Friday, August 10, 2012
By Brandon Castel
August 10, 2012
COLUMBUS — There was an unmistakable figure at Ohio State’s preseason camp this week.
Though he was dressed to blend in with his surroundings, a chameleon Mark Mangino is not.
The former Oklahoma offensive coordinator turned Kansas head coach is as recognizable as just about any figure in college football, even though he hasn’t patrolled a sideline since the 2009 football season.
Mangino, who was 50-48 in eight seasons at Kansas, spent three days with the Buckeyes as part of his multi-city tour of professional and college football training camps this fall.
“He’s good friends with Ed Warinner, so he just wanted to observe and watch practice,” said OSU head coach Urban Meyer, who allowed Mangino all-access to his first week of practice this fall.
“He’s got a thing going on with the Browns. And he’s a friend of mine. He’s a great football coach.”
Mangino actually started his football tour down in Cincinnati, where he caught Bengals training camp on Saturday. The 55-year old football coach met up with long-time friend Jonathan Hayes, now the tight ends coach for Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati.
Hayes played tight end at Iowa in the 1980s, and eventually spent 11 years in the NFL as a tight end with the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers. He and Mangino worked together as assistant coaches under Bob Stoops from 1999-2001.
They were both a part of the staff in 2000 when the Sooners beat Florida Sate, 13-2, in the Orange Bowl to win the BCS National Championship.
Mangino, who was an assistant under Jim Tressel at Youngstown State University until he graduated in 1987, also stopped by Browns training camp on Sunday to say hello to Cleveland’s first-year offensive coordinator Brad Childress.
He and Childress worked together at last winter’s East-West Shrine College All-Star Game in St. Petersburg, Fla. That experienced reminded Mangino of what he has been missing since he was forced to resign back in 2009.
At the time, Mangino was only two years removed from leading Kansas to a 12-1 season, including a 24-21 win over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.
“What he did at Kansas, I often talk to Ed Warinner about that,” Meyer said with a pause for emphasis.
“Ed was the offensive coordinator when Kansas went and won the Orange Bowl. Think about that for a minute. I think Kansas is a great place, but that was a heck of a football team.”
Quarterback Todd Reesing was the key contributor to the Kansas aerial attack that season, but it was Warinner who put the offense into motion. That’s why Mangino wanted to spend some time watching his former assistant work with the offensive line at Ohio State.
He ended up spending three days in Columbus, watching Warinner, checking out the special teams and sitting in the film room as Meyer and his staff broke down the tape of that day’s practice.
Mangino also got a chance to talk with OSU strength coach Mickey Marotti, along with former head coaches John Cooper and Earle Bruce. It was reminiscent to the time Meyer spent touring preseason camps at Oklahoma and Texas a year ago.
Much like Meyer was—even if he didn’t realize it—Mangino is likely setting himself up for a return to coaching, possibly as early as next season.
“I very much am looking forward to getting back on the field,” Mangino told FOXSports.com in Kansas City.
“I'd like to be a head coach because I feel I have some unfinished business. But I'll say if being an offensive coordinator or being a position coach is the opportunity that is the best fit for me and the best fit for them, I'll do it.
“I miss it,” he added, “I just miss it.”