Press Conference Quotes

Sept. 28, 2010

‘;// –>

Player Interviews: S. Johnson | Patterson | Webb

Weekly Press Conference

Kansas Football

Sept. 28, 2010 – Lawrence, Kan.

Kansas Head Coach Turner Gill

Opening statements:

“I’m going to start off with some of the positive things. First off, we’re fifth in the country in pass defense, which I think is an excellent positive after four football games. Second off, we’re sixth in the country in kickoff returns, which is excellent by our special teams. Along with that, we’re all aware that D.J. Beshears is the Big 12 Player of the Week in special teams, which I think is outstanding. In four weeks we’ve had two guys, one on the defensive side with Justin Springer and now being Big 12 Player of the Week, and also having D.J. Beshears. In the first four weeks, to have two guys represented in the Big 12 is obviously showing that we do have some talent here, at the University of Kansas.”

“The other thing in this past ball game, I thought that our defense played fast. I thought that was a very good sign to see them play fast. Also, I thought that offensively we had an excellent tempo. That’s one of the things that were making sure we improved on, going into that ballgame.”

“Baylor is a very good football team. The first thing that jumps out at you is their offensive side of the ball. They have a very good running back; they have an outstanding quarterback who is able to throw and run. Already at this point, Robert Griffin III almost has thrown for 1,000 yards. So the quarterback is not just a runner, he also can make some things happen with his arm.”

“On their defensive side of the ball, the stat that is hitting me is, in their wins this season, they have only allowed one touchdown and they’ve had five field goals. That tells me something about some things they are doing defensively, so we’re going to definitely have to be very, very efficient on our offensive side of the ball.”

“Art Briles is a person I’ve known for a while. His son, Kendall, I tried to recruit when I was at Nebraska so I’ve kind of known him in a little different way. He’s a good coach and a good person so it’s exciting to see that he’s starting to get his program going. From that standpoint, we just hope they don’t get it started in this next week.”

“Some updates on some injuries: (cornerback Calvin) Rubles is probable. I know he came out of the last game with an ankle injury but I don’t forsee it at something that sets him back in practice. (Defensive end Tyrone) Sellers is questionable. He’s going to practice today and through the rest of the week. I anticipate him playing, but we’ll see how it goes. It all depends on how he performs this week.”

On how he plans to contain Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin:

“You have to have a lot of people around the ball. They’re going to try and get him in a situation where he is one-on-one with somebody, and I’d say that more times than not, he’s going to win that battle on-on-one. We have to try and prevent him from having that opportunity. We have to have at least, two, three or four guys around the ball and make tackles. When we have an opportunity to make that tackle, we need to make that tackle.”

We need to make sure we contain (the quarterback) in a way that doesn’t let him exploit our defense. But we have to mix it up.”

On the defensive keys to the game:

“They’re going to throw deep balls, every team does that, but I think it comes down to tackling not only Robert Griffin, but their whole football team. They have good speed on both sides of the ball. I think our tackling has been up and down (this year). I think there have been games where we’ve had tackling woes and there have been games where we’ve been a little average. I think that this team here has some good, skilled people. I think this game is going to give our guys a good opportunity to make some good open field tackles.”

On backup quarterback Quinn Mecham

“I don’t think he’s going to be at the same level as Jordan Webb, but if the game provides him an opportunity to play then I think he’s going to be able to do some things. I think he’s similar to Jordan Webb, in that he throws the ball very low. He probably doesn’t have as strong of an arm as Jordan Webb, but he hasn’t taken as many reps so he’s not going to be quite as sharp.

Offensive Coordinator Chuck Long

On Quinn Mecham’s preparation:

He’s going to go into each game with a certain package; he gives me the plays that he is comfortable with. But this week is different deal because he’s going to get the repetitions. Quinn is a very smart, very intelligent guy, he’s one of those guys that we don’t think needs a lot of reps to be able to finish a game. He’s been so good about paying attention, and studying the game that he getting the mental part right.

On using D.J. Beshears in the backfield:

He’s a very aggressive runner. He practices hard and he loves to play hard, so we felt that right now, D.J. is better with the ball in his hand than trying to get him open on pass routes. He really has that aggressive running ability when he has that ball in his hands.”

On Kale Pick playing through his injury:

“I thought he displayed great toughness. I knew that he was in pain and I thought he really fought through it. I said to him after the game, ‘That goes a long way. You don’t know how far that goes with your teammates. When you’re out there and you’re fighting through that, and they see that on film or they see that on the field, that goes a long way with team toughness.’ And that’s what you need out of your quarterback.”

Defensive Coordinator Carl Torbush

On Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin:

“I hope we can go out there and limit the big plays he has and keep the ball in the ball park. They are not just a one-man game. They have very good skilled receivers and they have running backs that have quickness, athletic ability. They have the same type of people that Southern Mississippi had in the skill positions and that is something we need to make sure everybody understands. I thought Southern Mississippi had excellent people in the skill positions. Baylor’s offensive line is a very physical, nasty bunch and they will get after you. I have known Coach Riles and his offense for a long time and they will spread you out and move you around and try to keep you off-kilter with a multitude of things. But we need to go back and stop good football players from making big plays.”

On neutralizing Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright:

“The main thing that we have to do is realize they are not a one man game. If you gang up on him, they have Griffin and receivers and the running backs. We have to make sure that we are able to match up with all their players because they will put four wide receivers out there and two running backs and you may think it’s going to be twenty personnel and then all of a sudden it ends up in empty. They do a lot of things with different personnel groupings and they do it at a fast pace. The main thing we have to do is make sure we get aligned in assignments and make plays when we have opportunities to make them and go right back to what we have talked about the last several weeks. We are still not causing enough turnovers and we need to put more pressure on the quarterback.”

On the game plan:

“Schematically, you need to understand if you make a miss on Griffin, instead of being a ten yard gain it is going to be a touchdown or a long play. You can not just sit there and worry about him. If you put three or four guys on him they have wide receivers that can take it to the house in one on one situations. We have to make sure that we do what we have been doing and hopefully be able to create more takeaways. Also we need to get more pressure on the quarterback than we have been able to do game in and game out.”

Sophomore safety Lubbock Smith

On the defense being ranked No. 6 in the nation:

“It is always good just to go out there and do great. When I saw that I was overwhelmed but every time we always want to strive to be No. 1. This week we are going to look out and try to excel and build everyday.”

On Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin:

“It is not really like getting thrown into the fire because we look at every quarterback as a good quarterback. He has a lot of talent and we just look forward to coming out there and to dominate and take over the game. Griffin gives a lot challenges. He is very fast and athletic. He can do a lot with his feet and with his arm. We are just looking forward to going out there and play like we do every week. We are going to have a great game plan and just go out there and try to excel and do great.”

On Chris Harris:

“Chris and I are really close. He has always provided leadership. We always talk about football on and off the field. He pretty much gets the whole defense going and continues to motivate us when we are down.”

On Baylor’s offense:

“It is pretty tough but we have all been seeing that offense. It is going to be a tough game but we are going to go out there to compete at a high level.”

On playing in Texas:

“It is going to be very important because a lot of our players are from Texas. A lot of us are looking forward to going and playing in Waco. It is going to be important for recruits to see that we can go to Texas and go beat (Baylor).”

Junior linebacker Steven Johnson

On making his presence felt versus New Mexico State:

“I have to give all the credit to the defensive line for keeping the (New Mexico State) offensive line off of me. It is a team effort. I am not out there doing it by myself. I have other players like the safeties, other linebackers and (defensive)-line out there and together we are getting it done. “

On what he has improved on the most since he has been at KU:

“It feels like I am getting better technique. (Defensive Coordinator Carl) Torbush teaches us to play with great technique. We are working hard on being able to fly and get to the ball. This week in practice, I am working on being able to get to the ball and being a sideline-to-sideline player. I need to be able to make tackles all over the field to help my team win.”

On how the linebackers improving as a group:

“In practice, we have one of the hardest individual groups out there. The first 25 minutes of practice we are just going at it rep after rep after rep. We keep pushing each other. We get tired, but we have a goal we want to get to and we just keep reminding each other of our goal. We go out and give it all we have. If we keep giving our best effort we are going to win games.”

On defending Baylor’s 1,000-yard rushers:

“Well last week New Mexico State had a 1,000 yard rusher and we prepared well for him. It is not going to be done by one person. The (defensive) line is going to have to do its job. The linebackers are going to have to be flying around. The safeties are going to have to cover the air and watch the pass. “

Senior safety Olaitan Oguntodu

On being prepared to start Big 12 play:

“I think we are ready. We have prepared. We have faced some trials in our non-conference games. They have helped us come to expect to have ups and downs within the game and be able to bounce back. For me personally, it has been something that I have found very positive that after each half we have been able to come out and get a stop on that next possession. That is something that we have been pleased with this season. That is a sign of our defense maturing and our team maturing and getting better. It is going to be an exciting time playing Baylor. There are a lot of us from Texas.”

Talk about how having had success versus Josh Nesbit (Georgia Tech) will help prepare you to face Robert Griffin (Baylor QB):

“The success that we had against (Josh) Nesbitt was because everyone did their job. We are a defense that believes that if everyone does their job, we will be ok. That is how defenses work. They are supposed to dictate to the offense what they should take. As a group, if each of us takes care of our responsibility, we will be okay.”

Freshman quarterback Jordan Webb

On the offensive tempo against New Mexico State:

“Our communication was really good. We had the plays called fast and I got to the line fast. In practice, Coach (Turner) Gill is behind me counting, making sure I get the ball out on time. It’s something we’ve been working on a lot and I think we’re going to get better at it. It’s going to wear teams out hopefully.”

On the offensive line performance against New Mexico State

“They had a really good game. They communicated well up front and everything that the defense showed they were able to pick up. That’s good for me, because it’s nice having time back there, and it’s good for the (offensive) line’s confidence.”

On scouting Baylor

“They’ve got some good athletes on defense. I think they’ve got some good athletic linebackers and some good guys on the secondary and guys up front. They’re going to be a good test for us to see where we’re at. And being on the road, it’s going to be a battle but I think we’re going to come out ready to play.”

On starting conference play

“It’s definitely exciting because these games are what matter the most. Every game is important, but when you get to conference play those games take a little more meaning.”

Sophomore wide receiver Daymond Patterson

On starting Big 12 play:
I’m excited to start playing all the Big 12 teams. When conference (play) starts, it’s like a new season is starting. You get a chance to get ready to get the wins in conference and try and fight for that Big 12 North title and try and make it to that Big 12 Championship. The excitement level does rise. You go out to every game being excited and being confident but I think when conference (play) comes you turn it up a level.”

On setting the tone on offense every game:

“Practice-wise, you have to have that mentality that we’re going to get better today. We don’t have any time to waste in practice because when you do, it shows in the game. I think last week our focus really showed. I think in the game, when you start out on offense, just getting positive plays in the game and getting the ball moving and getting first downs. You don’t want too many negative plays at the beginning of the game; you want to get that confidence going.

On winning on the road:

“I think whenever you play on the road, you’re going up against a lot. The other team is going to be excited to play in front of their fans. And their fans are going to be trying to get at you and holler and scream at us, but when you can go out on the road and get a win it brings home a lot of confidence.”