K-State Holds Weekly Press Conference

Kansas State Head Coach Ron Prince

On Iowa State...

“We had a very good practice yesterday and our kids are very enthusiastic about the challenge of playing Iowa State. I sound like a broken record when I come in here and say every week that they have a wide receiver that no one can cover, a running back that no one can tackle, and a quarterback that makes a lot of plays, but that’s really what’s happened in this league. Every week you turn around and it’s the same story. Defensively (Iowa State) is very good and they have the conference’s leading tackler in (Alvin) Bowen a significant player. It’s a good challenge this week. We expect to come out and prepare well and we’ve started off on a good note. I’m very pleased with how that went yesterday. The preparation and everything for the game has been significant. The players are very encouraged by our chances and they want to show that they can play well. To put together a whole game and to play well will do us a lot of good. If we play well, then we expect to win.

 

On the impact of losing Marcus Watts to injury...

“It’s one of those things where there was a lot of conversation in the off-season about Marcus and as I said then, Marcus didn’t have a whole lot to prove to me because it didn’t take me long to figure out he had a very good resume, he’s a playmaker, and he’s done very well. The fumbles, the interceptions and all that kind of stuff, those are statistical things that are easy to see. It’s really the hidden things like how dominant he and Yamon have been on the punt team. We’ve punted the ball more than we’ve liked to, but what’s happened in most games, defensively, we’ve been in pretty good situations because of the punt unit. Tim has done a good job and Yamon and Marcus have been able to, basically, wherever the ball gets caught, it gets downed. We’ve had some exceptions to that and teams have done a nice job of scheming those two, and when they have we’ve had returns against us. By and large, those two have been so dominant that as a group they’ve really impacted the game. I see it in those kinds of terms. I see it in the terms of on the punt block team and his ability to go through. He’s so savvy and so aware, he has a very good spatial awareness of what’s happening around him.

 

“But that’s the name of the game. Injuries are part of it. They factor in on Saturday’s and Sunday’s, and even on Friday nights. It’s another opportunity. We talked about from the beginning having the kind of depth at the defensive back position because everybody’s playing this style of football with all these wide receivers running all over the field. You have to go chase them. You have to have enough defensive linemen to continue to put a rush on. That’s why building constantly the roster in the middle of all these players and getting them experience throughout the year is important, particularly as it comes down to November. We get a chance to see Andrew Erker back in some action. He got some action early in the season, good special team’s effort, and got in on a lot of plays. We’ll have a chance to see him back there with Courtney Herndon and Kevin Hollis along with Kyle Williams so that will be good for us.” 

 

On the challenges of replacing Watts ...

“As far as challenges, every season has them. We’re 4-4 and we’ve got four games to play here, so that’s really where we are. We’re trying to look at this thing as a whole and understand each week has its challenges. We’re losing Marcus, but we also gain back Jordy Nelson. That’s a good boost for us and our team. We feel that he’s back to a form that can help us in a big way. Jordan Bedore is back and we feel like that helps us. Those are all things that are very positive for our team so that’s what we’re going to build on. It’s a great opportunity for another young person to get in and go in the game. That’s part of this game. It happens with graduation, it happens with injuries, substitutions. Those interceptions, those are plays you can’t replace, but you have to give someone else an opportunity to come in and show that they are that same type of player.”

 

On his level of surprise with Ian Campbell’s play...

“I was very pleased with Ian (Campbell) in the spring. He showed me a lot of grit, and really has a terrific motor. I think all of the recruiting services and all the pundits who look at recruiting, one of the hardest things for them to evaluate is a kid’s heart. The tools are very easy to look at - you can see if a kid runs fast, is big and strong, and those things. One of the things as coaches that we look at, when you have a chance for a player like Ian Campbell to come to your campus, it’s just terrific because you can’t evaluate his makeup as easily as you can his tools. He has tools, there’s no question about that. He has the ability to rush the passer, his tackles for loss, all those things, but he has a tremendous makeup, a tremendous resolve. I try to compare him to a young man who I was familiar with from Virginia who is down with the Falcons, Pat Kearney, he’s that kind of player. He’s absolutely tenacious and he just keeps coming back. He’s a high motor player. That’s what I noticed in the spring and he hasn’t disappointed in any way. He’s really growing in confidence. He’s a sophomore and he hasn’t figured out that he’s not supposed to be good. He’s like Marcus Watts in that somebody forgot to tell him that this is the Big 12 and you’re not supposed to be able to do that. I credit the coaches who have worked with him. I see his technique and those things improving and that’s what we’re looking for we’re looking for evidence of coaching and guys who are playing hard all the time.”

 

Senior Linebacker Zach Diles

On if the season goals have changed...

“Our goals haven’t changed. We just have to go out there and win these next four games and finish the season on a strong note.”

 

On the possibility of going to a bowl game...

“We just want to go out and win these next four games. If we do that, then the postseason will be there. Our main focus right now is to win the next four games coming up.”

 

On yesterday’s practice...

“We had a good practice. I was just watching it on film; everybody was running around and the tempo was good. We just have to take it each game at a time and focus on Iowa State now.

 

On moving on from last week’s game...

“You can’t dwell on it the game is over. We just have to move on to the next opponent. If you keep thinking about (last week), then you won’t move on.”

 

Freshman Quarterback Josh Freeman

On moving on from last week’s game ...

“We had a good practice yesterday. We have a young team that has to move on. Yesterday’s practice was good for the game coming up. We have to come out and just play one game at a time.”

 

On his confidence level...

“My confidence is up there. Last week’s performance wasn’t near what it should be, but there were a lot of factors contributing to that. I am confident in going out there and getting a win this week.”

 

On what he needs to improve on after watching film...

“I maybe need a little more patience. There were a couple of times where I got off my first read a little too quick and he ended up being open. I need to work that out, and get the tempo with my receivers down a little better.”

 

Junior Defensive End Rob Jackson

On his individual performance...

“I think I’m starting to understand more the speed of the game. It’s a lot faster than in junior college. Offensive linemen are faster and, obviously, the halfbacks are faster. The quarterbacks have more pocket presence in terms of where the defensive linemen are.”

 

On if the season goals have changed...

“The goals haven’t really changed. We’ve wanted to get into a bowl game and we still have a chance of doing that, and that’s what we look forward to doing.

 

Sophomore Defensive End Ian Campbell

On the loss of Marcus Watts...

“It’s a big loss to the team. Marcus is definitely an impact guy, but we have the kind of players that are ready to step up and do what they need to do to replace him. It’s very tough to lose a guy like that. He not only does great things out on the field, but he’s a very smart and intelligent guy that helps a lot of the other players. Hopefully we don’t lose that from him he’ll be able to hang around and help the other guys progress along.”

 

On the sack count this season...

“Like I’ve said at the beginning of the season, we’ll tally those up when it’s all over with. I think it would be important to get the sack record, but it doesn’t mean as much to me as it would to finish up our season 8-4.”