Weekly Football Press Conference Quotes

Oct. 11, 2005

Weekly Football Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Mark Mangino

Opening statement:
“Good afternoon. I’ll start by announcing the players of the game for this past week. On defense, Kevin Kane and Banks Floodman. We did not select an offensive player of the game. Special teams, Derek Fine. The scout team defensive player of the week was Caleb Blakesley and the offensive scout team player of the week was Tom Phelps.”

“Now I’ll quickly review the last game. Once again, our defense played extremely well. I was very pleased with the way the defense played. We played very fundamentally sound football and did not make very many mental mistakes. It was a heck of an outing for our defensive unit. We did some things that will really tell you what kind of a unit we have. That’s the kind of consistent play that we need. On offense, we did not play well. We were inconsistent to say the least. It was a situation where everybody on the offensive side of the ball contributed to the poor play. You cannot lay blame with just one position. That’s unfair. I don’t think we protected well. I don’t think we did a lot of things very well. We have to get that corrected and we will. That is up to me to get that corrected. We will get it done.”

“We’re going to play a good Oklahoma football team. Their record is not indicative of the type of team they are. If you look at them on defense, they are fast and athletic. They stop the run. They’re ranked in the top-15 in the country in stopping the run. They have some young kids that you can see are very talented and are learning. On the offensive side of the ball, they have one of, if not the best running backs in the country in Adrian Peterson. They’re developing their quarterback who is a very talented young guy. You can see he is really coming around. They like to run the football and they do a lot of running with the quarterback. They’re developing him in the passing game. Oklahoma will be a good challenge for us. We’re looking forward to it. We want to put together a complete game, both offensively and defensively. That is our goal for this week.”

On playing the game at Arrowhead Stadium:
“The situation has improved because we were thinking all along that we would be at a one o’clock kickoff, which would mean that we would be spending the night in Kansas City. Now that it is a six o’clock kickoff, we will do our Friday routine here and bus over Saturday afternoon. In that respect, it worked out pretty well.”

On the size of the crowd at the game:
“It’s hard for me to tell. Oklahoma will travel well. They always do. How big their contingency will be, I don’t know. I think that our loyal fans will travel to the game in Arrowhead. The thinking here in the athletic department is that our alumni base in Kansas City will support the game strongly.”

On this week’s starting quarterback:
“We’ve made a decision. We’re going to start Brian Luke. We evaluated it carefully. We have two conference games under our belt. At this point in time, based on our evaluations, we feel Brian gives us the best opportunity to win. We think that Brian has been in the system the longest and has shown the most understanding of our offense. We think that when protected, he is delivering the ball better than any of our quarterbacks. Adam (Barmann) has not been able to translate his good work on the practice field to the game field. Why? I can’t answer that. I’m not sure. My only guess is that he has not regained the confidence that he had in the past prior to his season-ending injury. I don’t know that for a fact. We aren’t making excuses for him. He wouldn’t want any excuses made for him. We don’t give up on anyone here. Adam is a hard-working guy and wants to win as much as anyone else in our program. After evaluating our two conference games, we feel that Brian Luke gives us the best opportunity to do what we want to do, especially in this particular game plan. I told him, `I’m looking for you to start, finish, and win the game.'”

On Jason Swanson:
“Jason is getting work with the `twos’ right now. This is the healthiest he has been. He’s getting repetitions. I would think that perhaps he’s putting himself in the position to be the number two guy. We’ll see in a couple of days.”

On allowing Brian Luke to play through his mental errors:
“We have allowed him to play through a lot of them. It’s not like he makes an error and we’re yanking him. That’s not the case at all. We have allowed him to play through a lot of them. We’re going to let him play. I believe he can get the job done. We need to protect him. We need to run good routes and catch the ball when it’s delivered. It’s not just the quarterback. After watching the tape yesterday, I think our offense understands that.”

On using a multiple quarterback system:
“I don’t want to. I told you from the first day I’ve been here that my personal preference is not to do that. I think we have been forced to do so because we haven’t gotten answers. Nobody has stepped to the front and center. As coaches, we’re trying to evaluate what the problems are, who can overcome those problems, and who can give us the best chance to win.”

On Marcus Herford:
“Marcus is kind of the `hit guy.’ He can show up and burn you. To be honest, Marcus is going to play a lot of wide receiver this week. I think he is ready to go. We feel good about him. He’s going to play a substantial amount of the game at wide receiver. We’re looking for guys like Dominic Roux to step up. Dominic has really good speed. We need speed out there on the perimeter. We would like to see him make some plays. I’m trying to create more competition at the wide receiver position so that they will push each other and move their performance to another level. With Roux and Herford in the mix, that is going to happen.”

On Brian Murph:
“Murph has made catches and made some plays. He’s one of the guys that’s new to our program. He just has to develop consistency snap after snap. He realizes that. After watching last week’s game, he knows. He’s a competitive guy, and we think he’ll jump up and meet the challenge.”

On Anthony Collins:
“Anthony Collins will get more reps this week. He’s starting to come around. He’s a big, strong, athletic kid. He’s going to be a key player for us in the future on the offensive line, and we’re going to get him ready.”

On the challenges that Oklahoma presents:
“I think it’s a great challenge for our defense. They’re going to see the best running back in the country. They want to be able to meet that challenge. We’re really impressed with Adrian Peterson. Who isn’t? He’s really a talented guy. The fact that they have a big, quick, athletic quarterback poses a lot of challenges for us. They do have speed at wide receiver as well. In some ways they’re like we are. I think it’s a great challenge for our defense and our kids are looking forward to that challenge. Our kids on defense like these kinds of games.”

On the quarterback unit:
“There’s a lot of camaraderie among the quarterbacks. They’re buddies. They cheer for each other. They just want to win. They’ve invested a lot of hard work here, and they just want to win.”

On Brian Luke:
“I don’t think Luke is a real nervous guy. I don’t think he has lost his poise. He has lost his focus a couple of times. The mental mistakes he has made is not characteristic of him. He’s had some physical mistakes, and we understand that. He knows our system very well. He’s an intelligent guy. We told him to trust what he sees and to quit analyzing everything.”

On Jason Swanson:
“He had an injury that set him back. He was pretty limited for awhile and that’s why we had him down on the scout team. He has worked diligently. We’re trying to get him some good cardiovascular workouts. Jason has a nice touch. He can throw the ball.”

On how this year’s defense compares to some of his defenses at previous schools:
“I would say that perhaps we don’t have as much star power as at other schools I’ve been. We have some great individual players, but there are more guys who are just hard-nosed football players. I want to give credit to Bill Young and his staff for identifying who can do what, and who can do it best. We have guys with great stats but we also have some guys who a lot of our fans might not know about. It’s a group that is tough and plays well together.”

On Bill Young:
“The reason I wanted to hire Bill Young was because he is a veteran coach that’s been around the game. He is always willing to evolve. Just because he has coached a bunch of years does not mean he is still running a base defense from 1970. He is always on the cutting edge and looking to get better. I really like those young coaches that are with Bill. They have great chemistry. We have a veteran like Bill that has wisdom and has been around the game, and then we have guys like Dave Doeren who is an intelligent, hard-working guy. Clint Bowen and Earnest Collins have the same qualities. There is a nice mix there. I really like the way the defense has shaped up under those guys. Bill Young is a veteran guy who is very well-respected.”

On the possibility of changing offensive schemes:
“Any progress we’ve made at all in our program to this point is because we have stayed on course and done what we’ve believed in. If we tried to change offensive schemes now, the kids would think that we have no faith in them whatsoever. We believe in our offensive system. It’s the same one we used in 2002-03. We’ve evolved and tweaked some things, but it’s pretty much the same thing. As coaches, we have to be able to get our players on the same page and execute. Drastic changes are a sign of panic.”

Selected Player Quotes
Freshman cornerback Aqib Talib
On switching to cornerback:
“I came in as a corner so I just have to get back into the swing of things. It’s not going to be difficult. I just have to get my foot movement down and then I’ll be alright.”

On playing Oklahoma:
“We prepare for them as we do with any other team. It’s going to be a big game.”

On the team’s mentality:
“We’re not down. We just have to win. Just like any other time of the year, we need to get a win. We don’t care how hard it is as long as we can get a win.”

Senior linebacker Kevin Kane
On the offense’s struggles:

“Our job is to go out there and stop the other offense. Our offense struggled last week for sure, and they saw the films. They will correct what they did wrong. It can be frustrating at times but you have to stick with them and hope they can work their way out of this slump.”

On playing at Arrowhead:
“It’s going to be a blast. I’ve been a diehard (Kansas City) Chiefs fan growing up and I still am. I’m going to have a bunch of family at this game. I’ve never had a chance to play in Arrowhead and I think it’s going to be an awesome time.”

On playing for Bill Young:
“Coach Young is great. He’s a hard-nosed guy. He’s kind of old school in the fact that if you do your job right you get rewarded. He’s laid back at the same time though. Every once in awhile he has a funny one-liner. Overall, I think he’s a great coach and a great person.”

On playing Oklahoma:
“They are a young team. It’s going to be a tough contest for us. Both teams desperately need a win.”

On facing Adrian Peterson:
“He’s a great player. He’s a big, strong running back. We’re going to have to bring our `A’ game. Playing him makes us practice and focus better during the week. Overall, we are just going to try to go out there and contain him.”

Sophomore punter Kyle Tucker
On staying consistent:

“You just have to stay focused. It’s about focus. You just have to concentrate on all of the punts.”

On the offense:
“I’d rather not have to punt in a game, but if the offense does struggle, then I’m going to try and set up the defense in a good spot.”

On playing Oklahoma:
“I think they have a really good team. I haven’t studied them too in-depth yet, but I know that they are a good team. They have a bunch of great athletes.”

Senior wide receiver Mark Simmons
On the offense:
“We’re not embarrassed but we know that we have to pick things up. We kind of felt bad for the defense because we’re all getting the blame together as a team, but we know that they’ve come up with their end of the bargain and we haven’t yet. I’m happy the defense is playing well. Now we just have to start playing well.”

On the turnovers:
“We just have to start taking care of the ball. Coach (Mangino) said at the beginning of the year that if we’re in the top five in the conference in turnovers that there’s a good chance that we’ll be a great team.”

On the quarterbacks:
“It doesn’t matter which quarterback is playing, whether it is Brian Luke, Adam Barmann, Jason Swanson, Marcus Herford, Kerry Meier or even Charles Gordon. We are an eleven-man offense, not a one-man offense.”