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UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 25, 2016
DAVID BEATY: Listen, a couple things, just as we get started on just some injury updates. Khalil Herbert, we don't think we're going to have him back this week, either. His toe is still giving him some problems. We hope we can get him back next week.
I think Joe Gibson is going to be okay. He had some neck issues during the game, and he was cleared to come back, but we were able to kind of hold him out there towards the end just to make sure he was okay. We wanted to make sure it was just definitely something with his neck. He was good. But he looks like he's going to be fine. We hope that he'll get back and he won't suffer any ill effects as a result of that, but tough kid, and we expect him to be playing.
Joe Dineen, his status has not changed. We're still working on trying to get him healthy. I don't know how long that's going to take. We'll just see how he responds. Our training staff is doing a great job, he's just not coming along as fast as we'd like.
Our team, I like where we're at. When it comes to health, though, actually we've got some normal wear and tear that we've got going on. In the Big 12 at this time of year, everybody is playing with nicks and bruises, but other than that, we've been fairly lucky to this point keeping people healthy from games. We need to continue to have that happening for us.
There are just a few things I wanted to touch base on with regard to our guys and some things that I'm really happy about with regard to the team. You know, Steven Sims has had some really nice production for us. I've been really proud of him. He has come so far from his freshman year. He's grown up so much. His training in the off-season has really paid off. He's been one of our really, really bright spots just in all areas, and man, I want to take my hat off to him because he's really prepared well, he's done a nice job off the field, in the classroom, just a well-rounded guy and comes from a great family, so I expected nothing less from him as his maturity continued. He's got a chance to be a 1,000-yard receiver this year. He's going to have to be close to 100 yards a game from this point going forward to be able to achieve that. I think it would be the first one since Briscoe in 2009. That would be a great accomplishment for him, and obviously if it happens within our natural routine, we would certainly welcome it, but he's been really productive.
Another thing, just Ke'aun Kinner, 10.4 yards per carry Saturday is something that we really needed to see in our run game to be able to help us kind of get that thing back going, and that was a good defense that we played against, so that was positive.
Defensively Dorance continues to impress me. He's a chore, man, week to week, and you never know until you start getting into these games where you're playing some really talented guys, and I thought he did a really nice job. That was a good offensive line. I mean, Coach Gundy and those guys do a great job. They really are good football coaches, and their offensive line is well-coached, and they are massive. Dorance did a nice job. He was around there all night. We got pressure, probably more pressure than really I think anybody I had seen to this point, which I was pleased with. We needed to be able to do that. Dorance got his -- he got a sack in the game for his fifth straight game, and that's really good. He's got seven sacks. I think he's second in the league if I'm not mistaken behind the kid from K-State, so he's having a productive year. We certainly need him to continue to do that.
Fish, 16 tackles. The thing that you don't see is how much he improved in this game from the previous two or three games. He really has been productive, but really for him, just I'm proud of him because he's really tightened up his game. He went back to some discipline things with his eyes that really helped him be a lot more productive. Always a tough kid, but really just coming back and being very disciplined with his eyes, and it led to more production for him, which we certainly needed to see.
And they DeeIsaac Davis is another guy that I'm extremely proud of because you're talking about a guy that really was at the bottom of the depth chart, and he literally flipped a switch. We really did not know if we were going to have him ready mentally to attack playing for us this year when we first got him, and he's a guy that turned it around and flipped a switch, and that doesn't happen very often. He really has done a great job. He had five tackles and his first sack the other day, and man, just continues to be a really big part of our football team, and really happy for his turnaround and just a great story for him.
Oklahoma, you guys know how much respect I have for Coach Stoops and what a great challenge it's going to be. What a great environment that is. They have terrific fans. It's the Big 12, man; everywhere you go it's a really cool place to play. We're looking forward to going down there in Norman and looking forward to that challenge.
Coaching against Coach Stoops is always something that, man, you know, it's a great challenge and a great opportunity to coach against one of your coaching heroes, and he certainly is one of those guys. I learned a lot from him just by watching him from afar and just watching how he manages and the things that he's done there, just a phenomenal leader, and I know they're very lucky to have him, and they're glad that they do have him.
Continues to be productive in all areas. They're second in the Big 12 in total offense, which man, they are stinking good. They are good. They're ninth in the Big 12 in total defense right now, but that's not what the tape says. You flip that tape on, and it doesn't look like that. I don't care what the numbers say. I'm just telling you, they're stinking good. They've got some good ball players on that side.
Up front, those dudes are big, fast, strong, and they can get to you. I think they do a really good job in the secondary, and I've said it before, I think Mike Stoops is one of the best defensive minds in college football.
They are a good unit. We are going to have to play our tails off because they are very talented. I know what the numbers say, but that's not what that tape says when I turn it on. They're just a hair away from being a lot different statistically than what they are.
