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November 23, 2015

Kliff Kingsbury

Lubbock, Texas

Q. Coach, the week off kind of help just the grind of the entire football season and get you back to where you want to be physically?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, I really wanted a complete week off. We had preparation Saturday, it was Monday on Sunday. Yesterday was a Tuesday. But it was definitely good, I think, for our players to have a couple days off there to get away, work on their studies with finals coming up, and unwind a little bit.

Q. Looking at Texas offense, defense, are there things that concern you?
COACH KINGSBURY: They're one of those teams that's talented enough to beat anybody in the country on a given day. You've seen that with some of the games they've had, and I think they struggle with the consistency similar to what we have with some of their younger players, but all very talented. You know you're going to get their best shot Senior Day. A big game for them trying to stay bowl eligible. So we know it will be a tough task.

Q. How do you keep your guys from having the drop off of knowing that they're bowl eligible and playing a team that's trying to get bowl eligible?
COACH KINGSBURY: I think it sets a unique opportunity to play on Thanksgiving night in front of the entire country at a place you haven't won in a long time. If you can't get up for that after having an extended period off, you're probably in the wrong sport.

Q. Does the history play a factor with the team, with the players at all, the fact that it's been so long?
COACH KINGSBURY: We talk a lot around here about what type of legacy you're going to leave, and that's an opportunity to do something that hasn't been done in a long time. A lot of classes have had a shot to get it done and haven't done it.

So they know that's a big opportunity to leave their mark on this program, and I think they're approaching it that way.

Q. What did the Texas game mean to you as a player?
COACH KINGSBURY: Anytime you play in-state teams, I think you're a little more amped up. There's guys you played against in high school. You met their coaches through the recruiting process. So I think those in-state games are great. I know as a player, I was always wired up for those.

Q. As a coach is it the same feeling?
COACH KINGSBURY: As a coach, I think you step back, and it's just a conference game that you're trying to win. Really you've got to each week approach it the same way and try to do the best you can to get your players and team ready to go.

Q. It sounds like this week they're not so sure whether Foreman is going to be able to play with his finger surgery. Johnathan Gray seems to be questionable. A guy like Chris Warren, somebody you all recruited could get some extended playing time. Do you see their running game falling off at all with him? And what does Chris Warren bring to the table?
COACH KINGSBURY: I don't. I think you know they're going to have good backs down the line. Those two you mentioned are very good players, but Chris physically is as good looking as any you'll see. He's young but fast. He's a track guy, but can run physical if he needs to. Really impressed with him as a young man, and I'm sure he'll step in and have a great game if he's asked to do so.

Q. Are you having to keep the guys in check this week with the big game on Thursday night at Austin or are you letting their emotions go a little bit and enjoying the moment?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, we want to be excited to play. We talked about setting this week up to be the freshest we've been all year and most excited to play when we get out there Thursday night. They've done a good job of it. Had spirited practices thus far and excited to see how we play.

Q. The way your defense played against Kansas State, do you almost wish you didn't have that half bye week, and what did you see from them?
COACH KINGSBURY: I thought they did a good job. We committed to taking away the run, and you saw that. They hit some pass plays that they probably haven't been hitting previously. But I thought they did a good job of taking advantage of some things that we were willing to give up to try to take away the run. I'm sure it will be similar this week.

We're going to have to sell out in some areas to try to stop their running attack with their quarterback and with their running backs. But I thought we tackled better, and I thought we played more physical. We didn't back down like we did against West Virginia.

Q. What is Taylor Symmank's status and how has he looked in the week off?
COACH KINGSBURY: He'll punt today and we'll see where he's at. But Michael Barden has done an incredible job. I think averaged over 50 yards a punt last week, and so I'm not sure who will punt on Saturday yet, but I believe Taylor will be available.

Q. Weather is forecast to be a little messy. Is that okay with you?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, it's okay with us. That's part of it. We'll get out there and play in it. Sometimes that makes it fun for the players to get a little rain.

Q. Does it affect how they catch the ball or do the gloves make up for everything?
COACH KINGSBURY: We get quite a few days where we practice in that type of weather and rain. We'll wet the ball down in certain instances to work at it. So we've had reps at it.

Q. (No microphone)?
COACH KINGSBURY: Very athletic, great running the football. Having recruited him in high school, he has a strong arm. They've obviously run him more than thrown him, if you will. But he's a talented young man. Still very young, still learning the position, but when he takes off, it scares you as a coach.

Q. Does the youth in their back seven present some things maybe for you all, especially for Pat, if he can get moving around a little bit?
COACH KINGSBURY: We'll see. They're young, but they're very good. You can tell they're long and athletic. It's a good group who all have a bright future ahead of them. You can see that. We've had some struggles outside winning versus the type of coverage we're going to be seeing, so we'll have to step up out there.

Q. What is Dakota's status this week?
COACH KINGSBURY: Day-to-day. Once again, he had limited reps yesterday. We're hoping he'll be ready by Thursday. But from what we saw yesterday, it wasn't great.

Q. What have you seen with the fact where they kind of run sweeps near the goal line? What do you see as a key for them with being successful?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think they have a lot of confidence in that group. They bring him in. If he just falls forward, it's a three-yard gain. He's a massive athletic individual who we played last year, and he had a great game against us last year. We know what he's all about. They do a great job. Put hats on hats, put a number in the run game and let him be the athlete he is.

Q. A linebacker like Malik Jefferson seems to cause a disturbance every time he can. How do you neutralize somebody like that?
COACH KINGSBURY: I don't think you can. He's going to make his plays. You just try to make sure you know where he's at on every play and you target him offensively. But he's such a good player. He's going to find a way to make plays. You just try to limit those.

Q. Mahomes and him had a pretty epic playoff match against each other. Has Mahomes talked about him at all, scouting him at all?
COACH KINGSBURY: Not really. I think Mahomes is more concerned about what happened last year and actually getting to play a full game hopefully.

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