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K-State Holds Weekly Press Conference


GO WILDCATS
GO WILDCATS

GO WILDCATS

Kansas State Head Coach Ron Prince

 

Opening Statement...

“It was an exciting time on Saturday for the players, in particular. We got a chance to get a lot of guys into the game. The score turned out like we wanted to. I thought, in several places, after going back and looking at the film there were things that we could improve on, particularly on special teams. I think the first play of the game set the tone that it was going to be a very good special teams day. In our mind, it might have been a little disappointing. We thought there were more plays to be made in the kicking game. So we are going to take a strong look at that this week.

 

On offense, we had a much improved effort. Give credit to the coaches they were really challenged by the circumstances from a week ago. They came out and had a really good week of practice. I thought Mike Frieson gave us a spark at left tackle. It was well needed. I think he has good chemistry with Greg Wafford. We just want to make sure we allow those two to work together. I don’t really see any changes on that side unless we have to. Nick Stringer did a really good job two weeks in a row, in particular in the running game. His pass protection work is coming along really good. We will continue to work on that. We think that he has a very bright future. We were really pleased with the chemistry that he and (Gerard) Spexarth had over there. We got good play out of a significant number of people on offense, which will be very important to us. It is going to be very difficult to go with only five guys throughout the season with the nature of the game. We really needed to get guys like Matt Boss, Caleb Handy, John Hafferty and Brock Unruh a lot of reps.

 

The conduct of the game, from my standpoint, wasn’t much different from the week before. Obviously, it was a more pleasing game to the eye of the fans and all those folks that were watching because of the score. I thought we got a lot out of the first game a lot of end-of-the-game situations. Our team got a chance to win a close game I thought it was really important. This week, as the game was going on, I was really evaluating the players who were on the field and trying to have a picture in my mind of how they will perform the next time they go out. We all know the next time they get a chance to go into the game, the competition level is going to increase significantly.

 

We tried to maintain a really high standard for the players in the game. Particularly, the veteran players did that very well. I was glad their efforts were validated with a shutout. Shutouts are hard to get and they are very hard to maintain, particularly when you play a lot of players like we did. We are going to go out and try to be bold and daring. We are never going to try to play close to the best and not to lose. We are always going to play to win.”

 

On Marshall...

“The group that’s coming in this week will obviously be our best challenge to this point. This is a very good team led by a very good coach. This is a coach that’s been a part of four national championships at various levels, as well as two runner-ups. He is a graduate of Marshall and a great player at Marshall. I am very familiar with Marshall because of my time at Appalachian State. We were rivals of sort. Marshall has taken their program to a different level not just leaving (Division) I-AA, which many teams have done, but go onto the MAC, dominate it, and then move onto Conference USA. If you look at the coaches who’ve come through there, they have a significant commitment to winning whether it’s Jim Donnan or Bob Pruitt and now Coach (Mark) Snyder. I would imagine that they are going to win for a long time.”

 

On Marshall’s offense...

“It will be a challenge. It is a very unique backfield that we are going to face. They are unique in the standpoint that I know a lot about Ahmad Bradshaw. We signed Ahmad at the University of Virginia and he eventually went to Marshall. This is a player of tremendous talent. He is a hard-nosed player who has speed, contact and balance. He is all the things that you want in a running back he can catch the ball, he’s elusive in space, he can run with power and now he is matched up with a player who has the ability to affect the game with both his arm and his feet. This quarterback (Jimmie Skinner) has really improved his game. If you take a look at the West Virginia game and consider the statistics there, West Virginia may be among the nation’s elite teams, so I wouldn’t try to evaluate that team based on that performance. But even in that game, the statistics that those two players were able to produce against that defense are worth mentioning. I think they are the first back combination to both rush over 1,000 yards. We obviously will have our challenges there. It’s more than just the Ahmad Bradshaw Show,’ but he is a significant player. I think he will be one of the better backs we will face all year. This is a team that has talent at the receiving core and at the return units. The wide receiver that they call upon in the punt and kick return game will be a significant part of it. Both teams are basically even in terms of the punting and kicking of the ball, but we feel like they have a tremendous opportunity when they have a chance to return it.”

