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K-State Holds Weekly Press Conference


GO WILDCATS
GO WILDCATS

GO WILDCATS

Head Coach Ron Prince

Opening Statement...

“In this business you’re always looking forward to your next game it’s how we’re measured. We’re playing games and we play to win them. Any time when you don’t win your last game of the year, you’re always especially anxious to get on with the business at hand and play another one and coach another one. That’d be the case for ourselves and our coaching staff. I know this team is anxious to get on with the business of playing the game. We’ve had some good preparation here in the off-season. We’ve done a lot of things to improve the depth of our team and to try to answer some of the questions that we’ve had, but now its time to get on to the games.”

 

On Illinois State...

“This is a very good team that we’re playing this weekend. I’m very familiar with this coach. This coach is very excellent and has a long reputation of being a terrific line coach as an assistant with Stanford, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Mississippi State. He’s widely respected as a very detailed, hard-nosed coach and I would expect that his teams as they have the last couple years will reflect that. Illinois State has no fear or doubt about going in and playing in these types of games. Two years ago they had 480 yards of total offense against Minnesota. Last year against Iowa State they gave them absolutely all they could handle and this was a game that went down to the wire. The game was much closer than the final score indicated and in many ways it can be argued that Illinois State outplayed the Division I team they were pitted against.

 

“This is a very well-coached team, a very disciplined team. They have a plan. All of the parts of their team, offense, defense, special teams, are congruent with the style that they’re trying to play. I have a lot of respect for this unit. They come into the season as the preseason No. 9 team in Division I-AA football. As a graduate of Appalachian State and having coached at that level for so many years, I understand that when you’re in that upper echelon of I-AA many fans may not have familiarity of this level but many coaches do. This is a team that’s put together the right way. They’re very competitive on a national level, at their level, and they’ve given people plenty of fits. They’re not going to be awed by this experience. They’ve played Purdue, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Brigham Young, and I would imagine that they’re going to be very prepared for this opportunity.”

 

On Dylan Meier starting at quarterback on Saturday...

“We’re really excited to have Dylan (Meier) as our quarterback. Dylan has done a really good job, not just managing his own circumstances at the quarterback position, but with leading the team. We’ve been very pleased with how the team has responded to him and we’re expecting big things from him. We’re expecting Dylan to really be the personality of this team. I was telling him the other day this is your team, and the team has to reflect how you play and how you approach the game, which is a very positive one.’ We all know he’s a can-do player, he’s very tough, and he’s resilient, so we expect the team to play in that fashion.”

 

On the adjustment of the running attack against Illinois State...

“Obviously as we have to adjust to some circumstances, Carlos Alsup will be our starter at tailback with Thomas Clayton sitting this game out. That will give an opportunity for Leon Patton and for James Johnson to get some exposure in this game. We’re looking for a positive contribution from both of those players.”

 

 On the state of the offensive line heading into the first game...

“On the offensive line Nick Stringer had a terrific camp, very good competition there at the tackle position. We felt that it would be critical to make sure that the quarterback’s left side is always protected. We feel that going into the season we have two very capable players there that we’d like to see on an on going basis competing to make sure that we have that side the way we would like it. We have good depth at the left guard spot. Greg Wafford has come out as the starter. Caleb Handy has taken a lot of snaps with the ones and it was a very good contest as Greg was out of the practices early. Caleb did a really good job so we think that we have enough depth at those two positions on the left side to go forward but we’re always looking for more. On the right side we had a couple moves there. Michael Friesen had a really good camp and we’re really excited about him. He was really an unknown to myself when I arrived here. He’s been able to really get himself in the kind of shape where we think he can contribute. He’s a surprisingly athletic player for his size with a lot of knee bend and ability to be explosive and he’s a heady player. For someone who doesn’t have as much experience as some other players, we’ve been pleasantly surprised with how instinctual he is. Gerrard Spexarth moving in to guard from tackle in the spring was a good move for us. He’s a very strong player, he’s a mauler. I think it’s important for every player to know what kind of player he is and what kind of style he plays. We’re looking for a player at the guard position that can be just that.”

 

On the defensive secondary...

“We think the defense has done a really good job. Raheem (Morris) has done a terrific job with the secondary building functional depth, particularly at the corner spots. We’re really excited about what’s happening there. At the safety position there is good competition there with Erker moving up into the starting spot. Expect to see a lot of playing time out of players like Marcus Watts, Courtney Herndon, and Kevin Hollis. We feel like we accomplished some of our goals there in getting enough names of guys who can be functional in a game and an opportunity to go out and show what they can do when the lights are on.”

