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UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 27, 2015
COACH BEATY: Hello, everybody, it's near perfect out there right now. It's kind of football weather, so it will be good today. Before we get started, sharing a few injury updates with you. We lost Greg Allen last week in the pregame, actually. He injured his groin and he had surgery to repair that here over the weekend. So we're probably going to be without him for a little while, but he had a pretty severe injury there.
Montell Cozart is still going to be out. He's still got quite a bit of discomfort right now. He's going to have a hard time playing until he can get that discomfort completely out. Right now it's just not there.
Schyler Miles is another guy, you didn't see him play the other night. He's struggling a little bit with some knee stuff, and it's just a nagging deal that he's had quite a few knee injuries throughout his career, and it's just giving him a hard time. So hopefully we can get him in the game this week, but as of right now, it looks like he may not be able to go. We'll see how he goes this week.
Jordan Shelley-Smith has a concussion from the game. He left and never returned. And he's another guy we'll wait to see how the week goes. But as of right now, I would rule him out until he shows some vast improvement. Right now he's just not there.
After watching the video, there's a lot of things, obviously, that are evident there. I think the big thing we've got to do is we look at that tape is really go to school on what we control, and I think that's kind of been the message for us all year as a young team is, Listen, let's control the controllables. All right? Let's take care of the controllables, and from there, let's work on getting better at our craft and better at our execution on both sides of the ball. We've got to do a much better job of controlling those controllables. We kind of took a step back the other day in that area, and we've got to get better there.
Honestly, as I looked at the tape, effort was not an issue. I was pretty upset after the game and, like always, man, it's one of those deals, it's never as good as you think it is and never as bad as you think it is. I go back and look at the tape, and man, I tell you this, if I make a mistake, I'm man enough to own up to it. I told our guys I didn't see anybody quit, which is great.
I think maybe the thing I wanted to impress on our team was, on that sideline, we need to make sure we can carry energy until that last second goes off the clock. I think that was kind of the deal that I wanted to make sure that they understood was that we've been pretty good at that regardless of our situation, and we've got to continue to do that. But I was proud of them for playing hard through the entire game.
Now we had some lulls in the game, which most people have those throughout a game. But as far as some of the things that I was concerned about, when I went back and looked at the tape, those kids were still hustling to the ball. They were getting hats to the ball, population to the ball, even when we were breaking down in execution at times.
So the good news is we can correct all that, and that's good. We just have a long way to go with just perfecting our craft. We've got to get a lot better at each position at correcting the things that we're not doing well. It really comes down to a couple of things: Accurate execution that showed back up this week, and we've got to be able to put that to sleep and not let it come back. Accurate execution, people using proper technique at the point of attack.
Then offensively finishing blocks and finishing runs and capitalizing on opportunities. Because honestly, as we look at that tape, there are five or six opportunities early in that game that maybe it changes if we execute correctly in all areas. It's kind of one time it's the quarterback, one time it's the O-line, and we've just got to get on the same page to get that done.
There were a couple times in there where we had a chance to maybe change that game early, which you never know what happens when that happens.
Same thing defensively. We had a chance to get them off the field three or four times on that first drive. One of them was a fourth down and we had a call where if we get the guy down and the right leverage, we've got that thing snuffed out. We just didn't get the right leverage and he got the first down on the 4th and 4.
Those are just the differences in being able to get off the field and not. As we showed our team that, I think they could see, you know what? We're not near as far away as we think we are if we can fix those things.
So with that being said, you know what, when we look at the tape with our team yesterday, you know, as crazy as it sounds, I know they're encouraged because they can see how much different it could have been had they taken care of business a little differently. We, as coaches, keep looking inside too to see how can we say it differently. How can we teach it differently? How come it's not being applied 100% of the time? Because 98 ain't okay. Because the 2% that you leave out there will hurt you. Those are all things that we feel great about moving forward. We will make those corrections.
