K-State Holds Weekly Press Conference

Head Coach Ron Prince

On the status of Bryan Baldwin and Rashaad Norwood...

“From a personnel standpoint, I have a couple of announcements. Bryan Baldwin will be out for the season with an injury that he suffered during the Louisville game. He obviously had a really good start to the season. He’s been a very big part of how we’ve played on defense and has brought leadership to the secondary, developing a number of young players with his leadership. He’ll continue to do those things we will just lose his services on the field. We expect him to make a full recovery in time for the spring, but he will be lost for the remainder of this season. Rashaad Norwood will return to action this week. We’ll see how the practices go. We have a pretty competitive situation right now at tight end, so we’ll see how that goes as to who starts at tight end. Right now, if we were to go out in a two-tight end set, Rashaad Norwood would go out on the field to start the game.”

 

On Baylor’s offense...

“This game is a very interesting game because of all the teams that I’ve looked at, this team here has as fascinating offensive firepower as any team we’ve seen so far in the young season. Baylor’s quarterback (Shawn Bell) is completing 66-percent of his passes already for over 1,000 yards and he throws the ball and plays with tremendous confidence. If you didn’t know any better, you could easily see him in the role of that team that we just played. He could play for those guys and play for a lot of teams. He’s playing with a lot of confidence he’s played with confidence on the road in big stadiums and against all kinds of competition, and all he does is keep completing passes. They throw a variety of passes, not just the short ones, that tend to drop the completion percentages. He throws a high-degree-of-difficulty passes. He has a crew of talented receivers to throw them to. It doesn’t matter what their numbers are, there’s a number of them out there, and I don’t see a whole lot of difference in the skill positions from the team we just played.”

 

On Baylor’s defense...

“From a defensive standpoint, this team does an excellent job of trying to dictate what you do well and take it away. They have the ability to play an eight or nine-man front at times to stop the run, if they want to make the game one dimensional for you and force you to pass it. If you have the ability to pass the ball, they can be very flexible with that same system and scheme to drop enough people back into coverage and make the throwing lanes dicey. Their linebacking core is doing a terrific job right now. Whether it’s No. 8 (Antonio Jones), or No. 41 (Joe Pawelek), or No. 44 (Nick Moore), it is all the same they are playing with a lot of confidence. They are holding people to 17 points per game. Whether it’s been against TCU, Washington State, or Army, the key number in their games has been the turnovers. So the interceptions and fumbles that they’ve forced have been the story of the game. That’s where they are playing with a lot of confidence.”

 

On the first road game...

“We think that this will be a very good test for us. To take our team down and play in someone else’s stadium, that will be a new experience for all of us. It’s the first time for us to go to these Big 12 stadiums as coaches. We are obviously very pleased and blessed to have a number of veteran players who have been there, done these things, and have gone to opponent’s locker rooms before and play in these venues. Our focus this week is to play the very best game that we can play and try to dictate the terms of the game so that it will turn out in our best advantage.”

 

On the secondary’s depth...

“One of the things that we’ve tried to do since we’ve been here is build depth at all positions. Raheem Morris and Scott Frost have done a really good job of bringing a lot of young players along. We know that that’s going to be a critical issue for us everywhere on defense. Josh Moore, who has played quite a bit here in the early season, will have a bigger role. Byron Garvin will take over as the starter at that corner job. That’s our deal to continue to try to train young players to come along. I’ve really been pleased by Ray Cheatham and Otis Johnson. A lot of young players are developing, and they are not household names yet, but they continue to develop and we know it will take a lot of those players to play and do well, as well as people at the safety position. Courtney Herndon and Kevin Hollis need to continue to develop. Defensively, if we get into games where we’ve putting our defense out on the field for extended periods of time a lot of 70 or 80 snap-type games it will take all of that depth that we have to be successful. Obviously, on offense, we would not like to put them in that position week in and week out.”

 

On the quarterback situation...

“When I went back and watched the tape, there really weren’t any factors in the game that would make me want to change anything happening at the quarterback position. I think the No. 1 factor in the game was the rush of Louisville I don’t think we handled it particularly well. While we haven’t given up a high-sack number, I think I would attribute a lot of that to the experience of our quarterback and knowing how to get rid of the ball and find places to outlet the ball. But, he’s been under heavy duress. That’s obviously something we’re trying to do defensively, but unfortunately, offensively, that has happened to us. So, I didn’t see anything that would make me think, mechanically or schematically, that there would be any reason to change there, unless we had an injury situation or some type of issue with the score in the game. We’re going to stick to our plan here. Taking a veteran, a senior down on the road is the right thing. Giving him the kind of support that he needs to be successful is ultimately what any quarterback is going to need, and I think that is the case here.”

