K-State Holds Weekly Press Conference

Head Coach Ron Prince

On the Kansas game...

“Obviously, we’ve been looking forward to this game here for quite a while. This is a game that has been marked on our schedule all year long. It doesn’t take a whole lot to know if you’re from this area or on this team the kind of significance that is going to be paid to the game. I think this is what’s great about college football. The games this time of year are meaningful to so many people. This one, obviously, has a lot of regional impact for the people in this area. I think it’s the 13th-most played rivalry and everyone likes to hear and talk about those kinds of things. This is a very good team that we are going to face. This team is a big, strong team and I’m very impressed with them. We seem to have quite a few games where we have followed them, as we have played an opponent the week after them, so we’ve been able to watch their game tape quite a bit this year. I think this running back, No. 29 (Jon Cornish), is terrific. He reminds me a lot of Thomas Jones, the University of Virginia running back that is playing for Chicago. Defensively, they have an all-conference defensive tackle in No. 93 (James McClinton). A number of these players are big, strong players and the type of offensive line they have is the kind of offensive line that Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan have. They are a powerful, Big Ten type of line. You can see that they have a real good plan and they’ve taken a lot of time to put their team together a certain way. I think it will be a very physical game. It will be one that will be very challenging for us. Going on the road and playing well will, obviously, be our expectation. That would do us a lot of good. We’re going to try to continue to grow that way.”

 

On road wins...

“The way I look at it is that anytime you can go on the road and that you can go on the road and win that, by itself, is growth. That is an accomplishment. Road wins are challenging. For us, that is the main focus how you can go on the road and win a game with all the implications and everything. That’s a whole body of work. It’s a whole season long of putting that together. To go on the road and win a conference game, it would take us a long ways with our team.”

 

On staying humble through the winning streak ...

“Whether it’s coming off of back-to-back losses or back-to-back wins, our mantra has been very clear. They are going to make you play again in seven days. I like to win, and we all like to compete. When the game is over, we take advantage of it and enjoy it. I have to move on first before anybody else does. Then I get the coaches to move on and the players as well. I think our players have done a very nice job with that. We’re by no means perfect and have a lot of work to do with improvement in a lot of areas. That’s what we’re focusing on. We didn’t win any championships Saturday and that’s what we came here to do. It’s a nice win and it will take us a long ways. It is one that we will remember, but that one doesn’t have anything to do with this one.”

 

On Josh Freeman’s throws...

“Well, I know what I’m going to try to put in that kid’s head and that is a pretty attractive sight. That’s been reflected in a lot of the conversations that has occurred. We felt that this was possible. We want to play as well in all these areas, and that takes a lot of people around the quarterback to play well. I usually say that a running game is a quarterback’s best friend. There wasn’t a whole lot of chance with that in this game just in the style in which they (Texas) play. He really had to rely on a lot of folks, including the offensive line. As you can see, everyone had a part in that game, offensively. There were a lot people that went into that. I think he’s been very much in control of his circumstances and how he’s approached the game. We’ve had a couple of things there with the clock or motion/formation things that weren’t perfect and we’re still working on those, but I think he’s growing as a player.”

 

On the walk-ons having a significant role...

“I think Kansas State attracts a lot of very good players who want to play for the colors and understand the tremendous walk-on program and tradition here. There have been a lot of players that have come here and done very well, and they’ve been rewarded with playing time and scholarships. If you’re a player out there who is not highly recruited, if you come to Kansas State, you’re going to be given a chance. For us, it’s about merit and competition every day. I don’t take into account what a kid’s star rating was in high school. It’s just that if you’re playing the best that day or that week, that’s who we are going to go with. I think the players respond to that and say Hey, if I can compete and beat the guy out in front of me or make a really good showing, the coach will figure out a way to get us in the game.’”

 

On if he approaches this game any differently...

“Not from my standpoint. There will be enough emotion created in the stadium with everybody surrounding it. For me, it’s just a matter of what happens between the lines, keeping their heads there, and deciding how we want the game to be played to our best advantage. They are a very good team. It’s very clear to me that they have a very clear and concise plan on how they want their team to be put together. They’ve done a very good job with that. That forces the game to be played a certain way.”

 

On Kansas’ pass defense...

“I think their corner will be the best that we’ve faced all year. We’re very concerned about him and the pass rush they can get. What makes them so unusual is that they can generate quite a bit of pass rush from their interior linemen on defense. They have some linebackers that are very physical players. When watching the Colorado game a couple weeks ago, it was very clear that they out-hit Colorado and they were too physical for Colorado. Although it wasn’t a high-scoring affair on either side, the game was just too physical. That’s obviously a plan of theirs. There are plenty of teams that have that kind of reputation (giving up a lot of passing yards) because you can’t run the football on them. They are just too physical. I don’t think we can play that type of game every week, so that’s why we have to be a little bit creative. This is team that has a lot of confidence in playing defense. The last couple of years they’ve done very well statistically. That sounds great, until you see who their defensive backs are and they have good ball skills and can make plays in the air. Particularly, the pass rush from the interior could be an issue for us.”

 

On Josh Freeman’s demeanor following the Texas game...

“Josh is a very poised young man who has been raised very well and coached well. He’s very level headed. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have gotten to this point. Those were all things that we could evaluate when we got involved with him in recruiting. His expectations of what he wants to accomplish are much higher than what is happening, and mine as well. I think that he can play even better. Our expectation will be that way and everybody around him will have to play better than what we did last week. If you focus on the competition and what’s happening between the lines, then I think it has your attention and you understand the challenges. Those other things are things that take the entire season to build those kinds of reputations. The things that happened in that game in Missouri, in the second half, were very challenging. To have three possessions where we turned the ball over and have some kind of issue to let the game run away from us, that was a team effort. I was very pleased with how our team responded in the fourth quarter of that game. Since the fourth quarter of that game, I think our players have determined that we were going to have a nice season and we were going to play for something significant here. That’s something we’ve been striving for having a great November. Really, our focus is to look at this like playoff football. If we’re going to stay in the hunt and do what we want to do, we have to play well this week.”

 

On the offensive line...

“I think Tim McCarty has done a really nice job with those guys. There are a number of guys that we’re getting good production from in there. Here of late, we’ve had eight or nine guys that can go in and give us some minutes there. James Franklin is doing a terrific job of calling the kind of game that allows those kids to play as well as they can, both in protection of Josh (Freeman) and to advance Leon (Patton) and James (Johnson) down the field. We’re all getting better at our jobs and gaining experience on the job. I think those kids there are an example of that as well. I was really pleased with the way Mike Freison played at right tackle. I think Greg Wafford has had the three best games of his career in a row, which couldn’t have come at a better time. One of the key plays for him was the reverse at Colorado where he was able to get on into the open field and be able to go down and finish a play with enthusiasm and in an aggressive manor. That’s really moved him and got him going. That’s been exciting, and we’ve needed it. Rashaad Norwood came up with some very key plays on Saturday, and that is good to see. Everybody involved with that whole operation has to pick up their game based on where we were earlier in the year, and I think they have. I think we’ve shown some improvement. We still have room to grow.”

 

On Ian Campbell...

“In this system, he has the opportunity to do a lot of really neat things and he takes full advantage of it. To have as many tackles for loss and sacks as he’s had and he’s been a factor in lot of different ways has been really tremendous. Coach (Mo) Latimore has done a really good job with him and has pushed him hard. But, this is a young man that has a lot of desire. We saw that in the spring. He had two fumble recoveries, which is a part of his game that he’s adding. The effort to get to the quarterback or the ball to be ball aware enough to know what’s happening and to get on the ball I thought it added another dimension to his game. We’ve had very solid defensive-tackle play, which has allowed him and Rob Jackson to make a lot of movement. The fact that Rob Jackson has come on for us, particularly the second half of the season, has made it possible for Ian to continue to draw single blocks over there. This group that we faced Saturday was very good. They (Texas) are a well-coached offensive line. I think our kids took some marks away from that game feeling We can go do this against a very good unit,’ and that was very positive for us. We’ll need that kind of confidence because the offensive line that we will face this week is very similar to the one we faced last week.”

 

Freshman Quarterback Josh Freeman

On beating Texas...

“It was a good win but we’ve got to put it behind us and get ready for the next game. Our goal was to win and I think everyone on the team was planning on winning. When it happened it was awesome but we’ve got to move on. Kansas is a good team and they’ve hung in with a lot of good teams this year. We know that they’re going to play us tight so we just have to get ready.”

 

On his back-to-back Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week awards...

“It just means that we won. I’m trying to do my best, trying to get a win. The awards that come with that are just gravy. The main thing is winning and we’ve been getting that done we just have to try to keep it up.”

 

On how far he’s come since arriving in the spring...

“I feel like I’ve come a long ways. The coaches have done a great job breaking everything down and allowing me to digest it a little slower and get things together at my own pace. I think that’s really helped show that I can play physically at the speed I’d like to and be 100-percent confident with the mental side as well. It’s really been good.”

 

Senior Kicker Jeff Snodgrass

On his thoughts before the 51-yard field goal in the fourth quarter against Texas...

“I don’t even remember what I was thinking about. To be honest I don’t think I was thinking about anything. It was just one of those deals where you go out and it’s just another kick. I really didn’t feel any pressure on it or anything. I just went out and swung away.”

 

On the reaction from fans this week...

“The week’s been great, people have had a lot of nice things to say that’s always a plus.”

 

Junior Offensive Lineman Logan Robinson

On Josh Freeman’s command in the huddle...

“He does take control. He’s the quarterback and we all listen to him and that’s the way it is. In practice, Josh will joke around with us and keep it a little light, but during the game he’s completely focused on what he needs to get done and what he needs to do. He tells us what to do and that’s all there is to it, we listen.”

 

On the rivalry with Kansas...

“It’s definitely a huge game an in-state rivalry. Nobody over there likes us and I don’t think anyone over here likes them. It’s definitely a huge game for us.”

 

Senior Defensive Lineman Blake Seiler

On the upcoming week...

“It’ll be a great game for us they’re our rival. It was a great win for us last week against Texas, but we have to get ready for KU now.”

 

On comparing Kansas State and Kansas football...

“I think (Kansas State) is a little more back on the map than we were before after beating Texas. KU has obviously gotten better and better over the years. They’re definitely a better team than they used to be.”

 

On the loss to Kansas two seasons ago in Lawrence...

“I was there. It was something that we definitely don’t want to experience again. I remember their fans rushing the field and walking off the field looking at the scoreboard. It wasn’t a good feeling at all.”

 

Senior Defensive Lineman Quentin Echols

On the Kansas rivalry...

“When I first got here to Kansas it didn’t mean that much because I didn’t know too much about it. Over the years, seeing how the town and all the fans got into it, I can see how big this thing is. It’s always Manhattan and half of Topeka versus half of Topeka and Lawrence, or something along those lines. Being around the guys from Kansas, it’s a big deal for them. It’s a big thing for me now also being at Kansas State. This is our rivalry, and I’m into it.”

 

On Kansas being favored over K-State in the game...

“I actually just learned that we weren’t favored just a minute ago, but it doesn’t phase us. We understand that we’re playing against them in their home stadium, and it might be senior day. This is a big game, and it just means that we have to prove more to more people.”

 

On watching the offense improve over the season...

“Those guys have got a lot of confidence going right now. They are the same guys with the same speed and same technique as before. They’ve just got the confidence now, and when you have confidence it’s hard to break your team down. (Josh) Freeman is playing great. When a quarterback goes out and performs like he does every week, who wouldn’t want to block hard for him or catch every pass that he throws to you?”

 

Sophomore Defensive End Ian Campbell

On tying K-State’s single-season sack record...

“It feels pretty good to tie the record. I want to get out there and get as many as I can. I think any defensive end would say that. I’m not really concerned on how many I break it by, if I do break it. I’ll just try to get as many hits on Kansas’ quarterback as I can.”

 

On the Texas game...

“It was definitely the most exciting game I’ve been a part of since I’ve been up here. A close second would have to be the Missouri game last year. It was a very electrifying atmosphere out there.”

 

On the rivalry, being from Kansas...

“I think the rivalry factor is pretty intense. The KU guys would say the same. A lot of the Kansas guys on our team have been here for awhile and know what it’s like to play in this game. I’ll be pretty intense during the game and will have a little extra motivation out there.”