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TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 7, 2016
Q. Have you had a chance to look at the tape of Saturday's game?
PATRICK MAHOMES: Yes, I watched it, I think, the next day. Like I thought in the game, we just didn't execute at the right times, and that caused possessions not going our way.
Q. Did you watch it with Coach Kingsbury?
PATRICK MAHOMES: Yeah, I watched myself and watched with Coach Kingsbury, and kind of talked about it and what we need to do to get better for the next few weeks. We talked about it, and trying to stay true, stay in the pocket, and trust my O-line and trust my receivers to make plays.
Q. Is that hard when everybody's coming at you? It seems like you're always running for your life.
PATRICK MAHOMES: It's really just me trying to make too much stuff happen. The O-line is getting better. A lot of the young guys are getting experience, and just keep trusting in them and keep trusting in what we've done the whole off-season and the whole beginning of the season was just trusting them and making the little plays happen.
Q. What is the biggest key in the decision-making process for you that you think in order to strike a good balance between not limiting yourself and keeping those big plays alive but also playing within the system when you can? Is it just the situation, or what do you think you need to focus on?
PATRICK MAHOMES: I think it's a little bit more about me pressing when we start not scoring. That's the biggest thing. When we're going good, it seems like I'm good at making decisions. But a few drives start stopping, three-and-outs, stuff like that, start pressing more, making more stuff happen. I can't let that happen. I have to just stay with what I've been doing all the beginning of the season and just stay true to that.
Q. When you say lack of communication, you said that the other night after the game, is that part you and the receivers not being on the same page when a play breaks down?
PATRICK MAHOMES: Yeah. It's that and as well as just signals and stuff before the play. I'm just trying to get them to run to certain spots, and they're thinking a little bit different stuff. It's something we've been good at most of the season, it's just these last two weeks haven't been great.
Q. How much of that is because you've been missing practices and your injury?
PATRICK MAHOMES: That definitely hurts a little bit just not being there all the time, not getting those extra reps. But at the same time it's a long season, and, like I said, the offense isn't going great. So they're pressing as well, trying to make plays happen. When we're both pressing, it doesn't help out.
Q. Are you disappointed in how the season's gone?
PATRICK MAHOMES: I mean, yeah. I mean, we have a really talented team, a team I thought we had a chance to play for the Big 12 Championship, and I truly believed it. We just haven't won the games, the close ones. It's something that we have to just keep going and these last three weeks try to get wins and end the season with a good taste in our mouth.
Q. What do you think is the disconnect? It seems like you guys are going backwards offensively compared to where you were maybe a few weeks ago?
PATRICK MAHOMES: I mean, the defenses that we're playing have had great game plans. We're, I guess, trying to make too much stuff happen. They're letting us run the ball a little bit more. I need to keep trusting in that and if there's Bailey on, just played really good, offensive line has blocked better, running the ball, and at the same time, when I do get those throws, I need to take the little ones and let those return the big ones.
Q. We asked Coach Kingsbury that same question coming into the season. He felt like this was the best team he's had coming in too. He mentioned that he felt like it was turnover margin was one of the biggest things bringing the team down. Would you relate with that? Do you feel like it's something different?
PATRICK MAHOMES: Yeah, turnover margin is a big thing. I think we haven't won but two the entire year, maybe. I don't know. But that's a big deal in the football game. That can really change the aspect of a football game. Football games are pretty much won on a couple plays, and those plays are big parts of it.
Q. How much when you and Coach Kingsbury are watching tape where he kind of says, look, I understand you happen to get out of the pocket a lot?
PATRICK MAHOMES: He definitely understands. He's been in my position. He's played quarterback here and he knows what happens as a quarterback and when you need to get out and when not to. But at the same time he says there are times when he understands when I can get out and he says there are times I need to sit in there longer and go through my reads longer.
Q. Are you gun shy at all at times?
PATRICK MAHOMES: Not necessarily. I'm trying to go out there and win football games. Whatever it takes. I need to get better where we can win games. Just like the end of last game we could have went down there and scored, tied the game up and took it to overtime, and we didn't.
Q. Do you think you guys are pressing at this point in time in the season?
PATRICK MAHOMES: We want to win bad. We know that we haven't played as great as we can. So I think it's people trying to go out there and win games. We just need to get back to our old habits and get back to what we know ask what we do best.
Q. What have you seen from the Oklahoma State defense?
PATRICK MAHOMES: They're good. They're always a really good defense. They do a lot of different stuff. They have good players, older players. They can really have a great game plan, so we need to come ready to play and have a great game plan as well.
Q. Do you expect to see a similar game plan as you have the last couple weeks?
PATRICK MAHOMES: Yeah, probably so. It's worked these last two weeks. I think West Virginia has a similar game plan too. It's something that's worked against us. So we need to find ways to execute against it. I expect to have a pretty good game plan going in this week.
Q. Do you think one of the biggest challenges will be they've got two pretty good defensive tackles?
PATRICK MAHOMES: Yeah, definitely. We played those guys a lot last year. They had a good defensive line last year. It's something where our offensive line will have to step up, play big, and at the same time help them out by getting the ball out fast and not holding the ball too long.
Q. What does a win or loss this weekend -- now that we're nine games in, what do you feel like is the most complete game you guys have experienced at this point?
PATRICK MAHOMES: The most complete game as an offense, I mean, it was really against Oklahoma. We really clicked. But as an offense and defense, I don't know if we completely played well together. Our defense played really well against TCU. Offense didn't really show up. It seemed like all year it's been like that. Off and on the offense and defense. But one game I would -- I mean, LA Tech was a pretty good game, I guess. But I don't know if we really clicked all together.
Q. Oklahoma State's been a team that seems like a monkey on Tech's back for a while now. Haven't beaten them since 2008. The last time you guys beat them at Stillwater was when Coach Kingsbury was the quarterback here. What do you think is the trick? Do you guys feel like you owe them one? Is that something in the back of your mind at all?
PATRICK MAHOMES: It's a good rivalry. Like you said, we haven't beaten them in a while, and Coach Kingsbury tells us about that. I'm pretty sure he'll tell us about that today in our meeting. They have a good team. They have a really good team. They've been good for a while. And we need to find a way to win a game that we haven't really found a way this season. Hopefully we can go out there and win a football game against a really good team.
Q. With three left, knowing that you have to win two to be able to reach bowl eligibility, how much is that something that you guys think about?
PATRICK MAHOMES: Definitely we think about it. We want to be here playing for a bowl game. You don't want to go home in December and sit home. I did that my freshman year and never want to do that again. It's something people are going to fight and give whatever they've got to win hopefully three games and get to a bowl game. So people do think about it, but like you said, give it one game at a time, go out there and leave it on the field.
Q. How long did that off-season feel?
PATRICK MAHOMES: It felt extremely long. I think we had seven weeks off, and going home and answering questions of what happened this last year is never a good feeling. You don't want to have to do that again.
Q. Your freshman year you were able to play there, so what makes it so difficult to play there?
PATRICK MAHOMES: They have a great atmosphere there. They have an awesome stadium. The fans come out there strong and they support them. Like I said, they always have a good football team. Going to someone's place in the Big 12 is never easy. We've got to find a way to get out there and win.
Q. A lot people looked to the Baylor game that same season as when you kind of took off. But that Oklahoma State game in Stillwater, can you see that as kind of the start of your career, I guess, as Tech's quarterback?
PATRICK MAHOMES: Yeah, that was my first game I ever played. I only got to play one quarter, and I struggled in the beginning, and I think I threw my first touchdown there. So it's going to be cool to get back out there and hopefully go out there and get a win this time, because we had a loss in that one.
Q. There was a play, I think it might have been the first play you were in there, you had fumbled and threw an interception on the same play. Is it just crazy to see your maturation and how it's gone since you were that freshman?
PATRICK MAHOMES: Yeah, it was the turning point, I feel like, in my career. Just knowing how to work and what I need to do to prepare. Before then I was kind of just here, not expecting to play that much. Then after I got the playing time, I knew I needed to work harder. So that was a turning point. Just to get back out there will be cool. I want to get out there and get a win for these seniors and these guys that want to make a bowl game their last season here.
Q. What's the morale on the team? Are people a little down after that loss?
JUSTIS NELSON: Obviously a little bit. We go out there trying to win every game. Didn't quite go as we expected. But you've got to move on, the 24-hour rule, get over it, and focus on what you have to do next week.
Q. (Inaudible) as a team, lose as a team, but there were times earlier in the season when the defense was struggling, seemed like the offense was carrying the program. Now it seems like the defense is turning the corner a little bit with back-to-back decent games and aspects of getting stops and turnovers, and the offense hasn't been able to (inaudible). Is that starting to get frustrating on the defense in that type of situation?
JUSTIS NELSON: I wouldn't say frustrating. Like you said, it is a team sport. We had our mishaps. We had our mistakes throughout the game that that cost us in the long run just as well. So it's a combination of both. Offense has to play well, defense has to play well, and when that happens, everybody's happy.
Q. Talk about the defense (inaudible) because you did give up a (inaudible)?
JUSTIS NELSON: Yeah, I think guys showed toughness. Some things didn't go our way. Mostly mental mistakes that went for long yards. In the end, I think guys toughened up. They did what we had to do to get off the field. Overall, there's room for improvement all the time. I'm happy with how we played and how we got through on third down. There were still some third downs that we didn't get off the field. And giving up points before the half and even missed turnovers that could have been points before the half. So there are a lot of mistakes, lot of things we have to change, and we're not there yet.
Q. When you look at Oklahoma State's offense, what do you see them do?
JUSTIS NELSON: They definitely can throw and run the ball for sure. They have big backs. They have experienced quarterback, they have a lot of deep threats. I know they definitely like to go vertical. They like to toss the ball up. So I think the key is just keeping everything in front of us, making tackles. Making them move the ball consistently just down after down. They're a well-coached team, and they have all the talent that you need. So we just have to go in there and do our job.
