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UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 25, 2019
LES MILES: Good afternoon, all.
Our team certainly, you know, felt terrible about what happened. They improved.
If you look at the time that they spent in the last two years, 70 points scored against Kansas and 3 points scored for Kansas. I think the improvement is pretty obvious.
I think our team wants to win and enjoys the pursuit of that want.
Yeah. I enjoyed their effort, their energy. We needed to drive. One more drive., we win.
Q. Coach, what's this senior class mean to you? This first senior class here?
LES MILES: They're a great group of people. They're quality leaders. They have made a difference, there's no question.
They have changed the culture. It is work hard and smile doing it. I enjoy their company very much.
Q. To get that out of a group, the seniors, they'll only play for you for one year, right. It is probably easier for younger guys that will be around to maybe totally buy in or what's your take on that?
LES MILES: Yeah. I think you make a great obvious view and observation.
I have never treated them that way. I never saw it that way. I think, you know, certainly if you wanted to sit down and go over it, I think you would be correct.
The senior class is my senior class. The relationships of the people that I have met and enjoyed on this team will be lifetime. I expect that we'll communicate often.
No. Yeah, I see them as being a part of what we're going to achieve here.
Q. Was there a point where you kind of knew for certain guys like Hakeem, Carter had totally bought in?
LES MILES: Yeah, about the third day. Just about the third day with a big smile on their face and arm around the coach, hey coach.
Just thinking of Hakeem right now. Hey, we've got you, let's go. He was just the right guy.
Q. How, would you evaluate Pooka Williams' season, and has he kind of lived up to your expectations for about what he had do?
LES MILES: All you need to do is watch Pooka run one run and you realize that he is a special individual.
Everybody says he has a quick first step, his change of direction is better than I have ever seen. You know, his strengths are speed and change of direction, and I don't know that his burst and his -- I don't know that he's just not one of the best backs at those two criteria that I have been around.
Q. It seemed like Pooka was a little bit frustrated down in Oklahoma State because there just wasn't any run game production. Did you see that that day, and then how did you kind of see him respond in the week that followed?
LES MILES: I don't know that I saw that that day. I could understand it though.
One thing about Pooka, he's a team guy. When he's getting the ball and he's getting yards, it makes a difference, and it makes a difference to the team and makes a difference to him. He's, again, contributing.
Yeah. I expected that would be the case. I see Pooka as a very unselfish guy.
Q. Your first season here is almost done. What's been the biggest challenge so far in year one?
LES MILES: Well, I don't know that there is any challenge more significant than others.
It's a first year with a new team and staff. It comes with some growing pains, but none that you don't expect and none that you're not comfortable with. We'll step over some puddles of water, but we'll land on dry ground and we'll go quickly.
Q. Coach, I'm just curious, do you remember your first interaction with Carter Stanley, maybe some of your early interactions with him and what it was like to get to know him in the first place?
LES MILES: I don't know that memory serves me there.
I looked at him and remember saying to him so whose going to start.
He kind of smiled. He said quietly, you know, by gesture, me.
That's what I wanted him to say. Wanted him to take ownership. Yeah.
Q. Was he a guy you had to recruit to stay? He obviously could have left as a graduate transfer?
LES MILES: You know, he wanted to see if he was going to be that guy. I never broached that subject with him, he wanted to be the guy here. I think it would have been maybe a -- I don't know -- to be honest with you, I think he may have stayed even if it turned out another way because I think he cares about this place.
Q. Can you assess his season to date? Carter's season?
LES MILES: Well, I just wish that he had more time with us in this program because if he did, he would just be so much more comfortable.
Kind of like the quarter quarterback that played for Iowa State, he had a big day against us, and really managed the game well.
Q. Coach, you emphasized that you wanted the team to start fast in the last couple of weeks. How, would you grade the way both sides of the ball started against Iowa State on Saturday? .
LES MILES: We got 3 in to lead. I thought that was a nice start. Would have well enjoyed a 7-point lead as opposed to a 3.
We couldn't there for a while get into the end zone. That ended up making a difference.
I think the defense played awfully hard. I think another year in the program will make a difference to them as well.
I thought special teams, you know, with covering kicks and that I think the things that they did was correct and right.
It was all three of us. It was an offense, defense, special teams, working together to complement one another and that's how a team is put together.
Q. Starting next week, how important is the next three weeks for recruiting to get out on the road?
LES MILES: We'll be out on the road I suspect Sunday night. We have been received very well in the homes and high school coaches have enjoyed our presence. We'll be back on the road.
Q. Coach, when you came in this year, you really were assembling a complete staff from scratch, a huge challenge taking over a team that hadn't won a lot of football games. What's the difference coming up this winter and spring will be compared to last year? Things more in place, getting more done --
LES MILES: You're building on a foundation at this point. You can expect more from your kids. You can expect more from your coaches. You can be more productive just based on the fact of what's in place: A good sound foundation of discipline, wanting to be in, showing them how to be the team they want to be.
Q. It is not exactly the same, but the first year in Oklahoma State you finished the season against a ranked Oklahoma team. You won that game.
In what ways did that specific victory kind of change the tides, if it did, at Oklahoma State, and in what ways did it help the program?
LES MILES: Absolutely it did. You know you get a marquis win, and it is an opportunity now for those guys to see that they can achieve and that they can do some special things and why not? Why, wouldn't we? Yeah. Yeah.
I think there is a lot of opportunities in front of us this Saturday.
Q. Coach, with Carter graduation outcomes waiting after this season, where have you looked for quarterback options for next year whether that be transfer portal, recruiting, maybe even just in-house?
LES MILES: Yeah. We're evaluating quarterback candidates consistently non-stop. We're looking for guys that first of all would have the ability and the skill and the talent, but awareness also looking for guys that have leadership ability and can step on to a campus and be kind of comfortable.
Q. Along those lines, what have you seen out of Thomas MacVittie as he is been in kind of a backup role just practicing?
LES MILES: With Thomas, he's been nicked. He's just not healthy at this point. He will be very quickly.
I would see some good things. He's big, tall, can see the field, has a strong arm, can make the throws and likes the ability to run the football. We would see him as a viable, very viable, candidate.
Q. Has he been able to practice a lot during the season? You mentioned he was nicked.
LES MILES: Absolutely. Really just the back end that he was nicked.
Q. With Torry Locklin, you kind of moved him back to quarterback when the offseason is here, I know right now he's a running back or wildcat?
LES MILES: We'll see how that goes. He's a talented man. And we enjoyed his play.
He won't play in the next game based on red shirt. We enjoyed him. He'll be a -- he's going to be a good player.
Q. You're playing a team on Saturday, a surprise team in college football that was actually behind this program two years ago, just what jumps out at you about Baylor? What does it say about your program moving forward, the fact that they were able to make such a big leap in such a short time?
LES MILES: Well, you know, they had progressed significantly, I think they were one win, 10 losses and then a 7-6 team, and now they're 10 wins and one loss.
I see the players that were a part of Baylor's team at the onset are still there and in a position of continuing to make strides, and to me that's what you do.
You know, congratulations to Baylor to have put themselves in the position that they're in at this point.
Yeah. I think they have evolved and certainly it will be something that a number of teams would want to enjoy doing as well.
Will we get together next Monday too? No? This is good-bye? I will see you guys on Saturday.
It's been a lot of fun. See you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports