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October 28, 2019

Les Miles

Lawrence, Kansas

LES MILES: Good afternoon, all.

First of all, I'd like to commend Darrell Stuckey as a player and as a person and a great example for our team as he was added to the Ring of Honor. I don't think there can be a better example of a good student, good person, good player, good family. So we'd like to congratulate him again. What a great career that he had at Kansas.

You guys want me to ramble or are you going to ask questions? Go ahead and ask questions. I have the feeling.

First of all -- I've decided to ramble.

First of all, Big 12 Player of the Week, Manning Award, honor roll, was 26 for 37, 415 yards, three touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. That was Carter Stanley. So how wonderful. And Liam, the Big 12 special teams player of the week, 32-yard game-winning field goal. What they say by that is there was -- it wasn't Liam that was missing; it was the guys that needed to protect the ball, and we're going to work on that and get that squared away. So when he stepped up, he stepped up to kick for his team and did a great job. The final one was the important one.

Stephon Robinson, all-purpose player, 294 all-purpose yards, 186 receiving, 103 return yards and five yards rushing. So pretty eventful Saturday afternoon.


Q. Bryce Torneden, what did you think of that call?
LES MILES: I think that that call needs to be reviewed and reviewed as a father and as a coach who has sons and people that I'm responsible for. I would have them make the mistake of calling it too often than not enough. So there.

Q. First year at Kansas, and now coming up, arguably one of the biggest games that we've had here in maybe a decade. Just speak to some of the big games that you've coached in the past and this Dillons Sunflower Showdown in general and your outlook?
LES MILES: I've been fortunate to be around several really quality rivalries. The OU-Oklahoma State rivalry I thought was spectacular. Obviously the Michigan-Ohio rivalry that I witnessed very close. And the Dallas Cowboys versus the Washington Redskins was really, back then, very significant. And I think that the Oklahoma State and Kansas State-Kansas rivalry, the Oklahoma State-OU rivalry has a similar thump to it. I think a well-coached team and basically we'll fill our stadium and come watch the two in-state teams square off and celebrate football.

Q. It's interesting to see you -- to hear you open with a comment after such a big win and a big game coming up, to open with a comment about Darrell Stuckey and along the lines of this conversation just now about rivalry and tradition. Can you just comment on the idea as you're trying to build a program that becomes a consistent winner, the need or your desire to tap into some of the previous successes that might be forgotten by these younger guys who were nowhere near any of those earlier days when there was more winning happening?
LES MILES: Yeah, I think sharing the history of Kansas, certainly the very positive history of Kansas, is something that we should do, and I think when you have examples of guys who have walked in their path, have success academically, in business, in their personal life, you should point it out because that path is something that can be taken again and again and again right from here.

Q. You mentioned last week a couple different times about keeping your team on an even keel after a close loss to Texas. How does it work this week coming off a close win?
LES MILES: Well, it shows you that they can handle significant emotional games. I mean, the Texas game certainly was that. And they took that in 48 hours and tossed it behind them, and they went ahead and they put together a great game plan. We'd have liked to have started faster, but frankly we were ready to play. I'd liked to have started faster, but they came with the idea that they were going to take home victory.

Q. K-State is coming off a game where they just beat one of the most high-powered offenses in college football and now over the past couple weeks, this offense here with Kansas has become pretty high-powered in itself. What have you looked back on Kansas State and your study of them, what did they do to come out successful over Oklahoma and what kind of things are you expecting for this game?
LES MILES: Well, they play all three phrases. They're a quality defensive team. They're a quality offensive ball club. They play special teams. They have time of possession is theirs, and they have all of the markings of a very quality football team now.

I like the match-up. I think it'll be one which they'll have some advantages and we'll have some advantages.

Q. Back when you played Kansas State when you were here obviously and the Big 12 at Oklahoma State, what were your impressions of that program? Obviously Coach Snyder had that whole thing, but did you have much of a relationship with him, and what did you know about K-State back then?
LES MILES: Yeah, I did know Coach Snyder and everybody in the conference realized how really wonderful that man is and was to football. But yeah, it was always a very competitive game between Oklahoma State and K-State, too. Anyways...

Q. What did you see from Bryce after the game? Obviously that was a tough situation. And what has he meant to this program this year for you?
LES MILES: I think it could not have happened any better, refreshing one of our better players, okay. He had the time off and we'll be in position to play him fully come this Saturday. Again, I don't know that that was a call that would be made in every conference, every day or team. I think it was a shoulder blow, and I think the gentleman that was carrying the ball was short. So I think he carried the ball into really a pile of defenders, and he had contact. I don't think it was certainly intentional in any way, and again, we're fortunate that nobody gets hurt.

Q. And how big of an asset has Bryce been for you this year?
LES MILES: He's been a tremendous asset. Certainly there have been some opportunities for him to put together the coverage instead of having it dropped intermittently throughout the game.

Q. You mentioned kind of the slow start offensively Saturday night. What kind of accounted for that when you go back and watch the game?
LES MILES: I have no idea. It got colder as the day went on, and we got better and more proficient. So that's how I prefer it. If I had to be stuck with a slow something, I'd rather have it be the slow start and then have the opportunity to continue to play at a high level, which we did.

Q. And then obviously you guys have had some kicking issues the past couple weeks. Were the issues against Tech different than what you saw the week before?
LES MILES: They were.

Q. And then how do you go about kind of addressing it?
LES MILES: I think we'll move personnel around. We're going to give some other bigger, longer guys some opportunities.

Q. With this being a rivalry week, as a coach, through your years, have you ever tried to do anything different heading up to a rivalry game? Is there anything you kind of like to add heading into that type of match-up?
LES MILES: No, I think the rivalry game speaks for itself. Yeah. I think it's an opportunity for, again, the state to celebrate football, fill in a stadium, whether you're wearing Kansas State colors or the Kansas colors. It'll be a great game.

Q. You had a lot of recruits up for the game; what can a game like that with the excitement and rushing the field and them seeing that atmosphere have?
LES MILES: Well, it's exactly the style of atmosphere that you want to demonstrate on a week-in, week-out basis. We would love to have that stadium full just like that, and/or maybe a little deeper into the upper deck. But it makes a tremendous difference when the local faithful step into that stadium and go to making noise. I can tell you this: The atmosphere for me was electric. It was really a great, great stadium and a great fill.

Q. How much of a role has the O-line played in the last couple of weeks of offense? Obviously Carter has been lights-out, but have you done much different up front, or are those guys just put in better positions, or what's happening?
LES MILES: Yeah, I think they're continuing to come. I think they're really talented. I think that they will play big in big games. If you get the film and look at the first -- the start of the game, some of that offensive line is just coming off the football. So I enjoyed that a lot.

Q. No big changes, though, in terms of the way they're playing or being --
LES MILES: No, I think they're being asked and shown how to play, and I think it's making a difference.

Q. Just wanted to put a bow on this. I just talked to the Big 12 coordinator of officials, Greg Burks. He said he had a conversation with you about the Texas thing and how there probably should have been four seconds' runoff. I wonder what you thought about your conversation with him.
LES MILES: I thought that -- I think Greg does a great job being on top of the things that don't represent Big 12 officiating. I mean, I think they made a mistake that was fundamental, and I accept that, okay. Four seconds probably meant a play, and if you'd have backed it up, who knows.

Q. Now back to back weeks where the offense has played pretty well. Have you noticed a heightened level of confidence in the offensive room?
LES MILES: Yeah, I think the team is playing with confidence. I think beyond a snafu on an extra-point field goal, I think this football team is really ready to play the best and better football of their year at the back end here.

Q. Did you ever get an explanation on the Stephon Robinson play when he was tackled at 1-yard line, why there wasn't a review on that? Looked like he may have gotten into the end zone there.
LES MILES: I did not get explanation. The one that I really wanted to know about -- I mean, several of which at different times, the Texas one I thought was something that we needed to understand, and I think Greg did a great job. Stephon Robinson's, yeah, it did not cross my mind that they had a bad -- I mean, to give you an example, I immediately go to the officials and need to find out, and they say, this one is not going to be overturned because, and they had a good view. And if they had a good view -- sometimes those good views are not the views that we have in the stadium.

Q. And then I know you spoke to him winning the award earlier, but how important was Stephon for you guys this week?
LES MILES: He's a lights-out personality, a great person. He has great ball skills. He's very fast. Yeah, he's a wonderful person. I'd like to -- I've already got enough sons, but I'd take him in a heartbeat.

Q. What does it mean for you to have these younger guys like Gavin Potter and some of these others be a part of these big-time wins early in their careers?
LES MILES: Well, they will eventually lead this team, the guys that -- Parker and Potter and really just those guys that are seeing kind of what's going on, and they want more because they're young, they're true freshmen playing football in the Big 12 conference and playing really pretty well.

Yeah, I think it'll make a difference as they continue to mature.

Q. Obviously scheduling is more long-term in football, but do you have any thoughts on potentially reigniting the rivalry with Missouri as men's basketball did last week?
LES MILES: I'm sure that there's consideration about that, but I don't know to what extent. I'm currently busy preparing to play a very quality opponent.

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