K-State Holds Weekly Press Conference

Head Coach Ron Prince
Opening statement...
“We were thoroughly beaten by a very good team. I thought we had a good opportunity in the kicking game and it turned out that way. I thought we had a chance to block a few punts and do some things from a blocking standpoint. I am disappointed in the fact that our return game wasn’t very good on kickoff returns. With that many scores, we expected to be better, but overall I thought we had a pretty solid game there. We had one punt that didn’t help us out and we were expecting to have an advantage in that area.

“From an offensive standpoint, when it was 17-14 I thought we had a chance to take the momentum in the game and we did not. That was a big letdown right there for a team that is still trying to learn how to win. When we didn’t take advantage of that opportunity, you could sense a little bit of the air went out of the place and we are trying to get that back but it didn’t happen for us. I’m very encouraged by the way we came out in the first quarter offensively. Right now, we are having an issue in the second quarter. In a lot of these games, where the game is starting to get legs on us and we really need to make a quality stop or series of stops in that quarter and I think we need to follow that up in the third quarter. There are a number of things that go along with it. I feel that we are a step away from hitting the quarterback, a step away from disrupting the ball, a step away from making a tackle and that is all of our jobs to make sure the player can close that ground and make that play without any hesitation. Surprising as it sounds, the effort of our players was extraordinary. We had guys really play hard until the end, including down on the goal line were we tried to make a nice stand. The reality is with a team that precise in what they are doing, with the quality players they have, being a step away is like a mile away. That game is over and we have a lot to learn from it. There are a lot of things from an individual standpoint to see where we need to improve. That was a real unique type of test with a team that is so precise throwing the football. There were a lot of good individual effort and we need to put them all together next time we face a team like that.

“We have a great challenge this week. I have spent a lot of time watching their offense and trying to get a sense of who they are and how we might match up. They are extraordinary. They have a terrific runner in No. 3. He is as good as anybody I have seen in the past. They have a really good wide receiver in No. 8. He has size, speed and great hands. They have a guy that is unique, No. 17. He has become one of their favorite targets. He is good in the red zone and good on third down. He is good out in space and in close quarters. It is very unusual that a college team will have a good running back and two really good wide receivers with size and can catch the ball in traffic. They have two quarterbacks that are both very good. I think we will have quite a challenge. I think they have a lot of good coaches and players and we need to do a good job of focusing on ourselves and improving where we need to improve. We will take the rest of the time to look at their defense and see where we can get an advantage. ”

On the Texas A&M quarterbacks...
“I don’t know who is going to start, but is pretty easy to look at the resume of No. 7 and see that he is a dual threat and that he can obviously throw and run because he has run for a lot of yards. In big games, he has had big runs that have been very significant throughout his career. The Montana State football game a year ago was a close game until he broke a long run. They have played No. 1 a lot, but I have to see in person. He reminds me a lot of Xavier Lee from Florida State, a lot like Josh Freeman, and JaMarcus Russell. He is a big guy and to this point he has stood fearlessly in the pocket, and I am really impressed with his pocket awareness and the fact that he keeps his eyes down the field. He can run with the football and do all the things that you would expect. I really think he is a fearless competitor. He has taken some shots in the pocket and it really hasn’t fazed him at all.”

On winning on the road...
“We have won one conference road game each of the last two years and that is not good enough to win the Big 12 North. We are going to have an opportunity to go on the road and play in a place that it has been awhile since K-State has won. It is a great venue from what I understand. We need to make the players aware of what it is like going on the road and other things. I think focusing on our improvement will be the best way for us to accomplish that. The reality is they have a lot of good players, a great venue and if we can play to our best ability and play a good game then I will like our chances. We have to eliminate the turnovers and some of the mental errors that are destructive and try to put a good game together.” 

Quarterback Josh Freeman
On the upcoming game at Texas A&M...
“It is definitely a must-win week. The goal this week is to come out 1-0. We realize we are 0-1 in Big 12 play and we just have to step up this week and get the win. We know they have a great team and stadium. We are going to have to bring our A-Game’ to win.”

On playing a newly coached team...
“Every game in the Big 12 is extremely important. We understand that to achieve our ultimate goal of winning the north we are going to have to string together some wins and it starts with this week.”

Offensive Lineman Gerard Spexarth
On the feeling going into the away game...
“The feeling is that we have some corrections to make and that it is going to be a big game for us in College Station. Just because we lost the last game doesn’t make this game any more important. Last week’s game, ultimately, was just one loss and if we get a win this week it is just one win. We got to be positive and just keep moving on. One game is just one game.”

On the importance to capitalize on Texas A&M’s struggles ...
“Road wins are always tough in the Big 12. We are looking forward to the challenge in College Station.”

On the offensive line needing to assert its will...
“We definitely need to assert ourselves this coming week. We have a great opportunity this weekend and we had one last weekend as well, but we didn’t take advantage of it. We have to have a good week of practice and we have to get a win. No matter what we have to do to get it we have to get a win.”

Defensive Back Tysyn Hartman
On the depth in the secondary...
“We basically have a whole bunch of guys that can do each job. Myself and Chris Carney are pretty interchangeable. We can play both strong and free safety positions. No matter who we put in it is not a drop down in performance by any means.”

On the mindset of the defense...
“We just have to go out and get better and watch the film. Find out the things that we didn’t do well and hopefully correct them before this weekend. Missed tackles seem to be the main thing week after week and that is something that we continue stress and we will get it corrected.”

On the importance of getting turnovers...
“They are huge. It stops them from scoring and it also puts our offense back on the field if we didn’t score from the turnover. It provides extra opportunities for our offense to capitalize and puts them in much better situations. We practice, basically every week, ball disruption and things like that.”

Defensive End Ian Campbell
On his message to the defense...
“It is not just the defense that needs to have a talk right now. I will be talking with some of the players who I feel it is appropriate to talk to the guys who I feel are the veterans and leaders of this team. I think it is going to be a lot of discussion. It is pretty difficult to sum it up. I would say “resolved” is the easiest word to sum up what we are going to talk about.”

On his role in the defense...
“I wanted to put things on my shoulders. Obviously, I did not want to have two losses after five games. I want us to perform a little better, but as a leader on this team, I will do whatever I need to do to make us successful. It is very important for myself as an individual to provide better production for this team. Whether it to be a catalyst for the team or be somebody who can point in the right direction. Whatever I can do, even if it is to not say anything, I will do whatever I can to help this team.”

On his thoughts of the team’s performance...
”I think the biggest problem right now is guys being able to make plays, myself included, and knowing how to win. Those are two things that are very crucial for us right now. I think the thing that provides the most hope for this team right now is that everybody wants to keep working. There was effort given on Saturday, whether people outside realize it or not. The hearts are in the right places, it is just the mind and the attitude cannot be misguided.”