K-State Holds Weekly Press Conference

Head Coach Ron Prince
Opening statement...
“We are excited about having a chance to open up conference play this week. We have a big challenge ahead of us here with one of the most dynamic sets of playmakers in college football, maybe one of the better players in college football. For sure, one of the better players I have seen in sometime at wide receiver. Their quarterback also does real well. He set most of the passing records and is one of the very best we will see in our league. He is a very good one. So, it is quite a challenge for us.

“Defensively, we are excited about it. We have been able to study these guys and get a sense of how we might need to play on both sides of the ball and then in the kicking game. Going back and reviewing the game from the other day, looking at the number of missed tackles that we had, as crazy as it might sound, we actually had fewer missed tackles than we did in the Louisville game, but the ones we missed were bad ones. They hurt us in a tremendous way. We were not trying to find a bunch of silver linings in what we saw, but the fact is that we faced a very difficult offense and we were able to get out of the game with a win.

“I thought, offensively, having Lamark Brown in there and running the ball helped us do some things, but I think the thing that will go unnoticed about that game on Saturday is what a competitive game it was in the kicking game. After going back and watching the film, there were not very many returns of much quality for either side. I think both teams did a terrific job of covering kicks and it was an absolute fun game to watch on tape and to be apart of it there live. That is what happened last weekend. We understand it and had a good look at it.

“We have some things that we will need to adjust, obviously, as this will be a different style of game, but we will face just as dynamic of an offense and obviously a defense that vastly improved here in the last year. I think that having last season and an off-season under his belt, Coach (Ruffin) McNeill, the defensive coordinator down at Texas Tech, has done a real fine job for those guys, particularly when you look at the number of interceptions and the players who are involved in that. The two guys that jump out, the two defensive ends have been very disruptive with lots of sacks, and I think clearly when you have an offense like that and you are playing with the lead promotes to put more pressure on the pass and they are doing a real good job of sacking the quarterback. On offense, I know a lot of attention goes to the wide receivers and quarterback, but they have two terrific runners. It has been a couple of years since we have played these guys, and a lot of fans my not quite appreciate how enormous and strong this offensive line is. All the players in their front are phenomenally big and they are very good at pass protection, and they, along with the runners, to a really good job when they run the football. I think this is going to be a terrific contest and we are looking forward to it.”

On both teams’ quarterback/wide receiver duos...
“Their quarterback has been doing this for quite awhile. He is very successful and they are going to put up very staggering numbers. And their wide receiver has been doing this for one more season and has pretty much established himself as one of the best in the country. I think both of our guys are good players. They got a lot to prove in this contest and I don’t think right now that you can say its apples to apples but we will go see.”

On K-State’s mindset heading into Big 12 play...
“I don’t think it is hard for us to believe that it is for real. This is not like the NFL where you might go to the playoffs with a 9-7 record. You don’t have that many opportunities in college football because every game matters. It would do us a lot of good to come out and play well. It’s a conference opener at home. We understand that and we understand the challenges that we will have facing this team. It has been awhile since we have had a conference opener at home. If you go back and look at K-State, a lot of our openers have been road games. It nice to be able to open at home where we have been able to enjoy some success and we would like to be able to build on that.”

On coaching strategies this week...
”I think in the last few weeks we have seen what Big 12 play often looks like. It is just the number of possessions the team gets and maximizing those. A lot of these offenses are very good. I think the key in conference play is if the quarterback and offenses play as expected and the key is going to be turnovers and being able to take a possession away from people. We are just not going to get that many opportunities to block a punt in some of these games, so I think that turnovers are going to be huge and we have not done a good job of that.”

Quarterback Josh Freeman
On what he has improved on over the season...
“A lot of it is the playmakers around me. Right now, we have a three-year offensive line in Coach Prince’s system and a lot of those guys are doing a great job. There is talent at the wide receiver position, all around. This is the most talented group I’ve been around. It is really just the people around me that are making me better.”

On the toughness of Brandon Banks...
“He is a tough guy with a tremendous desire to win at all cost. He is one of the few guys that are successful as he is for his size. If he doesn’t get the ball for awhile during the game, he is not one of those guys to sulk about it. Instead he is going to just keep working harder for the team. I didn’t see any tape of him when we were recruiting him. I think Adrian (Hilburn), (Attrail) Snipes, and Banks all came in at the same time and that was the first time I saw all of them. Coach told me that these guys are players and that we need to do a good job with them. I don’t judge a player just by looking at him. If the coaches tell me he is a player that means he has a reputation, so I trust the reputation. Working with him this summer, I definitely realized that he was going to go out and make some plays for us this year.”

On changing K-State’s offense to adjust to Texas Tech’s prolific offense...
“I’m sure the coaches the will do things game-plan wise, but for the most part I have to do my job which is managing the offense, being ball secure and scoring points. I’m not really worried about what Graham Harrell and the offense is doing. I’m worried about what their defense is doing.”

Defensive End Ian Campbell
On freshman defensive end Brandon Harold...
“He is on pace right now for the sack record, there is no question. It is going to start getting tougher and he’s going to require more attention, but if that happens then I’ll hopefully be able to pick up the slack and if it goes back and forth that is fine. He is a real talented kid and he picks up on things really quickly. Whatever I or the coaches throw at him, he just sucks it in real quick. He is going to be a great player here and I’m real proud of him.”

On the adjustments he went through as he drew more attention in his career...
“You have to develop your film game. My sophomore year I had some success. I played Baylor and didn’t do so hot and coach told me to be a student of the game because you can’t out-athlete someone anymore because everyone knows who you are. You have to get to a point where you put the mental aspect with your physical aspect of your game as well. Brandon (Harold) probably has a leg up on the video aspect because he has everyone here telling him what to do and when to watch film.”

On going from year to year...
“It got a lot tougher and it is still tough now. People don’t forget about your past success. If you had production, then they are always going to assume that you are capable of the same thing and keep an eye out for you. It is the same way in high school and once you recruit yourself to this level it is the same thing.”