K-State Holds Weekly Football Press Conference

Head Coach Bill Snyder

On the play of the defense against Auburn...
"I thought it was awfully good. We probably would not have gotten all of that if we did not turn the ball over down there. I thought that all of our youngsters played really well and played within the system. Our coaches did a marvelous job preparing them. We had some good fortune, some dropped passes that were substantial gains if they would have been caught. We had some miscues in that regard. Collectively, if you tried to look at the play-by-play, and snap-by-snap, it would be pretty good."

On the key for the defense against Auburn...
"I think we had some good fortune with having some extra preparation time. Auburn had the same amount of time, but nevertheless, it is responsibility football, it is option football, for the most part. You have to be truly disciplined to focus on your assignments, to not jump at things that you should not jump at. It takes some patience with some of the young guys that like to fly around and make tackles. The added time I think helped. Coach (Blake) Seiler did a really nice job with our defensive ends because there was a lot of pressure on them to play well in that ballgame with so many responsibilities that they had. Part of it is being able to slow up the read plays or the options and being able to react either way, being able to contain the spread out passes and the boot leg passes. Just an awful lot of assignment responsibility football that they had on their plate, and I thought they did quite well."

On starting Dakorey Johnson...
"He has gotten substantially more repetition in practice because he has worked his way in to that role. He runs well and that is a benefit for our defense. I thought it was a matter of him being able to adapt to the system and understand the responsibilities and having the discipline to carry out the responsibilities like we like, and he has gotten better at it and it has paid off for him."

On offensive struggles in the red zone vs. Auburn...
"It is a combination of a few things. I think part of it is that we need to get the right things. I think we need to have a stronger mindset in regards to the area of the field. We need more work down there. My belief is that if you are able to move it down the field, you should be able to move it when you get down there. The field condenses a little bit in terms of the passing game; it is not as expanded as it would be on the rest of the field. Normally we are pretty decent at that. We have been ranked high in the nation in terms of scoring in the red zone offense. I go back to the Iowa State game and having to settle for those two field goals in the second and third drives of the ballgame. We had four opportunities (vs. Auburn) inside the 30-yard line and came away with zero points. I cannot give you a solid answer as to why, but all I know is that we are going to need more work down there - to select things and put them on the field like we need to."

On play of Jake Waters this season...
"I think he has a ways to go. If he keeps improving, then I will be pleased. He has done some really fine things, but yet he still has those moments, which is true of almost any player. I think he is dedicated to that improvement. If he continues to do that and engages in that honest self-assessment trying to enhance his performance level, then I think he will do fine."

On eliminating penalties against Auburn...
"Well, it was a step forward. Along with no penalties comes no turnovers, and we turned the ball over, so I was not too pleased about that. I do like the discipline. It's easier, in all reality, playing at home than it is on the road. That could be an excuse as well. We need - all the time, whether it be home or away - we need to do exactly that. It gives you a better chance."

On UTEP running back Aaron Jones...
"As it relates to him as a player, I like the fact that he has some speed and can move around pretty well. He runs well, and aggressively, straight ahead. He's a good downhill runner and he carries piles. You cannot arm tackle him - he won't allow that to happen. He does not have great size, but he runs like a 215- to 220-pound running back. I admire that. Obviously, he's been effective."

On Ben Leber, a former K-State linebacker and color commentator for this weekend's game on FSN...
"Ben knew how to get himself into the right spot. He was very reliable, dependable and disciplined. He was not necessarily flashy, he was just a guy that got to where he needed to be. He was reasonably decent-sized - he had good height to him. I just think he was reliable as much as anything, plus he is an excellent young man. I admired how he handled himself both on and off the field."

Senior Quarterback Jake Waters
On frustration with red zone plays...
"It is frustrating since we are usually pretty good at that and to not be able to finish in big games just like Thursday is always very frustrating. We make those plays all the time. Maybe sometimes it is my fault making passes down there when coach called a run, but I am still learning, and we all are still learning and getting better every single day."

On bouncing back after the loss last Thursday...
"It is always nice for a team to come back after a game like that. Yesterday's practice went well. It is a new week, and we have a new challenge with UTEP. We are all excited for it."

Sophomore Running Back Charles Jones
On putting Auburn in the past and moving on...
"We just have to move on. Now we are just focused on UTEP. We corrected the mistakes that we made last Thursday. We are on to the next game."

On being anxious to get back on the field...
"We really are anxious. Even though we fell short, we feel like we gave great effort last Thursday, so I am foaming at the mouth to play again."

On the offense wanting to show that they can score more than 14 points...
"That is all we have been emphasizing is scoring. Every time someone gets the ball, we run it into the end zone just to get used to getting it in the end zone and get back to the team that we were."

Junior Offensive Lineman Boston Stiverson
On the frustrations of not finishing drives...
"We just did not go out and execute the drives like would have liked to. Right now we just have to move on. We have a big game this weekend. We will focus on UTEP now."

On the team's mindset after Auburn...
"Obviously we are upset. I think we are all past that. I am feeling now a big opportunity for us this weekend against UTEP. I think we are past the frustration."

Senior Linebacker Jonathan Truman
On going up against Auburn's offense...
"It was a good challenge for us. We took our preparation very seriously. We knew that they were going to have a great offense, so we took that challenge to heart, and I thought we played well."

On learning about his defense...
"I think having trust in our teammates is huge. As a defense, we are a tight-knit group, and we came together. I think we can play well when we need to, and we need to always."

On approaching UTEP's offense...
"They are a tough football team, hard-nosed and tough up front. They run the ball well. They have proved that with all of their statistics. They are up at the top in the country in rushing right now so it is going to be a big challenge for us, but we are up for it."

Freshman Linebacker Elijah Lee
On re-watching the Auburn game tape...
"I was surprised how everything fell into place. A week of preparation, granted not everything fell into place, but I think overall we played good as a team. We figured out where we could play better."

On the defensive success against Auburn's ground game...
"They talk about how first you are supposed to stop the run. Make them pick up the ball and throw it through the air. That gives us more chances for pass rush, interceptions and turnovers."