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Old 09-16-2004, 07:36 AM   Topic Starter
Lzen Lzen is offline
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Mangino is a great recruiter: Texans team up for Jayhawk defense

MM's reputation as a great recruiter is well known. At KU, he's showing why he has that reputation.

Published Thursday, September 16, 2004

By Kevin Haskin
The Capital-Journal

LAWRENCE -- Their bios are juxtaposed on the same page of the Kansas press guide, but the alphabet is just one similarity shared by Jermial Ashley and Theo Baines.

Both are Texans, both are junior college transfers, both visited KU the same day, both transferred in time to enroll last spring, both solidified starting spots during fall camp and -- oh, yeah -- they already knew other before arriving at KU.

Pretty well, in fact. Ashley, a 6-foot-5 defensive end, and Baines, a 5-11 cornerback, were teammates the past two seasons at Tyler (Texas) Community College.

While it helped to catch each player reviewing the same film, KU coach Mark Mangino said the Jayhawks didn't covet one in particular, then stumble on the other, though Ashley was slowed with an injury for part of last season.

"We recruited 'em both pretty aggressively," Mangino said. "They weren't really good friends, though they were buddies. They both decided to come here and they're tight now, because they've got so much in common coming for Tyler."

The disciplined work ethic each brought from Tyler, where they were coached by Dale Carr, helped bump them into the KU lineup, Mangino said. It also didn't hurt they played positions where the Jayhawks needed an upgrade.

Ashley has one sack among his three tackles for loss, as well as four pass deflections and one fumble recovery during a 2-0 start for KU, which travels to Northwestern (0-2) for a 1 p.m. game Saturday at Ryan Field. Baines has also responded well by breaking up two passes and snagging an interception.

"We didn't want to recruit a (juco) corner unless we absolutely thought the guy was going to come in and play," Mangino said. "Theo's lived up to that. He's learning on the job, love his attitude, he's doing great."

As for Ashley, Mangino added, "He's a very, solid guy, quiet, takes care of his business."

That much is evident talking to Ashley. It's hard to drag much out of him. While he acknowledged "the speed of practice" is far different than at the juco level, the biggest change he's noticed since coming to KU is "probably the weather."

The challenges will intensify against Northwestern, which possesses an experienced, physical line intent on protecting a terrific thrower, Brett Basanez, who ranks second nationally in passing yardage behind Texas Tech's Sonny Cumbie.

The matchup means Ashley and Baines will lean on each other again, for pressure and coverage, which seems just fine with them.

"He's played a big role in making the transition," Baines said. "We were there for each other. When one was down, we picked each other up, and continue to do."

Part of that can be traced to staying in the same hotel room on their visit and ironing out the pros and cons. After realizing each could make an impact at KU, they listed an additional positive.

"We knew we could be here for one another," Baines said.

Coker improving

The prospect of senior guard Tony Coker playing against Northwestern improved with his participation in Wednesday's practice.

"I would say he is more effective than I would have anticipated and if he feels good (today), the possibility improves greatly that he'll play Saturday," Mangino said.

Coker missed the first two games with an ankle injury he suffered during two-a-days. He was replaced in the lineup by David Ochoa.

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