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K-State Holds Weekly Press Conference


GO WILDCATS
GO WILDCATS

GO WILDCATS

Head Coach Ron Prince

Opening statement...

“We’re excited to get the 2008 season started. The people in this organization have planned really well in the offseason. They have worked with purpose and I think we’ve had a lot of talk about it things that have happened in the past and things we’d like to do this year. So now we’ve got a chance to finally demonstrate exactly what it is we’ve been working towards. In the areas that we felt we needed improvement in, we think we’ve done something about it. But really at this point, the only thing left to do is to go out and deliver on the field and we get a chance to finally do that. It feels like it’s been a long off season. I’ve tried to put a lot of work into it to understand exactly where we are.

 

“I think we’ve got some areas where we’ve improved on offense, particularly players have improved. That’s very much a positive for us. Particularly (Josh) Freeman, (Jeron) Mastrud, (Nick) Stringer, Lamark Brown, and Zach Kendall are our veteran players that we feel like have really improved and that’s a positive for us. On defense, (Brandon) Balkcom, (Eric) Childs, and the two Moores Josh and Antwon we feel we have really improved as players and we’re really hopeful there. (Brooks) Rossman and (Josh) Cherry both improved as kick off people. So for all these players, their improvement is critical to what we want to accomplish, but ultimately, as we’ve discussed many times with them, now we have to demonstrate that on the field on game days.

 

“Some impressive newcomers, (Logan) Dold and (Keithen) Valentine, (Aubrey) Quarles and (Edward) Prince have done a really nice job. I’m real impressed with those players. I think they’ll be fine players for us here in the short term and in the long term.

 

“Defensively, (Brandon) Harold, (Olu) Hall, (Blair) Irvin, (Hansen) Sekona, and (Ulla) Pomele were here in he spring, but they’re impressive newcomers. There is a list of players who can go out and play the way we like to play. From the special-teams standpoint, George Pierson has done a real nice job. I’ve been very impressed with how he’s come to work.

 

“I’m very concerned with the game against North Texas. I think this is a very good team. If you really look at it objectively and understand from just a schematic standpoint, they return four offensive line starters. We all understand how important that can be as the continuity we try to put together. They’ve moved one of their better tight ends over to the offensive line as well. They return a running back that averaged almost five yards per carry. They return a quarterback that threw for almost 2,400 yards, and he did that as a true freshman. They also return a veteran wide receiver crew that includes four of their top five receivers from a year ago, and one of the nation’s best. So, from an offensive standpoint, they have a lot of fire power, lots of players who return and are very confirmed in their system, and I think they’ll be very challenging to deal with.

 

“From a defensive standpoint, they have an experienced secondary returning. They’ve also added a couple of defensive players to their front a couple from the junior college ranks to a group that has quite of few guys. They’re not all starters, but they’re returning. I think really the x-factor in that whole equation on defense might be the return of the defensive coordinator who had North Texas’ defense ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation when he coached there in a previous stint. So we believe this will be a challenging match up for us and we expect to play well.”

 

On Deon Murphy’s change in classification...

“I was given notice and pulled aside that, after looking at his record, they noticed that he has another year of competition that he had not used. It would be terrific if I get another year with him. He’s a very good player and he loves football. He and I have spoken about it and we are just going to focus on the season that we have here in front of us for right now. We’ll worry about next year when next year gets here. I have no clue how this happened. It was the people that work in the compliance office, they found it out and I was just notified.”

 

On senior wide receiver Ernie Pierce...

“I think we’ve had high expectations for Ernie since he arrived. He’s gone a little under the radar for most people but I think we’ve been very confirmed that he has had good practices and done some nice things. We were ready for his level to increase and improve, and it has. The players that I mentioned, some of them may have been household names and some of them may have come out of no where, but Ernie has been right there and been steady. Now we just need him to demonstrate it in the games and I think he is prepared and excited to do that.”

 

On being confirmed on the defensive side of the ball...

“We are very confirmed on how we want to play. We have been that way for some time now and I believe we have put ourselves in a position to be able to play that way. We want to play fast and do some things with the way the ball moves these days, we want to be able to defend it better. I think anyone who is around our program understand the importance of our defense effort this year. I’m sure there will be things we need to make adjustments to both during games and in between games. The truth, is to accomplish our goals, we need to play better defensively and we are hoping to start that this weekend, but we know we have to get into games and make those adjustments.

 

“Offensively and in the kicking game, we expect to do well and it is one of those things where you put the time in and we have players returning, but that doesn’t mean the other team is just going to advocate that to you. You have to go out and earn it. In the kicking game, we have to do things to really change the game because everyone is very confirmed on offense and defense and how they want to do it. With the players we try to recruit and the style we want to play, the kicking game is a big part of that. Most coaches will tell you that but we really try to live it.”

 

On defensive line and depth chart...

“At defense end we are about four deep at this time, which is a positive. We like what is going on at nose tackle. We feel very positive about that. We try to be very multiple and the truth is that some of those players listed at defensive end could play in a variety of places, but you have to have a starting point.”

Junior Quarterback Josh Freeman

On being ready for the season opener...

“We have done a lot this camp. It has been one of the best camps that I have been apart of. We have done a lot of snaps, done a lot of reps and talked about a lot of things. It is my third year here I feel as comfortable as ever about the system and I know my guys and what they are capable of doing. We know what we are doing and I’m just excited to go do it.”

 

On the 1998 team being honored this weekend...

“It’s awesome. Coach Prince always has their game tapes of playing Nebraska and other different teams rolling around the complex. I would really like to meet all those guys in person.”

 

Senor Defensive End Ian Campbell

On the 1998 team’s influence on Saturday’s game...

“That’s motivation in itself to have most of those guys back that have played and are still playing in the NFL. I think it is an honor to have them come back. I cannot believe it has been 10 years and I know they feel the same way. They were such a good, intense, high-quality team with high character.”

 

On difference of game week and camp weeks...

“Camp is very important and something that you have to have. Everyone needs to have that time to sharpen your tools or knock some of the rust off. I like game week better because you get to prepare for your opponent. You get new information, you get to watch game film and study for your opponent and wrap it up on Friday and play the game on Saturday.”

 

Junior Running Back Keithen Valentine

On decision to come to K-State...

“Talking to Coach (Frank) Leonard really sold it to me. They work hard for everything they get and I like the presentation the school gave me. Looking at the depth chart and who they play and how Coach Prince treats the players really sold it to me.”

 

On Saturday’s game vs. North Texas ...

“The other day we went through our pre game routine, talking about when and where we are supposed to be. We talked about where to go before the game and after the game and I got goose bumps. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to see the end result. I want to show the fans that we are going to have a running game.”

 

Junior Wide Receiver Deon Murphy

On being a leader this year without Jordy Nelson and a proven running back...

“I feel like I was a leader with Jordy. Even though I knew what his next step was, I knew that it was my time to step up.  Right now, I have a lot of receivers on the team that are looking up to me and I’m proud of it and I’m going to keep doing that.”

 

On being informed that he is now a junior instead of a senior...

“I didn’t know anything about it, I was told by my academic advisor. It was quite a surprise. I never thought about it. It’s a good thing and we are going to keep rolling with it.”

 

Junior Defensive Back Blair Irvin

On adjustment from the junior college level...

“Being in the Division I level and the Big 12, the guys are a lot faster. There is a lot more that goes with playing football at this level. Being here since the winter has helped out a lot learning stuff early.”

 

On adjustment from minor league baseball player to K-State football player...

“It was a big adjustment. In minor league baseball, the guys are a lot older. Baseball is more individual and you have to be able to adjust either way you go. Football and baseball are completely different atmospheres.”