 

On Marshall’s defense...

“On defense, they are a very good unit. They are led by their safety (Curtis Keyes), a John Lynch type of player. He can really affect the game, and we feel like they put him in a lot of good positions to make plays in the game. This is a team that has really upgraded, on both lines, the size and strength of their unit. This is not the same offensive and defensive line body style that you’ve seen here in recent years. They have upgraded tremendously. They are bigger in all the places they want to be bigger. Obviously, with the jump up to Conference USA, that must have been a tactical decision on their part. This will be a good challenge for us.”

 

On the play of Rashaad Norwood...

“I’m very pleased with Rashaad’s blocking. He has gotten better in that aspect. We all know that he has talent. He made a catch in the game the other day that I thought was a very significant catch a high degree of difficulty catch. I’ve been very impressed with how he’s tried to approach the game, especially his contact level. Really, that’s what makes you a real threat at tight end, when you are a factor in the running game. I think that Coach (James) Jones has done a really good job with all those tight ends. We’ve had significant contributions from Jeron Mastrud, whose caught a number of passes and has blocked very well. Including Michael Pooschke, Donald Raymer and (Brett) Alstatt, I’m pleased with the development of the group. I think it will take every one of them to play the way we want this season.”

 

On the difference of Dylan Meier’s play from week one to week two...

“We talked about how we were going to conduct the game. At no point did we ever think that we were going to conduct the game in the fashion where it would be one of those 34-of-50 type of performances. He conducted the game in the way we wanted it conducted. I think he was 10-of-20 for 125 (yards) or something of that nature. By design, it was going to be a running day. I thought he made the throws. I thought the throw to (Daniel) Gonzalez was significant to him. That’s a play that we have worked on. It was really good to see him throw that to a player who caught his first collegiate pass for a touchdown. There are a lot of small details that we need to clean up. We are, by no means, ready to play the Bears. I would just like to see the type of improvement each week in all the position and see the players develop.”

 

On Quintin Echols progression...

“One of the things we talk about with the players is how to be a professional and how to approach the game. We think the lessons that you learn on how to approach each game and how to approach your craft, so to speak, are lessons that they can carry on when they are finished playing. I’m really pleased with how Quintin has prepared for the games, the kind of leader he’s been. We do a couple things that are pretty strenuous and tough in conditioning, and he has been up there in the lead with all the linemen. He got my attention that way and that’s a very positive thing for him."

 

Senior Linebacker Maurice Mack

On the rivalry with Marshall...

“We’ve kind of built up a little rivalry with Marshall. We’ve split one game apiece, and this will be our third match-up with them. It’s going to be a real competitive game. We’re going to be ready, and they’re going to be ready. We’re just worried about going out there, doing our thing, and getting the win.”

 

On his playing time in the FAU game...

“With the rotation that we have, if you have some momentum then you get to stay in a little longer. As far as playing time, there was no big thing. There were lots of guys who got good playing time. There were a lot of young guys like Josh Moore. The more guys we get in there and get their feet wet, the more comfortable the coaches and players can be.”

 

On recording seven tackles in the FAU game...

“It was just being around the ball. That’s how the game’s played. Start flying to the ball, and make some tackles.”

 

On Marshall...

Marshall is a really solid team. They’ve got a lot of talented guys. They’ve got a lot of guys coming back. I believe it’s a lot like the team we saw last year. They’re kind of like us. They lost a couple seniors, but most of the team is back.”

 

Junior Wide Receiver Jordy Nelson

On the upcoming week...

“We’ve got Marshall coming in this week. I’d like to think we’ve got a little history with them, so I think everyone will be ready to go.”

 

On playing this week after leaving the FAU game after the first quarter...

“I will be there on Saturday, and I will play on Saturday.”

 

On the Marshall rivalry...

“The topic came up after the game on Saturday. I think some of the coaches have a rivalry with (Marshall) also. We never really played Marshall until a couple of years ago. I think something small started up, so hopefully it will be a good game.”

