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September 23, 2017

David Beaty

Lawrence, Kansas

West Virginia - 56, Kansas - 34

DAVID BEATY: Just real quick, take my hat off to Coach Holgorsen and his staff. Those guys did a good job getting their team ready to play. They came in here and won a Big 12 Conference game on the road, and you've got to give them credit for finding a way to win. I thought the quarterback for them played really well today, and their running back played really well. I thought their O-line did a pretty good job of protecting, and that's kind of something we felt like we needed to take advantage of going into the game.

Let's take some questions, that way I can answer exactly what you're looking for.

Q. At what point does the plan become let's see how far Khalil Herbert can take us today?
DAVID BEATY: Well, we knew going into the game based on how they structure and some of the things we'd seen in the previous couple of weeks where their advantage is. When you're game planning, you take a lot of different things into account, number one, where your strengths lie, where your strengths lie up front, and then where you feel like you can exploit what they're doing schematically, and that's kind of where that game started. We felt like we might be able to do that early. We were hoping we could, and we did for the most part. I thought we had a lot of that first quarter which is something we had to do with a very explosive team.

Q. When you're having so many massive chunk plays on the ground, is that helpful for both sides of the ball to just see the offense having that type of success because the defense, can they feed off of that, too?
DAVID BEATY: Oh, certainly. I think they both can feed off each other in all three phases of the game. We just got done talking in there about it's never about one side or one third of the game. It's always about playing complementary football and us having each other's back. We did have some explosives today, and typically if you win an explosive and you won the turnover battle you'll have a really good chance to win. Well, we didn't win the turnover battle, and they had some explosives, as well.

Q. Four straight 80-yard touchdown drives for West Virginia in the first half. Was that just too big a hole to dig out of?
DAVID BEATY: Well, you would think normally that's a pretty tough hole, but we kind of dug out of it. I think we had an unfortunate play there right towards the end of the first half that, man, it was a booger, it killed you, because you give up a touchdown on a pick six. I think I talked about it on the radio here just a second ago, and that's unfortunate because there's a guy barreling down on him, he's got to get the ball out, he has to get it up, Steven is not the tallest guy, he went up and tried to get it and curved, he's assigned to block that guy. He's got him right where he's supposed to have him, and the ball bounces right to him. You know what, sometimes those things happen. The ball bounces your way sometimes.

But the thing I liked about it is the fact that we came back in that next drive. We didn't sit there and go in at halftime -- instead of being a seven-point turnaround, that was a four-point turnaround, and that's something to build on.

You know, same thing with us all over the field. We've got to keep fighting and we've got to keep fighting and we've got to keep improving. That's the thing is continuing to improve. As much as I know it may be difficult for just the average fan to see, I see the improvement. I see some improvement going on out there in all three phases. We've got to make a lot of progress quicker because this is a tough conference, but that's a good football team. That's a good football team out there, and they can put points on the board pretty quickly, which they did in the fourth quarter. I thought the second half was a tale of two quarters.

Q. And in particular the two false starts on 4th downs and Dorance's offsides on the field goal attempt?
DAVID BEATY: You know, we just -- we just finished talking about if we don't think it's -- we know it's not athletically that we're struggling. We know that we athletically can do it, it's just managing the mental part of the game and being a smart football team. We say that every week, not letting crazy things happen to us, going out there and Dorance jumping offsides right there. That was a big play in the game.

But he also did a lot of things for us to get us into that position. They didn't score on that play. We could have stopped them, and we didn't. Those type of things are going to happen. You don't want them to, but you're going to have some negative adversity come your way, and you've got to find a way to bow your neck and get on the field again. Those five-yard penalties up front, man, they're unacceptable. Same thing with Dorance's. They're unacceptable. Those things can't happen. That's a reflection on us as a staff. I don't know about my guys -- I think I know my guys; we don't like that, because I know we teach them better.

Q. Is your run blocking, maybe you do that as well as you do anything, and how much of that is the personnel changes or just gaining confidence or whatever?
DAVID BEATY: I think a lot of it's development to be honest with you. We have just a few new guys in there, but Chris Hughes is a developing guy, he developed over last year, he didn't play at all, but we knew he was going to be a pretty good player. He's got a lineage. His brothers both played at Texas. Both of them were massive and really good players. We knew he had a chance to be really good, and I thought Zach did a great job bringing him home.

Mesa Ribordy, he saw some action last year and actually had a pretty decent season, but seeing him develop has been good. Watching Toby develop, we didn't start him the first couple games because he just wasn't ready, but we developed him over time. I think development has been kind of a key for us up front, and we knew that coming into this project, this turnaround project, that it was going to be hardest up front. But I am proud of Zach Yenser and what his vision was for what we were trying to get done up front. I think it's starting to play dividends.

Q. It was just like an eight-point game in the fourth quarter, and you guys opened with the ball in the fourth quarter. I think there was a 3rd down play where Bender maybe had a chance to run the ball but tried to kind of get Ben Johnson on the sideline right there in front of you. Is that as critical a point as any?
DAVID BEATY: I think it was a big point, but I thought he might have been able to run, but my guys upstairs are like, no chance he wasn't getting a 1st down there. He runs about like me, and I'm not very good.

But we would like to see our scramble, our scramble drill work a little bit better. And that's a scenario we've got to get better at is scramble drill. Now, he hasn't done it a whole lot, so we've got to be prepared for it. It would have been nice to see him throw a little Khalil Herbert juke and see if he could get the first, but he felt like he could squeeze it into Ben, and he just didn't get it in there.

Q. I know you want to play up tempo in the air-raid, but when you can run the ball like you did today, is it potentially something you use to maybe burn some clock in the future if you can run the ball with this kind of success?
DAVID BEATY: You know, I think by nature of the run game, you get to utilize a lot of clock. I think that's really kind of the story of the first quarter, which was something we were hoping we could get done, which was chew up the first quarter with some drives running the football and trying to stick to it a little bit. Yeah, I mean, you'd like to be able to utilize that at times. Unfortunately we got behind again, and when you get behind, you've got to start throwing it a little bit. You've got to be a balanced football team, period, anyway, but I'll tell you this: We're improving, and we're going to continue to fight. We're getting better in a lot of areas. We're just not there yet, and I hate it for our fans, I hate it for our stakeholders because they deserve better than that. But there's a lot of improvement in areas, just not enough yet, not enough to win that game today, and that's unfortunate because I thought that was a really, really evenly matched game to be honest with you as we got into it. I felt like it should have been a lot closer than it turned out to be. That's disappointing.

Q. Do you feel like this today was the best rushing game that you've had in your tenure here at Kansas that you can think of?
DAVID BEATY: No doubt. I thought we ran the ball really, really well today. Khalil ran for 291 yards. That's third all-time and pretty close to the second all-time, which, man, that's good. We had a bunch of 1st downs, 24 of them. You think about the first half, you know, it's a tale of 1st downs for us. They had 19 of their 31 1st downs in the first half, which we've just got to do a better job of getting off the ball there, getting off the field there on that first half and maybe the story is a little bit different. They had 31 1st downs. Like I said, 19 of them came in the first half. That's an area we can improve on a bunch. And we can do it because we came out there in the second half and did it in the third quarter. We got off the field, and I'm seeing those guys improve, and the other thing that -- I mean, I'm not pleased with a lot, don't get me wrong, particularly losing, but I love watching our staff make adjustments at halftime and coming out and continuing to work to try to find a way to make things better in that second half, and we're actually doing a pretty decent job of that. We need to sustain that.

Q. You ended up running the ball a lot more than passing it today. Was that kind of the game plan going in, or did just the game dictated that's how it ended up playing out?
DAVID BEATY: It was the plan. You know, I mean, we want to establish the run game. We're not running like a whole lot of other people. I know you hear the term air-raid a lot, but we want to be able to establish the run. We do. You know, they've got some things that would prevent you from running it well unless you're smart enough to be able to surface them and do some things that you should do. I thought each of them did a brilliant job of that. They did a really nice job of getting themselves in good position to create good angles.

Q. This is sort of a weird game, but are you more encouraged or discouraged?
DAVID BEATY: I am seeing improvement, which is good. Very discouraged about that fourth quarter because that's not -- that's now how I felt like that game should have ended up, and all the unfortunate things that were self-inflicted that happened.

You know, the fumble, you know, we gave up one sack today, and it was the one that they called a fumble, so we had some improvement there, definitely. I don't know, you guys probably got a better look at it, but I mean, I didn't see it after a few seconds, but it sure looked like his hands moved forward, I'm not sure, but unfortunately we just didn't protect him on that play, and that's what happens when you put the quarterback in harm's way. We've got to do that more to him, though, the other guy. We've got to get more pass rush on him and create that, as well. We just haven't been able to do that, and we've got to keep working at it until we do it because we're fixing to play another team that can sling it all over the yard. I'll tell you what, underneath coverage was a little better today. We improved a little bit. We weren't great, but we improved a little bit, which was good. We knocked a few balls down. We were contesting things, caused a few of those drops. We hadn't had a dropped pass I don't think coming into this game, but when you're contesting balls, that happens, so it was good to see some of that happen.

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