Courtesy: Kansas State University
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State football held its weekly press conference with head coach Ron Prince and requested players in the Vanier Football Complex on Monday afternoon.
K-State Head Coach Ron Prince
“I thought our kids played really hard Saturday. We’re trying to play fast, trying to play hard. The most encouraging thing that happened in the game was that we did those things and we stayed away from things like penalties – some of those effort penalties as I would describe them, effort mistakes that we’ve had in some of the other games. I was very pleased that we were able to stay away from those things. I think probably the biggest factor in the game looking back were the three plays that Texas attempted to get the ball to (Limas Sweed) when they got the one-on-one match-ups. Once it was (Ray) Cheatham and twice it was (Justin) McKinney in which the player from Texas had his hands on the ball, had a legitimate chance to out-size us, out-skill us and we were able to cause it to be an incomplete pass. Looking for a key moment or key situation or key match-up in the game that I thought the game would really hinge on, I thought about their ability to make that play throughout the course of the season and last two seasons really demonstrated to me that’s how they broke out of a funk when they needed to. I thought that was why we were able to maintain what we were going to maintain.
“The kicking game is obviously a big part of that. We were able to play the game offensively in such a way that we did not have to take a lot of chances with the ball because of some of the things that occurred on defense and in the kicking game and that was very much a positive for us. We had one sack in the game that occurred basically because we had the ball slip in our hands. Overall I was pleased with the conduct of how the offense handled the game – we didn’t do anything to erode what was happening. I thought winning on the road was going to take the kicking game and defense and that’s what occurred.
“I’m really concerned about this game. (Kansas) has a player in the top-3 in nine different categories conference-wide. Those are pretty significant when you look at tackles for loss, forced fumbles, interceptions, kickoff returns and passing game and total offense, they have a player in the top-3. That’s an awful lot of players, an awful lot of excellence. This game will test us significantly. It will be the greatest test we’ve had so far this year. We’ll have to play our very best, we’ll have to play very aggressively to have this outcome be the way we want it to be. If you look at it from a team-standpoint, there are approximately 30 categories, national statistics, and in only seven do we have a ranking that would be considered better than theirs...I think it’s obvious that they have a terrific team, have terrific players, terrific coaching so it’s going to take our very best to play (well) and win. We want to play well in this game. It’s important to our players and it will give us a chance to be 2-0 in the league – that’s our No. 1 focus. The second part of that is we all know this game means a lot in this part of the country. For our fans and for everybody on campus, all of our players, all of us who are from around here, it means a lot for us and we want to do real well, play real well. We think if we do that, then we’ll win.”
On what makes KU so difficult to prepare for...
“They’re a very disciplined, hard-nosed defense. They’re very well coordinated. You can see that they have plan, they’re very well coached. You can see by looking at their players that they’ve got a recruiting plan and they’ve been at it here for a number of years. You can see the improvements that they’ve made in every aspect, including the kicking game. I don’t know that we’ve faced a team to this point that has its all-around game at as high a level as this opponent does.”
On the history of the series affecting the outcome...
“Gary Spani and John Riggins aren’t going to play in this game. There’s enough of those ghosts that make you say that this is an important game, there’s no question of this. The reality is that the coaches that are here today and the players that are here today are going to go out and compete in the game. Whoever prepares the best during the next several days and shows up at the ballpark with energy to go out and hit the other guy, that’s probably the team that’s going to win. I know they’re thinking the same way. I don’t discount what’s happened in the past, I just don’t think it’s always relevant to what’s happening today because I think a team has to be reborn. There are situations and everybody’s affected by the psychology of results, no question. We want to make sure that we learn from our situation and make sure we go play a really good game here at home.”