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November 8, 2014

Clint Bowen

Iowa State – 14
Kansas - 34

Q.  You smell like Gatorade.  How was that Gatorade bath?
CLINT BOWEN:  You know, I've always seen those.  They're a lot colder than you think.  The old ice punch challenge came through there.  Honestly about the greatest feeling of my life as this coaching thing goes.
But unbelievable, the players.  Can't give enough credit to what our players have continued to work and do and our assistant coaches being so professional, just unbelievable the collective effort in our program.

Q.  You were asked several times this week what a win here would mean for you personally, and every time you answered by saying it's not about me, it's about what it means for the team, what it means for the program.  So what does this win mean for this team and this program?
CLINT BOWEN:  It means that our players finally get a reward for all the hard work and effort that they put into everything that they do.  We have a tremendous group of young men down there who work just as hard as everyone else and have came up on the short end of those games so many times, and it means that they get to hold their heads high and be proud of what they did today and celebrate and have fun and do all those things that they came to Kansas to do.

Q.  On the offensive side you had so many big 3rd down conversions in this game, the one to Nigel King, the one to Jimmay are a couple that stand out, but how important was that to stay on the field offensively today?
CLINT BOWEN:  They completely controlled that first quarter.  I think we maybe played six plays total on defense.  They just kept moving the chains, converting, and you're right, Jimmay guts that one out, runs the guy over to finish it; Nigel goes and makes an unbelievable catch on 3rd and really what you consider almost impossible situations.  Our players, they made plays.
We talked about going out and playing the game and doing special things, and our players did special things today.

Q.  Not to single out too many players because everybody obviously contributed, but on the defensive side JaCorey comes up with a couple of big plays, Victor Simmons stood out with some big plays, as well.  How about what you did on defense today?
CLINT BOWEN:  Well, we did.  We took our chances on the outside.  We figured Dexter and JaCorey are two of our better players and we were going to let them play ball against their wide‑outs out there, and Dex and JaCorey battled all day and made plays and allowed us to play that style of defense today.
They moved the ball down the field, but we were able to get some red zone stops.  We still, what did they get, 14, so seven points a half?  It wasn't pretty, but we got stops when we had to.

Q.  This win going forward, the bounce in the step, what does it do for the team in that regard, just to have that positive reward now going forward for the rest of the season?
CLINT BOWEN:  Well, I think it validates that if they do work hard enough and do the right things and continue to work together and stay together that we'll win games and be rewarded.  We are starting to develop a good little system in the way we operate, and I think the guys now it just gives them some belief that what we're doing is putting us on the right path.

Q.  Your first career Gatorade bath.  How did it go?
CLINT BOWEN:  You know, it felt good.  It felt good turning around, seeing those players with smiles on their faces jumping around.  Our players have stuck through it, continued to work hard, and to see those guys be able to enjoy a victory and bounce around and have smiles on their face, it's the greatest feeling.

Q.  The defense came up with huge plays today, big stops.  Has it been hard for you to worry about that?
CLINT BOWEN:  You know, it's difficult.  I mean, you're doing both sides, being the defensive coordinator and taking over the other part.  It's a challenge, but you just spend a little bit more time doing what you do, a little earlier, a little later, and get it done.  Our players on defense, so many of them had good games.  We put Dexter and JaCorey out there on their wide‑outs, told them to hold up, and they held up.  Obviously it's Big 12 football and to give up seven points a half, we feel good about that, and those were two big parts in it.
Victor Simmons had some plays, Michael Reynolds, and we went into this game with five defensive linemen, and those five guys played the whole game amongst the five of them.  Couldn't be more proud of those guys and the effort they gave.

Q.  They've been saying most of the week that Richardson was going to play.  Did you prepare for him to not play or how did that work?
CLINT BOWEN:  No, I thought he was going to play.  We had heard the rumors that he might be banged up or might not play, but there's not a tremendous amount of difference between the two quarterbacks.  Rohach, we obviously faced him a year ago, and what he does and Sam do are about the same thing, so it was really the same plan.