 

On getting the offense on track...

“I think we’re really close. I think we did some good things last week. We watched film last night, and saw a few little things like some missed blocks here and there. As a team, it could have been a lot worse. We could have put some more points on the board. We’re close, and with a few fixes, we’ll be there.”

  

Junior Linebacker Justin Roland
On getting playing time against Florida Atlantic...
“It was fun. The first time you get on the field you just want to make a good impression. Just getting the opportunity to play Big 12 ball is a dream of mine and playing at Kansas State, it was fun, it was great.”

On the mentality of the second and third team players...
”You never know what’s going to happen, it’s a long season. We just strive to keep playing, we want to make everybody work hard. Part of working hard is having the people behind you working hard. As long as we play well and work hard that’s what we shoot for.”

On the rivalry with Marshall...
“It’s huge. I really got spoon fed some of the facts about it. I guess they had some pretty big games. I was recruited by Marshall and was really close to going there so it will be a big rivalry for me towards
them. I don’t really know about the K-State, Marshall rivalry but they told me a little bit about it. A few years ago (Kansas State) lost and they wanted to stomp on the cat head so last year when we pulled it out up there we stomped on their M.’ It’ll be pretty heated I’m sure.”

On the defense...
“It’s a real tight-knit team. The style is that the players make it happen. It’s a cover-two scheme which everybody knows. The players that we have, the coaches, the way they teach us, it’s a real disciplined
defense as you can see. There aren’t a lot of dumb penalties and stuff like that, I like it. It’s a real tight-knit team.”

 

Sophomore Free Safety Andrew Erker

On the defense...

“We are constantly working and constantly trying to get better and we have the best coaches that I have ever been around in Raheem Morris, Scott Frost, Coach Wallerstadt and Mo Lattimore. They are constantly pushing us and with those guys helping us everyday there is no stopping us as long as we are willing to get better.”

 

On the difference between this defense and last year’s defense...

“At my position I have Raheem Mooris and Scott Frost which I am working with on a daily basis. It seems like they understand and are more in touch with us. Scott Frost used to play and Raheem could play, he is that athletic. Those guys definitely understand the players a little better and are on a more personal level with us.”

 

On the coaching of Scott Frost...

“Scott Frost is a great guy. It has been a pleasure working with him and a lot of us would not be where we are right now without Scott Frost or Raheem Morris.”

 

On Marshall quarterback Bernard Morris...

“Well you have to keep to your keys, you have to be at your landmarks and you can’t mess around with him as with any quarterback but there is definitely going to be a lot of film watching and studying of our playbooks.”

 

Sophomore running back John McCardle

On expectations of Saturday’s game...

“Everyone knows about the rivalry from 2003 where the last play we didn’t get it done and lost by six points. Last year, I guess you could say people said they made a bad call at the end of the game by throwing the ball and we got the interception and won on a last second play and so this year you should expect a pretty close game again and it should be a pretty close battle.”

 

On Marshall’s running game...

“I actually played on defense last year but did not play against Marshall but they have a great running back and I remember he had a screen last year where he broke a bunch of tackles and made a lot of guys look stupid and we are going to have to keep him under wraps.”

 

Senior running back Thomas Clayton

On his game last year against Marshall...

“We have a different scheme offensively and we are going to be seeing some different guys on defense. Things will change a little bit but our goal is still the same which is to be victorious at the end of the game.”

 

On Marshall’s defense...

“They are scrappy guys, but at the same time they are not going to do anything that we can’t do well against. They are a competitive team and we expect them to come out real competitive.”

 

On his thoughts of this series being a rivalry...

“Not necessarily but when you have two competitive teams going head-to-head it turns out that way.”

 

“You look at the game last year how it turned out I think they jumped out on us 10-0 and then we put together some really good drives and got up 21-10 and then throughout the game they clawed back a little bit and it came down to a two-point game and they made a decision to go for the touchdown. We picked it off and went ahead and won. I am sure they are looking forward to playing us again no doubt.”

 

 

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