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October 13, 2014

V.J. Fehoko

Q.  After watching film, kind of getting the breakdowns from things, give an overall grade on the defense's performance.  Talk about that a little bit.
V.J. FEHOKO:  I would say probably a 7.  I think our defense played hard, guys were running into the ball.  We just got to make plays when they count.  When we get chances to end the game, we got to take that opportunity and come through with it.

Q.  It seems like maybe you guys each week, under Coach Smith have really kind of taken a step forward each week.  Do you feel like that as players?
V.J. FEHOKO:  I do.  I think we have gotten better each and every week.  But football's a team sport and three phases.  And I think once we decide to become great in all phases and sides of the ball, then I think we'll be a hard team to stop.

Q.  Check audio.

Q.  What's the mood overall on the team, pretty discouraged?
V.J. FEHOKO:  You know, it's tough.  Everybody fought hard and we prepared, we gave it our all, and sometimes the outcome doesn't happen the way you think it is.  So, I'm sure some of the guys are a little down, but the best way for this is to get in, focus on KU and focus on getting the win.

Q.  What is your concern about Kansas?
V.J. FEHOKO:  You look at Kansas, and they're kind of in the same boat, fighting for a win, too.  So, you expect it to be a dog fight.  When you have those kind of games, you got to prep for your best.

Q.  Are losses like Saturday a little tougher to come back from?
V.J. FEHOKO:¬† You know what?¬† I feel the way our team is going right now, we're starting to bond a lot tighter than we have since the beginning of the season, and I feel that we'll only get better.¬† You put on the film from week one from Central Arkansas to now, and it's‑‑ to me, it's like night and day.
We're starting to have guys play for each other.  I think we just need a little bit less thoughtless penalties.  We had 12 for over a hundred yards, and you eliminate that in a close game like this, and you would be surprised what the outcome would be.

Q.  (No microphone.)
V.J. FEHOKO:  I think we were.  I think at times we thought that guys were entitled and thought that maybe the game was won and so our defense, I wouldn't say relaxed, but we didn't make plays in order to get our offense back on the field and give them more chances to score.
So, I don't feel that way.  I don't feel that anybody is kind of down on us right now.  I don't feel that there's any cancers on our team.  I think everybody's fighting their hearts out, giving it all they have got.

Q.  What about finishing?  Is that a skill that you can pick up as a player or is that just confidence?  How does a team or player get that ability?
V.J. FEHOKO:  To me that's a will.  You got to have the will to finish.  Football is four quarters fought over time, but the team that wants it the most will probably win the game.  Crucial, crucial penalties and guys sometimes not playing their assignment, it ended up costing us big yardages and first downs, and even leading to a touchdown.  So, once we eliminate those things, I think we'll become a great defense.

Q.  Obviously, you know that as a player, but how do you get to the other guys on your team to recognize that in crucial times we can't get penalized late in the game?
V.J. FEHOKO:  A lot of the guys on our defense are our young cats, in the secondary there, some up front, so that comes with experience.
But at the same time, we kind of need guys to grow up early, because right now we're hitting to midpoint of the season where we need to start getting some wins.¬† That just comes down to being disciplined, self‑disciplined.¬† Holding yourself accountable to your teammates, to the program, and executing on your behalf.

Q.  Do you think that those last 7:32, instead of playing to win, people were playing to just hang on to the lead?
V.J. FEHOKO:  I didn't feel that way, but I felt that we didn't come up with a big play.  We had one turnover, and if we had got another turnover in that time, I think it would have brought West Virginia's demeanor down and maybe had us put the nail in the coffin.
But, that wasn't the case.  We gave them a field goal, a touchdown, let them get back in the game when we should have ended it.
So, I take full responsibility and as a defense on us, not letting them get in the end zone.  So, we just got to come up with big plays coming to the end of the game.

Q.  Kliff talked about rising together as a team.  How exciting is it to see that you guys can do that against West Virginia, maybe going forward against Kansas with that?
V.J. FEHOKO:  Yeah, it's a loss,, but at the same time, I mean, seeing our team get better, it's definitely put a spark in my flame.  Seeing that we're starting to play as a team, starting to play for each other, it's going to be crucial.
Coming to the end of the season, coming to the last six games, the team that plays together and plays the hardest, is probably going to be hard to stop.  So, right now, we're swinging the momentum, and the ball's not coming our way.  But, I think if we keep fighting, good things will happen.

Q.  Speaking of those last six games, you guys talk about it or are you aware, that you only have so many games left here on the schedule to really kind of turn it around to the home stretch and there's only so many games to achieve those goals and maybe go to a bowl?
V.J. FEHOKO:  Yeah, we're very aware.  I feel that if there's a time to pick it up and to become that complete team in all three sides of the ball, it's going to be now.  It's going to start against KU.  We need to get better in a short period of time and we need to win ball games, that's the bottom line.

Q.¬† Kliff talked about you guys seeing that 27‑20 score, Oklahoma State almost getting knocked off by Kansas.¬† So you guys also aware of how well Kansas has been playing the past few weeks?
V.J. FEHOKO:  We are.  Like I said, I expect it to be a dog fight.  This conference is a tough conference and everybody's looking for wins and when there's a lot of good teams, you got to play your heart out.
We expect Kansas to come in here and give us a fight.  But at the same time, we're looking for a win, too.  We're scratching and clawing and I have faith in all of my players, and I have faith in the coaching staff, and I have faith that we'll probably get this turned around.

Q.  West Virginia ran 96 plays.  Did the defense maybe wear down because of all those plays?
V.J. FEHOKO:  Well, yeah, you know, the time of possession was similar.  So, we were off the field kind of in equal terms with the other team.  But, we play against the hurry up every day.
I felt our guys were in shape and were well conditioned.  But the things that we could control, we didn't, thoughtless penalties.  In a close game like this, that's the difference maker.  Of course, making plays at the end of the game when we need to, we need to step up as a defense.

Q.  (No microphone.)
V.J. FEHOKO:  I felt that we were well prepared for West Virginia.  I thought so.

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