Q.  When Victor Simmons (inaudible), just going out to that point in the game, how much extra juice did that add to the sideline?
CLINT BOWEN:  Well, what it did is we come out for the second half and they go right down and score a touchdown, and you hate to say it, but you look around, people are like, holy cow, what's happening, so to come back and make some plays and get the momentum back on our side right away was big.

Q.  Was that offensively, especially the tempo, more what you were hoping to see?
CLINT BOWEN:  Yeah, obviously the offense came out of the gates unbelievable.  Coach Kiesau and the offensive coaches had a great plan.  The players went out and made play after play converting those 3rd downs over and over, but controlled the first quarter, controlled the early part of the game, were able to be effective throwing the ball and running the ball.  The job that they did as coaches and players on that side of the ball was great.

Q.  It seems like a lot of the afternoon, the team looked like it was a better team out there.  How hard is that to develop in a team that hasn't won a lot of games?
CLINT BOWEN:  I don't know.  We talk about the way to prepare each and every day.  We've tried to establish a process that each day these are what we set out to do.  We don't really worry about the end of it, we worry about taking care of what's the most important thing to get done that day and keep building it, and I think players are starting to understand that we execute and do what we do that it gives us a chance to win.

Q.  (Inaudible) kind of came out of the game first half.  What kind of an injury was that?
CLINT BOWEN:  Something wrong with his shoulder, but they brought him in, did some precautionary looks at him, and obviously he was fine.

Q.  Can you talk about Michael's game and how he handled things?
CLINT BOWEN:  He does.  I've been saying this for I guess four weeks now how much I respect the young man's mental and physical toughness.  He continues to demonstrate it over and over again.  He's a leader in the huddle.  He's a guy that has a presence about him that gives you confidence.  When he goes on the field, Mike is one of those guys that just makes you believe he's going to get it done.

Q.  Did Tony just have a little more running than he usually has today?
CLINT BOWEN:  No, he didn't, and I think they were able to get him on the perimeter a little bit, and some of the blocking schemes I think opened some things up for Tony, and obviously he's a pretty quick guy.  When he gets going, he can do some things.

Q.  You said this win validates the players' work.  What about yourself?  You were thrown into a tough situation and made some changes and doing some things, and now you get to see a little success out of that.
CLINT BOWEN:  Well, I had tremendous help along the way.  There's so many people in this program that bend over backwards to help our program from the administration, the managers, everyone across the board.  We have so much help that it makes it a pleasure to come to work every day.  We all work extremely hard, all the coaches, everyone, and it was a true program win.

Q.  We saw it on the field.  How about the locker room?
CLINT BOWEN:  It was awesome.  It was great.  So great to be able to see those kids jump around and celebrate and just smile and be happy.  You know, smile and be happy.  It was a lot of fun in there.

Q.  Earlier in your career when you were an assistant coach you saw goalposts come down here seemingly on a regular basis.  What's it like to have the first one where you can say, yeah, that was mine?
CLINT BOWEN:  Well, I hope to where we win enough games that it's what we expect to do.

Q.  How about the impact of this outcome for your job being secure?
CLINT BOWEN:  You know, like I've talked from the beginning on that question, I keep referring to it, we've got a great, unbelievable athletic director who understands football, understands this program.  When this thing is all over, he's going to make the best decision for the University of Kansas and we're all going to support it.

Q.  When Ben and Keyon grabbed the Gatorade bucket and were holding it there for a while, did somebody come up to you and give you a heads up, or how did that work?
CLINT BOWEN:  Well, I would have wanted to be prepared, but we ended up with that dang situation where we've got to put the punt team back out there, and the previous time we put the punt team out there we looked like clowns and had 10 guys on the field, guy run out late and get it blocked.  I was a little bit worried about that to be honest.  They caught me by surprise because of the punt situation.

Q.  Were you planning on calling that time out anyways?
CLINT BOWEN:  Yeah, because we needed to discuss the punt.  The previous one they had tipped, so we were just going to run the clock down and make sure we were all set on punt team and had all the appropriate max protection things covered.

Q.  You already talked about the momentum that Victor's force fumble brought back.  They're driving and they have a chance to make it 24‑17 or more.  Did you have to settle everybody down there and remind them that you were ahead or anything like that?
CLINT BOWEN:  No.  I think in our huddles, in our defensive huddles, offensive huddles, the kids just kept talking about, hey, let's just go out and do what we do.  We know we can get these stops, we know we can play our gaps, we know we can play our defense, and so there was never really panic.  We have a pretty good veteran group of guys in there.  They understand what's happening, and more, we just talk about the previous set, the plays that hit us, the plays that hurt us and how to fix them.

Q.  You mentioned the play of the cornerbacks earlier, how you guys were able to put them out on the edges.  They have a group of receivers that can do some things out there that are a little bit unique.  What was it you saw in the week leading up that made you feel like you could isolate a little bit and take some risks with your coverage?
CLINT BOWEN:  Well, honestly just having faith in those two young men.  JaCorey and Dexter play very well.  We felt that they could hold up.  Iowa State has two big guys on the outside, two good receivers, but Dex and JaCorey both have good size to them, so we felt like we had a good match‑up, and with Bibbs on the inside, we needed to pay some attention to him.

Q.  A little extra surprise for you especially in those 4th and goal stops, you got two of them in the fourth quarter there?  They could have both of those and you still win the game, but it looked like getting those stops meant something.
CLINT BOWEN:  Well, it does.  You let a team drive down, obviously there's a lot more pride in getting a three‑and‑out, but they did drive down there, they got there, and anytime you can get a 4th down stop, hold a team to four downs and get a stop, it just kind of proves that the defense is continuing to fight the whole time.

Q.  What's kept you and the staff just believing in this team?  There were some bad outcomes earlier in the year, but it seems like there's been improvement along the way.  What had you convinced that this was an improving team?
CLINT BOWEN:  Well, they never come to practice not ready to work.  Every day when we go out there, we group up before we take the field and we run on the field, and no matter what you think how their mood is going to be that day, they just keep fighting back.  They're a resilient group of young men.  They almost‑‑ if you ever did want to quit, they wouldn't let you I don't think.  Our players, every day they take the field, they just keep bouncing back and keep having energy and keep having enthusiasm and keep working, and we have a professional coaching staff.  Those guys understand the jobs and that it's about giving these young men a chance to win.  But it's really our players don't allow us to.  They just keep fighting.

Q.  Did it seem unusual given that they've had to deal with two head coaches in a single year?
CLINT BOWEN:  I don't know, we've done a lot of things to try and get them to understand how special it is to play football at the University of Kansas, how special it is to have that Jayhawk on the side of your helmet.  We've had a lot of people talk to them about how much support there is for them outside of the program, from former players, to boosters, to all that, get them to take pride in being a Kansas football player.  I think they understand that, and we've also done things that they've come together.  They play for each other.  There's a lot of special things going on with those guys forming bonds.  Our locker room downstairs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays is a fun place to be, and they're playing for each other.

Q.  I saw Coach Mangino take a picture and grab you to the side afterwards.  What was his message to you?
CLINT BOWEN:  You know, his message was just congratulations on the win, and it's probably more my message to him, that I truly appreciate everything he's always done for me for a long time, personally, professionally.  He's had a huge impact on my career.  There's so many things that I've done in the last four weeks that I learned from Coach Mangino.  The guy is a tireless worker, put his heart and soul in this program, and I think anyone that's a Kansas fan should appreciate that.

Q.  Going back to when you placed Michael in the starting job, it was clear you guys needed a spark at quarterback, but did you anticipate him grabbing that spot the way he has?
CLINT BOWEN:  I was hopeful, but you know, you kind of always look at football players, and there's certain guys that when you look in their eyes, you know that they're going to compete and fight, and I never had any doubt about that with Mike.  He always had that presence in my mind when you look at the guy.  I never saw him with his head down, never saw him be that guy that didn't come out and battle every day.  Those kind of guys you can win with.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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