K-State Holds Weekly Press Conference

By: Courtesy: Kansas State University
By: Courtesy: Kansas State University

Head Coach Ron Prince

Head Coach Ron Prince
Opening statement...
“We had a very solid start to the game Saturday. It wasn’t perfect but we had a solid start. I was very pleased with how after exchanging some punts, we were able to drive the ball down the field and despite a little adversity with a bad snap, were able to score. I thought that was a real nice way for us to begin. We were able to answer, go back down and get a field goal. Clearly, this has become a little bit repetitive, with Oklahoma State and Iowa State we had something really negative happen early in the game in the kicking game. We were in position to make a play and just weren’t able to do so. Because of that the momentum, the life, those things that people are subject to and it’s all part of how the game is played, got away from us. I thought that we still had an opportunity to go down and answer, (but we had) penalties, false starts, fumbled snaps, just some erratic play offensively. The game really didn’t start any differently than the Nebraska-KU game started the week before which Nebraska held the lead and answered and did some nice things on the road. But just like in that game, we weren’t able to stop the home team. They were able to go on, as well as it’s documented, and virtually score at will. Our inability to make a stop, our inability to execute and answer on the road offensively through some erratic play, then we add in the punt return and kickoff return and those are very damaging. I thought the end of the second quarter was a very telling moment for us. We had a chance to get some points, instead it turned around quickly through a number of plays that are just hard to explain how they could happen – some very bad play on both sides of the ball, turning the ball over, really not executing well at all. It was a calculated decision to try to dump it down, get some points or take a shot at it and then to be able to go out and have a lack of execution on the very next play and then they scored. It was a tough second quarter for us. I was really expecting us to go into halftime and come out, be able to get some stops and put some long drives together. Never were we able to make a stop and because of that we had to really press the issue a bit and the game got legs and got away from us. It’s real clear that that’s one of the toughest losses that you can ever take. You can’t in your wildest dreams imagine something like that occurring. When you get in those games you have to try to do some things to make some plays and get back into the game. Sometimes if your performance isn’t very good then it happens just exactly the way that happened.

“My hat is off to the quarterback there at Nebraska. That was just an unbelievable performance. I hadn’t seen a quarterback perform that well since Phillip Rivers was in a game against (Virginia) in 2003 – just an unconscious effort. He was terrific, his receivers were terrific. The most challenging thing for us is that their offensive line was just superb. We really didn’t get anything of any sustained effort against them in the pocket. The wide receiver they have is a big strong player who’s now found a little bit of new life with this new quarterback. We were trying to contain the running back as much as we could throughout the game and then obviously as things started to get worse for us, we couldn’t do that.

“That was the game. We understand it, we watched it. We’d like to play better. We need to play better. We’ve got to make some adjustments to help some players in some match-ups. I know our players will do a good job. Last week we had a real good week of practice; they were focused and understood the challenge. We just went out there, had a nice start, but things started to unravel for us and we just couldn’t make enough plays to keep the game in check on the road against a very good opponent.

“This week we’ll have the opportunity to host Missouri. After watching them on tape, I think this is one of the very best teams in the country. Very few teams have this many clear cut NFL first round picks on offense. It’s hard to imagine that you could collect this many players on one offense at the same time and they’ve been able to do that. It might be the very best offensive line that we’ve faced in our time here. From a technique standpoint, training standpoint, where their eyes are, how they pick up blitzes, it’s really impressive. As an offensive line coach by trade, I know Dave Christensen the offensive coordinator/offensive line coach there. I think he’s one of the very best in the business, particularly at this thing, being both a coordinator and a line coach. He’s terrific and he’s got them playing about as well as anybody in the country right now. They’re going to be very difficult to pressure the quarterback against. The quarterback is playing terrific. He really is a confident player and a little bit different style than some of the other quarterbacks we’ve played against. This guy’s a winner, he’s always been a winner since high school and he plays with a lot of confidence. Defensively, it doesn’t get any easier on that side. If you just look at the conference stats they’ve got a terrific defense as well, one of the very best. I think that’s really the biggest jump that I’ve seen from my first year here to this year. There are no players on defense that you can say, ‘well, that player is not quite up to standard in this conference.’ They’re all big, strong, good looking guys who can run and play physical and they’re doing a real good job. There aren’t any weaknesses in anything they’re doing from a scheme standpoint or a personnel standpoint and I can see why they have the record that they have at this point.

“With all that said, we expect to play well and win this game. That’s been our approach here in the building. You can imagine after that performance, it’s hard to put a smile on and come in and be positive but that’s the job of the head coach – to try to ensure that our player and coaches understand that we do have a good team. We have some things that we have to overcome from time to time, some things that we’ve got to try to cover for and try to exploit. When we don’t do those things we have a very difficult time. These are good kids, I’m very proud of them, they continue to fight hard.”

Junior Linebacker Ian Campbell
On the defense...
“It’s the same story, different verse about what is going wrong. A lot of things got compounded even more during the (Nebraska) game. Nebraska played really well, and we didn’t, and that was just very evident to me.”

On how the team is responding...
“I haven’t seen a lot of them since the end of the (Nebraska) game, but hopefully they are going to go to work for the (Missouri) game. It’s the last home game, senior day as well. A lot of those guys mean a lot to me, so I am going to do everything in my power to make it a good game.”

Senior Tight End Michael Pooschke
On the special teams giving up big plays...
“We’ve got a couple in the last two games that have been big momentum changers in the game. We have focused on special teams since Coach Prince has been here, and that is one thing we know we have to work on more.”

Sophomore Safety Chris Carney
On what cousin Dyshod Carter told him...
“He just told me to keep my head up, make sure to get in and watch the film, and do everything right next time.”

On K-State’s defense against Nebraska...
“There is maybe one person on a certain play, which makes a difference. All you need is for one person to mess up on one play and it can go out the gate.”

Senior Safety Marcus Watts
On how he wants to play in his last home game...
“There were three of us that came in together as gray-shirts, me, Logan (Robinson), and Steve (Cline). We have been through the ups and downs. We were here when we won the Big 12 Championship, but it would be nice to just go out on a high note. We are still playing for something; we are still trying to get to a bowl game.”

On the Missouri game...
“Watching them a little bit this year, they have a high-powered offense, they have a very good quarterback, they have a lot of tall receivers, and they also have two tight ends that will be in the NFL someday. It is going to pose a challenge for us this week. I’m assuming we will be in a lot of defensive formations where we have a lot of secondary guys in the game because they run a spread offense.”

Senior Punter Tim Reyer
On being able to make first team All-Big 12 ...
“I think it would be very important because over the last few years the Big 12 has had good punters, and if I could say I was one of the best in one of the years, it would be great.”

On senior day next week...
“I’ve thought about it, and been getting kind of sad about it. I just have to realize that I have to have fun with it. There is nothing I can do about it; it is going to come to an end, so I might as well have fun with it. It’s been like a dream come true for me.”

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