K-State Holds Weekly Press Conference

Head Coach Ron Prince

Opening statement...

“We’re looking forward to having a really good week of practice in preparation for Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State is a really talented team. Having had a chance to evaluate the tape now for a couple days, I can see very clearly why offensively they are either at the top or near the top particularly in the passing game. They have a terrific quarterback. When you look at the individual passers within the league, he has a very impressive resume. They’ve had a receiver there who’s very good, (DeJuan Woods), but now they’ve added a receiver that I’m very familiar with, (Adarius Bowman), a transfer from North Carolina. With the two of them, it makes them very difficult to defend. When you combine that with the running back, (Mike Hamilton), and a guy who I think is their secret weapon, (Dantrell Savage), a junior college transfer from Mississippi Gulf Coast, I think they give you a very challenging offensive look. They have a right tackle (Corey Hilliard) that I think is going to be a major factor in the game. This will be two weeks in a row that we’ve seen a player at the right tackle position that I think is a very elite player he’s very much a Leonard Davis-type player. He has all the right stuff that people are looking for, he’s big and strong. The tackle we played against last week (Jason Smith) is really a prototype left tackle playing at right tackle. (Hilliard) will be all the kinds of things you are looking for, a guy who can run block with power and dominate the edge. They have a tight end (Brandon Pettigrew) that I would compare to Howard Cross he’s big, he’s strong, 6-5, 265, and he’s a significant threat in the passing game. They’re very good on offense, there’s a reason they’re scoring that many points.

 

“Defensively they play a number of players and have tremendous depth. All of their players at particular positions are the same they’re strong, they’re fast, they have terrific builds and they play a number of them so they stay very fresh in games. I think it’s a credit to how they put the team together there with Coach Gundy and I think that they are very, very talented. This is one of those games that we’re excited to be at home and have an opportunity to play here in front of our crowd. We expect to play well in the game and to win, but this will be a good challenge, no question about it.

 

On significant changes to the depth chart...

“This is a performance issue. Penalties are a big part of it. Being able to protect the quarterback is a big part of it. Putting the ball on the ground is a part of it. Performance is the reason that people rise or don’t rise in this business and that’s the bottom line to it. It’s not anything other than that we’re not trying to send a message to anybody, it’s just a matter of performance. The stakes are significant. These are all games that we’re trying to win. We expect to play well. If you’re ever going to win, you have to play well. Sometimes you have to have the ball bounce your way a little bit, but until we can play well we’re going to have a hard time sustaining winning and putting a positive effort together.”

 

On what’s causing the troubles on offense...

“I think we’re having a lot of difficulty having any kind of consistency that puts drives together. There are a number of factors in that. The execution at a number of positions right now isn’t where we would like it to be. We think that the competition could have something to do with that, but also just our own individual technique and effort in how we try to approach the blocks or just all the synchronized efforts whether it’s protection or run blocking and then how we are running the ball or how we are passing it. It’s really just a lot of consistency issues with our technique and our effort and how we’re putting it together. It’s as much us as it is (anything else), but the opponent does have something to do with it I don’t want to discredit the opponent. Our opponents have been significant, but we really need to have our own house in order.

 

“We’ve had a significant number of plays in which the defense feels they can either load the box the area from tackle to tackle with eight or nine defenders or blitz at any point with wanton disregard of one-on-one coverage on the outside. That’s what I see as really the primary reason. If you’re going to be able to put drives together and sustain anything, you’re going to have to be able to exploit one-on-one coverage outside. Every team in this league has a dynamic wide receiver; some of the really good teams have two. We have the firepower out there; we just have to get the ball to them. When we’re in one-on-one coverage you can see that when we have an opportunity to do something special with the ball, we have to capitalize.”

 

On what’s needed to help Josh Freeman succeed in his first start...

“We want to make sure that we have good support around him. Everybody around him has to play a clean game, be very precise in what we do. I don’t expect a quarterback to have to go in and win the game, just play well if you can and then in the fourth quarter be prepared to be a hero if necessary. That’s really how we try to approach quarterbacking. Quarterbacking is getting your team to perform at its best throughout the week and then in the game whether it’s the communication, whether it’s your preparation as an individual or the preparation of those around you. We know Josh has tremendous talent, he has tremendous skills. The pass that he made to (Yamon) Figurs rolling left there’s not a lot of people who can make that pass. We know that he has talent. Obviously he wanted to make some plays in the game and some of those didn’t turn out the way that we might have liked. I enjoyed the fact that he was aggressive with the football and in our situation we needed that. I think having a running game around a quarterback is his best friend and we’re going to continue to work on that.”

 

On the direction of the team and making change...

“The only future I’m looking forward to is this game on Saturday. I don’t want to live in the past, but to be honest with you, I’m not really interested in repeating what’s happened in the past. One of the things you learn in this business is that you can evaluate and you can give yourself a chance to get long in the tooth and then you wake up one morning and the team doesn’t look like what you want it to look like or doesn’t perform the way you want it to perform. I think one of the things that leadership has to show is that you have to be willing at times to balance sticking to your guns and knowing what you believe, and then being willing to make change. That’s one of the things I learned from the group of guys that raised me in this business have the courage to make change when it needs to be made. It’s not always easy, fun, or popular, but that’s the job we have.”

 

On Oklahoma State coming off a bye week...

“The week that we lost to Louisville, they lost to Houston. I think they’ve probably had some time to go back and be very introspective and to look at their team and try to improve their fundamentals. I’m sure while we were playing, they probably practiced and took a little time off. I would anticipate that they have a good head start on us game plan-wise. We’ve been working, as you can imagine, to catch up with that. I can control a couple of factors and I’m going to try to control those. Among those is how fresh the team is and how prepared the team is. Those are the factors that I can control with them coming off of an open date and so that’s what we’ll do.”

 

Sophomore Defensive End Ian Campbell

On the mood of the team ...

“I think the mood of the team is that we feel like we need to get something accomplished. We need to get things fixed. It’s not a somber mood or anything like that. I think there’s a sense of urgency there everybody knows that we need to go out there and get things done.”

 

On if there is tension within the team after the depth-chart changes...

“No, there’s not tension or anything. We are all just out there trying to get things done. I don’t think anyone is really worried about their position; it’s not showing, anyway, in my opinion. We are all just trying to get the team better.”

 

On the defense’s mindset with the offensive struggles...

“It’s not tough for the defense to keep playing. We know we have to stay on top of our game and be out there, as much as we need to be out there, and just do our job. That’s what you have to do as a defense you just have to go out there and do your thing.”

 

On Oklahoma State’s offense...

“They do have a big-play capacity on their offense, but I feel that we have that on defense as well. Hopefully we can stop them as much as we can. So, we have to be able to come back with as many big plays on defense.”

 

Junior Tight End Michael Pooschke

On the play of Jeron Mastrud ...

“He’s an excellent freshman. He came in and got with the system real quick, and using his size and everything, has really allowed him to come in and step in for us.”

 

On Josh Freeman starting his first game...

“I think that’s good. Both of our quarterbacks are highly-touted and whoever we put back there we have confidence in.”

 

On if there is any tension between the quarterbacks...

“There’s not really any tension. I think all of our guys support whoever’s back there. If they can’t get it done or if something happens, then someone else is going to get a chance to step in.”

 

On the mindset of the offense...

“We obviously didn’t want to go down to Waco and lose, but that happened and we have to put it behind us and move on. We like playing here at home, so that’s a good way to bounce back. We get to come back home and get the confidence up to finish the rest of the season.”

 

Junior Defensive End Rob Jackson

On the team’s morale following the loss...

“There was silence and shock after the game, but we’ve bounced back so far this week. Everybody knows what they have to do the offense knows what they have to do and the defense knows what they have to do. We just have to get it done.”

 

On the team’s optimism...

“It’s somewhere out there. We know what we’re capable of. When the offense starts clicking and the defense puts together a complete game, then it will be there.”

 

On the defense playing well and the offensive struggles...

“It was frustrating at first, but then we realized that if didn’t let them score, then we could win the game. We have to play that much harder on defense if we’re not going to get help from the offense. We would like to be able to score 21 to 35 points per game, but if not, then we’re going to have to go there with the attitude to not let them score.”

 

On the quarterback situation...

“Both (Freeman and Dylan Meier) get the same reps in practice. I think they’re both capable of running the offense. We’ll have to leave it up to the offensive coaches on deciding what to do.”