K-State Holds Weekly Press Conference

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State held its weekly press conference with head coach Ron Prince and requested players in the Vanier Football Complex on Monday afternoon in preparation for its upcoming game at Oklahoma State.

Head Coach Ron Prince
Opening statement...
“We met our objective in this last game in that we wanted to improve our play in a couple of areas and be able to win. We didn’t play perfectly, however. That was real clear to anyone that was watching and after reviewing the tape as well, in any of our phases. We did lead the game. That was the thing that allowed us to play in a particular style that put us in a position to really try to grow and be mature, put ego aside and win the game. I thought that was a real step for us. Although from a style standpoint the game really wasn’t that pleasing to us and how we’d like to play around here. I know with the score, some people might be scratching their heads and say, What is he talking about?’ We played a good team. We played a team that was very well coached. They had some very specific things that they were trying to zero in on, both from things that we had done in the past that they were trying to exploit that they had seen a weakness in, and also some things that are universal in attacking this kind of style that we’re trying to play in. I thought they did a really good job and I think they’re very well coached. Their schemes and tactics, strategies, found us in a position where we had to make multiple adjustments in the game. From one standpoint it was a lot of fun, very challenging to do that because we do know their coaches and their background and they know ours so I think this is going to be a pretty intriguing match up for years to come. It challenged us in every facet of the game to make the kind of adjustments that were necessary to win the game even if it wasn’t to play perfectly. Our coaches and players did a nice job of eventually making those adjustments work well enough to win, but we had some things occur in all three phases that we’ve got to fix if we want to win again and we also had some things in all three phases that went well that we’ll need again in the future.

“The game is really in three points, just to kind of piggyback on where I left off a week ago. We found some kicking game plays. They did not come in our normal mode of big returns for touchdowns, but they were still big. We were able to get the kind of production from our field goal kicker that made us very comfortable to go ahead and take the points and take the field position, and play a certain way. Once it was apparent that he was going to be on, that really helped us and we were also able to capitalize late in the game on a punt snap that wasn’t perfect that the punter dropped and we were able to go in a block that. That’s big for us because we really felt like we had to find a way to be impactful in the kicking game outside of just getting the big return. There are other ways to impact and we’ve been sub-par in that area.

“Defensively, we were able to make three critical fourth-down stops and we were very good on third down, very solid. When the opportunity came, we made the most of it and got the ball back. That was something that we had not been that great at, something that we were lacking from some other efforts to win, so that was good to see.

“Offensively, I thought the most important thing we did in the game was that we found points right before the half in the two minute (drill). It was something that we worked on, it wasn’t perfect, it could have gone either way, but the point is we were able to move it, we were able get the ball down, we were able to kick it and get those points. Subsequently, we didn’t turn the ball over at any point in the game and I thought that was the other story really, offensively.

“There’s a lot of other style things that were going on. Our kids played extremely hard once again, I was very pleased with that. The coaches coached hard, they had the focus and determination to play well and bounce back. Their effort paid off. The game was much closer and much more tenuous than the score would indicate. Therefore, I think we should be very humbled and determined to prepare well, play hard against a team that was dominant in Lincoln, (Neb.,) on Saturday.

“We’re going to play an opponent at a place which is always very tough and from what I can ascertain this will be my first time going down there as a coach it’s getting tougher and tougher with the way they’re building their environment. With that, Oklahoma State is an offensive juggernaut. They average 6.6 yards every time they snap the ball, 484 yards per game, and they’ve scored 29 touchdowns on the season. They rank significantly higher than us in the key categories that we think are the most concerning, that we try to be good at, the red zone defense, third-down offense and passing efficiency. They’ve got players either at or near the top in all of the important defensive categories that matter sacks, tackles for loss, fumbles forced and overall tackles. We’re in a very challenging situation going on the road with an opponent coming off you have to put this in context the historical type of domination they just demonstrated on Saturday. Anything other than focusing on this opponent and the issues in the game would be hard for me to fathom. That’s kind of how we’ve tried to see what has happened Saturday. I think a lot of times, as a coach, you can get caught up in how the style of the game is played. The point of it is to play well and win. We did win, and I’m very pleased with that and pleased with the kids’ effort. But I think all of us are humbled enough to know that we’re not a perfect team and we have to play like that every week to have a good chance to do so.”

On handling the offensive duties...
“The way we do it is very collaborative. Somebody actually has to write the script. Somebody has to tell them which wristband number is and which signal to signal in, but it’s much more collaborative than people think. I’ve been in this situation a couple of times not with the death of a parent but in the situation, we’ve had to miss some practice time because of some other issues. The staff always does a good job of rallying behind that guy. Every guy on the staff has certain responsibilities throughout the week anyhow. We’re going to play this by ear with James (Franklin). I’ve told him to take as much time as he needs with him and his family to make sure he’s at peace with how this is done. However much time that is, that’s how much time he’ll take. We’ve spoken today. We spoke yesterday, but we’ll continue to stay on schedule and everybody will do a very collaborative effort. So we’ll see what it looks like on Saturday. It’s usually that way anyhow.”

On Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson...
“Whoever the quarterback is, the offense puts them in a situation to be right. It’d be like taking an exam and the teacher only grading the questions that you answered correctly. That’s how good the offensive system is and how good Larry Fedora is, and that’s to not even start with the offensive players’ talent. This is a player who has a lot of ability, can run, can throw, and makes good decisions. He’s gutsy with the ball. He’ll try to get the extra yards. He’ll do all those things. He’s a very good competitor. People around here are familiar with him because of recruiting and that sort of thing. They’re in a very good situation that they have two very good quarterbacks competing, and, because of that, they’re getting the very best out of the position.”

On K-State’s defense against Colorado...
“There was a way that we were going to have to win the game, and it was going to be giving up some yards. We not really particularly in the mindset to ever play bend-but-don’t-break style, but the situation that we found ourselves in kind of forced us to do that. We were playing with a lead, so we could afford to do some things offensively to not put ourselves in risk. Had we not had the lead and had things been a little different in that game, we’d have been put in the situation to kind of force the issue a little bit. Therefore, that could have opened up some other things. We’re going to try to correct on both ends style-wise on how we play this week so we can not just be one-dimensional. That will obviously hurt us against this opponent.”