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UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 13, 2015
COACH BEATY: Thanks for coming again today. Appreciate you coming. Obviously, we've got another great opportunity this week against another really good football team, one of the best offensive football teams in the country, a guy that I highly respect, probably was the biggest reason that I was able to go spend some time at A&M with Coach Sumlin and those guys was Kliff. He was probably as instrumental as anyone in giving me that opportunity to go down there and work with those guys. Man, it was definitely a godsend trying to spend some time with him because he's a great offensive mind.
It will be fun being able to get on the field and compete against a good friend there. There's lots of good friends on that staff, lots of really good football coaches. It will be a fun weekend there.
Just to give you an update on some of our guys from a health standpoint. I know that's some things that you can use. Obviously, Montell is still out. Bobby is still out -- Bobby Hartzog, Montell. Damani is going to be out again this week. Deondre Ford is still out with that thumb, and then Jacky Dezir's probably going to be out this week, and we'll see how he progresses as we get into the weeks that come.
Tre' Parmalee, we hope to get Tre', Keyon, and Brandon Stewart back. Hopefully, we can get those back. We'll have to see how the week progresses because it's not a slam dunk for those guys. They're progressing pretty nicely.
That's where we're at from an injury standpoint. Gives you a little bit of an idea as we move forward. I know there's going to be lots of questions about these guys, and I want to make sure I'm answering everything directly.
Since you said hello to me, man, why don't you start off.
Q. I was wondering, at the high school level, if you've got a team that plays a bunch of freshmen or sophomores early in their careers at the varsity level, the thought is, hey, by the time they're seniors, they're going to be rocking and rolling and have experience and all that stuff. Does that same thing apply to college football?
COACH BEATY: I think it does, but it relates to freshmen in college but sophomores in high school. Particularly where I came from, if you played a lot of sophomores on the varsity and they got a lot of experience, typically, those teams were pretty good by the time those kids hit their senior years because you give them something that they can't get. You might actually have a quarterback that has played more than one year and maybe even more than two. So a lot of times that gives you some experience that you really can't gain otherwise.
Some of the better teams I've ever been around down there, they've had teams they started a bunch of sophomores. Not as many freshmen down there, but a bunch of sophomores. Collegiately, you do see it a lot more with freshmen, true freshmen, redshirt freshmen, and I think we're kind of in the middle of that right now.
Q. Does it help them physically too? Obviously, there's the experience on the mental side and all that. But does that benefit them physically too?
COACH BEATY: The thing they need for the physical part to come along is time. Time and development. Time in the weight room. Time with our strength staff. Time for, really, the good Lord to touch them a little bit and let them grow. They're not all done growing by the time they get here, which that's good too.
So you'll see those guys. A lot of them will make big jumps between their freshmen and sophomore years, true freshmen and sophomore years. Some of them, it's a year later. Their growth and their strength, their size, their length -- I mean, the good news is most of those guys are still growing in some fashion, whether it's growing taller or getting wider or getting faster. Some of their development is still ahead of them.
The good thing, though, is when they're playing young, they're getting to see the things they need to see from a schematic standpoint that you just can't give them until you get them out there on that big field.
Q. Does Josh [indiscernible] help you?
COACH BEATY: He's not. Josh has got -- I should have talked him about that a little bit. He's got a nagging hamstring injury that's giving him some problems. He'll get healthy, and then he'll get right to the edge, and he's just not there. It will start yanking on him again. He looked a little better today, this morning. I've got high hopes. I thought every week he was going to be fine, but he hasn't gotten to that point yet.
I'll be honest with you, some of those other guys have actually done a pretty good job. It's one of those deals where guys kind of step in, and they continue to get reps. We've got Booker back next week, which certainly helped. Hopefully, he can get well pretty quick here, so he can start competing to get back in there because we need some depth.
Q. What's the story with Booker? I know you guys raved about him, particularly you, all camp, and he certainly looked the part. You can see why you did last week. That's pretty incredible for a guy to be injured and then just come out and make that kind of impact. What do you like about him?
COACH BEATY: When I think of Jeremiah Booker, I think of work ethic. I think of something that almost -- I don't know any coach that doesn't love that. When I think of him, I think of a guy that is a tireless worker. When we were talking to his high school coaches and we were recruiting him down there, the thing that they always talk about is how they had several lift times every day in the summer, and he made it to every single one of them. That's really how he's been here. He's a tireless worker.
