It has been frequently suggested that Kansas’ surprising 12-1 season had something to do with the fact that the Jayhawks did not play the strength of the Big 12 South in 2007; that changes this season when upper-tier programs Oklahoma, Texas Tech and, of course, Texas rotate back onto the schedule.

“It doesn’t matter which three you’re playing because they’re all competitive and each can win at any point,” Reesing said. “That was proven last year with all the different upsets.”

Yet, it is clear that one team matters a little more to Reesing.

“From a football standpoint, it (Texas) is just another game on the schedule — at least that’s what I’m supposed to say. But, yeah, the game will mean something special to me. I have a lot of friends that I grew up with who want to UT. My dad has already reserved 25-to-30 hotel rooms in Lawrence that weekend. When you play a team from your home town that you grew up watching, it means something more. I’m going to try to not make it seem more (important) than the other games. That’s what the coaches would want, I think.”

Just how bad did an Austin-area boy want to play for Texas? Reese pauses before replying: “No comment”.

In fact, he had to promote himself while his successor at Lake Travis had his pick of suitors.

“Really, I was just trying to out there, get in front of coaches, try to prove myself and to see if anybody would give me a shot. It didn’t take much to impress (KU) coach (Mark) Mangino. He watched my film, I met him the next day and he offered. He saw something, and I’m thankful for that.”

Reesing not only attended the same high school as Gilbert but grew up in the same neighborhood.

“He was a freshman when I was a senior at Lake Travis, so i know him. My sister is in the grade as he is. He’s a great kid and had one heckuva season. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.”

In fact, Reesing may even drop by the Gilbert household before the end of the month.

“We have a week off before the start of two-a-days. I may try to see him at the end of next week.”

Then, Reesing returns to a program that won’t sneak up on anyone in 2008. The Jayhawks dot most preseason Top 25 polls; another bowl game is now considered a given.

“We’re not looked upon as the doormat of the Big 12 anymore,” Reesing concluded. “We’re expected to compete for a Big 12 championship.”

COLORADO NOTES Just days before National Signing Day, Texas coaches felt good about their chances of inking All-American tailback Darrell Scott out of Ventura, California. Now, Texas will be facing the preseason newcomer of the Year in the Big 12 Conference media poll when it travels to Colorado on October 4.

Does that mean Scott will be a marked man when Will Muschamp’s defense takes the field in Boulder? Buffalo head coach Dan Hawkins is convinced Mack Brown just doesn’t roll that way.

“I know Mack and he’s a class guy,” Hawkins said Tuesday. “That (targeting Scott) is not going to be the emphases of their game plan.”

Scott is a “humble kid” who knows that he hasn’t done anything yet, Hawkins continued, but that may be another way of saying we ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

“We have to prove ourselves every year,” Hawkins said, “and he knows he’s done nothing. We asked him the other day how he felt about being the Big 12’s ‘Newcomer’ and he said, ‘I haven’t even put on any pads’. I think he did himself a favor when he signed on TV and told people he was going to come up here and work hard and do things right. I’m more concerned about the intangibles. I know that, physically, he’s going to be a good player down the road. But, like with any kid, you want to provide the right environment.”

Scott should be well-tested by the time Texas rolls into town; the Buffs face West Virginia and Florida State just before the conference home-opener against the Horns. It’s precisely that caliber of competition, Hawkins said, that helped CU upset Oklahoma during its 2007 league opener. The difference is the program now has a game-breaker in the backfield.

“You love to have a guy like that, when you block right, he can take it to the house, but he’s a guy that even when you don’t block exactly right he can still take it to the house.”