Beaty, Coordinators Talk Memphis in Weekly Press Conference
LAWRENCE, Kan. – First-year head football coach David Beaty, assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Clint Bowen and offensive coordinator Rob Likens met with the media Tuesday to talk about hosting Memphis during week two of the season. Both the Jayhawks and Tigers ran more than 80 plays during last Saturday’s contests, setting up a fast-paced, potentially explosive offensive day at Memorial Stadium Sept. 12. Flex packs, which include the Memphis game and two Big 12 Conference games, and single game tickets are still available for purchase.
COACH BEATY: Just want to say a big thank you to our Jayhawk Nation for showing up Saturday and being there for our guys, for our players. It made a huge, huge difference in that game.
There’s a lot of things that I think back to on that game that were very encouraging and one of which was the way our fans got behind our team as we started to try to mount that comeback there in the second half. So just a big thank you to the greatest fans in the country. Thank you guys for being there and we are going to need you there all the time, I appreciate that. I know our guys do, too.
I want to just say before we get started, I’ve got to take my hand off again to Coach Stiegelmeier and his staff. They did a tremendous job getting the team prepared to come in here and play against us. I said before they are a really good football team. I take my hat off to them.
He had a team ready to play and they came in here into an environment, it was fairly warm Saturday. And I didn’t see their team be affected by that, which you had to think going into the game that that was something that might be playing into your favor. But he had them ready to go and those kids didn’t seem to be affected by that. My hat is off to him. I think they will have a great season this year as a result without a doubt.
With that being said, let’s go ahead and take some questions.
Q. The size of Memphis’ quarterback, is that a concern?
COACH BEATY: He is a big dude. He’s 6-7, 230 pounds, and yeah, he’s a talented guy. He can sling it but he can also run it. He’s done as much damage with his feet as he has throwing the ball. That’s the thing that you’ve got to be concerned about with these guys, and they are very multiple. Justin Fuente is a guy that I’ve known for a long, long time. It is absolutely no surprise to me that he has been as successful as he’s been as a head coach at the Division I level.
I mean, a lot of people probably remember his time with Andy Dalton back at TCU and what they did taking that TCU team to a Rose Bowl. I’ll tell you this: I mean, I was the one standing in line trying to steal what he was doing schematically because he’s a brilliant, brilliant offensive mind. I learned a lot from that guy.
Knew he was going to be successful because of the way he handled kids, just getting to know him, and they have been really, really good. But, man, he’s got some good players there. He’s done a great job of recruiting. And that quarterback is not the least of which; he is a talented guy. He makes them go offensively. But he’s got some guys around him, too, that really, really help him. So Justin has done a really good job with that football team.
Q. How have you gotten to know Coach Fuente?
COACH BEATY: Like a lot of us, our profession, we cross paths when we are out on the road recruiting. Kenny Perry and I know a lot of those guys from the time that they were coming through recruiting our schools way back in the day when they were at other schools. So I’ve known him for a long, long time. He’s also a very dear friend of mine named Rajeeb Hossain, and we connected through him for a long time, just have mutual respect and got to know him on the road.
Q. Your tempo was one of the best in the country, do you want it to get faster or you pleased with where you’re at?
COACH BEATY: Yeah, it absolutely can be better. I think the key for us is making sure that we control the tempo. And what I mean by that is just going one tempo fast. I don’t know that that’s always the answer now. In this day and age, there’s some really smart people defensively, and if you keep the tempo at one tempo they get pretty good at being able to defend that. Now, when you can vary the tempo and you can do some things like that to keep chalk out of their hand last, that’s really what we aim for.
But I’ve got to take my hat off to our team, Montell Cozart and Rob Likens, those guys did a tremendous job of really accomplishing a personal goal that I don’t know that I spoke about, but I wanted to see happen, which is creating an identity for us offensively. I wanted to see that we were actually staying true to who we were and not just running a bunch of plays out there; that the things that we were doing, we had been practicing and we had done them over and over again and we could become a little bit more efficient at it.
As the game wore on, we became more efficient at it, so that was good to see that we improved as we went.
Q. What’s the plan with Ryan Willis now that he has seen some action?
COACH BEATY: Same plan. Him and the other guys, they will all continue trying to develop. Like I said the other day, it will be a week-to-week deal until one of them separates themselves. Right now it’s pretty steady right behind Cozart right there. So Deondre (Ford) could be the guy in at any moment and so could Ryan.
Ryan, like I said before, that experience the other day, Saturday, is going to be nothing — it’s going to do nothing but help Ryan. He was one of 23 new guys that touched the field for the first time in a Division I football game the other day, which you know, it’s one thing you can’t give them is experience.
So I know this: As sad as he was, and I hugged his neck after the game, as sad as he was, when I asked him, I said, “Dude, that was pretty fun, wasn’t it.”
He went from tears to, “Yeah, that was awesome. That was fun.” It kind of gets to a point where they start appreciating and understanding why all that hard work they are putting in becomes worth it on game day.
Q. Would you like to maybe give him more playing time here or there, sprinkle it in here and there?
COACH BEATY: You’d like to. As he shows development, that gives us the opportunity to use him more, not just him but all the players that we have.
I told those guys a long time ago, don’t plan on trying to red-shirt any of you. We don’t have enough scholarships to do that. Every one of you have to be prepared to play somewhere, some time. And he’s not any different than the rest of those guys.
We told Carter Stanley the same thing. So you would like to; those situations, they are earned. He’s got to either beat Montell out and show that — and then when he gets his opportunity in the game, he’s got to show that he can move the team when he gets in there, which I’m confident that he will, there’s no doubt in my mind.
But I still think he has some time to get ready for. It was what we said the other day: It was the next step in his progression, his maturation of trying to become a quarterback at this level. We would like to get him more snaps, absolutely. But right now Montell Cozart is our starter and he did a good job of leading us back the other day.
Q. What was the area that most disappointed you with the defense in the first half?
COACH BEATY: Well, I think maybe the best way to answer that is this. As we watched the tape, and as I came off the field on Saturday and we’ve dealt with the last 48, 72 hours, I can say this: There’s not a single thing that I’m discouraged about.
Now, there’s a lot of things I’m disappointed in, but there’s 23 new players out there on the football field for the first time. They are going to make mistakes, and I think the thing that was kind of a ringing tone all the way across all of our positions was just trusting your training and playing with technique and not getting out there and abandoning your teaching or your training; and that 100 percent of the time leads you down the path of not being successful.
And really, we know that’s coming as coaches. It’s part of the growing process. We know that. There’s one thing we can’t give them is that experience. So although we had a few more experienced guys on that defensive front side, there’s not a lot of them. Those guys are going to have to learn hard lessons.
The thing that was disappointing is that we didn’t have to learn those lessons because we’ve talked about them, and we’ve put them in situations and at that point, we’ve got to do a better job of taking it over to the field and applying it, because we knew the answers to the test and we just simply didn’t use the information right.
Like I said, sometimes you’ve got to experience it to learn it. And I think we’ll be better as a result moving forward. We’ve got to do a better job stopping the run. We’ve got to do a better job of holding gaps. This team we are about to play can run the ball effectively: They can out leverage you; they can out-gap you; they can mis-direction you if you eye is in the wrong place.
Well, if your eye is in the wrong place with these guys, with Justin, you’re going to be in for a long day, because they will be in the end zone and you don’t even know who has got the football. Because he will mis-direction you; he will option you; he will drop back and become a drop-back pass team. I mean, they are very multiple and you have to be very disciplined to be able to manage these guys and keep them in front of you.
We have to do a better job of being disciplined with our eyes. We have to play proper technique and be aligned in the right alignments, which alignment-wise, we were lined up okay. It’s technique that we’ve got to continue to get better at. And eye control. I think those are the things that we’ve got to really continue to work on.
And then we are stressing fanatical effort on every play, because I don’t know that we did it as well in that area throughout the whole game that we can do. We’ve got to be a lot better in the area of straining all the way through the echo of the whistle.
Q. Trusting your technique and training, does that account for some of those missed tackles early on?
COACH BEATY: Absolutely, the second play of the game, we’ve got a new corner sitting out there and I tell you what, that kid came back and fought back after a hard start to the game. We left him in there to let him learn and let him continue to grow.
But there’s two other guys on that play that we were able to point out that if we take a properly angle, we got our head put in the right position, and we’re running to the football effectively. The good news is we learned that on the second play. The bad news is that we had to learn it that early on the second play when we already knew that information.
The great news is, we stopped them and they only got three points out of that drive, which really, we never know which one of them is going to be. But that turned out to be one of most important drives of the game because it gave us a chance to be in it at the end.
Q. The DBs in coverage in certain situations they were there to make the play, but did not turn their heads around–is that the way they are taught or experience or a combination?
COACH BEATY: There’s a time when that head does have to turn but part of the discipline in playing that position, particularly when you’re in particular coverage, is a lot of times your eyes are not supposed to be in the backfield. They are supposed to be on the guy our defending, and in a way depends on what coverage you’re in. One.
Of the things that, like I said the other day, it’s never one guy’s fault. Kwamie Lassiter talked to our guys the other night and he had a great, great message. He said, “You know what, I think I was a really good corner but I had some monsters pass rushing up front that made my job a lot easier.”
We have got to be able to get better pressure on that quarterback early. We did it late and it changed things for them. They still had receivers open. He just missed them because we hit them a couple of times and it changed who he was. And it does, for most quarterbacks.
So we have got to create a better pass rush up front, and our guys know that. They see that now how it all works together. It’s never one guy’s fault. It’s a collective effort: Coaches, players, everybody.
Q. What makes Ben Goodman such a great leader?
COACH BEATY: I think Ben’s been here about 14 years. He’s been here for a long time, which I think that has a lot to do with it. But he also is just a very mature guy and he works his rear end off. I think he’s respected. He gains favor with his teammate because he works hard, he does the right things and he produces on the field and he does well in the classroom.
We talk to them at length about how you gain favor or lose favor with your teammates on the road to becoming a leader, and he may be the best example of that on our entire team.
He is a guy that he can speak and they listen. We need more of that from him, and we certainly need more of that from the rest of our leaders. We’ve got to continue to develop, and we also need some good teammates. Those guys, I can say, they all were doing a good job of being a good teammate. We need some help there with Ben to start developing even more leadership there.
And we are not unique. I can tell you, there’s quite a few teams in the country right now saying, we need better leaders. We have good leaders. We just need them to do more of it.
Q. When you scored a big victory in recruiting, like Dorance Armstrong, and then you see him flying around the edge the way he did and made that tackle – what goes through your mind?
COACH BEATY: It’s funny to hear you say that, and to be able to understand that, because when he comes around again in that one package that he’s in and he goes — he moves fast.
He comes around the corner and tackles that quarterback, the first thing that popped into my head was me being about that home visit with Coach Perry and those guys and Coach Bowen and Coach Thibodeaux down there. I just pictured his mom and her saying, “Coach, we are Jayhawks.” And there was a lot of people knocking on that door after that day.
I was just — literally, I took a brief second to go, man, that was a good get. That was a good get to get that guy to stay here, because I think he’ll have a great career, I really do. And he’s a great kid. I think he’ll gain favor with his teammates quick.
Q. How does a player as talented as Ke’aun Kinner slip through the cracks in recruiting?
COACH BEATY: Well, I think recruiting, sometimes it seems very simple, but it’s not always that way. There’s not — it usually comes down to needs. You can’t just always take the best player you want. Maybe your numbers say you need a running back; sometimes you don’t.
I think that might have been his big deal. This last year in college football, might have been the best year I’ve seen for running backs since I’ve been a college coach. There were a ton of great ones throughout the country. They were all over the place. That is not common.
Therefore, those JuCo guys in those other years, they wind up getting a lot more opportunity. But this year, there happened to be 25, 35 guys out there. That is not a normal year. I think that really had a little bit to do with the amount of traffic he had, because he was the National Player of the Year in junior college. I mean, this guy’s tape was phenomenal. It was off the chain. And like I said before, we have some friends down there at Navarro, and right when we got the job, they gave us a call and we got into it and somehow we were able to gain his services. Like I said, he’s another one of those kids that he’s going to gain favor with his teammates fast because he takes care of his business in those four areas.
Q. With the cornerbacks struggling in the first quarter, how did you help them turn it around?
COACH BEATY: Well, we tell those guys that your job description is going to change on a down to down basis and you don’t get to decide that you’re just a pass defender and that you have to do a great job of playing football the entire game. Which means at some point you may have to become a receiver and pick the ball off; you may have to go strip the ball and get it out. He’s no different.
I will say this: It was good to see a young guy, a freshman, make eight tackles, because we needed him to. Whether the problem is up front or in the back end, the deal is, we need him to snap it again, and he made eight tackles and as we look at the tape of those eight tackles, three or four of them, had he not made them, then they wouldn’t have had to snap the ball again. And a couple of those led to field goals or even a punt, which saved points.
So we value every possession and every man on that team has to do a tremendous job of tackling. We can’t have — told the coaching staff, I said, you can’t have seven coaches and two recruiters, because you’re going to be exposed somewhere. We can’t have nine good players that can tackle and two that can cover; and if it gets to them, oh, well, we are just out of luck. So they have all got to tackle.
Q. You talked a lot about Marcquis Roberts during camp—did he stand out in the first game?
COACH BEATY: He did at times. I think he’s got a lot better games ahead of him. One of the things I was impressed with him was at half-time. He’s been in some big environments where he came from and I think the kid kind of drew to him at half-time. The words that he said, because he doesn’t speak a lot, I think they spoke volumes.
He was kind of banged up there a little bit in the first half and fought through it and got through it and finished the game without making any excuses for it. He’s going to be fine, but he’s a guy that was very vocal at half-time that I think we needed.
So from that standpoint, even though he may not have been playing his best game at that point, he made an impact for us that had he not been here, I’m not sure would have been there.
Q. Joe Dineen kind of looked like he has that follow-me type of mentality. Do other young guys have that, too? Are you seeing that?
COACH BEATY: There are a few, and you spoke specifically about Joe. That was a big question I had coming into the game was what kind of production was Joe going to have. I know there was a lot of things made about Joe because he played a little bit at running back the year before at Duke, but I had not seen him play a snap other than what we had seen him do in practice. It was good to see him be productive.
I think the key for us moving forward — let me answer that question: Yes, it’s too early. And then, No. 2, is we are looking for consistency. When they stepped back in here yesterday, our message to them, it was very, very, very basic. It was exactly what we talked about. We are going to be fair, consistent and demanding and that’s how we are going to continue to move forward.
That’s why I was not discouraged. I was disappointed with some of the things I saw, but we’ve got the right guys in our locker room right now, and we’ve got the right guys on our coaching staff, and really got the right people in this building. Because the mind-set moving forward is where you need it to be.
So I’m proud of that. I’m not proud of the result, and neither are they. And they hurt, and we all hurt as a result. But we didn’t earn it. I know it comes down to something simple: We just didn’t earn it. We work on fast start every day, 31-7 is not a fast start.
So we’ve got to start taking that to heart, because it’s going to be difficult to dig out of those holes every week. Like I said, this was the next step in evaluation, so, man, the great thing is, we’ve got a lot to learn from this game which is good.
Q. Along the same lines, was there a smaller number of players dressed out than normal or the maximum you can have?
COACH BEATY: It’s funny, we had a meeting today and I said, “Fellas, did it feel like that sideline was crowded to you, because it felt crowded to me.”
No, we had a normal number. It was right around 70, 72, something like that.
Q. How did you feel like your wide receivers played Saturday?
COACH BEATY: You know, they are not where we want them to be. There was — obviously there was some highlights in there. I thought Tre’ Parmalee played really, really well. We needed him to step up and make some plays for us in the game which is good. There were some guys that played well in areas you wouldn’t expect. Maybe you didn’t see it in the stats sheets, but I thought Joshua Stanford blocked very well on the edge. He was very physical.
I think Darious Crawley is a guy that I felt his impact throughout the game, and when we saw the tape, he certainly showed to be a consistent player. He’s developing as a nice player. I was proud for him. He’s got to start doing that consistently.
Steven Sims, I mean, he was razor close to coming down with that touchdown in the corner right there before half on that fourth down call. A couple of angles we looked at, looked like he might have had his toe in. I just don’t think we had the review angles to be able to look at it to be honest with you. But just some of the things that I saw on tape I was encouraged with by him.
But we have to be more physical as a group out there. There’s a high standard out there to put body blows on those DBs throughout the game; so that when the fourth quarter gets here, that those body blows add up so. We don’t want a DB to go, you know, five, six plays without getting touched. He needs to get hands laid on him every play from the first quarter to the fourth.
So he doesn’t — we still — we talk about stealing his concentration late in the game, because if you’re putting your hands on him, all game, there’s going to be a time where he’s going to fit wrong because he’s trying to avoid you and we need that to start talking hold. And I’m not sure we did that to the level we’d like.
Q. Would you like Joshua Stanford to have a bigger role?
COACH BEATY: You know what, we just need those guys to play the role that they are asked to play on a day-to-day basis. We don’t care who does it. That’s why, I mean, we were rolling guys in and out of that game. It looked like a circus, I’m pretty sure, guys coming in and out, and that’s all part of what we do philosophy-wise.
We do not care who is in there. If you are in the two-deep and make that two-deep and you’ve earned it, we are not going to put a certain guy in on third down, because the other guy is just as good as him. And we believe in him; everybody on the team believes in him.
Joshua does have a skill set, you’d like to get the ball to him. We had a couple of calls to him. They just happened to cloud the coverage over there. And you don’t get to determine where the ball goes sometimes, and they had basically two in his area. We were trying to take up a couple shots with him because he can’t run.
Q. On fourth down, was Steven Sims the first option on that?
COACH BEATY: They were in man coverage. They were trying to show that they were bringing seven and they didn’t and they bailed out of it but they still maintained man coverage. Montell made the exact right read.
There was a couple things we could have done on the other side, as well, but they were mirrored routes and I think he did a good job picking his best matchup. He put the ball in there. Sims, I mean, he made a great adjustment on that ball. I was blocked. I didn’t see it. So I didn’t realize what a good catch that was. He made a heck of a play down there.
But you know what, we talk about field awareness all the time. We tell them all the time, listen, they are not going to counter to the catch if you are out-of-bounds, so you have to be aware of where you’re at. We just didn’t quite get that done, and that was the difference in seven points to their none.
Q. You said after the game, you wanted to see film of the final five seconds. Did you figure out exactly what happened?
COACH BEATY: A couple things that we did see was that our training kind of took over. That was a positive that I didn’t talk about Saturday was we almost got the thing off again because we have a repeat option where we can just get repeat. And Montell, to his credit, he got repeat called and we almost got it back. We almost were able to do it. We just didn’t have quite enough time. But almost doesn’t do it. We have got to be able do it the first time.
But it was good to see that training take hold. Really it was just, I think he just did not get the exchange and Keyon (Haughton) both those guys are always — they are accountable for the exchange. We said that from the very beginning and we’ve got to get it done. We just got to continue to work it. That’s our fault as a coaching staff but I can assure you that we will work tirelessly to make sure that never, ever happens again.
Q. The was the first time for this coaching staff to coach in a game together — how did that go and how did it play out throughout the game, with you and Rob specifically, how things ran offensively?
COACH BEATY: Right, well, I was very pleased with our staff. They did a tremendous job. The communication all day was really good. I thought that they handled adjustments really well. One of the things that I was really proud of was the places that we have all come from, we always adjusted well at half-time. I thought our guys did a nice job of adjusting at half-time.
Probably most proud of the rookie, Gary Hyman. His third of the game had a touchdown return, had a pursuant return that gave us a chance to tie the football game. We had several touchbacks in the game, and we had a couple inside the 20, stops down there.
And then probably the biggest challenge we were concerned about going into that game was hemming up No. 22 on that punt return. And his coverage, I could see technique working on tape. He did a really good job getting his guys ready to play. I was really, really pleased with the job that he did.
I thought Clint (Bowen) did a really nice job adjusting throughout the second half and continuing to apply pressure because eventually, eventually, we got to him. I really thought Rob did a really nice job handling Montell and I have to take my hat off to Montell. I’m probably like a lot of other people, always wanting to see what was going to happen when he threw — he had an interception, he had a fumble and then he was on the ground. I wanted to see how he was going to respond. And I was very, very impressed with the fact that he stepped back in there and he led us back to a potential game-winning situation.
So we were encouraged by that, and really that hat goes off to the coaches. I thought Rob did a phenomenal job talking with him on the sideline, keeping him calm and making him understand that, hey, you’re our guy, man. That confidence is so important. He did a great job of it.
After the game, Rob and I talked, I said, look, I’m so proud of what you did in your first game as a Division I offensive coordinator, not like he needs me to tell him that. He’s as good of a coach as I ever hope to be, but I could see his identity, our identity and that’s probably what made me most excited for him, is you could see our identity.
Q. You may have answered this earlier, but Ryan Schadler, how do you find a guy that’s not even playing college football?
COACH BEATY: Well, I’ve spoke a lot about our relationships with guys maybe down in the south. There’s a lot of relationships that have occurred right here in the Midwest through Clint Bowen, and that’s really how it happens, communications with him and his high school coach.
He actually played for a guy named Eric Childs at Hesston, I believe, that was playing for me at McArthur. When I got the job, he sent me a message, one of 5,000 that I got, but for some reason it was Eric Childs, he played for me and also played at K-State but worked at Hesston for a while and he called me about this kid. Clint had told me that he was available, and that actually he was here. He was actually here already. The rest was history.
I think it was really more or less Clint’s relationships with those people, not only dating back to his high school, but being able to keep in touch with him and watching what he was doing at Wichita State what he was running. The guy can run, fast dude, track guy.
Q. The completion on the last possession, that went for three or four yards — is that a bad decision?
COACH BEATY: Not a bad decision by Montell. I think that the call, we had a call there where we had the opportunity if the nickel was in the right spot to be able to get it to the guy who could get out of bounds.
Unfortunately in that particular situation, that nickel stepped outside No. 2, which forced us to throw it to No. 3, and that’s really kind of where it happened. I think, yeah, we’d like to have that one back, but you know, the good thing is we kept playing and we were able to get another completion there after that.
Yeah, you want to keep that ball near the sideline, or at least where you can get a first down and try to get that clock stopped. Yeah, we’ve got to be better there.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Assistant head coach/defensive coordinator/safeties coach Clint Bowen
On the play of Joe Dineen, Jr., and Schyler Miles Saturday:
“I thought Joe Dineen, Jr., played really well. He was active in the game, he showed up. He was one of the players at the end of the game – you knew he played in the game. He made some mistakes, but at the same time, he showed up. He had a couple hits on the quarterback and played his gap well. He had some tackles – I thought you noticed him. Then Schyler Miles gave us some good snaps in relief of Marcquis Roberts.”
On keeping an eye on sprinters like Ryan Schadler in the state of Kansas:
“It is funny, but I always have. I have always followed track results really close. You have to follow the official track meet with the real times, not the hand times. I always have followed those. There is a guy in the NFL right now, Derek Akunne – he played linebacker for me at North Texas and he was a high school offensive guard. He ran a 10.7-second 100-meter dash at 235 lbs. He never had a chance to play anything but guard because his high school program wasn’t that good. Now the kid is in the NFL playing linebacker. Those track times – not that it matters – some things come down to speed. You can’t fake it.”
On how he recruited Ryan Schadler:
“We knew about him in high school. One of his coaches reached out to me and we got some contact with him.”
On type of season to expect from Ben Goodman, Jr.:
“He should have a good one. He is a solid player. I wouldn’t say he is over the top dynamic type of guy, but he is a high energy, high motor guy that keeps bringing it. Guys that work hard and continue to do that, usually end up with some production during the games. At the end of the year, he could end up with a pretty good stat line.”
On Ben Goodman, Jr., achieving 15 sacks this season:
“I think he would have a chance this year. That is a pretty lofty goal. If he keeps plugging along, he can get there. He better hurry up.”
On if the defensive line showed up against South Dakota State:
“I don’t think the first and second down play of those guys was really good. Third down, Dorance Armstrong came in and had a nice pass rush. Goodman beat a kid on third down. On first and second down, our conversion to pass rush wasn’t as smooth and efficient, along with our gap control.”
On what to build on looking toward Memphis:
“Right now it is all about us. It is about us doing the things we are capable of controlling. A lot of things that happened in that game had nothing to do with the opponent, it had to do with our lack of execution. I think this week is big about correcting a lot of those things and focusing on ourselves.”
On the missed tackle number being high:
“We did not tackle well at all. It was a lot of different types of tackles. It was open field tackles, in the box tackles – a lot of different situations we didn’t take good angles to the ball carrier. When we got to the ball carrier we didn’t do a good job of bending our knees and hitting through and finishing. We didn’t do well at any type of tackle.”
On what to expect from Memphis head coach Justin Fuente:
“He earned his by coming up being a solid offensive coordinator. He has always been a creative guy and they continue to do that. Their offense is very complicated within its simplicity. You can tell they know exactly where they are headed with everything. They repeat plays but with a lot of different formations and motions. It creates problems for defenses and it is a nice system if you have the right personnel to run it.”
Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Rob Likens
On the important takeaways from Saturday’s game against South Dakota State:
“The thing I was pleased with the most was Montell Cozart. He started out with that poor interception. Then he got the ball knocked out. He got hit pretty good. He got hit in the face there. He could have laid on the turf and found a very convenient way to get out of the ballgame at that point. That dude got off the ground and put it all on his shoulders and went back out there and played really well. To me, that is the most important thing we got out of the game right there. I was really impressed with that. It would have been real easy for him – with what has happened with him in the past – he could have just laid there and took the easy way out. He didn’t do it.”
On if the 27 carries for Ke´aun Kinner was the right number:
“It was about right. I went into the game thinking we could have a pretty balanced attack. I thought it didn’t seem all that high. It was about right.”
On the tempo running 90 plays:
“After watching the game, I felt like we could have gotten over 100 plays. We just have to get the ball snapped a little bit quicker. We talked about that yesterday and are going to try and be better at it this week.”
On if he felt the tempo was working in the second and third quarter:
“Yes. You could see it. Usually the tempo really starts to kick in around the middle third quarter and the fourth quarter. Everything is going to come down to if you are getting first downs or not. If you go three-and-out really fast, it actually is counterproductive. It helps them and hurts you. It all goes along with drives. We were able to have five or six drives of nine or more plays – that really helped.”
On how the wide receivers played:
“They played pretty well for their first game and guys that don’t have a lot of experience or catches under their belt. They practiced really well yesterday. I think they were excited that they saw what could happen and have a little hope like, ‘this is pretty cool.’ They have a little extra energy now.”
On rotating the wide receivers in and out:
“We use that as a recruiting tool. We are going to play eight to 10 receivers every game. There are so many opportunities out there for guys to get playing time, it piques everyone’s interest in practice. I was a lifer on the scout team, so I know what it is like to be at practice for two hours – but with these guys, it is active however long we practice. They are in and out, in and out, getting a lot of reps.”
On Ryan Willis seeing action:
“We had planned on him going in if something happened. Cozart was out for a few plays then all of a sudden, ‘ok I am ready to go.’ Then we threw him back in. That was going to be our plan from the beginning.”
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