Q. As a defensive back, does that get you excited knowing that they like to throw the ball as much as they do, for the ability to try to get that interception?
JUSTIS NELSON: Yeah, we're always looking to make plays. The ball's going to be up in the air, so we have to make those plays when they come to us. Coach Gibbs is going to put us in the right position, and it's our job to make those plays.
JUSTIS NELSON: I have voted -- what's today? Monday? I voted last week.
Q. Oklahoma State's a team you guys haven't beaten yet since you've been here, especially as seniors. What do you think has been the trick against those guys, and how much is that kind of something that's been eating at you guys at all to get a win here in Stillwater?
JUSTIS NELSON: Yeah, I mean, it's a tough place to play, for sure. They have a crazy environment. It's loud. And we definitely do need to get a win over there. Like I said, it's another game on the schedule. But like you said, we haven't had that win in a while, so it will mean a lot to get that, especially over in their place.
Q. Last time you guys won in Stillwater was actually Coach Kingsbury that was the quarterback. Has he told you guys about that at all?
JUSTIS NELSON: No, not at all. I mean, I don't even know when that was --
JUSTIS NELSON: Oh, okay.
Q. With three games left on the schedule, how much is it in the back of your minds that you have to get two wins of the next three to reach bowl eligibility?
JUSTIS NELSON: Yeah, we're trying to win every game. I mean, I think we're doing what we can in practice. We're practicing hard out there, for sure. The mindset isn't to just win two games to be bowl eligible, but we're trying to win every game. We're trying to finish this season as tough as we can, as perfect as we can.
So we're practicing for it. We're practicing hard. We're getting extra film. We're changing some things up. So just consistency and not being emotional. Just doing what you have to do to get yourself ready for the next week.
Q. (Inaudible) mentioned today and before the season they felt like this was the best team they've been around since they've been here at Tech. Did you feel that same way when you were coming into the season?
JUSTIS NELSON: I'd agree with that. I think we have talent at every position. I mean, things haven't gone our way in some instances. But I think we have a mixture of experience, a mixture of young talent, everything that we need to compete at a high level. So I'm still confident in our players. These three games, I still think we have a lot to prove.
Q. You guys got to eight wins your freshman year. You can still have a possibility that you will win the next three and possibly a bowl game. What do you feel like you saw in the off-season leading you to believe that it was the best team that you've been around but just doesn't translate right now?
JUSTIS NELSON: I'm not sure. I feel like we're more of a team than we have been in the past. By that I mean we don't have a bunch of people that are individuals, they just have individual goals, they just want to do this for themselves, they just want stats. We have guys that have a common goal. I mean, it's tough because it hasn't carried over as much as we'd like, but like I said, we still have plenty of time to prove that we have the same goal, that we have the talent. And I think we just keep working and keep implementing what the coaches have already put in place, then there should be no reason why we don't succeed.
Q. Nine games in, do you feel like you guys almost are like pressing, like it better happen now?
JUSTIS NELSON: Yeah, I mean, we've got to go. There's no time to sit around and wait for somebody else to make a play or do something. I mean, it's everybody. We have to have that sense of urgency. That's something that Coach talked about all the time. There's no time to rest. I mean, you can rest after the game. You can rest at night. So just urgency, we have to go right now.
Q. (Inaudible) has been playing Washington the last few years?
JUSTIS NELSON: I'm sorry, what was that?
Q. How frustrating has it been playing Washington the last few years, the wide receiver?
JUSTIS NELSON: I wouldn't say frustrating at all. I mean, he's a good player. He makes plays, we make plays. It's just part of the game.
Q. He's had these great games against you guys the last couple years?
JUSTIS NELSON: Like I said, just make plays. That's what it comes down to. Whenever the ball's in the air, who wants it more? He's a great player, nothing but respect for him, and it's a game of football.
Q. How about that game against Oklahoma where you kind of switched from nickel and just went back to corner? It seems like whether it was last week against TCU or against Texas, it seems like you're just picking up the other team's best wide receiver and just kind of picking him out saying I'm going to cover him in that game. How much of that was you either going to Coach Gibbs or just kind of a shift that he made defensively for the secondary?
JUSTIS NELSON: Yeah, it's just wherever Coach Gibbs wants me, or even Coach Scott. Wherever they feel like I can help the team the best. I wouldn't say I necessarily have a say, but I don't mind it at all. Wherever they need me, that's where I'm going to play. I'm going to do my best.
Q. Is that something you took on yourself at all, or was that something the coaches kind of approached you about?
JUSTIS NELSON: I mean, I like having multiple responsibilities, playing nickel safety or corner, just being around the ball all the time. Good things happen when you're around the ball. So it was kind of Coach Scott, Coach Gibbs. But I'm all for it.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports