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UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 22, 2016
DAVID BEATY: Thanks for coming today. Just before we get started, I wanted to just give a big shout-out to Shanda and Steve Hayden and certainly Mr. Cole out there. Man, that dude is a tough dude. He's fighting, and just want to let Shanda know how thankful we and our players are for her. I don't think people know how much she does for these guys, and I know not just the guys we have here but the ones that have came before them. Man, a lot of those kids have degrees because of her. She wears so many hats for us, and not the least of which is what she does for them academically. She's like a second mom for them while she's here. I know those guys were happy for her Saturday for sure. We missed having her there, but hopefully she'll be able to swing by practice maybe a little bit today, which will be good.
Listen, another opportunity for us to go and play in a big game this weekend, but before we get there, just want to just say another congratulations to our seniors for last week and what that meant to them. I know it meant a lot to our team but certainly meant a lot to our seniors, and I just want to thank those guys for everything that they've done for us. Man, we've got one last chance available to us here, and we can make it a special year if we end this thing on a good note.
Injury-wise we should get a couple of guys back this week. We think Bobby Hartzog is going to be back with us, and we think Emmanuel Moore is going to be back with us, which is big. Eman does a lot for us on special teams, so that'll be good to have him back.
Dorance this week has been -- he's gotten a couple of awards which are really, really cool. Him and Wyman, a guy that got lost in the shuffle a little bit, but I think really deserves a lot of praise for that game was the play that he made that sparked us was Brandon Stewart. What a great play for him. Man, we needed that right there, and he did a great job of making that play, and he almost had another one, which was great, and he's been fighting injury all year, and for him to do that, fighting through all the injuries that he's had, man, just really happy for that kid.
You know, this game coming up we'll talk about a little bit more in just a second, but we've got 18 players from the state of Kansas on our roster and it's a big game for them, but it's also a big game for the people in this great state. It should be a fun one.
I think it's going to be nice out there, so it should be a really cool environment.
Just to kind of go back on Dorance, man, what a great performance he's had. It's so good to stand up here and talk to you about the good things that our kids have done. We haven't really been able to do that with any regularity throughout the season completely, but man, this kid has earned it. He has really done a terrific job for us this year. His production speaks for itself. The other day he had 11 tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss. I think he's number one in the league in both of those categories, which is great, man, and just an even better kid than he is a player.
Matthew Wyman, three huge field goals that he made, really great day for him, and just really cool situation for him, and just take my hat off to him as a senior. His second game that he's won for us. So that's pretty cool, in his career.
Mike Lee, man, this kid just continues to produce. Man, he finished the game with 11 tackles, an interception, a PBU, and he actually was the one who forced that last fumble. I know Feaster had originally gotten credit for it, and I broke it to him in the meeting yesterday that he's not going to get credit for that, but his effort was outstanding, so we appreciate him for doing that. But Mike was actually the one who made the strip there and got the ball out.
Man, great job by him. I didn't realize that he was leading the Big 12 and he's ninth in the country in solo tackles right now. I don't know why I didn't know that because I see him making tackles every dadgum play, but man, just happy for that kid, and like I said last year, we need our linebackers being the guys that lead us in tackles, but we certainly want to make sure we get them down, so it's good that he's doing that for us.
Some things that stick out to me, leading the league in 3rd down defense. I'm so happy for Clint and our staff. What we've done over there I think has been complete and total turnaround. We were pretty much among the bottom of the country last year in that area, and for them to turn that around with virtually the same players is a big deal. Also we lead the Big 12 in fumbles recovered and second in turnovers gained, which man, is a huge deal for us. I'm really proud of what Clint and that whole staff, Kenny, Slater, Coach Bradford, and Coach DeForest moonlights a little bit over there, too, so those guys have all done a terrific job.
