Postgame Quotes

Kansas State Head Coach Bill Snyder
On the play of Joe Hubener...
“I think Joe was a little nervous – he and Alex (Delton) both. It took a while to get the cobwebs out, but that is true for everybody. He threw some nice balls and was awfully close on some others. He had a touchdown dropped, but he put a couple balls on the ground as well. He has got a lot of work to do.”

On playing so many younger players…
“We are really young. Hopefully we can get healthy, but we just need younger guys to get better. This is awfully early in the season for that to have to take place, but it was good for the ones that were in there to get the opportunity to get the repetitions that they need.”

On Morgan Burns’ return touchdown…
“Well, what I saw, is that we missed a block, but everybody did a nice job and helped him immensely, and obviously he did a nice job as well. I thought it was great to get a shutout; those are hard to come by no matter who plays against wo in this day and age. I was proud we managed to do that. I thought our special teams, we had a block in-the-back, on a good return, but outside of that I thought our special teams did exceptionally well. We just struggled on offense. We have been a team that has been in the top 15 in scoring in the redzone last year, and I do not know how many times we were down there and could not get the ball in, so we need a lot of work down there as well.”

On the injury of Jesse Ertz…
“I feel dramatically bad for him. We will see how it plays out. I have no idea right now. Anytime anybody gets hurt, it is tough because they work so hard and it takes you out of a game that you prepare so hard to play. Our prayers will be with him, and hopefully it is something that he can get back on his feet real quick.”

On having freshmen lead in rushing and receiving…
“I think it tells you there are some younger guys who are willing to compete and will not give up a spot to somebody when they get on the field. We would not put them on the field if we did not have a comfort level of what they are capable of doing. I thought Justin Silmon did a nice job. He was probably the statistical leader as far as rushing. Near the goal-line, I thought Winston (Dimel) and Glen (Gronkowski) did well – we just need to be more aggressive runners. Dominique (Heath) made that tremendously gifted catch that really took away an interception, and that is something young players do not really do. So, that sent a message to me who is developing and making headway.”

On achieving a shutout defensively… 
“Zero speaks for itself, but I am going to look a little deeper than that. There were some times where we had them pinned deep in their own field, and we would continue to let them out and we just were not as good with three-and-outs. I want to commend South Dakota’s coaches and players. They compete and never gave up or stopped fighting, but we are a better football team. We need to have better things happen than what we showed tonight.”

Quarterback Joe Hubener
On getting the opportunity tonight…
“I did not expect to get the opportunity that quick, but that is unfortunate for Jesse (Ertz). I am not really sure what happened, but I know he was not able to come back tonight, so that is tough on him. I feel sorry for him, and I wish him a quick recovery with whatever is going on. I felt like I did alright. There are some things that I am not happy about. I wish I did not fumble the ball in the end zone, but I think for the most part I handled business and we got the win – that is all that matters.”

On getting rhythm when thrown into offense…
“A little bit. I was definitely nervous, because I was not expecting that. After that first drive, I felt like I settled in. It is the same stuff we work on in practice day in and day out. I have been in that situation a little bit last year – not quite the same degree – but I have been there.”

On touchdowns before halftime…
“That was huge to be able to come back and finally put the ball in the end zone. That was something we struggled with tonight. We got in the red zone numerous times and could not finish. That is something we need to work on in practice this week and improve on next week.”

Wide Receiver Stanton Weber
On the streak of 11 straight seasons with a kick/punt return…
“I absolutely feel a pride with that and a lot of guys do.  In the special teams room, we talk about it all the time. Dominique (Heath) grabbed me as I was getting in the shower and he said,  ‘hey, we have to take two back next week because we only got one today.’ And, ‘I was like heck yeah.’  That is just the attitude that we like to have.”

On Jesse Ertz’s injury…
“I don’t know anything about the injury yet, but it’s always tough to see anybody go down, especially, I know what it’s like to go through that and it is not fun. So, we are hoping we can get him back next week.  We do not talk about injuries, and I do not know anything, but you hope for the best for that guy.”

On the play of Joe Hubener…
“I thought he did a nice job. It is a next man up business and we knew Joe was prepared.  We know that if the next guy after Joe has to come up he will be prepared.  These guys work really hard, we trust in these guys.”

Offensive Lineman Cody Whitehair
On how the offense performed…
“We did the things that hurt a lot of offenses. We had turnovers and penalties. So, overall we are not where we want to be yet. We have a little work to do and we will fix that next week.”

On Joe Hubener’s play and Jesse Ertz’s injury…
“Yeah, I was proud of Joe. He came in and did some nice things for us. But yeah, it is tough to see Jesse get hurt but it is part of football. There was some adversity that the team had to overcome, and like I said, I was proud of Joe. He did some nice things for us.”

On ranking the play of the first game…
“We are not where we want to be. We hurt ourselves tonight. We preach wanting to win a championship and doing those kinds of things will now allow us to win a championship.”

Defensive Back Morgan Burns
On defense performance tonight…
“We had a lot of young guys come in that have not had a lot of experience, but they did a great job, obviously. They can improve in a lot of areas. Not having a lot of experience can be hard. We need to watch the film and correct our mistakes and really correct those mistakes this coming week in practice. So, we need to watch film and see how they did. Anytime a defense holds a team to zero is a great job. I am extremely proud of our defense.”

On imagining running back the opening kickoff…
“I have been telling Sean Snyder the past three weeks that we are going to score on the first punt return. We just had that mind set going into that play, so, yeah, I was expecting to. I think our kickoff return was expecting to. Like I said, they blocked extremely well and made it easier for me.”

On opening game…
“We had a few goals for the defense and the special teams, and I think we accomplished that. The score on kickoff return was one of my goals and holding the offense to zero points was another one of my goals. I think we accomplished it, but obviously, we were not perfect. We had a lot of mistakes – penalties on punt return and the defense had a few plays we let get behind us – big plays you would call them. We have a lot of mistakes we need to fix – a lot to improve on. I think this upcoming week is going to be really important to focus on those mistakes.”

Linebacker Elijah Lee
On forcing a shutout…
“It means a lot because shutouts do not come easy with any team that you play. Just to get a shutout, that was kind of a statement we made but there are areas that we can improve on.”

On defensive plays…
“I would say that we played pretty well. They did not score and that says it all. We still made mistakes and there are things we can build on.”

On playing linebacker…
“After going through the fall, it helped me smooth out what I needed to in order to get better. Having the older guys around me and encouraging me to keep doing better helps me stay focused.”

Defensive Tackle Travis Britz
On shutting out South Dakota…
“It was a great starting point for the defense. We obviously have a lot to improve on; we made mistakes but everyone does. It was a good thing to knock the rust off. Like we said earlier, we have not played for eight months, so going out with a shutout is a good start.”

On correcting mistakes…
“Everyone busts a coverage, or misses an assignment or, I, sometimes get out of the gaps. You just really have to look at the film and see what you can improve on. From a defensive line standpoint, it is where you can use your hands better or where you can get a better pass rush.”

On returning the first kick-off…
“It is a great tone-setter for the whole team. We knew that Morgan (Burns) was going to have the opportunity and he took full advantage of it.”

South Dakota Head Coach Joe Glenn
Opening statement…
“We played a good football team. They had good size and good toughness. They just did what they had to do to wear us down and beat us. They took advantage of their athleticism and ran the opening kickoff back 100 yards. That is not good. They just pretty much beat us down in the first half. I thought we came back pretty hard in the second half and played hard-nosed defense. Although we did not score, if you look at the statistics, which do not mean much, we did some decent things. We did not fumble the ball on offense. We fumbled it on special teams. We took one away from them and they got one away from us. We threw no interceptions. But for us to have success, we have to get the running game going. They were too much for us and we could not run against them. None of our guys averaged anywhere what we need to so that just told you it was total dominance of our running game by a good Kansas State defense. That is what they did last year. They are just as good defensively, I think, as they were a year ago. I think they will probably get their offense going a little bit more. I thought we held up against them pretty good. I mean, 332 yards is not what I would call a beat down but they did a nice job of field position with us the whole game. They set themselves up real well and we did not do that good of a job with field position and that is how they amassed more points. It was a pretty hard fought game, and Coach Snyder said that to me, to be proud of our kids because they played really hard and never gave up. He said they put it on teams worse than that – I mean, 48-14 on Oklahoma State last year and they scored 31 on Oklahoma. They scored 34 on us. They will play into a good season, I know that.”

On coaching against Bill Snyder…
“He is an icon. The only thing good about it is if we went out for a beer, I would probably get carded. That was on Twitter, somebody said that. Bill is a fabulous coach and just look what he has done here. Nobody else has even come remotely close to what Bill Snyder has done here. You have to give his coaching staff a lot of credit. They have a lot of veteran coaches that are very successful coaches. He has done a great job of molding that football staff. I grew up watching Kansas State and they just got slaughtered all of the time. He did it once, built it up, they lost it and then he came back and built it up again. He has got it, whatever it is, he has got it.”

On not capitalizing on early field position…
“It was big, but you give all of the credit to their defense. And they can do some things, at least against us, because they can rely on their defense. They can take some chances. They tried to get the game over with, I think, pretty much in the second half. They did not want to humiliate anybody. But, I think we went all the way until the last series of the game to get their two’s in. They respected us and coach told us that after the game. I think he genuinely meant it. He had a lot of respect for how hard our kids played. They never gave up and it was not easy for him. Nothing was, other than the kickoff return and one other pass. Other than that, they had to work for everything they got. They did not hammer us around. I know we are better and now we have to keep getting better. It is about what you can do against teams with the odds stacked against you.”

On struggles in the running game…
“This is what we do. We strive for some balance. We run a lot. We had a ton of yards against Northern Arizona last year early when we were pretty healthy and as the season wore on we lost some running backs. We had a full slate of running backs and our line is healthy. We tried as hard as we could to run the football but we could not. At halftime, I asked Wesley [Beschorner], ‘What do you want to do? Do you want to keep throwing the football because we were down a long way or do you want to try to improve on who we really are?’ I got the answer I wanted. If we want to be any good, we have got to run the football and we will get better for having played this team. So, we tried and tried to run the football. We had some young guys run it – maybe two or three running the ball. We just could not quite handle them. They had a really good front. We have good kids and they did not quit trying. I think the game might have been out of hand at halftime but we did not want to start throwing it all and taking sacks. We made a point to try to get better as a football team and do what we have to do to have success.”

Quarterback Ryan Saeger
On how the offense reacted to the opening touchdown…
“It was no different for us. We were just playing as hard as we could and regardless of what the score was or what they were doing we just had to play our own game and stay in our own system. I thought offensively we did a good job. Obviously we have some stuff to work on but we played hard and that is all you can ask for.”

On the running game…
“It makes it a little tough when the running game is off. Especially with our offense because a lot of our best games come off of our running game. Facing a defensive team like this makes it hard to get some drives going, but we only had one three-and-out and it was at an opportune time. We had 16 first downs, but we just did not get the ball into the end zone is the bottom line and that is something we have to do as an offensive squad. I thought our young guys did a great job tonight and got some of the jitters out and we just need to build from this game.”

On spreading the ball around…
“I have a lot of confidence in these guys and that comes from this off season. Most everyone was here during the summer to put in work. I think that showed tonight because there is a trust factor that we have with each other, and I am not afraid to throw to anybody. We have a good core and that all comes from this offseason.”

Wide Receiver Eric Shufford
On Ryan Saeger confidence…
“[Ryan] Saeger has improved tremendously. We were walking back from practice last week and I told him how his confidence from this year to last year has grown tremendously. Taking the role for this team, and he went out there and made plays and he found his receivers when he could. He avoided sacks, he was only sacked two times against a Big 12 defensive line that is big and talented but at the same time we managed to sustain drives sometimes but we as a total offense, not just Saeger, have to figure out a way to get the ball in the end zone and not just finish off drives with kicks. I thought Saeger played great as far as controlling the game and coming in as the starting quarterback, even though it isn’t his first game starting. But to start at this stadium against this team, I thought he played great.”

On playing a Big 12 team…
“The thing about it is that in the [Missouri] Valley we play physically. This was a very physical game, especially for me. I issued out a lot of hits and took a lot of hits but came out fine. That comes from playing in The Valley. I don’t know if a lot of people realize that playing 1-A FBS schools, how tough our conference really is. It was physical but I really can’t say it was any more physical than us playing NDSU, Youngstown, or Illinois State. Our whole thing is we believe in faceless opponents. It doesn’t matter who we line up across from, we have to play the same every time.”

On special teams…
“One of the things we said, even before the game started, was that the difference in this game was going to be special teams. I made a big mistake that caused a touchdown after our defense got a three and out. Our special teams, we put so much of an emphasis on it in the offseason, we didn’t expect to come out and play that way. We had opportunities, two missed field goals at the beginning, a fumbled punt by me. We just didn’t take advantage of them. Like coach said that opening kickoff, them running it back, that can’t happen. Miles missing field goals, him last year he was almost automatic. We put a really big emphasis on it and we’re going to continue to grow and be better about it but it definitely impacted the game.”

Defensive Tackle Nick Jacobs
On the offensive line…
“It was tough, but we have senior leadership up front with Drew (Iddings) and I in the middle. Our defensive ends played well and Andrew (Van Ginkel) was here before the game putting in work and he played well. They were very solid technique wise and they were one of the most solid lines that I have ever played. That does not mean it is an excuse for us to not dominate most plays, but it was a tough game and it was very physical but I feel that our experience will help us out in the future.”

On the defensive game…
“I feel like our defense can be proud of how we played today. There was nothing that I was ashamed of. It was a solid game for us and we are going to take this as a building experience and I am really excited for where that leads us.”

On the mindset of the team throughout the game…
“Coach (Jason) Petrino really stresses having fun in the off season. He says to get out there and have fun and keep making plays. There were times last year where we would get down on ourselves, but this year we are all about celebrating as a team.”

Free Safety Tyson Graham
On secondary performance…
“I just feel as though Coach Petrino really helped us today. We just went out there and played with confidence. It all started with our front seven. We have some freshmen that know how to use their feet and the linebackers fit their gap which made our job easier, everything just started clicking. I’m excited for what is going to happen next week now that we have that first week under our belt. I’m excited for practice, we’re just trying to work on what we need to improve on and be better.”