 

On playing all four non-conference games at home...

“I really wouldn’t like a road non-conference game. There’s none of those teams that I would prefer to go play here in the early going in the first year. I think having the opportunity for our team to play four home games against gradually improving competition, this is just another challenge. Now, after four home games, to be able to go on the road, it will be a good one for us. It is what we need. I really wouldn’t have wanted to do it any other way. I think this is about as good of a schedule as you could put together. We will obviously go play at Louisville here in the future. We will play some non-conference teams on the road in UCLA, Miami and I’m sure others in the future. I thought in the first year, the way that this came together I thought this was really good for us with a young team and with everybody doing everything for the first time.”

 

On the offense clicking...

“I think defenses are always ahead of offenses you’re dealing with timing and chemistry. One of the things that happens is that we’ve played a number of players for a lot of different reasons some of them were out of our control and that does effect your chemistry a little bit. I think that one of the things that can happen is to be resolute. What you don’t want to do is go into a constantly conservative mode or try to play not to lose. I think that’s one of the most damaging things you can do to your team. While you’re learning to hit your stride and play with confidence, you still have to be bold and daring. I had a coaching-mate at Virginia in Anthony Poindexter who was on the Baltimore (Ravens) World Championship team. We had a little time there at Virginia where we weren’t scoring as many points in some games as we’d liked things weren’t going perfectly. He reminded us that Baltimore went five weeks without scoring an offensive touchdown the year they won the Super Bowl. That always stuck in my mind. So, it is a team game, that’s why we’ve had such an emphasis on this being a three-phase game. Our special teams have to come up big for us and they have to provide us field position. Where the opponents have to start has been a big story in the season so far. You couldn’t ask for much better in the last game having the No. 8 team in the country start on its own three yard line. They just executed a championship drive to start both halves. That’s what championship clubs do. I was very pleased that our coaches came back and made the adjustments to take away what they were doing and try to play with them. Once we get the ball moving forward, eliminate penalties and all these miscues in all phases, I think we will really like the result.”

 

On game planning against the spread offense...

“This is one of the things I talked about during the summer. This is the next new thing in college football. Some teams have really had the spread thing going for a while, particularly when it’s the quarterback as the alternate runner, or the duel-threat player. What I find fascinating about this situation is that this quarterback (Shawn Bell) reminds me of Jay Cutler. Vanderbilt has had a very similar style to how Baylor is playing, which is a distant relative of how (Texas Tech) Coach (Mike) Leach plays, which isn’t exactly like the Urban Myer spread system. So, there are some differences. I’ve observed very closely how Vanderbilt used its quarterback the past couple of years, and this player reminds me quite a bit of that player. Any time you have a quarterback completing 66-perecent and 1,000 yards in just a short season, it shows you there’s a variety of passing and he’s not just a runner. He has the ability to run, but I think that’s what makes this a little bit different. You start to see off-shoots of this spread offense starting to take root in college football, which makes it pretty interesting for defensive coordinators each week.”

 

On the play of Marcus Watts...

“As you can see, one thing is that he is a playmaker. It’s hard to describe a defensive player as a playmaker without a being a guy that makes a whole lot of sacks or that type of thing. He’s a factor whenever he’s on the field. One of the things that most people might not understand is that when we punt the football, he and Yamon Figurs are as dominate a pair in going down and covering kicks as they are with what they might be doing in the onside kicking and intercepting, and the things that show up in the box score. When we punt the ball, especially in that last game, they had two players assigned to he and Yamon at the line of scrimmage, but they sometimes had two and three players deep to try to block them and they still couldn’t. That’s when I describe someone as a real playmaker, one who effects a bunch of different phases in the game. The onside kick was just a phenomenal kick and an unbelievable athletic play to recover it. He went up in the air at the highest point which is where you’d like to have it as the recovering team. The thing he did on defense, to intercept that pass in the last two games, that was a product of him being very coachable and the coaches putting him in a very good position. All during the week, we had a very good idea that he would get a chance at that ball and when it came, he made the most of it. That’s what separates good players from very good players. The opportunity came up, it was practiced all week, and he made the most of it. If you could have 22 players like Marcus Watts in the NFL, you’d be over the (salary) cap. We’ve just got to get a lot of players to understand that is the standard in college football. If we can get 85 guys to play like that, that would be really something.”