K-State Holds Weekly Press Conference

Head Coach Ron Prince

On the Oklahoma State game ...

“Obviously we had a very exciting game on Saturday. There were a lot of things that went our way. When you have the opportunity to score two touchdowns in the kicking game, you have an excellent chance to win the game. With them matching us with two excellent plays in the kicking game, it made it exciting at the finish. Those are the kinds of things that we want to continue to try to create, and at the same time try to prohibit all those things. I thought they did a terrific job their kickoff return is number one in the country for a reason. We knew that could be a factor going into the week, but it didn’t bite us until the very end. We had a very excellent kick by (Jared) Parker. I thought it was a very terrific kick to watch it on tape. It’s a very challenging kick for the return man to judge whether it was going out of bounds or stay in. Those kicking game plays we thought were going to be a very big factor and they were.”

 

On the Nebraska game...

“This is an offense that is number one in total offense and is a terrific running team. They run for well over 200 yards a game, but also have terrific numbers in passing efficiency and is terrific in turnover margin. There are very few glaring weaknesses within this team. They can move the ball very effectively on offense upon their choosing either to run or pass. They don’t turn it over very often at all. As Southern California found out, it’s very difficult to run the ball against this team. They have a very good front seven highlighted by some very good players. Their nose-tackle, No. 54 (Ola Dagunduro), makes it very difficult to move the ball between the tackles. They have a terrific return man, No. 83 (Terrence Nunn), and they are very good in their punting and kicking units as well. This team led the nation in sacks last season, and also in blocked kicks. They are very capable in both of those areas to really disrupt the game from a non-offensive standpoint.”

 

On Josh Freeman preparing for Nebraska...

“I think he’s a very mature young man I think he was raised and coached that way. With all of the attention he garnered during his prep career in Kansas City, he may be a little more used to that than someone in a little bit different of a circumstance. He was by no means perfect, but he was outstanding in the fourth quarter last week and gave our team a chance to win. We all understand that we have stuff to work on, but we have something to build on. This week is as little about any other opponent than it is us, and how we execute and perform. This is a good team with no obvious weaknesses so we need to play well and we expect to.”

 

On carrying offensive momentum over from last week...

“I think there has to be some carry-over. Even though I was pleased with how the last four minutes of the game went, I was really pleased with how the beginning of the game went. We were able to take the game into halftime up 10-3, and were able to run the ball effectively. We didn’t want it to have to be one of those games where Josh had to go 35-of-50 to win the game that wasn’t what we wanted in his first start. We wanted the rest of the unit to be able to pull us along there for awhile. I thought (Leon) Patton would give us the right kind of spark.”

 

On the play of the offensive line...

“I think we’ll go with the same offensive line. I also think that we will have a little more depth now because of that, and I think we’ll have a little more competition which is what we’re always trying to work on. I continue to say this, but if you want to compete for championships and get into November where you’re playing very meaningful games, you better have a number of players who can continue to contribute at a high level. That’s what I see out of their (Nebraska’s) roster. They have seven to nine offensive linemen coming into each game and the level doesn’t drop off at all.”

 

On the play of Brad Rooker...

“I thought Rooker played very well. I was very pleased with the way he conducted the practices. A lot of people think that it’s the quarterback’s team. I’ve always been in very much disagreement with that in that I think it’s the center’s team. He really has to run the show. Sometimes they’re very outgoing and sometimes not so, but they all have one thing in common everybody has to listen to their commands and do what they say so you can be well coordinated. I told Rooker I was very pleased with him and I thought that’s what we needed. He has good size and makes it a little more convenient for a tall quarterback as well when he’s snapping the ball. He has the same amount of starts as Josh (Freeman) and some people might have been concerned about that, but I wasn’t.”

 

On the importance of field position and special teams play...

“I think one of the things that has to happen for us to be successful in the game is that we have to make sure that Nebraska has the long field. If we give them a short field because of a turnover or poor performance in the kicking game, then it will be a very long afternoon for us. If we can have very good special teams performances, then I think it will give our defense a chance to withstand what they (Nebraska) can give us, which is significant. I don’t think you can take that many yards away from a team that significant, but you can try to keep the points down, and that’s what good defenses are all about. Scoring defense is really the most important statistic other than third-down (plays) for us. It’s a very similar situation as the Louisville game. This is a very good offense, tops in our league, and they’ve been able to perform against the very best competition. We’ll have our hands full with that. The kicking game is always the x-factor,’ but if you don’t play good defense then you don’t have a good chance anyhow. Our standard around here is that we are going to try to play good defense every game.”

 

On James Johnson...

“James Johnson has had as good of practices the last five or six outings as anybody. I had a conversation with James last Monday and after that conversation he was very much a different man. He practiced with a terrific amount of intensity and he’s a surprisingly sudden player you know he’s fast but he’s also very shifty and has surprising suddenness. Ultimately, he’s been trying to get himself in position to compete on special teams. That’s a big factor for me.”

 

On Leon Patton...

“It was very clear on tape when we first got here when he was already a committed player that he was a terrific talent with speed. When we had a chance to see him in some of the early practices, we ran a couple of plays and everybody on the field kind of stopped, looked around and said wow, that guy’s fast.’ We knew that from the track times. There are some track times that people throw out there sometimes, but his track time was pretty gaudy. We know that he is fast he demonstrated that on Saturday but he’s been doing that in practice.”