Kansas Football Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 14, 2006

Head Coach Mark Mangino
Opening statement
“Good afternoon. Last week we did not have a game, so we used the occasion to improve fundamentally, heal some bumps and bruises, get some rest and catch up on things academically.”

“This week we prepare for Kansas State at Memorial Stadium. They are coming off a big win against Texas where they played extremely well. They’re playing at a high level. Our players are looking forward to it. It will be a good game for football fans in the state of Kansas. This game means something after not being as important for a while. We feel like it is good opportunity for fans in the area to enjoy the game. We are looking forward to it. It will be the last game at Memorial Stadium for our seniors, so it will certainly be a game where our team gives a great collective effort.”

On whether a bowl berth is used as motivation at this point in the season:
“If you take care of business, the byproduct is a bowl game. I am not thinking about bowls, I am not talking about bowls. I am more interested in winning and the other stuff will take care of itself.”

On how to evaluate Kansas State:
“To understand how they are doing now, is to look at how they started and how they’ve evolved. We’ve studied the entire season, but certainly we’ve focused on the last few games. I think the quarterback (Josh Freeman) has helped statistically but they have kids on both sides of the ball that are playing very well. Their defensive line is playing well—Ian Campbell and Rob Jackson have been impressive. At linebacker, Brandon Archer has been a mainstay for them and (Reggie) Walker and (Zach) Diles are also playing extremely well.”

“Their offensive line has started to gel. It was not a strong suit at the beginning of the year, but it has improved immensely. And when you add Freeman and some of the catches his receivers are making and the play of (Leon) Patton, they are starting to make plays and hit their stride.”

On his reaction watching Kansas State defeat Texas:
“I thought `wow, we had a chance to beat Texas here a few years ago and let it slip through our hands. They did not.’ We’ll be looking forward to playing them.”

On what impressions he took from Kansas State’s victory over Texas:
“The thing that stood out to me was that Kansas State took some chances. They played with a lot of emotion and were really pumped up. When they felt like they were in the game, they gathered momentum and Texas stalled. Kansas State kept getting after them and rode the emotion throughout the game.”

On what the week off did for helping the team heal:
“It is is valuable to everybody. A lot of people ask me about Jon (Cornish), but if we had played this past week, he’d have been ready to go. He got some rest and feels good, but it’s helpful to everybody. But our practices Tuesday and Wednesday were full pads, full tempo with the top offense against the top defense. It wasn’t a week off. It was just that we had no game.”

On the advantages of having the week off in the middle of the season:
“If I have to weigh playing 11 weeks in a row or 10 with a break before another game, we needed the break. Playing 10 weeks in a row is quite a grind, both physically and emotionally. I thought our kids had a chance to step back, rest and feel good about the practices heading into the game.”

On whether having an extra week allows the coaches to scheme better:
“My opinion is you can’t prepare the players two weeks for one game. There are too many things going on in their lives to spend two weeks on a gameplan. We introduced Kansas State on Thursday and got back to it on Sunday. We want to make sure as coaches that what we’ve given the kids is exactly what we’ve broken down.”

On the impact of rivalry games and whether they provide extra energy or motivation:
“I think the kids are well aware that we are playing our in-state rival. We don’t make a big deal about that. Our emphasis is on winning and getting better. We want to take care of our business on the field. It is good for football fans in Kansas who have wanted this game to mean something for a long time. Now, it’s a game that has water cooler chatter about it. I think it is a good, healthy rivalry.”

On how defensive tackles can impact a game:
“Defensive tackles, depending upon your schemes, are asked to do various things. Sometimes they are asked to occupy people to keep the linebackers free. Other times, they might be asked to get penetration and disrupt the run game. Sometimes, you put them on a stunt to disrupt the run or pass game. You can utilize those guys in a lot of different ways. James McClinton is someone who can do a lot of things and Wayne Wilder has gotten a lot better and has started to play well. Good penetration in the middle of the line creates headaches for both the run and the pass game. James McClinton is having a real good season. He’s had some real good games, making tackles for loss and collecting quarterback sacks. Some people think that if your inside guys just push the pocket back, that’s good enough. He’s been getting pressure and sacks with his own pressure. He’s playing very well.”

On Kansas State’s offense:
“I think their offense has become real productive in the last few weeks. I think a lot of it has to do with the maturity of their quarterback (Josh Freeman) and getting people in the right places. They do not do anything out of the ordinary on offense, but they are executing better. They got a real good game out of Yamon Figurs against Texas and they are getting the ball to their tight ends.”

On the differences Kansas State Coach Ron Prince had entering Kansas State as opposed to when Bill Snyder started coaching there:
“After a coach who had attained great status retires, those jobs can be difficult. I don’t think Kansas State was any different. They had a great run, but they also had a couple of below-average years. Coach Snyder and his staff traditionally recruited well and Coach Prince was not going to go into a situation where the cupboard was bare. He was going to have kids to work with and has done a good job blending those kids with the ones he has brought in and it has worked very nicely. I got to Kansas State in Coach Snyder’s third season and they had already had two rough seasons. Coach Prince inherited a much better situation than what Bill Snyder did.”

Kansas player Quotes

Senior offensive lineman Travis Dambach
On having the bye week:

“We had pretty good work days throughout the week. We then cut back last week to get our legs back. This was the first Saturday that we’ve had in a long time where we could sit and watch other games. After playing 10 straight weeks, any rest has to be good for us. It will help me. Coming back to practice, my legs feel pretty good.”

On the Kansas State game:
“There is a lot of excitement surrounding it from both sides. We are coming off a really good road win and they are coming off a really good home win. I think it should make for an exciting game. Obviously, we need our sixth win, but just the Kansas-Kansas State game is a big enough factor without having them win at home (against Texas).”

On the Kansas State defense:
“It’s a good defense. As you can see from Saturday, they made plays when they had to and they also caused turnovers. They did the same thing on special teams. On offense, they scored off of those turnovers, so they are playing pretty well in all three phases of the game.”

Junior defensive lineman James McClinton
On Josh Freeman:

“He’s a freshman and he’s improving. They have a good offense. He’s going to be a talented player. We have to worry about what we have to do, which is put pressure on him, stop the run and cause turnovers.”

On gaining experience this season:
“Last year I was just thrown into the fire and I was just learning. Now I know what to look for, what to study and what to pick up on.”

Junior running back Brandon McAnderson
On how his father being a football coach has helped him:

“It was good having my dad as a coach because he thrust me right into the game and that is the only way to gain knowledge–through experience. He always told me that I was a pretty smart player. But I think it’s mostly because I’ve been playing for a long time. I have played since I was five years old. But that is where I get most of my knowledge, just through playing.”

On the Kansas State rivalry:
“Everything is different. People like to say that it is just another game, but it isn’t. You have that feeling of getting to go against your in-state rival and it is going to be fun. I’m excited.”

On Kansas State’s victory over Texas affecting KU’s preparation:
“It is just the next game on the schedule and they are another obstacle to becoming bowl eligible. We have to win one more conference game. I think rivalry games mentally override a lot of stuff.”

On the bye week:
“It was good to get rest. Since I’ve been here, we have had bye weeks early in the season so going nine to 10 straight weeks was a little harder, but it was still good to get that week off.

Senior safety Jerome Kemp
On his thoughts on K-State’s victory over Texas:

“Kansas State played a pretty good game. Of course they got the win, so congratulations to them. We’re going to get prepared the same way we do every week. They played well in all three phases of the game: the kicking game, offense and defense. It’s always a big rivalry game when we play K-State, whether we play it here or there. It is an especially big game for a guy like me, who is from the state of Kansas.”

On how important it is to win the next two games to secure a bowl bid:
“Our main focus this week is dealing with the K-State game. We have to take it one game at a time and not look forward.”

On K-State’s offense:
“They have a good young quarterback, some speedy wide receivers, and a good backfield. Basically, we are going to have to try and contain all areas of their game.”