Going into this week, obviously we're playing a very talented football team that has done a terrific job this year. They gained bowl eligibility last week, and each win that you have after that sixth win obviously places you in a little bit higher level tier bowl, so I know there's a lot at stake for them, but for both of us it's the Sunflower Showdown. I can't wait to get there Saturday. It's going to be a great opportunity for us.
The thing that sticks out to me about these guys, number one, their coach and their coaches. They've been together for a long, long time. You don't get those kind of teams that have that type of a staff together for that long. It just doesn't happen very often. It's a credit to Coach Snyder and what he's done. It's his 25th season at Kansas State. Man, what a great career he's had.
This team is very much like the other ones, very good on defense. They're very good on special teams, just a gritty, hard-nosed, efficient football team. The thing that really sticks out to me the most is as you go down those stats, the statistic page and you start looking at what they're good at, they lead the league in 13 categories, 13 categories, which is phenomenal to lead the league in that many categories, and a lot of them are special teams oriented. They're things like turnover margin and they're things that don't allow -- they don't allow you to beat yourself. Smart football team. I mean, you're going to have to go beat them because they're not going to give it to you, so it's going to be a great challenge for us.
Some really terrific individual players they've got over there, probably too many to mention, but their return game is phenomenal, as usual. They just seem to reload with returners.
I think Elijah Lee is one of the best players in the conference. That dude is a terrific player. Jordan Willis, there ain't many better than him in our conference. That guy is really good with his hands, and he's a good football player. Really is a good football player.
They're just gritty across the front. I think they're really talented in the secondary. I think their corners are both very good players. It'll be a great challenge.
Up front, just a hard-nosed, typical Kansas State, really good football team up front. I like that right guard. I mean, the Johnson kid, I watch him every week. The kid just -- something, he sticks out to me on video. He's a good player, and I know he's a junior college kid out of this state right here, but man, what a great player he is. I think their quarterback makes him go. He can run. He runs a lot better than you want him to unless you're on the other team, but he runs a lot better than you want him to, and he throws it pretty well.
I think the Dimel kid, Dana's son, has done a great job. What great production he's had for them in the role he's played. Man, those two dudes, Burton and Heath, they can go. They've got some guys that can run.
Special teams concerns me. It was a difference maker in this game last year, so obviously we are putting a lot of time and emphasis on that, as we always do, but even more so. We have got to make sure that we take care of all of the controllables this week as we go into this game.
Should be a fun week. We're excited about it. Today will kick off our big, major volume practice of the week. Tomorrow will be the same, and then we'll kind of start winding it down as we get ready to travel out to Manhattan.
With that, we'll take some questions.
Q. Yesterday in the coaches' teleconference you called Bill Snyder maybe one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game. Is it kind of hard for you to wrap your head around a number like 199 wins and just what he's been able to do?
DAVID BEATY: It is. And the way that he's done it and the manner in which he's done it and the way in which he resurrected a program, or basically built it, is the thing that's most interesting to me and just most impressive. The way in which he's done it, the guy to me is the picture of class. Everyone in our conference respects him. They respect him highly.
There's a couple of us that when we're together at meetings, we make sure that we watch him, and we follow his lead just because he's done it so well for so long, and you know he's thought about it. When you get on a plane with him and you see a notebook about that thick and he's writing the whole time, you're like, okay, no wander. No wonder.
Q. The rivalry there, have you looked at them as inspiration at all for what you inherited and what you're trying to do here?
DAVID BEATY: Well, listen, I might be the world's greatest thief in the world, so I'm going to steal from just about everyone that's ever done it good, and that's the thing about this job is you've got to continue learning. I mean, there's a lot of things about this job over the last two years that I'm going to learn from. But you try to study those before you, particularly the ones that you respect the way that they do the job, and he's certainly a great example of that. I don't think I'm alone in that category. I think there's a lot of folks out there.
Q. Some Big 12 defenses this year, or the past few years, have really stressed turnovers, sometimes you see it almost as much as they stress tackling. Do you guys do that, and looking back at last week, getting six takeaways and all and an interception return, how much do you really preach that sort of thing?
DAVID BEATY: Well, you have to preach it. It's not something you can just hope for. You have to teach it, and in the off-season there was a huge emphasis put on things that we consider game changing statistical categories, and that's absolutely one of them. We work so much on ball destruction, and we term it ball destruction. We've done a lot of study with NFL teams in terms of as we're around quarterbacks and ball destruction and as we're going to tackle and our targets with our hands and understanding opportunities of where the ball is and when those opportunities present themselves and making it second nature and part of our tackling routine to get those tackles built into ball destructive opportunities. I know that sounds a little redundant, but it is exactly how we teach it.
Being able to get the ball out, I mean, I've got to say, that last drive, I remember looking at Carter and saying, they're about to get the ball out, they're going to turn it over, so we need to be ready for a two-minute drive because we're going to have to get out of bounds and we're going to have to knife for the first and keep the clock stopped as much as we can as we get the ball down because we're going to have to score again after that.
As soon as we did that, I saw Mike come up, and I Feaster caused it but Mike comes up and the ball comes out and we recover it.
Just as a team we realize offensively -- as I'm standing over there watching our guys realize offensively and the guys defensively know that that's just part of how we're playing right now. You've got to get the ball out, man. It's the major -- it is the number one stat, turnover margin, and they lead the league in it, so it's going to be tough this week, but it's going to be a great challenge. We're going to have to get the ball out. We're going to have to. And they're going to work hard to get the ball out against us.
Q. Sometimes when you're trying to teach that, does tackling -- I know you try to stress tackling in addition to getting those swipes and what have you, but does tackling get lost sometimes?
DAVID BEATY: You would think so, but as the game has progressed and the changing of the ways of tackling has kind of progressed, we are so much better at the first guy getting the guy down than we were again -- we were last year. We track how many yards after first contact, and we've done it since last year. I would come in last year on Sunday, and I would have a sheet on my desk that told me how many yards, and it was amazing. I mean, we may have 300 yards after first contact, and now, I mean, we're making 80 to 87 percent of the tackles that we have first contact on, and there's very few yards after that first contact. That's going to be kind of the major emphasis.
Because of that, it's the way we're teaching tackling that's allowing us to be able to put ourselves in destructive ball situations. You would think it would carry over for us offensively. Really offensively, fumbling has not been a huge deal for us. It's been more special teams miscues and interceptions. That's been the problem.
So our kids have had to learn to take care of the football from a position standpoint. We've got to get better in that interception category.
Q. Can you just evaluate your punt return this year?
DAVID BEATY: Very disappointed because we've got an explosive guy back there, and very much like we talk about early in the year, it's hard to fix something that you don't see in practice. Man, that guy is -- Quv, at practice, he is by far the most solid, steady, he's done a terrific job. And up until this point, really last week and this week, he actually did a good job, and I can't put my finger on it, but we've got to keep working to find the right guy back there. We haven't really had any return game to speak of since that Ohio game, and that's not okay. We can't do that, so we're going to have to continue to work to find explosive returners because this team is a great example of it.
I mean, these guys, they've got me so worried about their return game, it's going to steal away from other things that you have to put your time on because there's only so much time in the day.
We've got guys back there that we think are explosive enough, but you've got to value possession. That's the number one thing. So we've got to possess it first and then we'll worry about running with it.
Q. With those early fumbles was there kind of a tendency to tell those guys to fair catch it if there was any question early on just to kind of get that --
DAVID BEATY: You know, the thing about punts in our league is about 80 to 85 percent of them are -- they're fair catches, because these dudes can hit it now. These are NFL style punters. And you know when it's a fair catch. You pretty much know.
Now, there's some guys in our league that have some experience that they don't care, they'll catch it anywhere. Last week I'm watching Jacorey Warrick, and I'm thinking he's going to drop at least one of those, and his hands are out here like this, and man, he catches every one of them, but he's done that all year, but it looked so shaky and there's guys all around him, but he's fearless in that regard, and he's got a lot of experience doing it.
You know, our guys know when it should be a fair catch, and we need to make sure we capitalize when the punter makes a mistake, and you know what those mistakes look like. We teach it. A lot of you guys come to practice. Man, my leg is sore every week. I punt 50 balls a day to these guys. I mean, we work so hard on that, and for us not to be progressing there, that's not okay. We're going to have to continue to work and move on until we get the right guy. Steven Sims will probably be back there this week, maybe Fish.
Q. You've seen your team pretty resilient after losses. Do you sense any extra juice coming off a big win like this?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, absolutely. I can sit up here and be Mr. Tough guy and say, no, it's normal business as usual, but it is, but it's not. Those guys, they sit up a little taller, and I mean, they are resilient, and they come back ready to go and they're focused every week. But you just see a sense of pride in them in terms of that accomplishment of finishing that game off the other day. It's just one game, and for it to be a turning point, it's going to -- the future is going to tell you that, whether it's going to be a cornerstone or not. We don't know that yet, and that's what I talked to them about. Our challenge is not to let that be just one game.
Q. There's a tendency sometimes with awards where the players on the teams with losing records might not get recognized much. For Big 12 Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year that is, Dorance Armstrong, does he have a case?
DAVID BEATY: You know, statistically and really just as you watch his play throughout the year, I don't know how you leave him out of that talk. I mean, he's easily one of the best players in this conference, if not the best player on the defensive side.
You know, whether it comes to what team you're playing on or not, that's not for me to say. But I know this: I've seen some really, really good football players on great teams, and I've also seen some really good ones on some teams that weren't so good. You know, it comes down to production. We're still playing against the same guys they're playing against.
Q. He's going to be on the same field as Jourdan Lewis, obviously. They're not going head to head, but is that kind of cool to have that match-up of probably the two best defensive ends in the Big 12?
DAVID BEATY: I'll tell you what, that's going to be a display of two of the better players in the league, in the entire league on any side of the ball. I mean, those two guys are really good players.
I'll tell you what, I love watching Willis until I have to play him. But he is a good football player. He is really a good football player. One of the best guys I've seen with his hands in my time coaching. He's really, really good.
They're very different players, but they both are very productive in the way they do things. I think it'll be a fun match-up to watch just in terms of watching what kind of production comes from either side.
Q. Give an evaluation of what you've seen out of Carter Stanley, good and bad, and where you see him.
DAVID BEATY: I think the number one thing that sticks out for me for Carter is just his confidence that the rest of that team has in him and just the way that they're drawn to him. The chemistry has been really, really good with him out there. I think those kids respect him because they've watched his work ethic, they've watched him with class continue to get better, and when his turn was called, he steps up and he makes plays, and he's fearless. Those runs in the fourth quarter where he didn't go down and he -- that was something I was very, very proud of.
You know, it's something we've been talking about, that there's not any sliding here anymore. We're not going to slide anywhere, which I was glad to see him take that over to the field, which was good.
But there were some great things in that game for him. I think we wouldn't have been in it there late without him. He did some things with his feet. He probably -- he got hit in the head on that one last one, and we're glad -- I'm lucky we have him still because he got hit right in the chin, but he took a couple of other hits right in the head that didn't get called that were pretty close to -- he got hit a bunch, and for him to continue to stay playing as well as he did with as many shots as took up around his head, I mean, he's a tough dude. Tough dude. Impressive.
Q. Any tendencies that you saw, things that were kind of breaking down for him?
DAVID BEATY: Got to continue to trust the rules, and that's really kind of the thing that all young quarterbacks go through is continuing to go through the rules and not locking onto a guy. That's where you can get yourself in trouble. That last throw, Steven Sims, man, that was one of the best plays in the whole game. Without that, that game is over and they win. I mean, that guy had it, and he kept fighting; he became a defender. We talked about it in the huddle right before we went out. You know, in those situations you're thinking players, not plays a lot of times to try to figure out who you're going to get that ball to.
