K-State Holds Weekly Press Conference

Head Coach Ron Prince
Opening statement...
“We are real pleased to be 2-0 and be in the situation that we are in right now. We wanted to go into this game 2-0, to have as many people participate and as healthy as possible so we can put on the best performance that we can. We think this is a great game for our program and for our university to be able to share the national stage with an opponent. There is no other team in town, so everyone will be watching. For that reason, it is important for us to put on a good performance and that is what we will work on in the next 10 days. We are real excited about it. We know we have some things we need to work on from a special-teams standpoint. We are still not we want to be or where we could be, but we had some terrific individual performances and a couple units that performed real well. Defensively, we can tackle better and improve our play at linebacker. We can improve our offense, particularly the running game and with our offensive line. Other than that, we are about where we expected or hoped to be, but we will know a lot more about our team when we come back from playing this game.

“This is a really good team. They are terrific in rush defense that doesn’t surprise me. They have been excellent that way for a couple of years now since we have been following them. Watching the ticker or some of the news items that come by, you really don’t have sense of what kind of team you are going to face, but we know that they are a fast and strong team, really built not dissimilar to the SEC teams. That is one of the reasons why we picked this matchup a long ago. We thought when we signed this deal that this is as good a team that you’ll find out there with NFL players, with high caliber facilities and expectations with that type of thing. I’m not disappointed at all after watching film. This is going to be a heck of a matchup for us. When it comes to turnovers and tackles for loss and run defense and all the things that you want your program to be known for, that is what they do and they do best, so it will take our very best effort. Defensively on third down they are terrific, as well as red zone defense, so this will be quite a challenge for us.”

On the linebackers’ performance...
“What we are finding is that we are in position to make some plays. We just need to be as aggressive towards making those plays as we can. This is not an issue of not being in position to make the play, even though there has been a time where the scheme of the other team has done a nice job of getting us out of position a little bit, but the plays are there to be made we just need to make them. That is the biggest thing. When you go on the road, you’ve got to do a real good job of run defense, so I’ll be real concerned about that because this team can play it real well. From a pass-defense standpoint, that hasn’t been the issue with our linebackers. Hitting on the runs, being precise and making tackles is what we are looking for.”

On the defense...
“I don’t want to paint so broad of a picture that it sounds like every player is doing poorly all the time because that’s not the case. It is just that this is a linebacker-driven defense and we have to perform really well and it is intended to be very discipline and also create some opportunities. For example, two weeks in a row now we’ve had five gains of zero yards, so, with a little better focus, those could have all been tackles for loss. In two games now we’ve had two or three gains for one yard and, with a little more attention to detail and focus, those all could have been tackles for loss. So we had the opportunity in this last game to have 17 tackles for loss, but that’s not how many we ended up with. So we know that the game being literally a number of inches, if we face a really confirmed offensive line and running attack, we could be in really big trouble. So we need to make sure we are tightening down all the details.”

On position movement...
“If we need to move people, we will. It is not something we are set on right now. We think we have a nice group of them. As you can see, we’ve played quite a few of them in the game. We know that is part of it getting guys settled in, but we also think we have to keep the standard real high and we’ll continue to do that.”

On Josh Freeman...
“I think he is at the place in his career where he’s ready to round out the things he is capable of. There is some things that we haven’t shown yet, but he is at that place now where is able to contribute in a lot of different ways. He has taken that and done a nice job with it. When he finds that opportunities are there, then we want him to take them. Then we obviously have some things that are organized for him to do that. I’ve been fortunate enough to be around a number of different types of quarterbacks and a number of different ways to develop a quarterback and I think it takes a couple of years for a quarterback to come on and perform in a certain way. I think when you have a player that doesn’t redshirt and plays as a true freshman the competition of the games, actually going to class and all the functions of being a player at this level meets his attention. If a player sits and redshirts his first couple years, then he could have a couple of those things ready when he plays, but those who come and perform and have to win for you right now, the last thing you want them to do is thinking too much on the field. You want them to just go out there and play as fast as they can. So that is how we have tried to bring this quarterback along and he’s got great aptitude for the game. He’s got obviously a terrific body and lots of tools and we want him to use every single one of them that he as.”

On Freeman’s efficiency...
“We went back and studied those teams that have winning in common, not only in the Big 12 Conference, but throughout the country. We have looked at the quarterbacks that have performed at that level and we think there are some standards. I think it varies from conference to conference and style to style, but what we wanted to do was improve our passing efficiency. Last year I think Josh was 68th in passing efficiency. He had a great year lots of the year and did a lot of nice things. In the last half of the season, he had a very good consistency and efficiency and cut down his interceptions. I think anytime you have quarterbacks in the 70-percent range, you are dealing with terrific quarterbacks and systems and a really define system of how they want to get the ball to their wide receivers.”

Defensive End Ian Campbell
On K-State’s tackling...
“Guys are there and they are ready to make the plays. They just need to wrap up, not let go of the ball carrier and drive them to the ground.  With all the fundamentals we work on all the time, it’s a matter of a collected group of individuals doing what they are told. Right now, it is not being done by enough people. Some people are doing very well but, as a group, we all need to sew that up.”

On Brandon Harold...
“Brandon, I could tell when he came in, that he was going to be able to contribute. He has the size, the speed and has the overall frame to be a defensive end. I think he has come in and sponged everything. He writes things down, he asks me why I gave myself a zero on a play when all I did wrong was footwork. He thinks that through. It’s not about just being in the right gap, its about footwork, right leverage and trying to get to the ball every play. He listens and is a very hard worker and I think he is going to have a really good career at K-State.”

Wide Receiver Aubrey Quarles
On playing on national television...
“I’m excited to play against a really good team like Louisville. They have had quite a bit of success. Louisville is a school I heard about growing up. It is going to be good having a chance to play against them.”

On his comfort with offense...
“I feel pretty comfortable. Learning over the summer and having a couple games under might belt now has helped me get used to the speed of the game. Now it’s just what we can do as a team.”

Running Back Keithen Valentine
On playing on the road...
“I feel that it is tough anywhere to play on the road because of the fans. I think that in junior college there are some dedicated fans but it’s found more in Division I football.

On importance of winning on the road...
“It is a big game and it’s on television, so that makes it more like the games we will be playing in down the road. By winning it, we’ll be able to show that we are a good team and that we will be able to beat tough teams down the road.”

Wide Receiver Brandon Banks
On Josh Freeman...
“He is playing real well. I think he has accounted for nine touchdowns four rushing and five passing. He has really stepped up his performance from last year. He is a really good player. He has no interceptions and that explains a lot. He is able to get the ball out into the open field and is performing very well.”

On the confidence of having Freeman...
“It makes you real confident. You have time to run your route and the ability to get open and know the ball is going to get there on time. He is not like any junior college quarterback. He can put the ball wherever you want it.”

Defensive Back Ray Cheatham
On the play of the secondary...
“It starts up front, so I give credit to my defensive line. They have been working hard to try to get pressure on the quarterback. I have just been trying to do my job on the back row.”

On playing Louisville...
“I know we will step up to the challenge. We get a couple extra days to look at film and see what their tendencies are. I think we will be prepared for them.”