Kansas State Holds Weekly Press Conference

Head Coach Ron Prince

Opening statement...

“I thought we played one of the very best teams in college football Saturday. I was real pleased by the focus our players had in practice. From a scheme standpoint, we did some things that we had been working on for some period of time to try to be able to play against this particular type of spread offense that we just faced. Style-wise, I was real pleased with how we were able to adapt to that and in some ways, at least in the early going, limit the offensive production that Missouri had. But when you spot a team like that 14 points basically not because it wasn’t unearned on their part but when you give them a short field and a kickoff return, it’s very difficult to beat them. I was very pleased with our kids and how they were able to come back. (We) blocked a punt and were able to get a hand on another one later to try to counter that momentum, so real pleased from that standpoint. I clearly wasn’t our day offensively from a passing standpoint, there were a couple of things that contributed to that. I was real pleased, particularly in the first half, with the way that James Johnson was able to run the football. We would have liked to see that kind of production in the second half but Missouri did a terrific job of adjusting their game plan on offense and defense. With all that said, we were able to fight and get the (game) real close but we had three critical errors in the third quarter that really hurt us. We fumbled on two different occasions and had a blown coverage that cost us points. It is really hard to have those things occur against a team that, from what I can asses by looking at the landscape, is as good as anybody in the country. It is very disappointing. It just cuts your heart out when you lose a game, particularly when you have errors that play a part in it. I was pleased that the players and the coaches were able to come up with good steam to deal with this team. The final result and score will not indicate any of that, not without silver linings. That is one of the better teams that we will face and we can see that there are some things that we can accomplish against a team like that.

 

“The challenges for this week are completely different, (Fresno State) is a team that has been one of the better teams in the country as of late. It is a team that Kansas State has some background with, Fresno State having come play here. During that same time frame, when I was at Virginia, we played this team in a bowl game out in Boise. This coach has a particular style in which he likes his teams to play a particular way he wants the game to be conducted and how he wants his players to conduct the game. From what I can see on tape, that has not changed much from those times. They want to be physical and they have a lot of run-and-hit players. They take a lot of pride in being terrific, not only on defense but in the kicking game. They have two very special players in No. 2 and No. 28. These guys make up the No. 1 kickoff return team in the country. They have a running back that is a dynamo. A lot of people have good running backs, but this guy here is special. It will take all of our best efforts to defend this guy. Moving to the game in 2004, with the No. 1 offense in the ACC, we went out there and played these guys in a bowl game and got out to a big lead and they came roaring back. We countered and it went into overtime where they beat us. That has been there M.O. They don’t ever flinch no matter what happens. The same thing occurred in the Hawaii game when Hawaii came out and got a big lead on them. They don’t flinch. They keep battling. They are very calloused and they have had this kind of approach for many years. They go play anybody, anytime. That is coach (Pat Hill’s) mantra. That’s how they live, that’s what they do. That is how they respond, particularly in their game last week, and I’m sure that they will continue to respond that way. They made it quite a game, it was a very physical game on the road out there in Hawaii and I was very impressed by the way that Fresno State was able to play a high level of contact plays and that is exactly the kind of Fresno team that I remember. It will take our very best effort. This is one of those situation that this is it this is the last regular season game. If we win the game we may have some ideas that we could do something else play again. If we lose the game there is no more. It is pretty clear what our goals should be and what exactly is on the line here. I expect a very good effort by everyone involved and a terrific game plan and execution.”


On the chances of getting to a bowl game...

“I don’t know. I think so much of it has to do with the number of teams that get into a BCS bowl game from this conference and what that does to the bowl slots. I have told our players all along that winning a game is the best way to figure it out from that standpoint. If you don’t win seven games then you are at someone else’s mercy. If you don’t win six then you don’t have a chance it is pretty clear. We have had three straight weeks where we would have liked to get our sixth win and it has not occurred against a variety of teams and styles. We need to play better and if we play better then we will have the opportunity to get that win.

 

On if he has a preference of a bowl...

“I don’t think there is any such thing as a bad bowl game. I don’t think there is any such thing as too many teams in the post-season. I’m not going to get into an apples and oranges conversation here, but 65 teams go on in basketball. So I understand there is a lot of interest in teams being able to go to the post-season. I think it is great for the kids. I think it is great for the programs. It is good for the kids because you get an experience to play a team that is usually outside the area that you would normally get to play. Bowl games kind of got started because communities wanted to bring football to the area and bring fans, kind of a chamber of commerce type of thing. Right now, with television and all of the things that are happening, the whole bowl season is just a celebration of the game of football. It gives some good players and some good teams the chance to be on the same stage together and it makes for great water cooler conversation and that kind of thing. From a coaching standpoint, sometimes a bowl game can undo your season. There are a lot of times where you could have a very successful season and the only thing that anybody remembers is how poorly you played in a bowl game. One of the teams that I am very impressed with this year is Ohio State. They had a terrific season last year as good as anybody and did not play the way that they wanted to in the national championship game. That is all people wanted to talk about, that last game. I was really impressed with how they came back and played real well again this year. That has happened to a number of teams, where some coaches have lost their jobs because they had a good year, went to a bowl game and got mismatched with a team or didn’t play as well and the whole thing has fallen apart. It is a complex issue but I don’t think there is any such thing as a bad opportunity to get your team ready. We would love to be able to do that. There are a lot of really good teams in our conference. It is a challenging situation when you put yourself in the spot that we have. We’ve had some control over our situation and this didn’t have to be so dramatic at the end but that is where we are. If we worry about winning this game and not trying to get bowl eligible because it will be hard enough to beat this team with all the things that they can present, much less trying to do a bunch of other things as well. I would take the same approach if we were 11-0 right now. I wouldn’t be talking too much about other teams and where we are positioned. I’ve just found that those things are counter productive. It is hard enough to win the games when you have them out there much less trying to fight the big picture too.”


Senior Defensive Lineman Steven Cline

On why he came to K-State...

“My decision was because K-State had such a great defensive line throughout the years they were recruiting me, so that was probably the biggest thing.”

 

On the Fresno State game in 2004...

“I was king of young. They were a well coached team, and they had a really good offensive line. It’s going to be the same way this year, great offensive line, probably doing a lot of the same things. All I remember is it was a big loss, but they were a great team.”

 

Sophomore Quarterback Josh Freeman

On Fresno State...

“They have had a pretty successful season. They have won six games so far and we are still looking to our sixth (win). We just have to get ready to play this week and go out there and get it done.”

 

On playing for a bowl game...

“Everybody has to be feeling a little pressure. If we win, there is a chance we get a bowl game. If we lose, our season is over. I don’t think anybody wants to let the seniors down I sure don’t. I think this team still has fight in them. I feel like if the season ends it will be too soon. We just have to go out and play. Everything is on the line right now.”

            

Junior Linebacker Ian Campbell

On playing for bowl eligibility...

“It kind of feels like you are playing for that wild card game, and I want a spot. I want a chance to play in the postseason. With Missouri and KU having a chance to play in a BCS game, it looks like we will have a good possibility to go to a bowl if we can get to six wins. Right now, we are really stressing the fact that we only have four or five days of legitimate football left that we know of, and if you can’t pour everything into it to try to get more games, then I don’t know what else to say.”

 

On the first year of the 3-4 defense...

“I think it is a good defense. I feel like oru players we haven’t run it as sound as it could be run. People talk about the 3-4 and the 4-3, and moving me around, but what it comes down to is just guys beating blocks and tackling. That’s the way it is. Guys aren’t doing what their job requires of them.”

 

Senior Wide Receiver Jordy Nelson

On what the seniors can do to win one more game...

“Just make sure everyone comes out and practices this week. There might be some guys leaning one way or the other. We have to make sure everyone is going in the right direction, focus on one more game for right now and hopefully get a win. It would give us an opportunity to practice for another month and play another game.”