We made a couple of errors there. Steven slid inside on a fade, which that's not something you want to do, put Carter in a bad position, but he fought his way back to get the ball out. But we put the ball in a position to be picked there, and that was something that we have to learn from.
Q. Wins are attributed to quarterbacks, right or wrong. I guess I'll let you answer whether it's right or wrong, but does a win mean more for a quarterback than other players?
DAVID BEATY: Well, I have to deal in reality, but there's this thing out there called perception, and perception, it's still there. I think perceptionally, the quarterback is a guy that's going to get a lot of praise when things go well, and he's also going to get a lot of criticism when things don't go well, and he's very much like the head coach in that regard. Probably a lot of times he doesn't get enough credit, and a lot of times he gets way too much. The truth is it's always a team game, and everyone should be getting the same amount of credit.
In this team, this year, I can't say enough about how well our defense has played. We, I have stressed so much about if we can become a team in this conference that plays good defense, then we can change it, because there's not many teams in the conference that have done that with any steady regularity. So there's been a big-time focus for us put on finding great players to get over there and see if we can minimize the scoring a little bit. And we've got to continue to build the offensive side, obviously, as well. You want to do both, but we just feel like if they can't score they can't win, and it's going to be hard to keep them from scoring in this league, but you've got to keep it down as best you can.
I just think our defensive staff has done a terrific job, and I think our kids have done a terrific job.
Now, we've got some experience over there, and there's going to be some guys leaving us that have played a lot of football, so the challenge is for those younger guys to step back in and just pick up where they left off next year.
Q. Alex Barnes is only a freshman for K-State, but he's looked everything but in the last couple games. What makes him so --
DAVID BEATY: Man, I'll tell you, the thing about their all guys, man, I know their strength coach really well, and he seems to take young guys and develop them really fast. I mean, he's done a terrific job. Je'Ney Jackson comes out of his tree, and I've just got so much respect for Chris Dawson and what he does over there.
But I mean, Dana, all those guys, they've got good football coaches and they know how to utilize these guys and put them in good positions. I'll tell you what, you'd better bring your lunch pail this week when it comes to preparing, because they're going to have their team coached up and ready to go. I mean, it's a great challenge for us because this is a great coaching staff that we're going against, and they will out-coach you if you don't get yourself ready to go. They'll out-coach you.
So the challenge for us is going to be to focus on us, and if we can get ourselves prepared and ready to go, they've got enough weapons all over the place that it's going to make it difficult. I think that's what makes it so hard is you can't focus on just one of them, but he's a terrific young player.
Q. What have you thought of the play of Loneker and Arnick and how much do you need them this week?
DAVID BEATY: We're going to need them. There's no doubt about it. Loneker shouldn't be doing what he's doing. That dude, I don't know how he's doing that. I mean that as a compliment. I mean, he drug that dude down, what, 16 times the other day. I don't know if he tackled him once, but he drug him down 16 times. Thank goodness he did it on that last one. He is a tough, hard-nosed, terrific Lawrencian. He is a great kid. I can't say enough good things about his heart, and those kids, they love him and they trust him.
Courtney Arnick, another guy that's played a lot of football around here, and we challenged Courtney over the last two weeks because we needed a guy that looks like a free safety to play like a real linebacker in there because it cost us against Iowa State on a couple of plays. He responded last week, which was good.
We just went from being very deep at linebacker from injuries to not being very deep at all. The good news is we're getting a lot of young guys playing time. Osaze Ogbebor, Denzel Feaster I thought did some really good things. We're really excited about him. Both those guys are nice sized guys. But Loneker, man, coming in there and doing the things he did the other day, really the whole crew Todd Bradford has done a good job with them.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports