K-State Holds Weekly Press Conference

Head Coach Ron Prince
Opening statement...
“We have been working on trying to become a better defensive team and work on the kicking game and some of those things came together for us. I was very encouraged watching the tape. We had a couple of third downs converted against us that were tough ones. At 3:48 left in the fourth quarter, if we were able to make a stop there, then we would have had plenty of time to go down and score. I didn’t think that 14 points would stand against us. We need to score more than that offensively. The four drives that ended in two made field goals is just not enough, particularly in conference play on the road and that really gets you beat. We know that in conference play you have to be able to go score touchdowns. That is something we have been talking about. We were unable to run the football in the red zone and that is a big part of it. We missed two field goals and made two field goals. Those are four drives that didn’t take very long for them to top.

“I’m very pleased in the third quarter. We were able come out and put a nice drive together. In the fourth quarter, I thought our defense did some nice things and we had some good things in the kicking game along the way. We never got the type of field position from our return unit when we forced them to punt. We never really gained a lot out of it. When they kicked off to us, we never really got the explosive plays and were unable to get the terrific field position that we have enjoyed from time to time. When we were forced to earn it, we couldn’t. We had a chance to go down and have the ball within Brook’s (Rossman) range and it didn’t work out for us.

“We came back and evaluated all those things and saw where we needed to make adjustments for this opponent. From time to time, I say Texas is the Yankees and Oklahoma is the Red Sox. These are two teams that are always in the mix. They have great recruits, coaches and fan base. With all those kind of things, you are not going to find a bad player who is incapable of playing on the field.

“There is a way to win every game. We are going to have to take a look at it. Most of my concentration has been on their offensive side of the ball. Our offensive coaches will look at their defense and I’ll take a look at that a little bit later this afternoon. The kicking game and turnovers will have an impact for us in a positive way. I think their running back, No. 7, is about as smooth as they come. I’m real impressed with him, not only from a very physical style of a runner, but the way he runs the ball. He is very difficult to tackle. He has a good sense and feel of the line’s blocking and a good vision, but most importantly good runners have really good feel. It is very difficult to get a square shot on him. So, because of that he doesn’t really turn the ball over. No. 9 is terrific, phenomenal player. He is physical and does all the things that you want a wide receiver to do and more. I think their offensive line is big and strong. They really get after it and try to punish the people they are playing against. Their quarterback has had a really terrific year, the best ever, I believe, in their school’s history. His five interceptions are just him being aggressive they are not missed reads. You don’t see a lot of that and that is one of the things that surprises you most when you watch the tape. The number of completions that he gets that are seemingly uncontested because they have a very good scheme. He understand how to read the coverage and put the ball in places that only his guys can catch it. If you couple that with what they do in the running game, it makes them very dangerous.

“From a defensive stand point, I think it is very interesting. They have moved a couple guys from safety positions to linebacker, making them very fast. It makes them able to stay in regular personal when you have multiple receivers on the field. I can’t see anything that they have lost from making that move at all, maybe just some experience. They are very good on both lines of scrimmage and that is what really good teams do to be successful.

“This will be a great opportunity for us to have them at home. It will be our first time coaching against these guys and obviously K-State and Oklahoma have a long background and we would like to make this a very good game for us. I think if we play well and prepare well we will have a real good chance, like every week, but I see signs of growth in our team and we will continue to push forward.”

On Oklahoma’s offense...
“The lowest they have scored is 35 points in two games against Cincinnati and TCU, which have very good defenses. For them to be able to score the kind of points they have scored in those types of games are very impressive. I think that for us to go in and say that we are going to limit them to 10 points may be a tough task for us, but we are sure going to give it our best effort. Field position will play a big part in that. If we have it and if we have them pinned back, that will contribute to keeping the points down. I think if we do that, then the conduct of the game will come down to how we perform in the kicking game.”

The strength of the team at this point...
“Our kicking game. If we can get our returns going, I think we will be as solid as anybody’s. We missed a couple field goals and came up short on some returns. It is hard to say that our kicking game is our strongest point, but as far as our strengths go, we are doing some nice things and challenging some kicks.”