We've got a lot of young guys playing, but that is absolutely no excuse. They get the information they need and they've got to go out there and translate it to the big field. Sometimes that takes a little time, but we don't have a lot of time. We've got to get ready to play. We're playing really good opponents, and we have another great one coming in here that's going to be a good opportunity.
So we'll get back to work today on the very foundation of what we have to do to get better, which is work on our craft, improving our fundamentals.
Coach Stoops and those guys are coming in here this week, and they're riding a couple game winning streak. Man, those guys are 6-1, and unbelievably coached team. He does an unbelievable job, as you guys know. They look like a big, strong, well-coached football team just like they always do at OU. They run the ball extremely well.
Lincoln Riley is their new offensive coordinator, and he does a great job of bringing a run game in there that they can hang their hat on.
Bill Bedenbaugh is an offensive line coach. And those young offensive linemen don't play like young offensive linemen. They're really good. You would not know that is a set of five new guys. There are a bunch of new guys playing up there, and boy, he does a great job. He really does. They rushed for 400-plus yards last week, and I think Samajie rushed for 270 with three touchdowns, and then Joe Mixon, that's a pretty good combination in the back field. Those guys are good. They're talented.
They put a couple other backs in the game that are pretty good players. That's Coach Stoops and Coach Gundy, he's always going to have a few running backs there. So they've done a good job of amassing talent.
Samajie had a big effort against us last year, so we obviously have some things that we've really got to do to prepare for that guy. Listen, he's talented. He is really good. He is a good back. He's as good a back as I've seen all year. I think him and Leonard Fournette are two of the best guys I've seen in a long time. He's got great vision, great strength, great speed, great explosion. Did I say great speed? The guy can run. I mean, this guy's a good player. He is a really good player.
Joe Mixon's a good player. They are really good football players, and those guys up front give them holes to run through and it makes it even tougher to stop them. They're good, man. He does a really good job. I hear nothing but great things about that kid, which is good to hear when you hear about a kid being that good of a player.
The thing that people I don't think are talking about enough is the job that Mike Stoops has done defensively. He's got them in the top of the league in just about every statistical category including total defense, pass defense, pass defense efficiency. I mean, the list goes on and on. Turnovers, interceptions. They are an up field, attacking style defense. He did it a long time ago and was very successful. He's got himself back there doing the same thing.
It's always a great challenge, but it's always a great opportunity to go against such good football minds like those guys have over there. Then they've got a really young kicker. I think he's a freshman kid. I think he might be out of Illinois, if I'm not mistaken, but he's handling, I think, both the duties. He's a good player. He's a good player.
They do a great job recruiting, great job evaluating and those suckers play hard, man. They're one of the better teams I've seen on tape. They've done a really nice job. It will definitely be a challenge, but it's one that we're certainly looking forward to our homecoming this week. So let's take some questions.
Q. Talk about the defense and the attacking style. What's that say for the freshman out there wowing teams week to week? Is there a way to make life easier for him?
COACH BEATY: Obviously that's their goal. I know when you've got a young quarterback, I'm going to come after him and see if I can get some hits on him. We're not any different than anyone else in the country. So they're going to do that.
Oklahoma State did that. They hit him early. Two of the first three plays, he got hit against Oklahoma State. You know what? If we protect him a little bit better, we've got a couple of wide open guys in the next series that maybe it's a little bit different because he doesn't hang in there and see him.
So that's a big deal. We've got to do a better job of protecting him. Because when that guy gets protection, he's pretty accurate. He makes some pretty dad gum good throws. He's like every other quarterback out there. There comes a breaking point where that mental time clock speeds up where you're starting to get hit a little bit early in your progression.
So I think the thing that will help him is he'll get better every week at seeing the progressions and seeing the blitz beaters and being able to handle that. Recognizing one high and two high defenses, which is something we're putting a lot of emphasis on with him in his progression.
But the biggest thing is making sure we do a good job of protecting him, putting him in good passing situations and really kind of making sure that if we have to add extra to the protection to give him an opportunity to throw, those are things we'll have to consider.
Q. Trey said Michael Cummings was helping Brian speed up that clock during the game last week. What did you do to practice that or teach that? Are there ways, are there drills? Or is it just reps?
COACH BEATY: A lot of it is built into our drill work. For us, a lot of what we do with our quarterbacks is always set, reset. You seldom get to take your three-step drop and just be able to throw it on a regular rhythm. It just doesn't happen like that in college football for a lot of teams. So we are constantly working set, reset in situations that are not what you would call normal.
So he's gotten a lot better at his feet. I think that's one of the areas he struggled with when he first got here was just foot work, and that helps you go through your reads and your progression. That is something that will certainly help us. I think really, I think we do a really good job here. Our scout team does a really good job of showing us the type of looks we need to see with pressure each week. We've got to continue to do that.
Being able to get to him, it's kind of a double-edged sword. Are you going to hit him in practice or not? There are some things that he's got to be able to learn. But you know what, he also made some -- I mean, this guy made some really good plays with guys barrelling down on him the other day. He made some throws like, wow, how did he do that with that guy? And he just got hit on that same look a few minutes ago.
I really like this kid. I keep saying over and over again. I love his spirit. He was never, not one second did he have anything less than a smile on his face. It was almost like he didn't know what he didn't know, which is kind of good at times. You got to love his spirit. And he kept playing. He's a tough sucker, boy, because that ride home, he had contraptions hanging all off of him, ice and everything. But he smiled all the way home. I really like this guy.
Q. Traditionally the Big 12 is (No microphone) high scoring league. But you faced Oklahoma State last week, Oklahoma this week, those are unbelievable defenses. How close is the Big 12 to catching up?
COACH BEATY: I tell you what, it's a great observation because they're closing the gap now. And if you notice, I mean, if you go look at the trends, people are not near as spread out as they used to be. There is a fullback in there, a tight end, and there are some extra things in there because those defenses are getting to you now.
The league -- it's really cool to watch football evolve because it moves, and comes back to where it was. Those defensive guys are smart guys. I mean, I never thought anybody would be able to catch up with the power read play. I just didn't know how you could ever defend that. And boy they figured out how to stop that pretty quick. Or they find a way to squeeze it off to make you have to go back to doing something else, because it lies to you.
This team runs it. They do a really good job of it. And they do it to the single side a lot of times and that's something you don't see very often. They do a really nice job. Those are the guys that stay on the cutting edge offensively are always going to be a little ahead of the game because those defensive guys are closing the gap.
Mike's done a good job. When he first got there, I don't know that they were as good as they are now. But, boy, I tell you what, they have progressed and they have become one of the nation's top defenses, them and Oklahoma State as well. Both those teams have done a nice job.
Q. Coach, it's homecoming week. Does that have any added motivation knowing they have a lot more alumni and students in the stands this week?
COACH BEATY: It absolutely does. You talk to your team about staying focused and your job is to win the game for homecoming. That's what your job is to do. We're going to stay focused and our goal is to go win the football game for our fans, and for our exes and all the people that love KU. So our focus is making sure we take care of our job. We're the entertainment for them that week, and we have to give them what they need, which is to go win the game.
We don't do much different other than make them aware that, hey, listen, people are counting on us just like they are every week. But this is homecoming, man. It's a big deal for our fans. Listen, make it about more than you.
Q. You don't do the scheduling, but probably a lot of people who would have come in, if they didn't have to stay home and go trick or treating with their kids would have come in for homecoming. Do you think that's unfortunate that homecoming is on Halloween?
COACH BEATY: Yeah, I do. I really do. It's a holiday that you really can't control when it falls, unfortunately, but you know, it should be a really great night. Hopefully we can make it to a point where we can get the football game in and everybody can still go do their trick or treating and get that done.
The good news is the game is at 2:30, and it's not at night at 6:00 o'clock. Like you said, the travel deal is the only thing that really kind of you wish that wasn't a piece that you had to deal with. But I think there will still be a lot of folks here, because it's important to them.
Q. Has something clicked with Dan Wise? He's starting to show up on the stat sheet a lot more. It looks like he's playing a lot harder down to down. Has something clicked with him?
COACH BEATY: I talk to those guys all the time about I have to feel you when I watch that video. You've got to draw our eye to you. We've got to feel your play.
The other day that guy was getting them and really our defensive tackles actually did a pretty dad gum good job getting pushed and getting to the quarterback a few times. Now we missed him several times. That was one of the things that we really got to -- missed tackles showed back up. I think we had missed tackles to 212 yards.
Now, a lot has to do with them, but that's a lot of production after you have a chance to get a guy down. Really at the point where we had a chance to get them sacked a few times. But I was talking to Coach Bowen this morning, I was like, man, I did not realize how long Daniel Wise's arms are. That dude's got some long arms. He ran past the quarterback and stuck his arm out and he was a long ways from him. He was still in contact with the guy. I can see him growing. You can see him. You start to feel him on the tape a little bit more. I think as he grows up and matures, he's going to continue to become a really good player for us along the way.
We've still got a bunch of young guys in there. Corey King, he got passed over last week. That dude made a play that we hadn't seen made all year this year. Had he not made the play, Oklahoma State had it blocked enough for them to go for a long way. He beat his man. He got across, and he wasn't supposed to make that play, but he made it.
So I think the competition down there is getting better. It's starting to help us a little bit there. Obviously we didn't do it enough, but there are things we have to draw from as coaches to say, listen, this is what we can do when we do it on an all-the-time basis.
Q. Is that where it comes in handy that you just haven't played at a high level? You don't have a bunch of upperclassmen in there other than Corey. But someone that those young guys can kind of learn from?
COACH BEATY: I think absolutely. There is nothing like a guy that played the position in the conference you're in at the highest level and did it at a high level. You know, just listening to him in the meeting room and talking or listening to him talk technique and hear him talk about the ins and outs that unless you're a D-line coach, you don't know about. It's interesting to listen to, because he's pretty good at his craft. I think you can see those guys getting a little bit better every week.
We need to do the same thing with our D-ends, they need to come along. Ben has been consistent with us. He didn't have his best game the other day, and I know he took that personally. So I look for him to come back and try to rebound this week. But we've got to get some more production from those D-ends.
I thought Dorance Armstrong played decent for a young guy. He's getting better. He's added another five, six pounds this week. He's getting bigger, stronger, faster. Does everything we've asked him to do. He made a few tackles this week coming underneath, which for the first year you were thinking he was going to be a rush guy, and that's it. But he did a good job coming underneath and helping us in the run game.
Q. Talk a little bit about (indiscernible), where do you see his future two or three years down the line?
COACH BEATY: If he keeps improving, I think he's got a chance to be a really good player in this conference. I really do. He has shown me no reason to believe that he will do anything other than that. He handles his business.
He was up here last night. He's up here every night which is something you want to see from a young quarterback. He loves the game and he's a talented guy. He listens and he tries to apply what you tell him to.
The thing I also like about him is he's not exactly a robot. There are times when he'll get out on his own and do some things and make a play every now and then. I mean, it's hard to play that position and be a complete robot.
Now, he's got to take care of the ball security aspect because that's raised its head in every game he's played in so far. Those things can be prevented when you've got your eyes on the right place and you understand what the coverage is, and you understand what the front looks like. As he continues to grow though, the more he sees it, the better he's going to be. The more he sees it, the better he's going to be. And we're trying to give him a gazillion looks right now. And believe me, he's getting a gazillion looks. Those guys are giving him about the hardest stuff he'll get right now. I think he'll only get better as he does it more. We have to do a good job of protecting him to keep him healthy.
Q. Is there anyone he reminds you of?
COACH BEATY: He's a big quarterback, and man, I haven't been around a lot of them, to be honest with you. But there's -- I mean, he reminds me a little bit of like, I'd say maybe, Cliff back in the day because he's a tall, long guy, very accurate, very, very accurate. And moves a lot better than you think he does. He's a unique guy. He has a little bit of a different skill set than people. Cliff probably moved a little bit better than him.
Q. You mentioned having to protect him. Jordan sounds like a question mark, and you played a bunch of linemen last week. Are you being flexible on that offensive line this week?
COACH BEATY: Yeah, we have a bunch of guys that stepped in the other day. Clyde got in there, Clyde McCauley got in there and played a little bit. He'll wind up playing more this week.
Larry got banged up, man. And he tweaked his ankle there. That's a tough dude. He came back in there. I was proud of him. He got back in there, and I wasn't sure if he was going to be able to, but he got back in there, which was good to see. Larry Hughes was back in there playing.
We've got a bunch of young guys, Jacob Bragg is probably going to start for us at the left guard. Our offensive linemen of the week or offensive player of the week was our center, Keyon Haughton. Played pretty good for him coming back and getting back in there after Joe missed.
It's good to see that competition kind of taking hold there. Now we need it to bleed over to production and being able to be competitive to get in fourth quarters where we have chances to win games.
Q. When guys, particularly in that position, are going up against guys that are physically a lot better than they are, is it hard to convince them that it's still technique oriented and not get away from that and try to be better than you are?
COACH BEATY: I think the answer to that is absolutely it is because you get to a point where you just operate on your athletic ability. That happens with all young players, and it happens with some older players at times. But once you start understanding that the technique is absolutely the way you have to go and you start seeing it work for you and you don't panic because you've been through it enough to see how the technique works, it starts sinking in.
But for a young guy, I do. I think it takes a while for them. Which, as we sit here and talk and I open this conference with, as we look back at that tape and say, all right, now listen, what if you did this right here? You hate to say what if, but we've got to learn somehow. So when we look at that tape and say what if these five plays are different because of this? And we set with our inside foot like we're supposed to do and take away the inside initially.
We talk about all the little things that go into it. Guys are going, well, okay. That makes a lot of sense to them. Instead of just saying you've got to block them, we'll help them. Teach them how to do it. Teach them how to do it, break it down, and that's what we're going through right now with a lot of those young guys. That defensive end was pretty stinking good. He was a man now. Really, really good player. I hope that kid stays healthy for his well being, because he's going to be a guy playing on that next level. He's a good I practicer.
Q. I have one more about Ryan. Have you guys structured practice any differently with focus on development? Is it different when you have freshmen, the things you work on in practice?
COACH BEATY: A little bit, but not just for Ryan. But because we have a lot of young players so there's been a lot more time spent on fundamental training to make sure that we are properly fundamental before we get into the group stuff. And that goes back to the technique. It's hard to just go lineup and schematically run plays and not do the part, what we call part, which is where you pull it apart and you extract those movements and you really teach how you actually execute those techniques.
So, yes, we do. We spend a lot of time on Mondays with execution of fundamentals. We'll put extra minutes into that and lower the team time so we can do a good job training these young guys. We have a lot of young guys here, which is good. But we don't want to throw them out there and start creating bad habits.
We may wind up giving a sack or two up here along the way, because we have to be able to teach them the right technique. If they'll trust it and learn it, they'll get better at it, and we'll cut off a lot more later down the road. So there is a little give and take there.
Q. (No microphone) is there a time they'll hang with the receivers, but they'll (No microphone) is there a fix for that?
COACH BEATY: It goes back to technique. Every one of those situations, and Coach Perry and I said in his office on Sunday night, and watched every single play that we've had throughout the entire year that dealt with any type of fade or anything like that. Just making sure we're progressing, that the fundamentals are correct with those kids and where the break downs are coming so we can make sure as we teach this week, that we are closing the gap of the fundamental breakdown; so we can close that gap and get closer to where we need to be and be able to execute a little bit better.
I thought we did a pretty decent job of it the week before. I think we've got to have a better awareness of the next week is the next week, and we've got to continue to improve. Because we still have to close the gap from a technique standpoint and really, right now, we're just very young in a lot of places. Is we've got to put a lot of time on those fundamentals.
Q. This is a little off topic, but when you talk about the energy of your team, sometimes before kickoff it sounds like a dance party down on the sidelines with you guys, trying to get some energy. Is that something you've always done?
COACH BEATY: We are going to control that. We're going to control that. We're not going to be dead on that sideline, which after the game I was probably as upset as I had been at any point because at the very end I just felt it kind of deflate. I'm talking about at the very end. I'm talking about the last minute of the game. I'm just not used to that with those guys.
The great thing is they saw it, they knew it, and we've got to be able to sustain that. You've got to love this game now. Sometimes that means if you're not playing, you need to be part of the solution. So what can you do to create energy and momentum? Because we control that. Now we're not trying to be a dance party, but we are trying to create energy.
Q. In home games you've got three assistant coaches and that walk on, and it's kind of noticeable that they sway side-to-side. It looks like it's kind of coordinated by you?
COACH BEATY: Actually, that stuff is coordinated by that group. Coach Kimmer is a guy that really is big with our player development here and the things that he does with Coach Jackson and all those guys.
If you look across the way at Baylor, they do the same thing. You look across the way at Alabama, they do the same thing. There is a reason why. That energy has to be up over there. It's such a mental game that you can't lose your edge for even a minute.
Q. (No microphone) with the kick. Is that something that you can only do once or something you might do in the future?
COACH BEATY: I think it depends on what they're doing schematically and where the opportunity is. You know what? I tell you what, I was fired up about that opportunity because I knew we had it, and we did. We had it. We just didn't execute it. We've probably done that, I bet, 15 times over the last four weeks, and we've gotten it all 15. So for us to kick it out of bounds was unbelievably disappointing, but you know what? That sucker averaged 43 yards a punt the other day and did a great job for us.
Nobody was more upset than him. I almost had to get him to calm down he was so upset because he knew he was there. That's a teachable moment. Your heart's pumping. You know it's there. There are a lot things. You have to stay within yourself there, and that execution is good.
We had a great call there, it just didn't work out. I feel like I cost our team from that point moving forward because we went downhill from there. We've got to do a good job, myself and our coaching staff, when we do take those chances of not letting that affect us. We've got to be able to drop the anchor and here we go.
Q. If George can't go, do you go with the experience of Larry or --
COACH BEATY: It will be a combination of probably Larry and Clyde over there. If we have to move another guy out there, we will, but I would bet that it's going to be between those two guys right now and really whoever practices better and how it looks like Clyde's coming along as to whether Larry can go over to the right. All three of those tackles can play any of those spots. Zach cross-trained them.
Q. (No microphone)?
COACH BEATY: No, not at all. Not at all because I know Ryan. He's just one of those guys that he's so encouraging to the rest of those guys. While he's in there, he doesn't ever -- I don't know that he was even too much aware or worried about that the other day.
Jordan has played really, really well, but he also gave up a couple of those hits. So it's a deal where we've all got to compete. He's got to be one that's got to compete better as well. So unfortunately, we don't have him in here for him to go back and try to rectify the situation from last week and not playing great at some of the points. But I don't think it will be a problem for him. He's a young guy now. We like him a lot, he just doesn't have a lot of experience.
Q. How frustrating is it with this newly found punting ability? He hasn't done it much up until a couple of (No microphone)?
COACH BEATY: I'm very impressed. He doesn't have a whole lot of technique, but, man, he can hit it. I said before, he's got a powerful, powerful leg. He's got some talent that you don't see in a lot of kids. He's really doing a lot of that off just throwing that ball out there and kicking it. He's starting to work on technique to get better. But he hit some good balls the other day.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports