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UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 31, 2017
DAVID BEATY: All right. I just walked by Coach Meacham's office, and I'm happy to report he's got Soundgarden blaring in there, so I've got my energy level up today, which is good. He's an interesting guy. Funny, funny dude.
What a great week we have on tap here at KU this week. Lot of things going on that are really cool. I know Bill and those guys are tipping it off tonight, so I want to say good luck to those guys for another great season here at KU. But a lot of other things are going on.
First of all, we've got a Baylor team coming in here this week, another great opportunity for us as we go through this Big 12 schedule. But a couple things that are going to be going on here at KU during that game. First of which, Gilbert Brown is going to be taking his rightful place in the Ring of Honor up here, which I can't tell you how delighted I am for him. When I got to make that phone call, it was one of the coolest things I've ever experienced. He was in tears, and that's what you want it to be like for guys.
So I know him and his teammates are excited about this week. We're also honoring the 1992 Aloha Bowl team that is already in the Hall of Fame, Coach Mason's team. That's a team that included guys like Charlie Bowen, Clint Bowen, Keith Loneker, Kwamie Lassiter, Dana Stubblefield. There were so many great players on that team. So that team is going to be honored as well. So it's going to be a great weekend for that era for us to be able to celebrate that. I'd also like to credit and thank adidas for their cooperation and all of their help and work on designing our uniform this week, as we wear it honoring the Salute to Service week for our players and being able to participate in that that game this week and what they did to really commemorate that I thought was spectacular work. They really are first class.
Those uniforms were created, you know, this week, basically, honoring the Civil War era, inspired by the Free Staters of Kansas. So it's a really, really cool deal. If you haven't seen the background on it, some of that stuff the symbolism behind it, it's really cool. Very detailed, really cool.
Our guys are excited about playing in this game for a lot of reasons. One of the things that sticks out to them, because we do have a lot of veteran parents on our team, it's really to honor those that protect us. Saluting to service is a big deal for our team, and they're excited always about this week. So I know Daniel Wise has got a set of parents that have served, and I know it's a big week for him as well.
So lot of things going on. Before we get going forward, I just want to thank our Jayhawk family for showing up Saturday, man. It was an impressive sight. I thought the crowd was outstanding, and it made a difference. It was definitely magical. I want to credit our offensive and defensive staff starting with Clint Bowen and Coach Meacham who both did a terrific job preparing their kids last week for the game. I thought both of their units responded well throughout the week. They prepared well, and they did a great job getting their guys ready to play. They're going to have to continue to do that as we move forward this week.
Some guys that stuck out to us last week, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention them, Carter Stanley coming in, getting his first start on the season. All he did was throw for 418 yards, which I think is fifth best in school history in a single game. He rushed for 55 yards, which is a huge deal for us. Mesa Ribordy, which you're not going to see a lot on the stat line, but what a huge difference he made coming back in there for us. A lot of things he did that you just don't see until you watch that coach's cut. He did a terrific job for us.
Steven Sims, 233 yards receiving. Probably could have been close to 300 had he made a couple more opportunities that he had. He might have been in some rare air there. But as it was, he was third in KU history in his single game receive something.
Joe Dineen defensively, Mike Lee defensively, Torneden, Wise, had two and a half sacks with three and a half TFLs, Josh Ehambe had a good game. I thought he did some things. He flew around and put some nice hits on people. Tyrone Miller continues to play steady for us in the back end.
JJ Holmes, I haven't said his name a lot, but he's played a lot better here as we went through this conference schedule, but very proud of those guys. They've responded.
We've got a great week, great opportunity, like I said this week. Obviously, we need to build upon last week's performance on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. We've got to make the necessary adjustments in the hidden third of the game, the kicking game, which is so critical to winning and losing. We've got to make those necessary adjustments and get that shored up because we have a great Baylor team coming in here that Matt Rhule's doing a terrific job with those guys.
They are a lot better than people think they are. They've played some really, really good football games, and they just continue to get better. Matt does a terrific job. I think he's absolutely the right guy at the right time for that university. I've gotten to know him a little bit, and just have a ton of respect for him. He's got a great staff and they've got some players now.
There are some guys that stick out to me. That Denzel Mims kid could play anywhere in the country, the receiver. He's a really talented guy. They've used a few different quarterbacks, but all of them are capable. They've got a fairly young offensive line right now, but their defensive line, you know, you didn't want to turn the tape on and see what you saw. They are big, strong, and they are good. They're good players. They're just getting better day by day.
Some young guys in the back end mixed with some older guys. That Harrison Hand kid, I think he's a true freshman, and he's a good player, No. 31. He makes a lot of plays for them. Verkedric Vaughns, Taion Sells played a lot for them. Those guys stick out to me.
The Ira Lewis kid, Tyrone Hunt, Taylor Young, Greg Roberts, those guys are all massive human beings. I don't know where he gets those dudes, but those are some big kids. He's done a nice job there. He really has.
So it's going to be a fun week. With that, let's take some questions.
Q. Do you have an update on how Dorance is doing?
DAVID BEATY: Dorance will be available. He looks like he's going to be fine. Looks like everything is good to go for practice. He's cleared for today, so hopefully everything will work out and we'll get him full speed by Saturday.
Q. You've giving up three return touchdowns three weeks in a row. Did you talk to Joe about that? Will you pick his brain about how he broke out of the slump at West Virginia when his team gave up three touchdowns in a row back in 2014?
DAVID BEATY: I haven't talked to him specifically about that. But we won't treat it any differently than we would regardless of anywhere you are. We'll go back and continue to do what we've done each week, which is tear it apart and make sure we understand why what is happening is happening. The thing about it, it's very simple. Turn on the tape and you just look at what caused it, and typically it's ten guys being on the same page, and one guy not being in the right spot or being blocked out of a spot, and not defeating his block, and the ball finds it. It usually does.
So we have to strain to be perfect. You're not running down on air. You're running down on guys. They're trying to block you. So you've not only got to hold your leverage and be on the right side of the guy that's trying to block you. But you also have to be able to get off those blocks as well. Because they're trying to block you. It's not like you're running on air. So there are a lot of different things that go into that. In each one of those returns, the ball should have been down right when it started. And that's the thing we look at.
It's just very small little details like keeping the ball to the boundary side, and making sure that you take an uncontrolled shot and your first down, that you go through and you cut the wide side. Once you cut the wide side, you know, we cut the wide side on one the other day, and a seven or eight yard return, but he didn't get a 50-yard return. Some of the things that go into where you put the ball on the placement is so critical.
That's exactly what Joe's doing. He's going back to look at everything he's done in the past to make sure we're tearing those things apart as we practice. Not just running down there and covering kicks, but extracting those movements so we become better at defeating blocks and getting in the right leverage.
Q. What about teams that have trouble with depth? Obviously that's going to trickle down to special teams, isn't it?
DAVID BEATY: Andy Roddick used to say this, and I thought it was a great, great quote. It ain't fun to say it, but it's the truth. "People either have excuses or the reasons why they don't, and they're both the same." I mean, there are no excuses.
We've got people that are dressed up in our uniforms, and we have to train those guys and they have to be just as effective as the guy that was there before him. We'll continue to work and look at our personnel. But is it a little bit more challenging? Absolutely. Absolutely it's a little more challenging.
From that standpoint, we've got to teach them to be technical. You have to have the reasons you won't, and the reasons period. We've got to grab on to any excuses, that's just our job to get it fixed.
Q. How do you change what you're able to do when you're building on offensive success rather than trying to diagnose what went wrong?
DAVID BEATY: Well, I think obviously you'd rather be in that position than you would be the other. You know, I don't know. I'm not so sure that sometimes, you know, when you haven't done well, sometimes you push and you strain even harder. Sometimes that becomes counter productive as well. You can start drawing a bunch of stuff on the board and stay up here until 4:00 in the morning and next thing you know is you got a bunch of stuff you're not good at, right?
I think the challenge for us, if what we're doing is sound, and we like it and believe in it, I think we continue to do it better over and over again. We heard her say a couple weeks ago that we're going to try to find some things that we do well, and we'll do them over and over again until we get better at them.
Hopefully we can borrow from some of the better coaches that ever coach this game, and they don't do a whole lot most of the time. They just do it better than you do it. From our standpoint, over the long haul, you've got to be able to hang your hat on something, and I think that's what our coaches are working towards finding is what we can we do well.
Q. When you went back to watch the K-State game, what stood out about Mesa and what his presence does for everybody on the offense?
DAVID BEATY: First of all, that guy controls everything from a communication standpoint. He's the quarterback up front. He really is. He's a quarterback for not only him but everybody else that's ever involved in protection and directing where the points are for your run game. That, more than anything, just being accurate with those things, he's a smart, intelligent guy. He's seen a lot of different -- a lot of different teams and a lot of different things now. It's a little bit more just natural for him now. He understands where pressure is coming from. He knows where they're moving. He understands when they're going from a one backer box to a two, or a two to a three backer box. He gets that because he sees it, and he's seen it over and over again. That as much as anything helps.
But he's pretty talented up front. He's a strong guy, it's not as easy as just putting somebody on the nose, you know. You've got to not be a little bit of a problem. First thing we're going to do is put a big, heavy nose on him. We'll work at center over. The last thing he's worried about is getting point right. He's going to try to get that done, and he's going to figure out how to get the ball snapped and survive. But this guy's got some talent. He's strong, physical, and he's also very smart, very intelligent, and he's seen a lot of it. I think that helped us as much as anything.
Q. Did you realize just how good or how important he was until you had to play without him?
DAVID BEATY: I certainly did. But we're not going to make excuses, and we're not going to grab on to it was -- we didn't play good because we didn't have our starting center. That's not going to happen. So we've just got to get the other guy ready to go. He's got to commit to coming along and closing the gap on those types of performances.
But there is a reason why a guy starts and another guy doesn't most of the time. It's very seldom that -- the cream usually rises. It's pretty crystal clear most of the time. There are few instances where you're like, oh, man, I don't know who I want to play here. It's usually pretty crystal clear.
Q. (Indiscernible) how has Mike's game evolved from last year to this point in the season?
DAVID BEATY: I was proud of Mike because Mike didn't start this game last week. There were some things that we really needed him to get better at individually. How he tackled, how he fit into certain gaps, just a couple of foot here or there was making a big difference on how much space a running back was having as he broke through the big gap and the boundary. Those things are very important for a young guy. They don't understand it sometimes.
But he responded well. He had seven tackles in the game. He tackled so much better than he had. He still had some things that he's got to get better at. But I warned -- we warned him, and I talked about it publicly, our job is to not let him have a sophomore slide, because that happens almost everywhere. When you have a really good freshman year, it's very, very difficult to replicate that as a sophomore. So, we just -- he's committed to it, and he lets us coach him, which is the best thing I can say, because we wear him out all day every day. We want him to be good. We want him to be a good player.
Q. So he didn't start just to kind of give him some incentive to fix his issues?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, I mean, the thing is you either have to show that you're going to make those improvements because it's the way that it fits into the scheme, or we've got to go to the next guy that will show us that he can do that, right? And you'll have your opportunity to get back in there. When you do, if you show that you made those adjustments, your playing time will tend to improve again, right? So that's kind of what happened Saturday.
I thought that he took it to heart. He tried to make the adjustments. We moved him from another position. He was playing the field, a little different deal. That takes him a little while to move him over to that spot. He'll get there he wants to do it, and he doesn't mind you coaching. You can get after Mike and he takes it.
Q. Playing as well as he did, and good he stays healthy the rest of the way, would you anticipate him starting all of the remaining games?
DAVID BEATY: Y'all know me, you're only as good as the next. But if he continues to stay like he has, stay healthy, that's a critical piece, staying healthy and being productive and being committed. I, don't know that any -- there is any reason why anybody changes if he continues to produce. It's a production business. If you continue to produce, we'll stay with you, obviously. Right?
I will say this, having Mesa back was a big deal. You know? I know that the previous two weeks with Peyton were tough, but there's a big difference in the amount of time that Carter had to throw and Peyton had to throw the last two weeks now.
Peyton had a lot of time to throw earlier in the seasons when we were averaging 480 yards a game. So our challenge is not to let one man be that much of a difference. Right? So we've got to really close that gap. We've got capable guys to do it, and those guys have to come on and we've got to keep developing.
Q. That said, how do you go about evaluating your quarterback?
DAVID BEATY: That's no different than it always has been. That's why we always say you are only as good as your next. If you come out to practice and you're not prepared, if you come out to practice and you're not executing, you don't look like you understand the game plan and you haven't done your due diligence in terms of studying what people are doing. Because the game will go fast, man, if you don't know what they're doing. It feels like this. When you don't know what you're doing, it feels like that.
But when you know what that opponent is doing to you, man, it's like playing a video game. But you've got to study. Because they get paid to do it too, and they're going to hide it. You've got to know what they're doing. That, to me, as much as anything from our quarterback position, is how much time are they putting into understanding their opponent and what they're trying to do to them. That's what's going to make those guys more effective.