And the other thing I think they do really, really well is when they absolutely have to have it, those guys find a way to make it happen, and you know, teams can do that or they can't, and Mike Stoops does a great job of that.
Lincoln Riley is their offensive coordinator, really, really close, dear friend of mine, and I think the world of him. He's one of the finest minds in all of college football, and no wonder they're doing as well as they are. His leadership, he does a terrific job. I couldn't hire him, so I hired his brother, and he's over here with us and he's really good, so he is a talent, and there's no -- I had no doubt that they were going to be good when they hired Lincoln, and he's got a great staff around him.
Some of the guys that stick out to me for them, obviously Joe Mixon, one of the best players in this conference. What he did last week is ridiculous in rushing the ball, and then over 100 yards receiving. You've just got to contain the guy. To me, he goes in there with Shock Linwood and Kyle Hicks, those guys are going to get some yards. You've got to be really smart about not letting them turn a 20-yard gain into a 70-yard gain, because they can do it in a heartbeat.
The thing I think that makes him so difficult, Joe, is he can catch the ball out of the backfield just like Kyle could. Kyle Hicks does that, too. Those two guys, they're multidimensional, and it makes it very difficult because they can do a lot of things with them. I think I saw Joe returning kickoffs early in the year. He's a talented dude.
Dede Westbrook, another guy that I know pretty well, recruited him when we were at Texas A&M, knew him really, really well, very talented guy, and Lincoln does a great job finding ways to get him the ball because very he's productive when he gets it, and he's very explosive. He's first in the Big 12 with receiving yards. I think he's 930 yards. He ranks first in the Big 12 and third in the NCAA in receiving touchdowns, so when he touches the ball, he gets to the end zone. He's very explosive, and you've got to know where Dede is and you've got to have a plan because they're very creative schematic wise. He can do it on his own, but they have some really cool little schemes that really help him, and he takes advantage of it because he's really fast.
And then the guy that makes it go is Baker. Man, this guy, just watching him play, he is a very good manager of the game, and he is very talented. He can make throws that a lot of guys can't make. He's got confidence, unlike very many that I've seen. Him and Mahomes are two very -- that battle last week between those guys was very interesting to watch, kind of fun to watch, unless you're having to play in that game, and I know that's difficult, but it's what makes this league so great is guys like that. Just his production has really been off the charts.
Like I said, defensively those guys up front are -- they're very talented. I think they lost a kid, No. 97, that is as good a player as we've got in this conference. I certainly hope that he gets back because he's good for our conference. I don't know if he'll be back this week. I think he's hurt. But I certainly wish him the best because he is a talented football player, and when he's there, he's really good.
They've got some other ones, 95, I mean, just the numbers just keep clicking. They're really talented on that side of the ball.
And then finally, they play well-rounded in the special team areas, which is an area that I think has helped them really get over the top. Coach Stoops has always been that type of a coach.
It's going to be a challenge, and to end, I'm a real big believer in being a smart team. We've got to be a smarter team than we've been. We have done really well in one of those areas that we think is very critical, which is penalties, and so have they. It'll be interesting to see how this game goes because both of us are kind of around the top in those statistical categories, and he appreciates disciplined play, and when you play a disciplined team like that, typically they don't beat themselves.
We're going to have to go down there and be prepared and ready to go. It's going to be a great challenge. I know our guys are excited about it, and I think it'll be a great, great day for football down there in Norman, so we'll take some questions.
Q. You're an offensive coach, and when you watch the defense, your defense play, what can you tell opponents are probably worried most about, especially with Armstrong coming off the edge?
DAVID BEATY: I don't know if I want to answer that. I think I'll let them do their own work. You're smart, you watch us a bunch. I think you know the answer to that.
I'm proud of where our defense has gotten to. There's some things that obviously we're like everyone else. We're going to try to use some of the tools that we have to be able to create some problems, whether it's a mismatch or being able to try to create production. But I think that's where I'm going to stop.
Q. There are shootouts all the time in this league, but have you seen anything like that Tech-OU game the other night?
DAVID BEATY: I don't know, and Tech has been involved in quite a few of those, and that No. 5 has a lot to do with it. But that game he played the other night, he -- I liken it to when M.J. was on. When he was on, you weren't stopping him, and that was kind of how Mahomes was. Some of the throws he made, if you haven't watched that game, you need to go watch it because some of the throws he made, some of the Joe Mixon did and Baker Mayfield, just incredible.
You watch towards the end of the game, those kids had been on that field for so long, they could barely get their legs up to rush the passer, much less get to him. It was an interesting game, and it was a battle of wills, it really was.
Q. It was almost like backyard football. When you watch that tape, can you glean much from a game like that that's so out of hand offensively?
DAVID BEATY: I think you've got to be careful. When you're game planning and you're looking at that tape, I think you've got to be careful because there was so much that leads up to it with regard to wear and tear on the bodies, how many plays had been played up until that point, what types of plays had been called and what types of energy usage had been expended. There's so many things that you might look at it and go, hey, this is pretty good this week. We do something conceptually like this, but then you'd better start figuring in that it's play No. 130 of 155 or whatever. I mean, that takes -- you've got to take that into account. You've got to be careful.
Early in the game I can see it, but late in that game, wow, just a battle of wills. It was like two heavyweight fighters.
Q. Against Oklahoma State, Kansas had the most rushing yards of the season. What do you think contributed to that, and how are you going to continue that momentum against Oklahoma?
DAVID BEATY: Well, a lot of the credit does go to Ke'aun. I thought he did a very nice job of playing fundamental football at that position. I thought he really did a great job of trusting his path and making sure that he was getting into the heel line of the line of scrimmage and being able to make those defenders put their head on a certain side so he could get his read, and a lot of times when you're not doing that, you're not very successful in the run game. That was an area we had to improve on.
And then I give a lot of credit to our offensive line. I thought those guys answered the bell, and they answered the challenge because we put a lot on them about being able to run the football and get better at that because it could help our passing game and we could become more balanced, so I think it was a concerted effort by all involved.
Q. You mentioned Fish a little bit earlier. Can you discuss the combo he and Mike Lee have kind of become and why they complement each other?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, they've been fun to watch. I think the thing that really sticks out to me is the grizzled veteran in Fish and the energetic youthfulness of Mike Lee, and you see Mike continuing to get better each week, and you realize, wow, when you look on that sideline and Fish is talking to him like a coach every single play, I mean, he's really making sure that -- Fish is a unique guy because he's played so much football for us that he can get himself lined up and everyone else lined up, which has given us the luxury of being able to put Mike in there at a young age. Mike is also a very intelligent guy, and he picks it up fast.
Normally you get him once and you're not going to get him again on that same thing very often. He kind of seals the gap, so to speak, which is good.
And Fish back there with his veteran experience has been very good for Mike, and likewise, I think it's motivated Fish because Fish has become a faster player, and I think watching Mike fly around out there and stick his head on people is something that's really challenged him. I think it's helped both of them.
Q. (Indiscernible) that Westbrook is a guy that's capable of being shut down like that?
DAVID BEATY: Westbrook is good, man, and so is James. I thought they did a great job offensively of making sure that they tried to put him in spots to try to get him the ball, and you know, we made a concerted effort to try to prevent that from happening and see if we could push the ball to other folks and see if that would help us.
Our guys did a great job. There was a lot of game plan tied around that. Dede is really talented. The problem with this team is there's so many guys that can hurt you. Dede gets a lot of talk and Joe gets a lot of talk, but Baker, man, Baker is a freak. He'll throw the ball to anywhere, anytime, and he can do it from any angle, and the rest of those receivers they got are talented. They can run. They've got a great crop of guys.
I think the game plan is just a little bit different, not that the other guys from Oklahoma State weren't, I just -- we just felt like they gave us the best chance to win that game.
Q. Cozart hasn't been sacked, but on the other hand, most interceptions have come under duress when the rush game was pretty heavy. What do you make of him not being sacked but also throwing picks while under pressure?
DAVID BEATY: Well, he's done a really nice job of avoiding pressure, which has been good. With the exception of the Memphis game, he hasn't been under pressure when he's made a couple of mistakes. He made one mistake in the Rhode Island game. The enemy of good offense sometimes is bad defense. The Mike is sitting in the wrong spot. He should be chasing a screen, and he doesn't even see him. He comes off that, goes to his second read. That one is going to be tough. It's going to be tough. You'd love for him to have been able to see that Mike, but he also had a tackle blocking a guy in front of him that's about 6'7", so sometimes those things don't happen, and it didn't work out for him down there, but as we moved down the line, in Memphis, he had a separated shoulder, and he was getting killed pretty much every time he let go of the ball. There's no excuse for that. There was both -- the two picks that happened early in that game, had he been able to get enough on them, they could have been big plays, one of which -- the latest one was a touchdown because we had everybody cleared out, Ben was coming underneath that Mike, and it would have been a much different deal.
I know Montell wants those back. He was under duress against Texas Tech on that last throw down there by that sideline. He's done a really nice job of making decisions, and he has made equally amount of good throws under duress, which is good, too.
We're trying to help him grow in that regard. The thing I really have like about Montell here as of late and really throughout, his reads have been proper, and if you get your eyes in the right spot and read properly, you can be effective.
Q. You've had several players you recruited come from the state of Oklahoma such as Moos, Mayberry and a few others. What's it mean to these guys to come back to their home state this week?
DAVID BEATY: I think it's going to be big for them. We're jacking around with them in the hallways all day, you know, messing with them about going back home and how many tickets they're going to be trying to get for their family and see if they can set a record for attendance of Jayhawk fans there.
But I know Kyle, he's a first-timer going back. I know those times are always really cool for those guys. I know he's excited about it. Moos, I think it's equally as exciting for him, even though he's a little bit older guy. But our Oklahoma kids, I know they're excited about this week because it's one of those deals where when you're in your own state and maybe you weren't recruited or you didn't choose that school or whatever reason, or it didn't choose you, and there's always a little bit of extra motivation going into that.
Q. A little bit of a bigger picture question here, but in the age of an instant gratification, do you feel like coaches that are hired to rebuild programs like Charlie Strong, Matt Campbell, yourself, et cetera, is there any pressure to win faster than say 20 years ago?
DAVID BEATY: You know, that's an interesting question because I think in this day and age, we do tend to say things that maybe are not necessarily true. I think that it's been that way for a long time. Hey, listen, this is what it is, man; we have fan bases that are very passionate and they love their universities, and they want to see them compete and win. So they have passionate -- we have passionate fans, and they have passion for our game. You know what, we understand that when we get into these jobs, when we take them, we know that's the challenge ahead of us, but we also have to deal in reality, and you know, you can preach patience all you want. The bottom line is you've got to implement your plan and you've got to stay the course and eventually believe that it's going to take hold, and when it does, you hope things work out for the best.
I'm not sure I buy into that because I remember back in the day when I was growing up, 25 years ago, 30 years ago, playing in high school, and thinking about college football and that there were pressures -- there was pressure back then.
I think maybe the social media has changed things a little bit, but I don't know that it's changed as much as we think it has.
Q. (Indiscernible), is that a word you use with your quarterback?
DAVID BEATY: Absolutely. I mean, that's the number one thing that we talk about, and you've heard me talk about it from the day I walked in here. You know, the quarterback that runs your offense from a coaching standpoint for me has always been about who manages that game. It doesn't have to be about a guy that can win it all the time, but he certainly can't lose it for you, and that's a lot more common than you think.
Kevin Sumlin, he had a bunch of really cool little sayings that I hold on to, and one of them is there's a lot more games that are lost than won every Saturday, and he's exactly right. I mean, that happens, and we've been a part of it. We were a part of it when I was there a couple times.
But when you can get on the other side of that, you get an appreciation for just simple management of the game, and if you do that and you try to just focus on what you need to do and you're prepared when you go into the game, it actually slows it down for you, and your success rises really quickly.
But we get into trouble when we don't think of it in those simple a terms.
Q. Tough thing recruiting, as well, but with the quarterback what's the toughest part of the evaluation process when you're looking at guys, whether it's a high school kid you see on tape or a guy who practices in front of you every day?
DAVID BEATY: I think the easiest thing to see on tape is throwing motion and production, things like that. For me, the toughest thing is knowing how they're going to be able to fit into your system, just knowing your language. Guys can look really good on their high school or junior college tape, but what we call brown shoe, they call carpet, and that believe it or not will lock you up forever.
I've always said this: Young kids, it's not a talent issue, it is literally a knowledge issue that keeps them from getting on the field and being productive. If you think about it, a lot of these kids are coming from programs where they're running their offenses in high school from the time they were in sixth grade. It gets put in in middle school, and you don't hear any other terms until they get to college, and 99 percent of them are going to hear completely different terms, and it would be very similar to me being an English speaker and me trying to learn Spanish. I'm going to convert it all in my mind to English first instead of making it Spanish until it becomes Spanish, and that's really -- it's a maturization process, but with that, that's one reason when we deal with Maciah Long, we call it what he called it in high school. The few plays that we have had for him, we call it exactly what he called it so we don't have to teach him anything, and he doesn't have to translate it. You can't do that with everybody, but with package guys sometimes you can do that.
Q. You mentioned you can't have a quarterback lose a game. As well as your defense has played at times this year, do you feel like the offense has kind of held the team back in a couple of games? How much do you get frustrated by that when that happens?
DAVID BEATY: Well, I've said it many, many times, and I heard Dirk Koetter say this last night after their game, he said they played great complementary football, and for you to be successful in this game, you have to play really good complementary football. The teams that are doing that the best are the teams that are winning.
You give yourself the best chance to win in this league when you play complementary offensively, defensively and special teams, and it's one of those deals where you have to understand that each role is extremely important, and the production has to be there, and we've got to continue to work until we can become more productive offensively. We got a little bit better last year, but we didn't score enough points, and we've got to find a way to get in that end zone more. 450 something yards or whatever it was, that looks really good until you look up there at that scoreboard and there's 20 points on the board, and we have to take responsibility for that poor performance when we're involved.
So we've got to figure out how we're going to get that fixed and get into the end zone, and we're continuing to work at that because once we do that, we'll be in pretty good shape.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports