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September 7, 2019

Les Miles

Lawrence, Kansas

Coastal Carolina - 12, Kansas - 7

LES MILES: I just want you to know that I'm unhappy. That's not how I saw it going. It's not how our team saw it going. Our guys played with their hearts on their sleeves, and they did everything that they could possibly do to win this game. I told them, I said, we're all -- everybody in this building, in pain right now. That's just the way it's going to be, because you care that much about winning and about preparing to win that it's going to be painful. And it is.

But there's nobody more in pain than anybody else in that room, and they're going to have the understanding that they're going to have to do this as a team and put in the effort and energy to get right back where they were, because this is a team that could have won that game, well, easily. Not just -- again, we did the things that we felt like would give us the best chance of victory, and we didn't get there.


Q. Just with Pooka coming back, I think a lot of people probably expected that to really invigorate the offense. Obviously he only could do so much. What kind of led to those offensive struggles?
LES MILES: Well, I certainly enjoyed Pooka and his energy and effort, and I enjoyed Khalil. I thought he ran extremely hard. What led to the offensive struggles is a secondary that played some quality zone coverage, and frankly we couldn't quite beat that coverage. If we would have, we wouldn't have needed to run the football in the tight quarters in the back end of the game.

Q. Ahead of the 4th and 4 in the red zone, you took a couple time-outs. Could you just go through your thought process on that, using those last two time-outs?
LES MILES: Well, they lined up, and they had an alignment that would not have benefitted us, so we immediately took a time-out and felt like we had -- felt like we had a good call, a better call, so we went with it, and it didn't turn out that way.

Q. You talked about the lack of confidence in the passing game. Where do you stand right now with both the passing game and with Carter Stanley?
LES MILES: Well, I'm going to do the old coach piece: I want to watch this film. I want to see exactly what he saw, why. I know there was some pressure, but I don't know that that was the key. We'll have to see what we -- what the film brings and allow us to be more finite.

Q. Coastal Carolina was just 1 of 9 on 3rd down conversions. What did your defense do to make it so difficult for them?
LES MILES: They tackled. They played a -- they were very physical. They took the line of scrimmage from Coastal Carolina. They played awfully hard.

Q. Earlier when you were talking, you had said that this was a game that this team should have won. Why exactly did it not come with the result that you were expecting?
LES MILES: I think that the piece is kind of tough to put your hand on. I think you'll find that it's a multiple answer. It's not just one thing. I think, again, it's something that we're going to have to look at to find out more specifically. It would be easy to say, we don't throw two interceptions. But you know what? I don't know that that was exactly the answer. I'm going to stew over this one for quite some time, so I'll be able to tell you more specifically.

Q. You made a switch at kicker, missed a field goal. What's your thought right now with that room?
LES MILES: I think we have two really good kickers, and I think they're competing really daily for some of those spots. Liam Jones is our kickoff kicker, and I think there will be some competition for field goal as we go forward.

Q. Throughout the last several months, you talked a lot comparing this opportunity to your time at Oklahoma State, and I wonder if you could put your finger on just how detrimental a loss like this can be towards the building process and how much that can hurt the momentum?
LES MILES: Well, the interesting thing is at Oklahoma State right now I was 0 and 4 or 5 or 6, whatever it was, before we beat Baylor and a very good Oklahoma team, but that was the last two games of the year. I guess what I'm saying is that we're not yet there. Not that we won't be capable and not that we won't be able to do the things that we want to do, but just in terms of being in the same spot as that team was, we're not. And I mean, we're not in a calendar sense. In other words, we just haven't gotten there yet.

We're going to continue to improve. This is a painful second game. But this football team will fight.

Q. You guys' first drive of the game, you drove right downfield, scored a touchdown. What worked well in that drive, and what kind of didn't work so well --
LES MILES: Same things we called at the back end of the game. We threw some balls that we threw in the first -- the opening drive. We ran the football in the opening drive like we ran the football later in the game. We ran the football at times better than we ran it early in that drive. We could not punch through a 4th down conversion. We do that, yeah.

Q. I wanted to ask you about the 4th and 4 play. I know Carter started -- looked like he tried to get Pooka open. What did you see? It was right in front of you.
LES MILES: There was a couple things we were trying to do and get to Pooka, and Pooka did everything he could. They didn't hook up at times, and obviously that changes the outcome.

Q. You talked about feeling like maybe you couldn't pass it later on. What does that do for your team, an offensive play caller, when you're starting to lack confidence in the passing game? Does it make it more difficult late when you're having to run it?
LES MILES: Well, it's not even losing confidence in the passing game. It's -- we're more segmented to how do you win the game, these are the plays that you should call. This is how they're playing coverage, this is how we're going to attack them. And if those aren't the answers, which they are the answers, but you can't make those answers work for whatever reason, you'd better look at it again and come up with another set of answers, and that's kind of what happens on days like tomorrow.

Q. Coach, Pooka left the game it looked like in the first half; any concerns about that moving forward, and what was kind of going on there?
LES MILES: Yeah, he had a little -- he got hit in the ribs pretty good. But I think he's fine. He came back and played. He may be a little banged, but I think long-term he'll be fine.

Q. You could hear in the stands that there was some grumbling from fans, that a loss like this is reminiscent of Kansas of the past. With that kind of in mind, what do you say and think about that?
LES MILES: Well, I wasn't here in the past, and I don't really know exactly how they looked at that night. I'm worried more about the players that I coach and the coaches and their families than I am in a view that would link me to an unsuccessful past. I think you'll find that our football team will continue to improve. I think there's a reason to believe that that will happen. But I've got to do my job. I've got to make sure that -- this is the position that we're in, and we need to take some steps.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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