 

On the linebackers...

“Probably two surprising moves for the fans, but not really much for the coaches, Antwon Moore made a step and really put himself in the position to be Brandon Archer’s backup. A very athletic player, a player who’s very physical, I think he’s really going to add something to us on the weak side. He has an opportunity to make plays on the ball and obviously pursue the ball in the ways that we like to see the ball pursued. On the strong side Marcus Perry has done a real good job. Here’s a player that I really wasn’t that familiar with and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with not only how physical and how tough he is, but with how mental and bright he is when it comes to the game. This is a player who I’m expecting big things from and I’d like to see have a good outing and have a chance to get in the game. Reggie Walker will be the starter at that position but I anticipate good competition for that job throughout the year. Zach Diles and Brandon Archer continue to do a really good job. We had a very positive competition for the back-up mike position between Maurice Mack and John Houlik, the freshman. Mack has won that job for the time, but we’re looking at an on-going basis to continue to have competition.”

 

On the quarterback competition between Josh Freeman and Dylan Meier...

“I can tell you that it’s to Josh (Freeman’s) credit as a true freshman to be able to come in and push a senior and to be able to really find himself in that competition. I’ve been very impressed with how he’s conducted himself, not only in the spring when he could have still been in high school taking courses but had a lot of ambition and finished his academic responsibilities early, but he really came into camp purposeful. He really came in wanting to get the job, obviously disappointed. I’ve said on a number of occasions that if you’re a quarterback and don’t think that you’re the starter then you’re probably in the wrong business. I think those players have a very public role and are as visible or more so than the head coach. Obviously they’re the ones out there and everyone’s watching them. I think only a pro golfer or a pro tennis player can understand the kind of scrutiny that they’re under. Dylan (Meier) has really won this team over, won this coaching staff over because of his grit and determination. Early on in spring ball I was looking for what was all the fuss about. As he went through spring, particularly that last week in spring practice, I could really see what people were talking about with this kid. He comes from an incredible football family, as Josh does. He’s heady, he understands the game, so when it comes to managing game situations and managing the game as a quarterback I feel very confident that Dylan is going to be able to do that. The ball has continued to come out of his hand better and better every day. As he’s become more comfortable with the schemes he’s been able to make quite a few big plays in practice, as both quarterbacks have. Really if you look at the kind of experience he has and the kind of personality he has, I don’t think a head coach could ask for much more in a player than Dylan Meier and we’re looking for big things from him throughout the season.” 

 

Senior Defensive Tackle Blake Seiler

On how seriously K-State needs to take Illinois St. after seeing how they played against Iowa St. last year...

I watched that game and they could definitely compete against Iowa St. and Iowa State took it to us last year, so they are definitely someone we need to take real seriously.”

 

On the play of Illinois State running back Pierre Rembert...

“I think he is a really talented running back. He is a transfer from Michigan and looking at him on film he looks real good. We are going to have to tackle well.”

 

On the importance of making a statement in this game...

“Real important I would say. After coming off of two losing seasons, last year we were trying to turn it around and it didn’t happen, but this year we really have to turn it around and we really have to start off well and we are looking to do so this weekend.”

 

On if Coach Prince has to do any motivating to the team before Saturday’s game...

We are ready to rumble, we have been hitting each other all spring and all training camp and we are ready to play someone else."

 

On his thoughts of Andrew Erker’s play lately...

“I have been really impressed with him because Marcus Watts was our guy last year and he stepped up when Marcus was down in the spring and continued into camp and I am real confident in him.”

 

On his thoughts of Rob Jackson’s play...

“I think he is a real good player and I have definitely noticed how he is a good pass rusher and he is learning the system really well, so I think he is going to be really good for us.”

 

Senior Running Back Carlos Alsup

On his role this year as a senior...

Guys do look up to me, but I am just going out there to accomplish some things and make the K-State Wildcats a better team.”

 

On if he has the chance to keep the starting job at running back for the entire season...

“I think I do have an advantage going into this game knowing that I am the number one running back so hopefully I can continue to do what I have been doing in camp and show the coaches that I can be that guy.”

 

On if the team is nervous at all with all the new faces this year...

“This is going to be a big challenge for all of us. This is my first game that I have been able to see a lot of playing time and with our new coaching staff all of them are making their debut and hopefully we can go out there and give the fans what they are looking for.”