So from that standpoint, we don't do it any differently. We're going to evaluate them every day. They don't bring an intensity and leadership to practice, we'll put the other guy in there and we'll go.
Q. Baylor has played, I think, 17 true freshman and (Indiscernible) had starts at times. Was it nice to be the more experienced team for a change? That's kind of an unusual role for you.
DAVID BEATY: I will say this: As I look at the participation reports and all the guys that have played. It does remind me a little bit of our first year here. I know they are facing some of the very similar situations that we did with regard to a loss of scholarships, not through reduction, but simply through people that left. They had an open-door policy at one point-type deal where guys could just take off and they weren't able to get those initials back.
Well, when you're down ten initials, that's a big deal. When you're down 30 initials, that's unheard of. I'm not saying that their initial situation was like ours, because ours was a little bit different. But when you're down ten, it kills you. I mean, ten people. You just imagine picking ten people off our team and not having them there. That's a big deal. Imagine picking 30 of them. Let me go to Oklahoma and take 30 of them. That's a different deal, right?
You know, the thing is, it's a process to get that back. It's a process to get ten of them back. It takes a little while. The classes have to align, all the things have to go into it. I've watched and listened from afar, and just watching him and his resiliency and how he's handled that team, I'll take my hat off to him. I called him to encourage him because he's the right man for that job at the right time. He's got right heart, and he's done this before. He did it at Temple, and he's done it. He's done a really good job, and he's a really good football coach.
Q. Is that what you do with other coaches, call them and offer them encouragement when they're going through a tough time?
DAVID BEATY: I've got a bunch of buddies in the industry, and I'll call them and just talk and visit, but that's not very often. I just know that Matt is going through a very similar situation to kind of what we inherited when we first got here, and hey, man, listen, we're all in this for kids, right? And I keep hearing him talk about kids and what it's like for kids. That's why I reached out to him and gave him a call.
Q. Obviously you prepare every week, trying to win that Saturday, but when Baylor is coming here and they're winless, and you guys are winless in the Big 12, does this game kind of take on a different meaning because the winner moves out of last place?
DAVID BEATY: Yes. This is a big game for both of us. Somebody's going to come out of here with the first Big 12 win and move yourself into position to be able to attack the rest of the season. It is a huge game for us. We are looking forward to the challenge, and it will be a great one because they want their first one just like we do.
You know, they've played the heck out of people. They played the heck out of Kansas State. They played the heck out of Oklahoma. They played on the heck out of West Virginia. It's a good football team, man. They've got some players. They score points and they can hold you down. We've got a big challenge ahead of us. I mean, it's not what it looks like on paper. It rarely is.
Q. Can you talk about Daniel Wise? His ability to just move everywhere on the field. How many guys have you seen and had with the mobility of an inside defensive tackle like Daniel showed?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, he's a pretty versatile guy at that position. You don't see it very often. You might see a DN that you might be able to move inside every now and then to a six technique, even a four and a three-down front sometimes. But this guy, being a defensive tackle and moving him to a rush end and being able to do that, that's pretty unique.
He had two-and-a-half sacks the other day. He had three-and-a-half TFLs, and he's very explosive, dynamic, great with his hands. He's grown up so much from the first time that we ever met him. He's turned into a real pro, and he's turned into the leader. He's really taken over that leadership role for our football team which is good to see. And he's a productive guy. Right? And he cares about KU. That's one of the things that I love about him most, he truly cares about this university.
Q. This past week (Indiscernible) you guys are dealing with injuries. What have you seen from McCauley, and what is Hannon's status?
DAVID BEATY: I will say this about Clyde, he kept working. He's had terrific off-seasons. He's not gotten a lot of playing time over the last two years. He continued to work, continued to work. He played the left side for most of the year in terms of backing up a team over there. He just continued to work, continued to work. He's made a drastic improvement in his game. There is no doubt about it.
There are still those points in time that he's got to really focus, but it was good to see him as a third-year player here. Third-year player be able to plug in and be a steady force for us in the game. He did not kill us in that game. He didn't hurt us. He was very helpful throughout that game, and I was proud of him because a lot of guys, after he didn't hardly play a lick last year, would have given up. He just kept working, and became one of the hardest workers in that weight room. Just kept working and his opportunity came.
Not having Zach hurts you. He's got a lot of knowledge, he's been around a long time, but he's unavailable. We'll see if we can get him back this week. I don't know if we will, but hopefully we can. But it's good to see those guys behind him continue to develop so we don't have a huge drop off.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports