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UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 7, 2017
DAVID BEATY: All right. Good afternoon. Okay. We'll start out with just a little bit of an update on some guys that I know you saw leave the game the other day. Carter, Shaq, and Mike Lee, all three of those guys will be questionable. We'll see how they progress this week. Hopefully we'll have all three of them available. But we'll see. We'll see how it progresses.
I'll have another report right after this press conference today from our department down low that will let me know whether they're going to be able to practice full today or what. So that will give you a little bit of an idea of what's going on there.
For us, it's time for us to turn the page. We've got a great opponent that we're going to be going down to play against. You guys probably know my history with Tom Herman, very dear friend of mine. I have a lot of respect for him as a coach, period, but as a head coach and the job that he's doing there. We know that we've got a great challenge ahead of us, but this is a fun one for our guys.
I know they're excited because a lot of them are from that state, and being able to go back home and play in front of a lot of friends and family is something I certainly think is motivating them for sure. I think being able to get back on the field and being able to take an opportunity to atone for not being able to close the deal on what we wanted to do last week, I think that opportunity is exciting to them as well.
So, while as bad as the Saturday hurt, they know, because of the culture, that there is a culture of resiliency around here that you pick yourself up off the mat, and you get really, really focused and you block out any distractions so you can get yourself ready to play in a high-level, Big 12 football game.
They've got a lot to play for. They've got a chance to get bowl eligible, and obviously from their standpoint, obviously, the game last year was something that was a huge win for us. I know Tom. I mean, there's not going to be any secret. He's going to be motivating them through that, I guarantee it. I don't blame him, I'd be doing the same thing.
But from our standpoint, it's an opportunity to see if that was real. I mean, you do it once, how about we do it twice? I think that's the approach, as I hear our guys talking. The Joe Dineens and Daniel Wises, hey, you want to prove something, you have to go do it more than one time. We've got to go out there and take that opportunity. We getting to right down there in their backyard and do it.
So it's going to be a fun and great opportunity for sure. We've got to be focused a lot more on consistent, positive play football-wise in all three areas. We've played good at times in all three areas, but not been able to complement each other. I know it sounds like a broken record, because we haven't played complementary football, and we've got to be better in that regard. When we put it together, I think we'll have a pretty good football team. We've just got to put those things together.
I also think that fast starts are critical at this level and in this league. Take that game for example the other day, if we're able to put those first two opportunities in, it's 14 points instead of three coming out of that first quarter. We've got to be able to finish. We had a nice drive from the minus-four that ended on, I think, their 21-yard line. We had several first downs that we created on first down. Then we stalled there pretty close to their end zone, and we've got to be able to really focus down there and be able to get the ball in the end zone.
It's just one thing here, there may be a ball that's a little bit high. A guy that takes a different path than what he needs to be. It's never really the same thing. That's the challenge to be able to focus and get yourself in the end zone. Baylor did that. They did that on the first score. Got down there in the back shoulder fade, Baylor made a great catch on it, and it got them on their way.
We've got to do a better job of starting fast. Our defense did a terrific job of starting fast the other day. A terrific job, including a fourth down stop there. As the game went on, obviously it wore on us a little bit, but I thought we did enough there defensively to give ourselves an advantage. We've got to do a better job offensively of putting the ball in the end zone and getting touchdowns, like I said.
We had a great week of practice, and that's the thing. I talked to our guys yesterday about it, and they talked. And just going back and watching practice, really watching how we practiced and seeing where there might have been a deficiency and things like that, man, that wasn't it. It's got to carry over to the field. That's what we've got to do a better job of is making sure that all those things that are happening, that hard practice, smart practice is carrying over to the field. When you do that, you're successful.
The thing that we do here is we create a culture of resiliency, and that resiliency includes blocking out distractions. And these guys have done a terrific job of that. They deal in reality. They don't deal in perception, and for that reason, I know they're going to be ready to go today when we go out there and get ready for this opponent.
The thing is we may have a full roster, we may not. The next man up has got to be ready, and that's happening all over the Big 12. It's happening everywhere. It's not unique to us. The team that does it the best typically is going to give themselves a chance to win.
I know they want to win this one bad for a number of different reasons, bowl eligibility, all that stuff. But they're coming off a loss to an in-state team that I know was a big game for them. So rebounding is going to be big for them as well.
So obviously a lot to play for. We're excited about it. I know our kids are. We've got a bunch of kids from Texas that are going to be going down there and playing at home. And a lot of them didn't get recruited by those guys. So I know there is going to be a chip on that shoulder, for sure. If you're competitive, there should be. I know it's going to be a great opportunity for them.
Q. Texas is 4 and 5, but they've lost three games in overtime to highly ranked teams. How are they better than last year if you agree that they're better than last year? In what ways are they better?
DAVID BEATY: Well, schematically, they're obviously very different. They seem to be playing like more of a mature ballclub. I think there are a lot of young guys on that team that played last year. We're seeing a lot of the same faces that we played against last year. We're also seeing guys that played sparingly that are popping up and that are starting to play a lot more at different positions like linebacker and running back. Some names and faces that you didn't expect are starting to play really well for them.
I think they're getting -- Tom does such a good job with the quarterbacks, I think. He gets so much out of them, it doesn't matter what they did before. He does a really good job of finding a way to get production. I think he's done a nice job with Shane Buechele over the last couple weeks. He's managed the game pretty well.
But I think the thing that sticks out to me the most is defensively, man, they do a good job. They're stinking talented. They're big, they're fast and they're strong, and they can run, and they're pretty good. Coach Orlando does a great job.
They've played really, really well. I've recruited almost every single kid in that secondary, and they've turned into men. They're like 6'2", 205, 210 pounds. I mean, those dudes that we knew they could play, and they're all really growing up and playing really well for them.
One of the guys that sticks out to me more than anybody is that Poona Ford kid, that No. 95. That dude is a beast up front. He's a problem. He really is. He's a good, good football player. I think a lot of it starts with him and those guys up front. It allows those guys in the back end to play freely in their coverage. So they're pretty good on the defensive side, one of the better teams I've seen in the conference.
Q. You've used that phrase deal in reality and not in perception quite often. Could you expand on that a little bit? And if you had to identify what is reality right now versus what is perception, what would that be?
DAVID BEATY: I think the best way to say it is we don't get the luxury of just saying we quit or we should change. Let's just change and go get us a new one. That will fix it. That's not how it works, man. That's perception. The way it gets fixed is you work at it. And you stay at it. You develop some continuity amongst your players, amongst your staff, amongst your program, and you stay at it and develop an identity.
The thing that really reality means to us is that we don't get to deal in all the things that might be distracting us out there in the world. We have to focus on why things happen. We have to focus on exactly what it was that made the decision come out the way it did, and we've got to work really hard to fix it. Really, really hard to fix it. Because if you just throw your hands up and say we just didn't play very good, you're going to get much of the same if not worse.
So dealing in reality, means really dealing with the issues. Really dealing with the issues. Once you deal with those issues, you become better. I think the big thing for us is we're dealing with those issues. We need to be consistent and start doing this as a team instead of going kind of like this. That's something we've really got to fix.
Q. With Texas offense against Baylor, what kept Stanley from getting rolling or getting that spark?
DAVID BEATY: I think one of the things that sticks out to me about that game is we actually were moving the ball pretty well early in the game, and not sticking the ball in the end zone down there when we had chances on those first few drives was big. You've got to score touchdowns there, right? Then we go back and look at really what are those calls like when we're inside that green zone, when we're inside that 35 or so? Not necessarily the calls, but how are we executing that and where the break down is. Really focusing when you get down there.
That's an area that I think we've really struggled with this year. We do a pretty good job getting over there to the other side of the 35. But once we get there, man, first down is so critical for us. It's so critical for us to be able to be positive there so we're not in a second and third and extra long situation all the time.
This conference, if you get in third and extra long, you're going to get two things. All-out blitz and they're going to come at you, and you have no time to get the ball off. You have to throw vertical or slant, and that's it. Everybody knows it. Everybody knows it. Or they're going to drop eight maybe nine back there, and there are not many holes to throw the football with all those guys when you can release five. So you want to stay out of those situations. You do that by focusing on the reality, which is first down. Then second down, being in a really nice third and manageable opens up your playbook.
I thought Carter got going a little bit early, but he was a little bit off. There were a couple incompletions that I know he wishes he had back. Had he been able to put those balls on those guys, it would have helped us move the chains.
The other thing is we had a drop on that first drive that Ben just looked away from it. It's a fundamental issue. If he doesn't look away, we've got a first down right there and we're inside their 15. But those are the things that cause drives to stall. They also limit a quarterback from getting on a roll, right?
So it's never just one guy. It's all of us together, playing collectively. We've got to be better collectively.
Q. Saturday you mentioned a halftime adjustment where you kind of wanted to slow it down a bit on those first down plays in particular. Is that something you think you might do more of going forward?
DAVID BEATY: Well, if we were, I don't think I should tell you, all right? But I do think we need to be really mindful as a team of when we're in certain areas of the field, that we really need to focus on nice, good, efficient play on first down when you're in areas that it's been a problem. It goes back to that reality. We're dealing in what really was the issue and what we've got to fix.
Now that doesn't mean we're not going to go fast sometimes to do it. We've just got to execute better when we do go fast.
Q. You guys have played multiple quarterbacks this year. You guys have as well. How has that helped your defense that they've had to mentally adjust in their own practices dealing with two different guys, in case they see that Saturday?
DAVID BEATY: I think it's helpful because it's the same old song and dance. You've got to be ready for it each week. It's the Big 12. There are very few of us that have been able to stay with just one guy throughout the year. And both these guys are capable.
Sam is a guy that that dude is a big dude. You look at him on tape, and I'm not sure you realize how big he is. He's 6'2, 215, 220 pounds. He's a load now. I'm not sure they call him quarterback draws, but he'll pull down, drop back, and be very dangerous now. He can do it with his legs. And he throws the ball well. He throws the ball well. He played with Hudson Hall. Hudson knows him really well.
I remember watching him when he was coming up as well. Plus, what Tom and those guys, Tim Beck and those guys do with him, I think they do a good job making sure they give him a chance to be successful. Same thing with Shane. Shane from Arlington knows him well, knows dad well. Just trying to stay in his wheelhouse.
I think that might be one of the things I've always admired about Tom when I was with him is watching him build something around a particular guy.
He did it at Ohio State. He did it when he was at Iowa State. He has a gift in that regard.
Q. With Stanley questionable, would you have to get more reps for starts this week in case something happens?
DAVID BEATY: Well, hopefully we're able to keep repping him. The good thing about a quarterback is he's typically not getting hit in a practice. So sometimes that will allow that guy to maybe practice, whereas a linebacker might not be able to practice as much. But Starks will get his same number of reps. We have a package that we use with Starks whenever we need him. And there are sometimes when we can use him just in the game if we needed to. But certainly we're going to have to make sure that we have our ducks in a row, so to speak, so whenever he does have that opportunity, he's ready to go.
The good news is it didn't just start this week. We've been doing that throughout the year.
Q. Steven approaching 2000 career receiving yards. What's made him so consistently good for your program?
DAVID BEATY: He's been here for a good while which helps. I do think he's got a really nice skill set. He's extremely quick. He's one of the better route runners I've been around. He's actually got really good hands, and he's a competitive little dude now. I mean, he is competitive. He made a catch a couple weeks ago that was freaky on that sideline, and I think they had to review it to give it to him. But it was a nice catch.
I still think he's a guy that you probably give some defenses heart burn whenever you throw the ball that way. Because he's got a chance to go. He's got a chance to make something big. His maturity, you know, two years ago Steven missed this game. He missed the game just because he followed an older guy that didn't do it right, right? And when we were setting our culture, that was just important. I didn't want to do that, but I loved him enough to keep him at home, so he could become productive throughout his career, right. Now he's a leader. He's the guy that walks around the locker room and makes sure that everybody's doing things the right way and those details are taken care of.
I can't be prouder of a guy in our program. I just can't. Because there's not many guys in there that you can say that guy outworks Steven Sims. He's there every day. His GPS he says 4.5 to 5 miles a day. This time of year you shouldn't be doing that. So we're having to be really smart about it. But that's just who he is. He works it.
Q. Pretty cool to have Gilbert back this last weekend and kind of be another guy that gets added to the stadium?
DAVID BEATY: That was unbelievable. Just to see his face and I watched his face when the cover came down off. I just wanted to see that moment. Because when I was able to make the phone call to him, and thankfully our AD and Candace Dunback, and all the people that did a great job that whole weekend, they gave me that distinct pleasure of being able to make that phone call to him. Just to hear his voice like I told you last week, how passionate he was and how emotional he was, I wanted to see that moment. That was really, really cool. Really cool. Just him standing by his family there, that was a pretty cool moment. And you know what? Long overdue. So happy for him.
When a guy goes up in that ring, that's how it should effect you, right? How cool is that for him? I'm just glad we have his name up there where it rightfully belongs.
Q. You said Carter's questionable. If you do have to go with Peyton, how do you expect him to handle that? Because obviously it's a situation where he lost his job and now he's getting the job back possibly because of injury?
DAVID BEATY: Well, first of all, let me kind of rephrase that, not to go against how you said it, but let me set the record straight. It's not if we have to go with Peyton, right? And I know that might be semantics, but it's reality. Peyton is prepared to play for us. He was prepared to play last week. He's expected to prepare like he's going to be the starter, right, and he'll continue to do that. He was supportive while he was on that sideline. So he will be prepared just like he was last week.
It won't be whether we decide to go with him or if we have to go with him or not. There might be a decision where we decide to go with him.
But if Carter's healthy, he'll be our starter. If he's healthy enough to be the starter, he'll be our starter. If he's not, then we've got a really good option there of a guy that's done it, and he understands what we're doing, which will be helpful, and we believe in him. We believe in both those kids.
Q. You mentioned that you saw Texas' roster. Do you see similarities between the make-up of your team and Texas, and how do you expect that to play out having a lot of young guys sharing the field together?
DAVID BEATY: Lot of young guys. Lot of youth. I was looking at his two-deep yesterday, and man, they've got a bunch of them coming back. They really do. The future looks bright for those guys, and they're playing.
Did I mention they were big and fast? They've got some athletes now. A lot of them have those big old symbols beside their names when they were getting recruited. They had four or five of them besides their name. So some very talented guys over there. And he knows how to use those dudes. He really does, so does Tim Beck. Those dudes do a great job over there.
As far as that? I'm not sure that's not where the similarities kind of stop, right? We're very different offensively than what they are. He's built it to be able to fit what he does. But their make-up is a little bit different than ours just like every team. But they are young like they are. One of the younger teams in the conference, by the way.
Other than us, I think for them, if I'm not mistaken, I did some research on this not too long ago. I think they had 28, fourth or fifth-year players, something like that. So the majority of them are young.
Q. What kind of conversations do you have with Tom during the season, and do those continue during this week?
DAVID BEATY: We don't really get to talk as much anymore. For some reason, we're too busy. I'm not sure what that is. But we get to text quite a bit. I texted him last week and he hit me right back. We just haven't texted a lot during this week. This is going to be one of those that we don't talk a lot until we see each other midfield.
But throughout the year he's a guy that is a dear friend, and we talk a lot about things that don't have to do with football. We're buddies and our families are very close. So we spent a lot of time doing that whenever we get the chance.
Q. Some of your guys are seeing the same faces that they saw last year and you guys beat them. Does that help their confidence when the record is what it is?
DAVID BEATY: I mean, I certainly would think it would, no doubt about it. I know it is, because I've heard them say it. I heard them say it yesterday. Our guys are very good about understanding that clothes are clothes. You can put anyone in some clothing. It's about what's inside those clothes, right? Our big challenge and anyone's big challenge is not to let clothes determine the outcome. Make the man inside those clothes determine the outcome, right? So from that standpoint, I think that experience last year is -- there is no other way to say it, it is definitely going to help us.
Now they're going to be motivated and we get it. We understand it. So we're going to have to be at our peak, which, we will. We'll be there. We'll be ready to go.
Q. This past Saturday the attendance wasn't great at the home game against Baylor. What is your message for some portion of the fan base who might be losing patience or anything like that?
DAVID BEATY: Well, I looked up and saw quite a few folks there. I don't really look up very often. I should, but I really don't. We're going to do our job regardless. But I would say this, you deserve better, but we need you. We absolutely need you. You are the magic. Just like tonight across the way, you're going to be the magic. Because if you weren't there, it would be a much different game, I'm just telling you. You're the magic, and we need you, and thank you for staying with us.
You deserve better. It's coming. Stay with us. Have courage enough to stay with us. Thanks, Rock Chalk.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports