Weekly Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 16, 2010

Player Interviews:C. Harris | Laptad | Patterson | Quigley

Weekly Press Conference

Kansas Football

Nov. 16, 2010 – Lawrence, Kan.

Kansas Head Coach Turner Gill

Opening Statement

“It’s good to see everyone again, I appreciate your attendance. I just want to say one or two things about our last ball game. I do want to emphasize again that definitely, our defense played extremely well, especially as we watch the tape more in detail. They tackled well and in our last two games they also created turnovers. They started tackling better, making more physical plays. The ball was on the ground more and we always continue to talk about that. We’ve been talking about that all year long. I particularly think these last two games they’ve done that and I think that’s been great for our defense and our coaching staff.”

“The last three games I can definitely say that our whole football team has been competing extremely well in every phase. They also have shown tremendous toughness both mentally and physically. When you have those three things, as far as being mentally and physically tough (and) your defense is starting to play well then you’re going to have a great opportunity to go out and win yourself some games. Yes, we have not totally won them all but there is progress being made in our football program and I think that’s what we want to do.”

“I think the last thing we get into here is Senior Day. We’ve got 20 guys that I think have done a lot of great things for this program both on and off the football field. It’s their last time having an opportunity at Memorial Stadium to play and also to play well.”

“The opponent, Oklahoma State is a very, very good football team. Obviously, their record speaks for itself. (Head coach) Mike Gundy, I know him, I can’t say we’re the very best of friends but we do talk somewhat often. And I know he’s done a great job with that program as long as he’s been there.”

“Their offense is very, very explosive. Probably in the three areas that you always try to do some things and get talented players they have done that: at quarterback, at running back and at receiver. So at every one of those positions, they have a guy there that can make plays and be playmakers, so we’re going to have a tough time to try and slow them down. That’s what you’re going to do because you can’t stop them, you going to try to slow them down. And that’s what we are going to try to do and we’ve put together a great game plan to make sure we have an opportunity to be successful and have a chance to beat Oklahoma State.”

“Their defense, I think that they’re a team that Coach (defensive coordinator Bill Young) has done some great things there. I know him from the past. Their defense has done some good things in some areas, in some areas it’s still average. I hope that we can exploit that. But they’re playing very, very well right now, so we’re going to have to play an extremely well-executed game.”

Keys to the game: We probably do this every game, but I think it’s very, very important for us to score touchdowns because you’re not going to win this football game by kicking field goals and not maintaining possession of the ball on offense. They are a team that really believes in trying to get as many plays run, so we’ve got to make sure that we score touchdowns. We’ve got to have ball security. And our defense has got to continue to do what they’ve done here in the last few ball games and that’s create some takeaways. And we’ve got to continue to tackle well. If we continue to tackle well on defense then we’re going to have some good opportunities to perform. And no doubt, our offense has got to be more productive than they were in the last ball game (against Nebraska).”

“A little bit on the injury report: Lubbock Smith, I would say doubtful. He still hasn’t totally recovered at this time. The medical staff is still evaluating him. But I would say doubtful.”

On his relationship with the senior class:

“They accepted me. I would say right from the beginning their eyes, their heart, their soul — they’ve given all of that. And that’s all you can ask for from a coach’s perspective. And also with our staff, it’s the same thing. We’ve kind of used a few of those terms as what we saw in our players, and in particular, with our seniors. They kind of took a hold of some things and they helped us to continue to adjust and get to know the guys. I think it’s always good to know from the players, how they see things. And then we as coaches have to somewhat adjust to make sure we get our guys motivated to play well. This is a great group of guys and they’re going to definitely be some people in my heart and my mind for the rest of my life.”

On adjusting to the senior class:

“I don’t think it’s anything out of the norm as anybody that would come into this situation. You’re trying to teach them to understand how we’re going to go about doing (our job). Everything always takes time, whether you’re similar or whether you’re different in how you approach things. But I didn’t see anything any more difficult than the way I anticipated as I came in. But I really felt that this team, and they have been since I came in, that they’re very, very close-knit guys. That was a big thing that outside looking in, when I came here, I didn’t know that. They stand up for each other both on and off the football field. So I think the transition coming in, we knew we had their attention and we knew that they wanted to move forward.”

On building a dynasty in the Big 12:

“I think that’s part of accepting the job at Kansas. I believe that the University of Kansas can be a team to build a dynasty, build a winning program and I think it can happen. Oklahoma State has done it, and you go on down the line (to) a couple other schools, K-State and so on, that have been able to be successful and have been competitive in winning championships here in the Big 12 Conference. I think the biggest thing they’ve done from an offensive standpoint is, as I mentioned earlier, they have a quarterback, they have a very good running back and they have a very good receiver. So that gives them an opportunity at every ballgame to put points on the board. And that gives you an opportunity to be successful in every ballgame.”

Senior defensive end Jake Laptad

On the defense’s performance against Nebraska:

“I think that is a step forward for us. Obviously we gave up too many points, but against an offense like that ,we are happy with how we played. With the way Nebraska’s offense has played all year, we put on a good performance defensively.”

On playing offenses who prefer to run the ball:

“As a defense, I think we are more comfortable with offenses that run it. We need to work on our pass defense a little more. But we do like to face teams who run it more as opposed to passing it a lot.”

On creating turnovers:

“I think everybody going after the ball is what helps create turnovers for us.”

Senior cornerback Chris Harris

On defending Oklahoma State:

“It’s definitely one of the top offenses in the country. I’ve watched a little film on them and we’ve got to be ready to play. I think the key to the game is going to be the defensive line. We’ve really got to get pressure on these guys because when the quarterback is sitting in the pocket, they make a lot of plays. He’s really done a good job of making plays, he’s not a scrambling quarterback, but he makes big plays.”

On Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon:

“I’m pretty sure we are going to have a game plan for him. I think I will be on him sometimes and it’s not just him, they’ve got a lot of great receivers on that team. We can’t just focus on him, they’ve got a lot of really great receivers and a really great running back. It’s really hard to focus on just him because they have so many great weapons.”

On Oklahoma State Halfback Kendall Hunter:

“He’s definitely the best running back we will see this year. (Kansas State’s) Daniel Thomas was more of a power back. Hunter can break tackles and make you miss. He is more of a player in the passing game too, so we have to be ready to go.”

Senior safety Olaitan Oguntodu

On his great academic standing (already has two degrees and will earn a master’s in December):

“It comes from my family. My father has always been an academic guy. He brought my family over from Nigeria strictly based on the fact that the academics in Nigeria were going downhill. He was just looking for a better opportunity. A lot of credit also goes to the support and cast that has been around me. I have several second families in Texas. Since I’ve been at the University of Kansas, I’ve had a lot of professors take great interest in my success. I’m not the most diligent student you’ve ever met, it has more to do with the fact that people have taken interest in me and that is what really helped me accomplish my goals.”

Senior wide receiver Jonathan Wilson

On Senior Day

“When I first got here I thought Senior Day was so far off, and actually time flew by and now it’s here and I’m getting ready to play my last game at Memorial Stadium. It’s a bittersweet moment. The games stand out, obviously, my freshman year when we went to the Orange Bowl. Just the atmosphere of running out of those gates and seeing the crowd and the support we got, that’s mostly what I’ll remember about playing at Memorial Stadium.”

On the challenges the senior class has faced

“We were dealt a tough hand. That’s not an excuse or anything, but I think we had a pretty good legacy here. We won games. This year didn’t really go the way we planned, but it’s a building process and I’m sure everybody here enjoyed their senior year and their experience at Kansas.”

On the possibility of a high-scoring game Saturday

“I get excited because we’re going to need to keep up with them to stay in the game. That means we’re going to have to score, because I know they’re going to score points. I haven’t seen the scouting report or the game play yet, but I’m sure we’re going to have to take some shots at them and get some points on the board.”

Senior running back Angus Quigley

On taking a leadership role in his final season

“Basically, I’m just looking to go out and continue to practice hard for the rest of the season and then show it in my play. That’s the best way to show young guys the way that it should be at the end, that’s the way to finish things. That’s really what we’re leaning toward and looking forward to for the older guys. This is our last run, so just go out and practice hard and finish and get some momentum for these guys who are going to be here next year.”

On Oklahoma State’s high-powered offense

“We can’t do what we did last week and have our defense out there as much as we did. But it’s a challenge, last week was a challenge. But we lost to Nebraska, and we did pretty well against Nebraska defensively. It just has to be a team effort. (Last week) we got beat in the trenches. They came off the ball and got some guys banged up inside. But, like I always said, we’re not going to make excuses about that. But that was a biggest thing. It’s hard to throw the ball when you can’t run the ball.”

On Senior Day:

“It’s very much real for me. I remember last year I participated in senior day and I knew there was always a fallback plan, I still could come back. But that was then. Now, it’s like two games and college is over for me. I already graduated so when December comes it’s all done. It’s right around the corner and I’ve started to realize that so we’ll see what happens.”

Junior wide receiver Daymond Patterson

On getting the offense started against Oklahoma State:

“We’re really looking to put up some points after last week. Not having too good of a game, we’re looking to bounce back. Oklahoma State has been putting up points the whole year. They have really good players on offense, but hopefully our defense can step up and hold them to a low point total and we can put some points up on the board and get a victory.”

On what changed between the Colorado game and the Nebraska game:

“I think we didn’t execute in the game versus Nebraska. Just like in the first half of the game against Colorado, we didn’t have a lot of points. But when you execute you can put points on the board fast. As far as our execution, it was all off. Our rhythm was off the whole game. Nebraska has a really good defense and they stuffed us.”

On the seniors helping with the transition to the new coaching staff:

“The seniors have been a really big part of our program. I really respect all of our seniors. This is a big week for the team, but more importantly for the seniors. This is going to be all of the seniors last week here at Memorial Stadium. Most of the them, it will probably be there last game the week after when we go up to Arrowhead to play Missouri, so I think we need to finish out strong for the seniors more than anything, because they deserve it. We really respect those guys and we looked up to a lot of them. We really want to finish strong for them.”