Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright (1) pulls down a pass over Kansas State cornerback Ty Zimmerman (12) during the first half of a NCAA football game, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010, in Waco Texas. (AP Photo/Waco Tribune Herald, Rod Aydelotte)
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How have you been able to better prepare yourselves, given you get a month to look at this spread offense?
TY ZIMMERMAN: It's kind of hard having such a big time frame in between the next game. If you're not careful, you can be lackadaisical, it can turn out to be a bad thing.
Coach has done a great job of staying on us, continue to get better in the film room as well as on the practice field. Hopefully we can put it all together on Saturday.
Q. With you and Jared how vital is the safety position as far as reads?
TY ZIMMERMAN: That's the biggest thing I think with safeties. You're kind of the quarterback of the defense. We're the ones making the checks, getting everybody in the right spot. We're in the back end so we can see all nine guys in front of us.
Jared has done a great job of stepping up, getting into the starter role that he's done, made a ton the plays for us.
Q. What stands out to you most about Mariota?
TY ZIMMERMAN: His play?making ability with his arms as well as his legs. He's a huge guy, but he can run really well.
Watching him on film, he makes a ton of plays. The pocket breaks down, he scrambles out, gets 20 yards. We have to do a great job of covering routes, containing him.
Q. Coach Hayes has talked about the priority put on stopping the run. When you have a guy like that, it's kind of a whole different variable, right, in stopping the run?
TY ZIMMERMAN: Yeah, a little bit. All year we've been high on stopping the run, making teams one?dimensional.
When you have a quarterback that can run and throw, it makes that kind of difficult. If you can take that dimension out, make him pass in certain situations, you can take that aspect out of the game.
Q. Do you feel like you've seen an offense somewhat similar? Do you feel you are ready for that?
TY ZIMMERMAN: They show some similarities to a few teams in our league with the high tempo. They have some tremendous athletes out on the edge, tremendous speed. It's going to come down to how well we put our game plan together and execute.
Q. The first name that comes to mind is Kenjon or DeAnthony Thomas. What impresses you about DeAnthony?
TY ZIMMERMAN: He's very, very quick. A lot of times, he'll cut back or out?run him. They throw him the ball, get him the ball in the backfield, he's their return guy. Tremendous athlete. Going to have to do a great job containing him.
Q. Talk about "The Predator," what he means to the defense?
TY ZIMMERMAN: He's a great guy. More than a football player, he's a great guy. Has a great character. Really, really humble.
If you saw him off the field, you wouldn't think he's the type of player he is with just how quiet he is.
When he gets on the field, something turns on in his head. He has a tremendous motor. Watching plays on Sunday of the game, makes a ton of plays. Before they even start, he's in the back, think he has the playbook.
He's a great asset to our team. Love him. Great to have him.
Q. Talking about Oregon's offense, what happened against Baylor and how does that relate to what you see on film in Oregon's offense?
TY ZIMMERMAN: We didn't play the way we were capable of playing. We had a lot of misfits on runs, left too many plays at the gate.
Oregon is similar. High?tempo offense, big?play team. We're going to have to play a lot better than we did against Baylor if we're going to have a chance against Oregon.
Q. If you were to describe Kansas State's season, how would you describe your season this year?
TY ZIMMERMAN: I think a lot of expectations coming in. We were predicted to be at the bottom of the league. We were able to put together a lot of good games, a lot of good weeks back to back. We're very blessed to be here and have this opportunity to represent Manhattan.
Q. Going against receivers, do you know Harper at all?
TY ZIMMERMAN: Yeah.
Q. He was at Oregon.
TY ZIMMERMAN: Kind of crazy how that works. He starts out at Oregon, now he's here, ending his career playing against Oregon. He's a tremendous athlete. We have some great receivers. Going against him week in and week out really helps on game day.
Q. You mentioned Baylor. If you look at what they've done since they played you guys, they just continued it on all the way through their bowl game. It wasn't a fluke. You didn't play your best, but still they finished out the season really strong.
TY ZIMMERMAN: I don't think they got as much credit as they deserved. I saw them against UCLA a couple days ago. The game they put together was amazing. They have great athletes. That quarterback is really, really underrated. He did a great job, had a great perform. I'm happy for him.