He approaches the game like a pro does. He takes care of his body in the training room and the weight room. Everybody that has really been around him has talked about him being a pro. And I think that's a testament to him. But he's a talented guy now. He's a big guy, big in stature. I was looking at him yesterday, and he's obviously -- he's a big dude already, but he's got some growing left to do.
I looked at him the other day, and I remember looking at Allen Lazard the other day from Iowa State, who's a great looking guy. We recruited him at A&M. Just in a short year, he's turned into a man. I'm hoping that Booker will turn out like that because he's got a similar build to him. Production-wise, that's yet to be seen. But in terms of the build, he does remind me a little bit of Allen.
Q. And you said [indiscernible]. What separates two kids like that? They both have good frames and look like you could see them filling out. What separates the two from one guy kind of exploding on here like Booker did and Chase still coming along?
COACH BEATY: Well, Chase is another great work ethic guy. He's a guy that got here early, graduated early. He'll be do anything you ask him to do. I think the thing for Chase is he played at a school where he was a little bit more -- using a little bit more of a multiple fashion whereas Book played at a school where he was a wide receiver, and he developed. I know Book's coach. Those guys know what they're talking about when it comes to developing wideouts.
Chase's coach is phenomenal because he used him so many different ways, but when it comes to developing as a wideout, much like Mike -- Mike, his first year, he was a little bit out of sorts until he kind of learned the craft, and he just continued to work to get better. Chase has done the same thing.
Some of these things -- we have some of these competitions throughout the week where we have these things called hawk bowls. Those are great opportunities for those young guys to really stand out, and Chase has been a guy that we're able to utilize his length and throw the ball up to him. He's done a good job of developing.
Q. When the ball was thrown to Booker last week, it seemed like he -- it's like a physical, angry, attacking the football when it gets near him. He smashes it out of the air and looks real physical and intense when he's doing that. Is that just something you have, or is that something that you guys and Klint teach the receiver position?
COACH BEATY: You can teach it. We say all the time the only way to get better at catching the ball in any different area is to do it a lot. It's muscle memory. We live on those jugs. If you've been out there, we have to buy jugs as often as any other team because we live on those jugs, and we try to catch a million balls.
But Book, he's a guy that has that. He does. He has some aggression in him when it comes to attacking the football. He has great hand-eye coordination. He controls his body pretty well. There was one ball the other day that he misplayed. I would have loved to have seen him come down with that, but he also made a couple of really nice catches on some back shoulders there.
Those freshmen -- Emmanuel Moore had an opportunity on a back shoulder on a little roundup play down the sideline that you'd have loved to have seen him make, but he'll get better with that experience. That was his first touch in a Division I game. It's good to see them get that out of the way so they can move to the next landmark in their career.
Q. When you move upstairs and look at your defense, it just looks tiny. Do you ever brainstorm, maybe if we move a defensive end to a linebacker or move a linebacker to safety, just trading stuff like that just to be bigger?
COACH BEATY: It's really not crazy. It's one of those deals where you are, you're always looking for something to make you better. The hard part about it is you've got to face the reality too. Bigger is not necessarily better. Sometimes a guy is two or three inches taller, but his skill set is not as developed, and the other kid has a better working knowledge which allows him to be a little bit more efficient or a lot more efficient out there.
I'll be honest with you, there's times when I look out there and I'm like, man, I'd like Mike Glatczak to be another two inches taller and about another ten pounds heavier and a little bit quicker to get down there in that B-gap on that boundary safety spot, but we just don't have that yet. We don't have a guy that's been able to beat him out to this point. We've got some young guys that are getting there, but to this point, he continues to be the best we have in practice.
He's being as effective as he can be at this point. He's got to get better. We need him to continue to get better as well. Yeah, obviously, we'd like to be taller, longer, faster, bigger, and stronger, and we're trying to address those things during the season.
We're not waiting until the off-season. We're doing those things right now in the weight room and our development. We're trying to develop right now. With even the seniors, we're trying to develop right now to try to make those guys better, make those pieces better.
Q. Talk about Jacky being out, defensive tackle-wise, depth-wise, how many guys are you down to there?
COACH BEATY: That hurts us pretty good. We're down to -- you're probably looking at four deep, but three that have played significantly at that point. The rest of them are not -- it's the middle of the season. Not everybody's completely healthy. So it just is what it is.
Jacky's got an MCL tear that's going to take a couple weeks. If he could play, he would, man. He wants to play. He's a tough dude. He just can't do it right now with that tear.
So, yeah, our depth is down just a little bit there. It gives an opportunity for somebody young to step in there and try to make some plays.
Q. You put an emphasis on getting a lot of guys. Every touch talks about earning a chance to play. But when you are able to show that Michael Glatczak is starting, Chevy Graham is playing a lot, do you think that gets their attention a little bit more?
COACH BEATY: It's got to reinforce it. It really does have to reinforce it. When you're out there on the recruiting trail and you're trying to tell your story about the future and you're giving opportunity to people that may be just a hair short or just a step slow right now that you hope will be able to develop, I mean, you've got to hope that that resonates with them. You do.
When you see Semke out there playing a bunch of snaps for us, and he was a walk-on. There's a lot of guys out there that weren't brought here as scholarship players. They may have a scholarship now because they've been here two years and they don't count as an initial. But there's a lot of guys out there that are getting significant minutes that were brought here as walk-ons.
Like we said before, we talked about it being a great opportunity for some guys. Some people are making the most of it, and then some are not making as much as they could. We need them to step up and help us even more.
Q. After watching the tape on Ryan, what did you like, and what can he do better?
COACH BEATY: I'll tell you, once again, I go back to I like his demeanor. I like how he handled the moment. I like how he made a mistake, and he didn't let it rattle him. He came right back and was able to continue to look forward and didn't let one bad play turn into two or three down the road, which was good.
I thought, after the initial drive of the game, where we scored -- you know, we scored on that first drive, but early, I thought after he settled down, he started really seeing the field well and understanding where to start and go with the ball. Once he did that, he kind of caught a little bit of a rhythm there, which was good.
I thought, when he got into the open field and scrambled, the guy showed some poise and found open receivers down the field, which is something you knew he could do, but you just don't know until you get him out there in significant minutes to see it.
He did some good things as a first game starter. I think he was the first true freshman starter here to throw a touchdown since Todd Reesing. That's a big deal. That's something we talk to him about and high five him and say that's a big deal. That's hard to do in college football.
Hopefully, he can continue to improve. He'll stay humble. He'll keep working like he is right now. He'll continue to work on being a leader. He's been really vocal with his guys over there, and hopefully, he can keep chipping away at trying to improve each week.
Q. Do you try to prevent yourself from looking too far down the road? Especially on that first drive, you get the third and 17 that Booker catches, and then the next pass was just freshman to freshman. Do you have to rein that in and prevent yourself from getting too excited about the future? Or is that something you allow yourself to do too?
COACH BEATY: I'm not sure the word excited about the future as much as it is -- I say this a lot. We have to deal in reality. The reality is that we have a lot of young guys playing. We also have a lot of seniors here that deserve better than what we're giving them right now. So in order for us to give them the best of a senior year, we need to make sure that we're developing these young guys as fast and as solid as we can, but all the while understanding that those guys have years left, and the quicker we can get them developed, the better it's going to be for us down the road.
You know what, hey, listen, it is what it is. You are always developing. And I know that might be a little bit of an easy way to answer that question, but, yeah, I'm excited about the future because I know we got the right guys here right now, and I can't wait to add a few more good men with it because that's going to do nothing but help us.
Q. You got a new punter on your depth chart. What can you tell us about Michael?
COACH BEATY: He just got here with us. I haven't seen a lot of him. Just saw him yesterday kicking a bit. He's got a pretty live leg, but he hasn't been in on any of that stuff yet. So it would be hard for me to comment yet. He kicks the ball pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. I've only seen him one day.
Q. [No microphone]?
COACH BEATY: Yeah. He's a guy that our roster was full for a while here, and then we've had a little bit of attrition, obviously, with injury and things like that, that allow us to add a guy that we need here if we need to. So he's joined us, and we've been in -- he's been in the works for a couple weeks now, just making sure we get everything from a compliance standpoint straight. He was out there for the first time yesterday.
Q. You've got OR down here. Is there an opportunity there for him?
COACH BEATY: Not this week. There will always be a competition. He hasn't done it behind anybody out there yet. Now, I say that. We've got some emergency deals if something were to happen, but he's not the OR this week. Probably could have put that down there better for you.
Q. Is that an area that [indiscernible]? Seems like those two guys, not quite clicking consistently anyway?
COACH BEATY: That, for me, for a guy that prides himself on special teams, I thought we got out of the gate pretty good in that area for the first couple, three games. And if I said there was an area of disappointment for me, personally for me, it's that area. We have not flipped the field from that punt game perspective, and we've got to continue to get better.
We put a lot of time into it. For us to put the amount of time into it and the production that we're getting, you know, I think that says that we as coaches have got to look inside. We've got to look at ourselves in the mirror and say, hey, man, are we doing something wrong? Are we doing something that we've got to get better at? It's not always just those players' fault.
If it's consistently happening, we've got to put our pride aside and say, hey, man, what are we doing to make sure we're putting them in the positions that we need to put them in? Believe me, we're turning over every rock, making sure we put those guys in the best position. They can only do what they can do. We got to do the best that we can do to try to make them better than we even are.
We've got to get better at that as myself, my staff, Coach Hyman, all the guys on our staff, and the players as well. We've got to do a better job of keeping the ball in play and minimizing those short punts that create shanks.
That's been -- those are big time momentum swings in games when you see that. We've got to minimize those. We always talk about controlling the controllables, and I've always felt like that was a controllable, and we haven't controlled that one. That one right there is sticking in my side right now.
Q. With Chevy in a little bit, what have you seen from him emerging the last few weeks?
COACH BEATY: He's a guy that's been pressed into playing time. He's gotten his opportunities, and he's done a couple of good things out there. Man, he's got a lot to get better at. He doesn't have a lot of playing experience. He's played on some special teams. He played out there at nickel a bunch the other day. He did some really nice things, but he also made some mistakes that young guys make, guys that haven't had a lot of experience. Some of those mistakes are costly at times.
He's like the rest of those guys. They've got to learn to make sure that they take care of everything presnap, make sure they're in the right spots, that the spacing's good, they're disguising, that he understands who's taking quarterback and who's not -- just things like that, that until you play and you digest all the things that happen before a snap, I think he'll be better this week because he's had a little bit of experience.
Q. Could you talk more about your relationship with Kliff. You mentioned it at the beginning. What kind of things did you learn from him, and how did that all go down? Why do you think he wanted you and helped you get down there?
COACH BEATY: Kliff took the job as the offensive coordinator at Houston when I took the job leaving here to go to Rice as the offensive coordinator. We played him at Rice, and we did not have a great team, but we were coming on offensively. We were doing okay.
We played those guys there at Rice, and I think we won that game on a last second play. We threw a little corner route out of a three-by-one set. I'll never forget that.
After the game, I got another text from him. We had routinely texted back and forth, but the text was a little different. It was like, hey, man, you did a great job. Man, congratulations. And that's hard for a guy that him and Summy were favored to win that game, and we were able to come back with that victory. He's that type of a humble guy.
I'm going to tell you this, there's so many things -- he's such a good looking dude. That's kind of something people talk about all the time. But, man, if you knew this guy -- I don't know if I know five humans better than Kliff Kingsbury. I really don't. He's a humble, hard working, Blue collar, up at 4:30 every morning working out, grinding. We'll be up there at Sunday morning. He's there at 6:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Most guys are coming in a little bit later than that or a lot later than that.
He's a hard working, quiet, needs no applause guy. He's a guy that, as much as he's been in the media, he doesn't require that. He's a very humble guy. If I learned anything, I thought I worked hard. This dude works. He's quiet. If you're a good dude, man, he loves you. He's one of those guys.
Really, I think I got the call from him because of that game, to be honest with you. I think he was impressed with maybe some of the things we did in the passing game that day.
Q. Defensive tackle has long been a tough spot for Kansas, ever since the going all the way back to McClinton, particularly depth-wise. Is this the hardest place to find that?
COACH BEATY: It is. I don't know if it's unique to Kansas. There's not a lot of those humans out there. There are just not a lot of them. They're kind of a rare breed. So trying to find those guys, and when you find really good ones, boy, it's really hard. Finding the really good ones, that pile is even smaller.
Those guys, you think about it, they're big, and you need them to be 300 pounds. Oh, by the way, you need them to be quick to be able to get pass rush on some other 300-plus pounders. Those skill sets are hard to find.
I would venture to say that might be the most missed place when you miss -- I think, at least in my career, I've seen the most misses there as I have any other position because they're just hard to find. There's not a lot of them out there. Sometimes they come in different packages.
There's a kid named Nikita Whitlock that was at Wylie that was a first team All-American, played for Wake Forest, plays for the New York Giants now and is killing it. He's about 5'9-1/2", maybe 5'9" and about 260 pounds. He's a monster. He was a 5A player of the year.
We recruited him at KU, went to Wake Forest. You wouldn't think that's who it was. James McClinton, same thing, that guy wasn't a big dude, not a big dude, but he was the Big 12 defensive lineman of the year. Sometimes they come in different packages, and you never know which one's the guy. You've got to keep recruiting and try to evaluate them right.
Q. Do you look at heavyweight wrestlers or power forwards?
COACH BEATY: Power forwards are still on the basketball court. That's where our D-ends are. All of our guys are out there, unfortunately. I always forget that there's another sport or two out there that are taking some of these good looking bodies. Same thing with basketball.
But as far as trying to find those big dudes, most of them, if they're that size, they're playing football. I think it's just how good are they? They may be big, but do they have the skill set necessary? We've got a bunch of big guys. We ain't getting off blocks very good. And I know this, I know Coach Thibodeaux can coach. He's pretty good at what he does. His guys at Tulsa were really good. We've just got to keep developing the ones we've got.
Q. Talk about Keyon. He was able to contribute early on, but now his body is not allowing him to have that same type of contribution. What kind of head space is he in?
COACH BEATY: That's a good question. That's one of those deals where everybody is banged up at this time of year. He's exactly like those guys. It's one of those deals where I'm sure it works on you a bit. This is his first year of true Division I football.
For him and a lot of other guys, you've got to learn that, hey, very few people are playing at 100 percent. We've got to learn to play at less than 100 percent and play at a high level. We need him to continue to do that.
He tried to go -- he is a tough guy. I do not doubt anything in that. But we need him to get himself back mentally where he needs to be to get back out on the field and help us. I think this week will be good for him to try to get him back to that position.
Q. Is there any way that playing Tech after playing Baylor will benefit your team, especially defensively?
COACH BEATY: Definitely. I think formationally and what they do, it will definitely help us. They're very different in terms of how they attack people. Don't be fooled by those formations. Those plays are very, very different. In terms of the spacing and understanding disguises and things like that, I think it will be -- just watching practice or walk-through this morning, I could already see a lot more retention that will be helpful this week, I think, as we move forward.
They're good now. As you guys know, they got the leading passing offense in the country. They've got some of the most explosive guys that play Division I football, Jakeem Grant. I recruited this dude out of Mesquite Horn. This guy can really run. He scored touchdowns in four different ways this year.
The quarterback, Mahomes, I think I said this the other day, his dad is an incredible athlete. Coach Sumlin knew him when we were back at A&M. He can extend plays like you wouldn't believe. Where Seth Russell sat in there and just threw it, this guy can get out of the pocket a lot.
Man, I'm sure you guys saw some of the plays. He had a couple of scramble throws he threw against Baylor that were like, oh, my goodness, how did he do that? He reminds me a little bit of Johnny in regard to the escapability that he has for sure.
Defensively, David Gibbs, those guys do a great job. I mean, I highly respect David Gibbs. He does a great job. And he's a former Kansas guy. He used to coach here a long time ago.
His defense is known for making people turn the football over. In Houston two years ago, he led the country. A year ago, I know they were in the top five. They value turnovers. It's going to be a great challenge against those guys this week. J.J. Gaines at DB, he leads the conference in interceptions. They've got some good players.
Q. Can you tell us how Taylor is feeling after taking some snaps for the first time in a long time.
COACH BEATY: He's feeling really good. I saw a stat the other day, Kenny and I were talking, he played his first game in 765 days. That's pretty interesting that it took that long for him to get back on the field. He's healthy. He feels good. He had a career high 19 carries in that game, which was good. Once he got his sea legs under him a little bit, so to speak, he started rolling pretty good.
I can see some confidence in his eyes right now, and I definitely can see him having an impact on our offense. It's good to have him back out there.
Q. When you have guys on your team, whether it's seniors, whether it's freshmen, who reach those first mile stones, what type of spark do you see in them in the practices that come after that they want more of that feeling?
COACH BEATY: Most of them, you do see that. Ryan Willis was -- he's one that you absolutely see it. I said it before. He loves football. He loves being out there. So it's fun seeing him do that.
It was fun seeing Jeremiah Booker come off after that first catch, and he's running off, and his eyes are big -- like just really big guys. I was like, man, you got your first Division I catch, man. That's pretty cool, man. And he was like yeah. He just walked away. He was like, I'm ready to go now.
Emmanuel Moore, nobody really talks about him, but he made a nice catch over there on an out route. Same thing, he came to the sideline. I was like, hey, bro, you just made your first Division I catch, and he was like, yeah, I did. Hey, that's right. You get a lot of young guys out there that you get funny responses sometimes.
That's fun, man. I remember my first catch in collegiate football. I remember that. That's a big deal. That's a real big deal.
Q. [No microphone]?
COACH BEATY: I held on to it.
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