 

On how long he has been looking forward to a game like Saturday’s...

I have been looking forward to this day since I got here and that was back in 2001. So it has been a long time.”

 

On his health currently...

“I have no setbacks and I am just ready to roll.”

 

On if he has to prove himself at all this weekend...

“I feel that I do have to prove myself because I did have a setback with two knee injuries and hopefully I can prove to myself and everyone else that I am still capable of playing.”

 

Senior Middle Linebacker Maurice Mack

On his expectations of the linebackers this season...

“We have camaraderie between us but I really can’t pinpoint what it is because we are so unique this year. There is a lot of speed and quickness, we don’t have all the size in the world but once everyone gets out there and plays and goes full tilt all the time, it’s going to be fun this year.”

 

On the difference between last season’s linebackers and this season’s...

“I really can’t say. We almost have the same number of people minus Ted Sims and Matt Butler. I think we have some guys that have filled in very well like Justin Roland, Davyon McGhee and Houlik. We have some guys that are very young.”

 

On what are his feelings of the defense this season...

“We just want to get out there on the field and play, with going through the new process of a new coach, we just need to go out there and put everything out on the field and see what we have to work with.”

 

Freshman Tackle Nick Stringer

On a redshirt-freshman starting at left tackle...

“I’m kind of excited about it. I’ve been running all camp on the right side and then they moved me over to the left side. It’s kind of a big transition, but I’m looking forward to it.”

 

On picking up the new offense...

“It’s not a real hard offense to pick up. I think our offensive line is starting to gel and play as one. We’re picking it up real well and I think it’s going to be a great offense for this team.”

 

On if it’s easier to pick things up being a coach’s kid...

“It’s all the same for everybody, but being around it a little bit more, I kind of know different concepts of defenses and where they’re going to be. It’s just a little easier to pick up.”

 

Junior Wide Receiver Jordy Nelson

On his thoughts on game one...

“It’s here. We have just a couple more practices, and we’ll be in here ready to play on Saturday. So we’re going to do some practices right now, and get ready for the game.”

 

On Dylan Meier being named the starting quarterback...

“I think we’re real comfortable. Dylan’s been running quarterback all through two-a-days, so we’ve gotten used to him. He’s stepped up as a leader after being out all last year and everything like that. I think everything’s come back to him, and I think he’s a great guy to lead this team.”

 

On Meier’s game...

“He throws a good ball. Just like all the other quarterbacks we’ve got, they’re able to put it on the money. So he’s just a normal quarterback throwing back there, and he makes great decisions.”

 

On if K-State is ready to get back to an explosive offense...

“I think if everything comes together this week and we polish things up, I think we have players on this team that can make explosive plays. That’s what we’re looking for out of this offense.”

 

Sophomore Safety Andrew Erker

On winning the starting spot in fall camp...

“I’m excited. Whether I am No. 1 and he is No. 2 or he is No. 1 and I am No. 2, I think we are both going to contribute to the team. We both have abilities that can help our team win.

 

On when he found out he was starting...

“I found out yesterday when I got a call from a friend. I was No. 1 on the depth chart throughout fall camp, but I found out officially yesterday. I’m very excited to help K-State win and to just get the season started.”

 

On if this is the best week of his life...

“The best week of my life was actually the week I found out I got a 4.0 (GPA) in junior high, but this is a good week as well. I’ve definitely enjoyed it and I am very excited and very honored to be starting.”

 

Junior Defensive End Rob Jackson

On the transition from junior college to Division I...

“I’ve been doing pretty good. The transition from junior college to Division I football was hard, but once I got used to it, I’ve fit right into the system with what Coach Prince is trying to do with the football program.”

 

On starting at defensive end...

“For myself being a defensive lineman, my objective is to sack the quarterback or take up spots so the linebacker can make the tackle. Every time the quarterback drops back to pass, I’m foaming at the mouth trying my hardest to get to him. I just look at it as if I don’t get that sack and they complete the pass, I feel it’s my responsibility, not the defensive back’s.

 

On the difference between junior college and Division I...

“This is a lot different than high school. I kind of got into it slow. Junior college is a little faster than high school and Division I is a little faster than junior college. So, I didn’t make the big transition from high school straight to Division I, but this level is a lot faster.”

 

On his goals for the season...

“I don’t have any statistical goals. I’m just trying to make sure we do well, we succeed and make sure we win. That’s the ultimate goal be a part of a winning program.”