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November 26, 2012

Manny Diaz

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Coach Diaz. 

Q.  Coach, seems like every week you face a Heisman quarterback, now you're ending the regular season with another potential Heisman winner.  What makes Collin Klein so special?
COACH DIAZ:  I'd have to say the first thing that stands out about him is his toughness.  The guy is obviously a warrior.  He's taken some hits that you can't believe the guy gets up.  He runs the ball right at you the next play. 
He's an absolute warrior.  When you have a tough guy like that, the whole team follows.  Over the last couple years, their team has taken on his identity.  That's why they've been a tough nut to crack the last couple years.

Q.  Better passer or better runner this year?
COACH DIAZ:  He has gotten to be a better passer for sure than what he was a year ago.  One of the most underrated aspects of their football team is they have three outstanding wide receivers that can match up probably about anybody in this conference.  They're aware.  Because of his threat in the run game, that certainly pulls a lot of people across the line of scrimmage.  They are explosive with what they do in the passing game. 

Q.  How do you be careful you don't prepare too much for him?
COACH DIAZ:  The key is eye discipline.  You have to be locked in with your eyes against them.  They're great at complementary offense, which means everything they do will look like something else they do.  They'll have a pass off a run.  But there's always a tell, something that is going to give it away. 
As long as you're locked in, run or pass, you should be going.  You have to survive those downs when they throw it deep.  They're finding a way to hammer you, hammer you, then hunt the explosive play. 

Q.  Is he reminiscent of anybody?
COACH DIAZ:  Funny, this time last year we talked about Tebow.  Everybody ran to their phone and started tweeting that they mentioned them in the same sentence.  I think at that point he had 24 touchdowns.  He's done about the same thing this year.  In terms of being a tough guy, hard guy to stop red zone, goal line, from what Tim did in his college career, it compares. 

Q.  Your defense has made so much improvement in this season, still improving.  How big of a task will Collin Klein and the K State offense be for you guys?
COACH DIAZ:  It's the ultimate test.  I have a lot of respect for Bill Snyder.  They're going to give you as thorough of an examination of your defense as any offensive staff that you prepare against. 
It's a great measuring stick for our players, certainly based off of their development throughout the course of the year in terms of being able to handle the variety of every formation, every running play imaginable.  They're constantly asking you different questions of your run game integrity.  It's a great challenge for our guys. 

Q.  Tevin Jackson, what have you seen from him? 
COACH DIAZ:  Well, Tevin can make a play.  That's kind of what's shown up over the last couple weeks.  He's been able to make some big plays, sacks, tackles for losses.  We're at a point, we're experiencing injuries throughout the years, don't have a lot of linebackers, we have to have a role for everybody.  Tevin popped up in our third-down package since about mid-season. 
This will be a big week for him in terms of getting better down after down, being a dependable guy in terms of understanding his fit in the gap structure. 
We know if he's there, he has an ability to get a guy down and make a play.  He's got to prove it play after play. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH DIAZ:  This game is about execution.  That's what it really comes down to.  We executed very well that night.  I guarantee you, Kansas State will look at the film and say there's things they didn't execute as well.  If they would have fixed X, Y and Z, they would have played better in our game. 
There's facets people want to talk about.  It comes down to can you execute an offense and a defense.  The players see what we do versus what they do, how it can work when it's executed properly.  They can see the things that we made mistakes that maybe Kansas State didn't punish us for.  Kansas State went away probably said, These three plays could have tilted it in our favor. 
Our team has confidence showing we have the ability to stop them.  This year's version has to go out and do it. 
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you. 

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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