K-State Football Hosts 2008 Media Day

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Media from around the region were on hand to take part in Kansas State's annual Media Day and Autograph Session. Below are quotes from head coach Ron Prince, as well as the team captains Jordan Bedore, Ian Campbell, Chris Carney and Josh Freeman.

Head Coach Ron Prince

Opening statement...

“This is a surprise in a lot of ways the first way is that it is under 80 degrees. The last few camps have felt like a thousand degrees and the first day we thought we were in for more of the same, but we’ve had a little bit of a break here. Looks like here in the next seven days we will need to give it a push and get everything we want to get done from a conditioning standpoint. Usually these summer days are mentally tough so we won’t have that kind of lag. One of the things that I’ve been most impressed with this group of players is that they came in in-shape and with a purpose conditioning test-wise. Our players did a really nice job. I think they pushed to prepare for it. Mike Kent, our conditioning and strength coach, did a really nice job and, because of that, we have been able to sustain a certain level of practice and intensity. So that has been very much a positive. We’ve got high goals this year; a lot expectations internally and we came here to win the north. Every year that is our goal, so we have tried to put the team together in a way that will allow us to do that. The coaching staff has done their part from a personnel standpoint to go out and recruit the players that are needed. The coaching hat that you wear now is from a player-development standpoint and the players have done their part to finish spring classes, go to summer school and now to get started on refining our chemistry and timing now that we have our team together. One of the challenging things this year was selecting the 105 that would come to camp because we had a good number of about 113 players that did a really good job throughout the summer and it was really difficult to decide which 105 of those that we actually bring in. We have a terrific attitude. I’ve really been pleased with the contact level and the speed of the team. We just finished basically six practices that have been a little bit more expansive than what we’ve done in previous years from a scheme standpoint. Now we get into the next two weeks of preparation."

 

On his fist two years...

“I think from an organizational standpoint and roster standpoint, it’s about what we expected. I’m obviously disappointed with the results. We felt we had a nice season in 2006. We wanted to win the Big 12 North and we did not. Last year, we failed to reach one of our basic objectives, which was to have a winning season and go to a bowl game. In both years, we failed to beat our in-state rival and had a couple of other challenging situations, mostly on defense. I think everyone here clearly knows that you have to have good defense or you are going to lose. So, all of our efforts have been towards improving our defensive effort. In these last two years, the biggest lesson we’ve learned is that if you can play good defense in this league, with the absolute volume of points that are being scored, and if you can hold those points down, you have a good chance to win. A year ago, we didn’t do that and so that is our objective going into this year."

 

On new players and their progression...

“From a transition standpoint, we’ve seen those guys do a really nice job. We are really excited for the two inside linebackers that were with us here in the spring Hanson Sekona and Ulla Pomelle and the two outside linebackers Antonio Felder and Josh Berard are doing a really nice job. Daniel Calvin is doing a nice job, as well as several others. The wide receiver corps is probably as competitive as it has ever been since we’ve been here. We are really deep there and that’s a positive for us. We are getting real good play in that area because of those young men that came in and the development of the players that were here. We are real please with how, so far, it’s one of those so far, so goods; really don’t have anything to report since we haven’t played any games. I’m real pleased with the depth from the defensive line and some high school players have stepped up and we have been real pleased with them as well."

 

On Josh Freeman’s Development...

“As far as his development, I think it is pretty clear that he has all the tools and his best football is here, now and in the future. One of the things we talked about a pretty good length this off-season was passing efficiency. Although he had a lot of good things occur, we were not where we wanted to be as far as passing efficiency and we think that is a real key for us this year. I think Warren Ruggiero has done a terrific job with him from fundamentals and all that aspect and how he is delivering the ball is terrific. Understanding progression and what is happening out there, managing the game, he understands that it is his team and his time. We are putting a lot on his shoulders this year.”

 

On having Josh Moore and Antwon Moore back this season...

“Both of them, having lost them at different times last year, gave us some difficulty; but one of the positive things from that was they both worked hard and very positively to come back in a way that really gained the respect of their teammates.  Particularly with Antwon, he has such a magnetic and gigantic personality and people gravitate to him. He is one of our best defenders, clearly, and we think the sky is the limit for Josh Moore. That’s been a positive thing with Blair Irvin coming along and Ray Cheatham. That has allowed us to have a little more flexibility with what we do with Josh (Moore). They (Antwon and Josh) might have been the best off-season acquisitions getting them back on our roster.”

 

On the running back position...

“Running back is one of the things with a lot of questions and a lot of unknowns. So far in the first six practices, we’ve been really pleased with what we’ve seen. Keithen Valentine has really picked up where he left off in the spring. Not only has he been a very nifty and shifty runner with good vision, but he has demonstrated that he can run with power. Justin Woods and Dee Bell have done a fantastic job as well, but Logan Dold has had a terrific camp so far. I know a lot of people were surprised that we mentioned him as a runner, but no one has a better resume for being a runner and being a success at that than Logan. He is moving up the depth chart every single day and doing a real fine job. It is hard to be a freshman and figure out all the things we are doing, but he seems to being picking up on a lot and has the poise and attitude that many of the good players have, so we are very optimistic for him.”

 

On returning to the field after last season...

“I think the way that last season ended, the coaches and the players did a terrific job of being very positive and proactive as to what they could control. Our players did a great job in the weight room with Coach Kent and our coaches did a great job on the road with recruiting. Now it is just the time to put all of those things aside and take all that work that’s been done with recruiting and development and now put it together to get our timing and chemistry down.”

 

Junior Quarterback Josh Freeman

On the new wide receivers...

“They are all doing a great job. Brandon Banks, Aubrey Quarles and all of them are doing a great job. They are all well rounded in their skills; they can do a lot of things. They are just doing a good job overall of learning the system and translating it into big plays.”

 

On feeling more comfortable with the offense...

“I feel really in sync with the offense. Coach (Dave) Brock is doing a great job of coaching us hard and the players are responding to it. I’m looking forward to the season.”

 

On offensive coordinator Dave Brock’s play calling...

“Coach Brock is an aggressive play caller and a good offensive coordinator. I am looking forward to see how he calls plays.”

 

Senior Defensive End Ian Campbell

On the defensive depth...

“There is so much depth right now. I think that is what is making camp better. We were so thin through the end of last year. It was hard for us to do well. (You want to) build on all the talent you have and create your depth so that there is not a drop off.”

 

On the junior college players...

“I think they are going to help a lot. You can’t deny what these guys bring to the table. A lot of these guys already have the physical ability. An 18- or 19-year old kid is not going to have the size and strength that you are going to need at the Division-I level.”

 

On the defensive line...

“I think Brandon Balkcom, Xzavier Stewart and Gabe Crews are doing a tremendous job at nose (tackle). I think the weight Brandon Balkcom has put on (helped), along with his speed. He is going to catch a lot of people off guard and possibly end up with some All-Big 12 honors. He has really done a great job this year.”

 

Junior Safety Chris Carney

On having a healthy defense...

“I think it is going to help us a lot. We lost Antwon Moore last year, who was one of the best defensive guys. I think having him back this year is going to give us a lot of versatility, speed off the edge and a lot of big plays.”

 

On stepping up to help the offense this season...

“We know we didn’t do our job last year. We put it on ourselves that we (defense) lost most of those games last year. You can’t ask the offense to score any more points than they did last year. They put up a lot of points and we gave up way too many.”

 

On Missouri and Kansas’ success last season...

“We are not too worried about those teams right now. We are just focused on our team. We are making sure that we do our job. When that game does come around, we will worry about it.”

 

Senior Center Jordan Bedore

On how the offensive line has progressed over the last few years...

“This is the deepest and most experienced line that I have been on since I have been here. I think the competition between the group will only help us get better.”

 

On the running game...

“I feel that we have to step up the running game regardless of who is returning. I have been very impressed with some of our young running backs. In my eyes, I see our running game improving from last season.”

 

On chemistry with the offensive line and the rest of the team ...

“I think that every day we are trying to get better as a group and it’s going to take everyone in that room to get better. Coming together is going to help us get better.