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November 18, 2019

Les Miles

Lawrence, Kansas

LES MILES: Good afternoon, all. The Oklahoma State game certainly was something we wanted more for. I can tell you that our kids are still fighting. I looked at that film and I wanted to be very critical and I was not. So we made mistakes. Mistakes can be corrected. And I accept their effort and energy. So questions.

Q. You wanted to go back and watch the tape to kind of determine the issues with the running game. What did you see out of Pooka's struggles?
LES MILES: We didn't necessarily execute what we needed to do up front to have success. So and if we could bottle up Pooka a little bit and keep him in line somewhere, that would be good too. So, but he makes more yards on his own than guys who would have instruct him.

Q. You mentioned you weren't really concerned about the effort when you watched the tape. What ultimately, especially for the offense in the first half, if the effort was there, what was kind of breaking down? What wasn't there?
LES MILES: Well, the effort was there. You have to take, in certain, in line play, you have to take certain steps in certain hand placements, and I think it was there. I just don't think it was consistent, that would be the word for me.

Q. Obviously Malik missed a lot of that game. What's the prognosis on him moving forward?
LES MILES: I think he'll be available for this game. I'm not certain, but he, it's not a terribly serious injury.

Q. In the third quarter when you put Manny out there for a few possessions, can you kind of explain why you maybe would go with him over a guy like MacVittie or a younger guy that might be able to help you next season or beyond?
LES MILES: Yeah, next season is not the thing that we're trying to do. We have two games left and certainly one at a time, we want to play the best players. And we were looking, not necessarily for future in terms of years. What we're looking for is an opportunity to make a play and get us a kind of new start and maybe get us a drive that we would enjoy. But I think what it did is it did give us a spark. I think when Carter went back on the field, I think he enjoyed the time and he did so with a lot of effort and energy.

Q. I guess looking back on it, do you wish you had put him back in earlier, because he obviously did play well in the fourth quarter?
LES MILES: Yeah. We think Carter's going to be certainly a guy in the next, to finish the season, that can do some very special things and we just want to see that happen. We, and again, Manny coming into the game was something that he had earned. But also, we were looking to substitute that pitcher that gives us a left, can maybe get a couple outs and then gets us out of the inning.

Q. So Carter mentioned a handful of times that it meant a lot that regardless of how he was playing that you guys had stuck with him. So have you had further conversations with him since Saturday's game about that?
LES MILES: Very short conversation. Said kind of what I just mentioned here. This was just a, we're not making any serious decisions here. This is a short-term relief.

Q. The last couple times we have seen Thomas MacVittie, he's started lined out in wide receiver. Are you guys considering a position change at all for him and what's his status right now?
LES MILES: No, no. That's just a position of convenience that allows you to put another quarterback in. So, yeah, he's not going to play wide receiver.

Q. What do you need to see from him moving forward to kind of give you more confidence in him as a quarterback?
LES MILES: Well, I honestly, just some more time under center, I think will benefit him.

Q. Could you offer a personal self scouting on how this season's going for you first year, first season back in a little while, it's kind of a long season, some tough losses. How's everything going for you? How are you feeling about everything?
LES MILES: Honestly, I discussed that this morning and I think that, I think it's going really well. I think the things that we have done, we have put in place will be things that will stay there a long time and I think we're going to be better. So I want to take these, this team that I have here one game at a time. But certainly an opportunity to win two. And, yeah, I think we're in position that we need to be in. Now, I would like to have won every game. Let's, certainly that's the case. But I didn't expect this to be a one-season stop. I figured that we would be doing long-term work here, and frankly, I think the work that we have done speaks for itself. But it also, I think our guys are capable and I think we have not shown our best team yet and I think that we can do that as we go forward.

Q. Stephon Robinson's been really effective lately. What's allowed him to kind of take that step forward?
LES MILES: It was just something that we have seen. We knew that he had that ability and we're going to give him the ball.

Q. His confidence, I guess, have you seen that kind of grow with his increased production and what do you like about him as a player?
LES MILES: Yeah, I want you to know something. I have always seen him as a very confident guy. I don't know that it needed to grow much. He knows his assignments, he knows where he's supposed to be, he tells the guy next to him how to lineup, he makes very difficult catches, he is a physical player, he's a really great blocker. I'm a fan of Stephon Robinson and he doesn't need much more than what he has.

Q. Outside of wins, obviously, the next couple weeks which, obviously, you would like to get, what kind of things do you evaluate, what things would you like to see to make sure this thing is heading in the right direction heading into the off season?
LES MILES: Well, like, I will give you an example. I know statistically we're not necessarily where we need to be on defense. But in third down we were, we stopped them eight of 12 times, got turnovers in key situations. And so defensively, things like that, if that continues, that's just what we would like to have happen. Offensively, we need to sustain drives and finish. And if we do that, again, I think our guys are capable. We just got to get consistency.

Q. So for the first two games under Coach Dearmon the offense was really explosive. Now for the past couple games it's been a bit of a roadblock. What do you think's been kind of the differences?
LES MILES: Yeah. Consistency, just kind of what I just said. I think we need to be a -- I think the plan is pretty much laid out, okay, and I think the players certainly understand it and they just need to be consistently performing and executing and that's it. I think we're, I think we know what to do. We just need to do it and do it and get a, get our tempo back. To me, we have had tempo in that practice facility, we have had tempo in several key games, and at times it looks like we're just an unstoppable team. That's the kind of tempo and that's the kind of consistency that I would like to have.

Q. So is the tempo something that teams have been taking away that has been one of the bigger differences?
LES MILES: No. You know, I think that each game's a little different from that respect. I think they attack us and we attack them in different ways. Yeah, I just think that, I think that if we continue to pursue what we're doing, I think we'll be fine. It's just that it's consistency's the issue.

Q. You have a lot of, maybe not a lot, but a few younger guys on the roster who haven't played in a lot of games and look like this could be red shirt seasons for them. Do you have like a definitive plan for guys like Steven Parker and DaJon Terry and those guys?
LES MILES: Certain guys have played in three games. Certain guys have played in less than that. So those guys that can play, will play. And those guys that won't, that can't play in a game, we'll have to keep them out.

Q. Other than Hakeem, you've been rotating a lot of offensive linemen and that's not something that's too common around the Big-12. Can you just explain why you guys are rotating linemen at those positions and kind of what the end goal is with that?
LES MILES: Considering the, considering Malik's injury and considering we wanted to keep guys that could play several different spots and rotated them through so that they wouldn't necessarily have to endure a position that they have not prepared to play. So we have moved them around to give them some comfort in the assignment situations so that they will know the plays and be good at it. And what we're looking forward to is being able to put a number of guys out there that can really play.

Q. I guess that just means just, like, center. You have been rotating centers, for example.
LES MILES: Well, the two centers. Yeah, the two centers are guys that are, that, frankly, are a little nicked up and need some back end of the season rest. Being spelled by a teammate.

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