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UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
September 20, 2016
DAVID BEATY: Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for coming. Appreciate you. Listen, y'all got to see the locker room, huh? Not bad, huh? It's pretty slick, pretty slick. We're awfully proud of it. Along those same lines, I just want to say a huge thank you to our athletic director, Dr. Zenger. Man, that guy has been phenomenal, not just for me but for all of us in our athletic department. I mean, basketball, women's softball, track, women's and men's basketball, tennis, baseball, you name it. Every department that we have here, the guy -- I mean, he works -- he gets it. He works tirelessly to get us what we need.
I went to him and said, look, this is what we need to do and we've got to do it now. We've got to do it yesterday, and he said, let's go. That's not normal. It doesn't happen like that around the country. He gets it, and it's not just him, it's his staff. It's Sean Lester who does more things than any human I've ever met in my life here, and he just gets it done.
Brad Nachtigal, another guy that leads up a project that we have, I don't know, 50 days to do, and for that place to be turned into what it got turned into in about 50 days or whatever it was is amazing.
It just doesn't happen. We're so fortunate to have the guys that we have here, the ladies and gentlemen that do the job that we have here, because they get it, man. Our AD is phenomenal, and he jumped right on it. Everything I've asked him, he's done it. I mean, whatever you need, Coach, we'll get it taken care of. This is a first-class place, and my hat goes off to him because he's the one who made that happen. That dude is really good, man. He's really good. Dr. Z, we thank you, man. Sean, all you guys, Brad, everybody that worked on that, because that's going to help us moving forward. That's how we're going to continue to work on improving around here, because it's about developing and recruiting, and obviously we are still developing. I know we're playing a season, but we're still developing, and we're going to be developing in year 10 year. That's right, I said 10, because like I told you, you're not getting me out of here. It's not happening.
We're excited about moving forward. Now, we're in the middle of a bye week, coming off a game against Memphis last week, so right now we're putting a lot of work into self-scout, a lot of analysis of what we've been calling for in all three areas and trying to make sure that everything that we're doing is efficient. Really as we get into it, you start looking at it, there's a lot of surprising things that you find that you're actually doing a little bit better than you thought you were, and the story gets told pretty quickly.
We'll be looking at personnel review this week and continuing to really build competition within our team. That's going to happen throughout the season. I said that from the very beginning, and really looking at each individual player and how he's improved, if he hasn't, what we can do to help him become better, so we'll get very detailed on that. We're already in the middle of that.
And then we'll look obviously very deep at how we're practicing, and you're starting to get into week 4. There's exams coming up, there's no more firsts. We've played a home game. We've played a road game. Now it starts just getting kind of hard for guys throughout the country.
We understand the psychology of our guys, so what we'll do is we'll work really hard on them understanding what's coming this way and then how they handle the tests and all the things that are coming up on them.
It's a good week for us to go back and look at that, really practice habits, how we're stressing and creating good habits, because we obviously have had a lot of good things go our way, but we've obviously had some things that have not went our way, and those are things that self-inflicted they've been caused by us and we have to do a better job of creating habits to keep it from showing up.
And then really another thing this week, another big focus that we came to as a team, as a staff, is to really do a good job of focusing on playing as a team. We have a great team that is really together, in that locker room, but we've got to start playing cohesively. We've got to start playing complementary football. When the defense is playing well we have to be doing the same thing offensively and same thing special teams wise. It's been a little bit of a unique season in that you get something corrected from we can would you know and pen week two and then something else shows up in week three check checks, and that's the nature of our game. It is the nature of our game, which is what makes it so interesting and fun to do this job.
But for us, our challenge is to try to give those guys the best chance to win.
We're going to have some focuses this week, obviously, that we will address, ball security, a different type of ball security that popped up this week. Quarterback wise we were responsible for a number of those turnovers this week, and that falls squarely on me, and I've got to do a better job of coaching them after the ball goes past the line of scrimmage and really when you're in distress situations because those turnovers can and will be prevented.
The thing that we also learned as we look at the tape is it's never as simple as you think it is. Ball security is an everybody deal. It's the offensive line doing a great job protecting. It's the wide receivers running their routes at precise, full speed because if not, you're dying on the vine back there, and those guys are going to be getting hit, and they've got to let it go early, and the timing is off, and next thing you know, it's a bad deal for all of us.
It's the running backs who have done a terrific job of protecting, which they take a lot of pride in. Coach Hull has gone a great job of that, but everybody plays a role in ball security, and we went and looked at the tape, and obviously we found out that it wasn't just one guy, and it never is. It never is. But each one of us will look inside and try to get better there, including me.
Our focus will be not putting that ball in jeopardy in any area, whether it's throwing the ball, whether it's in the pocket, whether it's from a running back position, whether it's from a punt receiving position, a kickoff return position, whether it's receiving the ball in an interception situation and putting the ball away. All those things are coached, and we've just got to coach them harder, because when we do, the results will be a lot different. They'll fall in suit.
Winning the battle of field position, that's something that we've went back and looked at as a staff. We have got to do a better job of winning that battle of field position. Starting drives inside your 5 or inside your 10, that makes it tough sledding, and conversely, if we're not making our opponents start their drives inside their 20, that makes it tough sledding. I want to say of 14 drives or 15 drives last week, Memphis started inside their 25 twice, and we started inside of our 12 six times.
But you know what, hey, there was a lot of good things about that. Sometimes some of those we were able to get the thing out. We were able to get it out and finally punt the ball and flip the field. So there's some things there, but we've got to go find a way to score from those positions, it's not okay just to get out there and punt.
There was some improvement last week in some areas, which was good. Total focus on playing the game, just total focus, nothing off schedule. The turnovers and things like that that showed up, that's the story. You don't get to remove those things. However, when we watched the tape and we watched the last two weeks with our kids and we say, imagine if we just eliminated the nine turnovers that occurred in the last two games, how much different would it be.
You don't get to remove them, but you get to go to school on it, and we're going to school on that, and how do we prevent that, and that's the great thing about our team. I told you the best thing about it is our guys. They're willing, they're listening, they're paying attention, and they will work to get it better.
I get the question a lot, what did you say to them, how did you respond, how did they respond, and they're great kids. I told you that's the best thing about our guys. But one of the things that we do is we tell them the truth. We tell them the truth about what went wrong, and we tell them the truth about where we are and what we've done well, too, so we tell them both sides.
One of the things coming off this week is really for some reason this week probably felt a lot more pressure on those guys, and the way the game was played, I'm sure it was a lot more pressure than maybe even some of us think, but the truth of the matter is that just because you work hard doesn't mean that you're going to get wins. Just because you pay the minimum price, which is working hard, doesn't mean that you're going to get the result that you want. And the hardest thing for young guys to do is to understand that when you're working hard, you're not always going to get the results you want when you want it. There's still some details that you got to take care of, and the details is where the answers are.
We also need to talk to our team about the things they're doing well and how have we improved, and so we did an analysis in our first three games from this year and last year, just a few things that stick out to us.
Defensively, 3rd down conversion percent on defense, we were 119th in the country and eighth in the conference last year at this time. Currently we're 42nd in the country and 5th in the conference.
4th down conversion defense, we were 124th in the country of 125. We were ninth in the conference. We're 19th in the conference and No. 1 in the conference.
Passing yards allowed, we were 112th in the country of 125, we were ninth in the conference. We're ninth in the country and second in the conference right now.
Red zone defense, we were just not very good last year at all, a big focus for us in the off-season. We were 74th in the country and ninth in the conference at this time. We're 35th in the country and second in the conference right now.
Team passing defense, we were not good, 123rd out of 125 last year at that time. We were 10th in the conference. Today we're 18th and second in the conference.
Total defense, we were 120th and ninth in the conference. Today we sit at 62nd and third in the conference. That's some tangible numbers that when our guys look at that, they went, wow, okay, I see what you're talking about.
Now, let's take care of the things that are keeping us from winning games, and man, those things can be even better.
Let's talk about special teams a little bit. Same thing with them. We weren't ranked last year at this time on blocked kicks. Currently we are 11th in the country and second in the conference.
Kick return defense, which we were not good at, 87th in the country and seventh in the conference at this time last year, now we're 17th and first. Credit to Joe DeForest and his staff.
Kick returns, we were at first in the country and fifth, now we're 17th and second.
So you're talking about two of those areas just very, very good, good looks at how we've improved.
Net punting we were 106th at this time last year, now we're 89th and ninth. We were 106th and eighth, but we're actually a lot better because of where we're punting the ball, so that's been really good.
Completion percentage wise offensively, last year at this time we were 89th in the country and eighth in the conference. Right now we sit at 14th in the country and second in the conference.
We had given up a ton of sacks last year. We were 70th and fifth at this time, and right now we're 13th in the country and third in the conference.
Passing offense, and it goes on and on, 56th and eighth, passing offense right now we're sitting at 36th and seventh.
Team passing, last year we were 111th we were 10th in the conference. Now we're sitting at 48th and sixth.
However, with the good comes the bad. There's some things that we've got to address.
Offensively, 1st down wise for this offense to work the way you want it to, you've got to string 1st downs, and right now we're 100th in the country and eighth in the conference. So that's where we've got to really get better at. We've got to really be better there, but you've got to break it down even further, and we have.
Rushing offense, last year we were 64th at this time in the country and sixth in the conference. We're 114th and eighth. So there's some real things we've got to look at.
Total offense, we were 59th in the country and seventh, now we're 92 and ninth.
So we look at the reality of where we are, and that's what those guys see, and I think that's how they go back to practice Monday with such a good focus, and that's what I was proud of for those guys.
You know, one of the things I'm proud of with our defense right now is we've had 11 drives, 11 turnovers, and we've allowed 22 points off those 11 turnovers, which is ridiculous. That's really good. We don't need to be putting those guys in that position, and that's probably what's leading to a lot of our field position woes. Defensively we produced 30 TFLs or something like that. Last year I think we had 60 all season.
There's some positive things there, but the details are in the things we're not doing well, but they need to hear about the ways we're improving as a team because we are making improvements. We just haven't done enough yet, so the details is going to be huge for us as we go through this week.
I know that's a lot, but I was hoping maybe that would answer a bunch of your questions as we move forward.
Q. What are your thoughts on how Mahomes is playing?
DAVID BEATY: He's really good. He's very talented. He's big. He's hard to tackle. He's very well-coached. He's got a ridiculous arm. He can throw it from anywhere, and he breaks rules because he'll throw it to the wrong guy and he'll still put it in there. He'll throw it to a guy that you're not supposed to be going to, and that guy still is able to get the ball because he can put hole about that big. Really talented guy.
Q. What is the value in having this extra time in getting healthy, and then getting ready for Big 12 play?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, health is a big deal for us. We had a couple of the guys go down the other day. Joe Dineen is going to be out for a few weeks. He injured that hamstring, but we got good news, it wasn't as bad as we thought it could have been, so that's good. He'll be back here in a few weeks. I don't know exactly when. We'll see how his body responds to the treatment. And then Wirtel, our starting deep snapper, tore his ACL middle of the game, so we lost him, as well.
Hopefully we'll get a couple of those linemen back. I can't say anything about those linemen being out last week, and the reason I didn't is because when your center is out, that's an advantage for the defense now, particularly when you play an odd front and you know you're going to put a guy over that guy, and when they know that going into the game they have an advantage, so I didn't say anything.
I think it certainly helped us a little bit, but we've got to be better in that area for sure. But this time will give us time to heal up a little bit. There's a lot of guys playing through some injury right now anyway, so hopefully that will help shore that up, and really we've got a lot that we can work on, but as we look at it, it's not as much as we think. As lot of it is self-inflicted, and I love the way one of our coaches put it, and we say this humbly, you know, we've lost two games but we have yet to be beaten by those guys. We've kind of beaten ourselves a little bit, and think both -- give those teams credit. They did what they had to do, but we gave them a lot of help in those games, and once we get that fixed, it'll be interesting to see because I still think we've got a pretty good little football team.
Q. You talked about the statistics, and when you took the job, I think everybody understood the scope of the challenge that you had. Beyond those statistics are there things that you see that are going into that, specific things and things you still need to improve on?
DAVID BEATY: The culture, number one, was probably the biggest thing. I think for us it's the trust amongst our players and developing that trust with them and us, and that was the number one thing, developing a culture. And then the next thing was not ever quitting. That was a big, big deal for us here, and for all of us in this world, I think all of us have a point where it's just not worth it, and you give up. And you've got to develop that resolve in you, and we have to develop in our players where those words never enter their mind, so that never giving up -- we track a lot of effort stuff, obviously, and the crazy thing for us, and it's great for us to show our kids this, is the effort was way better in the second half than it was even in the first half. So that really goes back to fast start, and it's not as simple pull ball down fast start in practice stuff goes into it us as coaches really have to do golf balls of monitoring that. I don't know if that answers your question, but it kind of goes into some of the other things we had to do other than statistics because trust is big.
Q. I don't know if you think about it this way, but as you go into your second conference season, are you where you thought you would be? Are there things outside of football -- you talked about the locker room. Are there things that maybe could help?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, you've got to innovate or you're going to evaporate in college football. You're never going to be there. We are always going to be developing. You're going to hear me say that from now until we win a Conference Championship, which we will do. I'm not sure when, but we will get to it, and we will always be developing.
We will always need to continue to work on our facility and see what it is that's going to be ruling us out, because they're really not choosing you for what you have I think. A lot of times they might just be ruling you out because of what you don't have. That's the great thing about this place is the commitment, the commitment from our donors, the commitment from our boosters, the commitment from people that love football here, and our administration, Sean Lester, Shane Zenger, his staff, Brad, all those guys, they're really good, and because of them, we're going to get this thing done. They're giving us that part.
Q. You mentioned facilities; what do you see that needs to be done?
DAVID BEATY: Well, I think for our fans, it's a natural evolution for us to move to the stadium, and I know that our AD has that as his top priority, and I'm fired up about that for him because I know he's got a great vision for what we want and his team, as well, so I'm excited about it. That is something that -- the stadium is really cool, but man, this place for these guys, that's where they live. I mean, this place is so important.
That's why I love Dr. Z and Sean, because they get it, man. This is the way you get them here, and then the stadium is the next part of it. We did it at the last place I was at. That place is off the chain just like this place.
You're not going to spend a whole lot of time in the stadium with the players. Now, that's very important for the -- I mean, our fan base deserves a quality, wonderful, great fan experience, and that's what the focus I think will be on. I hope that answers it.
Q. You talked about at Media Day how influential Kliff Kingsbury was for you. Can you elaborate on your relationship with him?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, we coached against each other a number of years. He was the offensive coordinator way back when he was at Houston and I was at Rice, and we had a couple of really good battles there that were interesting, came right down to the wire, and I didn't know him, and I didn't even know he knew me, but he texted me after the game. Somehow he got my number, and that's kind of where our relationship started, and I went down that year, he was in a bowl and I had moved back here with Turner, and I went down and spent bowl season with them and just started getting the basis of what he was doing.
I mean, I take my hat off to him because you don't tell anybody anything, and he helped me a lot with progression and that. But it wasn't until I got with him at A&M that really I got to learn the nuances of what we're doing.
Man, just a great guy. I said it last year, there's not five humans on the earth better than Kliff Kingsbury. You look at him and everybody sees this good-looking dude and handsome guy and they compare him to all these superstars. What you don't know about him is he's one of the finest men you've ever met. Great guy. Give you the shirt off his back.
Q. When he texted you, is that because he thought you were doing something he wanted to do?
DAVID BEATY: We beat him. We beat him on the last play of the game, and we checked to a play we call flag, and I didn't really even know him. Well, I knew of him, obviously, but I didn't think he knew me. But he just said, hey, man, I saw y'all check to eight, I knew you were doing it. In that game last year, he came up and very gracious and just said, man, you and your staff, y'all do a great job, because it was a competitive game, and they were one of the top offenses in the country. That's what we want to do this week, too. We want to go down to Lubbock and we want to play well against those guys, and we've got our hands full because I think they're second in the country on offense right now, and they are very explosive.
Q. Do you think that winning on the last play (indiscernible) helps you at all?
DAVID BEATY: There is no doubt. That's where it started. I mean, there's no doubt. I'm pretty sure that when Kevin got that job, I think Kliff went right in and said, hey, I want this guy, because I got a call pretty quick after that.
Q. You talked about the cohesive nature of your team and effort and all those things that have been there and that you're pleased with. After the last two results, you talked about we haven't done anything yet. You said that that night. After the last two results, how worried are you about psyche moving into the Big 12 because this conference is loaded with talent.
DAVID BEATY: Well, let me answer that first by saying, I looked at the box score from Ohio and Tennessee the other day, who by the way I think started in the top 10 in the country, and I want to say three quarters through it was tied at 21 or something like that. That's a good football team, and that's what I told our team, and you don't beat good football teams when you make mistakes and they don't.
So that's number one.
Number two, that's a good team we played the other night. Those dudes are good. That Mike linebacker is as good as anybody I've played against here since I've been here. He's good. He's a talented guy. But that doesn't matter. We still had opportunities. So do I worry about their psyche? I think no matter where you are in the country, when you're not getting the result that you need, you have to be aware of the psychology of humans and people, and that's why we work hard -- that's why we get paid as coaches, to make sure that we manage that.
I know that answer might not be what you want, but the truth is you always manage your psyche, whether you're winning or losing. I mean, there's a lot of teams this week that I don't think they were thinking they were going to get the result that they got, and whoa, probably rough around their place, too. So that's kind of the nature of our game. It's the nature of our game. You don't get to go run and hide under a rock and cry. You deal with it, and you move forward.
Q. When you said coach them harder, that's on us, you're taking a lot of that on yourself and your staff. How can you do that? What's an example of coaching a guy harder or taking care of something in that way?
DAVID BEATY: You know, a lot of times it goes back to just being a detail-oriented person, team, staff, coach, because the mistakes and the things that win games, they're in the details.
So that's where I think you can get better. You get better back at the details. Hey, are your knee pads pulled up at practice, just back to those things, so you create good habits. That's way all things are important that we speak about, and as a coach, you've got to continue to make sure that you put those things in the forefront of their mind, and are they getting it. It's one thing for us to set up here and talk about three cloud strong and I know that that corner's feet when he's turned at a 45-degree angle he's about to cloud the strong side, but is he getting that. I mean, I sound good saying that to the kid, but is he getting that. What do you know about his feet being turned at a 45 degree angle, do you know that, and if I don't ask him that, I just did a good job of saying it out loud.
So there's a lot of things that we have to go back and look at. I had to look at a lot of stuff myself as a head coach. You've got to make a lot of adjustments as you go throughout a season. I mean, I'm constantly making adjustments myself. I've got a terrific staff. I've got to let those guys do their job better, get out of their way a little bit. They're really good.
Hey, man, we've all got to get better. This thing falls squarely on me. I've got to be one willing to look inside and make sure that we can get that improved, and it starts with me. If I'm asking those guys to improve, how can I do that without asking myself to improve.
Q. Given the game is going to be on national TV in primetime, talk about the nation watching and maybe changing expectations.
DAVID BEATY: Now that you've said that -- no. To us it's a great recruiting opportunity. It really is, to be able to play on a night where you're the only show, really, which is great.
You know, it's obviously always fun to go out to Lubbock and play. Really cool venue out there. Yeah, it's something that I'm excited about, but as far as putting appreciate ear on ourselves, no, we're going to go out there and we're going to start with the kickoff and then we're going to play one play at a time from there and try to focus on that, and then the rest will take care of itself. We've got to get better at the details. That will help us.
Q. Does it matter to you when you play, because you're going to play on Thursday, last week a Big 12 representative played on Friday. Does it matter to you as a coach what day of the week your game is played?
DAVID BEATY: It does to me. I'm kind of like Coach Mangino in that regard. He said, man, college football is meant to be played on Saturday, and I like playing on Saturday. I do. I like playing on Saturday. But we don't control that. I don't put a lot of time into what we don't control. We just have to be really good at focusing on how we're going to move our schedule around, and it's good that it comes with a little bit of an off week before it.
I just love Saturdays. I think it's one of the coolest things in the world, college football Saturdays. I think it's -- I remember playing UCF when I was here with coach back on a Friday night, and I remember he and I were just riding on the bus, and he's like, man, this is going to be a great environment, but man, college football is meant to be played on Saturday, and it always stuck with me.
Q. Can you give us a little scouting report on Tech, your thoughts on what they're doing both sides?
DAVID BEATY: A lot offensively what you've seen in the past. Very dynamic, terrific quarterback. Guys out wide are very capable, very capable. They've got a couple of really good young running backs, really good running backs, so very difficult.
David Gibbs, defensive coordinator, one of the best minds in college football. I know -- they're like us in a lot of ways with the rebuilding a little bit on the defensive side, and statistically I know they haven't been terrific to this point, but man, that's David Gibbs. Dude, you'd better be ready to go because he's going to be ready to go. He's smart, he's sharp, he's going to get the most out of those kids. He does a nice job of creating pressure, and he does some really innovative things in the back end that you've got to be prepared for.
And then special teams wise, Kliff's teams are always sound there, so we've got to win that third to give ourselves a chance in that game. Should be fun.
Q. You talked about needing to step back and letting your offensive coaches coach more. Can you clarify what you mean by that?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, we just have a bunch of smart guys here. We really do. We have a bunch of really, really good guys here, so maybe just taking more input from those guys when it comes to just in general things that we're doing. And not micromanaging as much. That's always been a goal of mine is not to be a micromanager, to hire good guys and let them do their job.
I did something a little bit different here in the last couple weeks that I think it cost us. I take my daughter to school every day, but I started not taking her to school on Mondays and Tuesdays and all I did was create more junk, and that's not going to happen again. I'm going back to the way that I was. There's nothing changed there. I'm going to make sure we go to school every day. It affected our relationship, and she was like, why aren't you taking me to school. But all that stuff works together, and it's what I believe in. I've got to make sure that I'm not getting in our way by micromanaging things.
And I'm not saying that I have done that a lot, but I do know that I can make changes, and if I'm going to ask any of these guys to look inside, I've got to be the first one to pick up the paintbrush; if I'm going to ask them to do something hard, I've got to do it.
Q. How big of a blow is not having Joe for however long he's out?
DAVID BEATY: Man, that's a blow because he's such a leader on our football team in addition to his production. But the good news is we've developed some good young linebackers there. Osaze I thought played a really good game last week. He's a fast, very capable guy, so it's good to have him back.
But Joe will get back as quick as he can. I think more for the leadership than anything, our guys really look to the mayor for leadership.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports