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K-State Holds Weekly Press Conference



MANHATTAN, Kan. - Head coach Ron Prince met with the media on Monday to discuss this weekend's game against Kansas.

Head Coach Ron Prince
Opening statement...
“Looking back at the tape, I felt we had a very good game plan and good opportunities early in the game. We squandered those opportunities with turnovers and a couple of faulty special teams plays. I felt that we really left some yards on the field and, obviously, left some opportunities on the field. I thought that Deon Murphy’s kick return was a big spark for us. We didn’t really have a lot going until then. It gave us an opportunity to go down and score and from there we were competitive. I think that the reality is that when you play teams of this caliber that are big, strong and can run the football the way they can, I thought that when it was tied at 28 that we got their very best shot of the game, and after watching the tape I believe that. It is a very good team and we felt that in the second half the score had kind of affected that. We played a little bit better at stopping the run on first down and putting them in a situation to pass the ball on second and third down. To have a quarterback of that caliber and to hold him under 50 percent passing, we feel we can build on. We were concerned about the running game and we were right to be. Very few teams have that kind of manpower to just line up and attack you the way they did, but we faced a very good one and hopefully we can build off that.

“Coming into this game, I think this is one of those games that doesn’t take a whole lot of explanation for all of us that grew up in these parts. It is not hard for us to understand the significance of the game, but there are implications here in the conference. In the north it seems to be a really tight race. Coming out of this game with a win will give us an outside chance of being able to win the north. That is something we need to hang on to. We need to win it for all the right reasons but a lot of good things would happen to us if we win this game and that is where our approach is. For us to be able to go on the road and to play the kind of football all at one time that we have shown in quarters here and halves there, that would be very important for us because we have not done that since Texas A&M.”

On importance of this game... 
“It the most important game of the year, not just because it’s the one we are playing this week and because of the two schools and what we are about and what we are playing for this week. Wherever you are coaching you, have one of these games. The longer the team has been very good the more of these games are on the schedule, seemingly. The more relevant you are in your conference to make a run at the north, the more rivalries will become established. Right now, at 1-3 in the conference, we just need to win this week. We need to be able to get on track for a lot of different reasons and play our best football.”

On the priority of the Kansas game and competing in the Big 12 North...
“Both are occurring at the same time. I think the reality is that if you look at our conference, the coaches that have been at their schools for the longest period of time are having their most consistent performances. They don’t win all the games, but they have the most consistent performances. That is what we are looking for. We are looking for consistent performances and we have seen some spots here and there. I thought going into the year that 6-2 was going to win the north before the year started and now it looks like there is an outside chance that 5-3 could win it. You can’t think about winning the north until you can beat your opponents in the north. I believe the last three or four years we are 7-14 against the north. From what I can see on tape right now, a lot of the teams in the south are absolutely terrific on both sides of the offensive and defensive lines. I think for us to be able to compete and beat this team, turnovers and the kicking game are going to be huge. Having the kicking game play go against us in the game last week was very damaging.”

On getting the full impact of the rivalry...
“I think that when you are standing on the sidelines you get it. I think that it is one of those deals that a lot of schools have this kind of rivalry. Unless you’re at a place that just started football recently, you’ve got one of these, whether it’s across the state or a state right next to you. The passions run high on this thing and that is very good. I see this as a series or rivalry that has no lack of respect. Make no mistake about it everyone wants to win this game on both sides and we all have people that we know on the other side of the isle that would like to be able to have some nice water cooler conversation once it is over.”