Beaty, Jayhawks Ready for Big 12 and Iowa State

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Head Kansas football coach David Beaty met with the media Tuesday to talk about the team’s first conference test of 2015.

The Jayhawks head to Ames, Iowa to face the 1-2 Cyclones of Iowa State, Saturday, Oct. 3. Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m., and can be seen on Fox Sports Net.

Opening Comments:
COACH BEATY: Thanks for coming again today. We’re excited about obviously our first Big 12 contest coming up against Iowa State.

A lot of things that are exciting about this game. Obviously we are starting Big 12 play, which is a big deal for us. I know our team is excited about that. Iowa State is a terrific environment to play in. I don’t know if any or all of you have ever been there, but I think they have had sellouts in the first two games and since Coach Rhoads has been there, their attendance has been through the roof. Their fans do a great job and it always makes for a great environment for a Saturday afternoon in the Big 12. We are excited to go out and be a part of it.

Coach Rhoads has done such a great job since he’s been there and they can that he can think respect the most and there’s a lot of reason why is that is. I mean, he’s been very successful on the field, but I think the thing that sticks out for me is he’s one of the things that’s really, really right about college football. The reason I can say that is I’ve been around him quite a bit.

Had the opportunity to interview with him at one point for an opening that he had and he’s just such a class act. But he has always been about the kids and about our game. The thing that I’ve enjoyed being around him with in the Big 12 is watching him truly care about making our game better. That takes work. That takes extra work outside of what you’re trying it to do with your team to try to make this game better, and Coach Rhoads does that tirelessly.

I enjoy watching him and I’ve learned a lot from him over the years. He truly cares about those kids, like I said. I know he’s probably having a thrill right now because he has two kids playing for him right now and that’s got to be a good deal for him.

So I’m happy for him and he’s done some wonderful things there. They have been quote, unquote, giant killers, since they have been there. They have won some big games against some really good football teams. I think back to that game against Nebraska that they had there, and then they upset Oklahoma State the year that Oklahoma State had a chance to go play in the National Championship Game. That was a big game.

Those are games that stick out in my mind, and there’s been many, many games like that for Coach Rhoads while he’s been there and that speaks to his leadership. The guys that he has on his staff, I’m sure there will be questions about other guys on that staff today. But it’s going to be a big thrill for me to be able to get to go out and compete: Myself, George Matsakis, Louis Matsakis, Clint Bowen, a lot of us were fortunate to be given opportunities to work right here at the University of Kansas by Coach Mangino, whom I have the utmost respect for for a lot of different reasons and I’ve documented those well in the past. But it’s going to be really fun to get to see him.

I haven’t seen him in a little while and it’s been fun to watch his blueprint kind of get laid down there at Iowa State offensively. It’s going to be exciting to play against not only him; not only him but Brandon Blaney, who is on their staff, who I think is one of the finest minds in our game, a guy who is underrated. He does a really good job, and I haven’t seen him in a while. He was in the NFL for a good while after we left here. So I know it’s going to be a fun time getting to see him as well.

Tommy Mangino, who does a great job with the receivers there. We got to work together here which is a lot of fun. Been fun watching his career grow and there’s a kid that played for us here named Reese Petty that’s a GA for them that played for me and he’s one of those guys that I just have a ton of respect for and did a lot here for this program while he was here.

But those guys, that will be fun. It will be a good reunion, but when that ball gets kicked off, we are all going to be working just like we all have been.

This team is going to be a challenge, no doubt about it. They have got some really good players. They have got some guys with some experience, but they have also got a nice little mix of youth in there, particularly defensively.

What I think offensively when you think about those guys, I’ve watched that tape that makes them go. Sam Richardson has been around for a while. One of the things that really sticks out for me is that guy has got 5,000 yards-plus passing and 1,000 yards plus rushing in the NCAA. That’s hard to do now. You have to be age to play a bunch of games to get that done and he’s done a good job of that.

He’s got a lot of experience which is something you can’t give them without playing. He makes them go. He’s very efficient. You can tell he knows where to go with the ball and that experience is a big plus for them.

I like their receiving core. There’s a kid named Allen Lazard that I recruited while I was at A&M, and that guy can play. He’s a big body guy and you get it close to him. It’s not easy to knock it down because he’s a strong guy. He’s a challenge because of his size. He did the same things when I watched him play in high school.

The Montgomery kid, he’s a really good player. They have got a great receiving core. Those guys across the board, No. 9, he’s a great player. Those guys, they have done a nice job assembling and recruiting some receivers that they have got. The Daley kid is a really good player, as well. All those guys are productive. I think Tommy does a really good job with him. I watch his blueprint, the things that he and I worked together object, he taught me, I can see happening out there on the field. So it’s been good to watch him develop with those guys.

Coach Blaney does a great job with that O-line. I know they have got one guy I think coming back off injury. I know they will be excited about having him back. But they are a good solid group like they always are and they are going to run the ball well, you can bet on that, with Coach Mangino up there leading those guys and with Brandon coaching them up front. Those guys do a really good job. They are a sound unit and have big play potential if you’re not disciplined with your eyes and being where you’re supposed to be.

Defensively, Wally Burnham, that guy has been with Coach a long time. I’ve had to coach against him a long time and he has done a tremendous job. He’s kind of a legend in our sport. He’s been around for so long and he’s been so successful. I’ve always loved watching him. A little bit unique this year because he switched to a 3-4 and I’m used to that four-down stuff. But man, it’s been very productive for them. I thought it was a good move.

They created a lot of tackles for loss. They get to the quarterback. They have got a kid that’s second in the country and first in the Big 12, the Pearson kid, D-end, we have to know where he is and have to have a plan for him because he can rush the passer. I think he’s ahead of Myles Garrett, if I’m not mistaken, and I know firsthand how good that kid was. He’s a talented guy, we have to know where he’s at.

Second week in a row we go against a premiere pass rusher, and it’s definitely helping us grow. They are very strong up front. Those guys are very strong. He has some new guys in there, junior college guys that obviously you can tell are strong guys.

I think the thing I like most about them is that D-end and I really like the secondary kid. He’s a really good player, Cotton-Moya No. 5, he seems to be in every play. Turn on the tape and he’s affecting the game every time the ball is snapped.

Those guys will be a challenge. I know they have a freshman cornerback over there, I think he’s leading the Big 12 if I’m not mistaken in pass breakups, and you see him show up, the PB kid.

They have some good players and a lot have experience, but they have a nice mix of youth over there, particularly on the defensive side so I know the future looks bright for those guys moving forward.

Q. How different is the Big 12 now from when you first came to Kansas in 2008?
COACH BEATY: I think it was starting to transition when we were here before. But it definitely is different than it was when we first — when I first got here. I remember seeing Texas and Oklahoma those first years, and the players looked a lot more like what we just played against this week, a lot of tall, long, very, very big, big, men. And that’s kind of what Rutgers looked like. That was a big football team in comparison.

Blitz speed-wise, it’s a little different. This league is very fast and you’ve got to be able to match speed in this conference.

Q. How did you end up connecting with Coach Mangino in the first place?
COACH BEATY: Christmas Day, I got a call from Tim Beck, and he said, hey, would you be interested in this receiver job because I’m going to Nebraska. Well, yeah. I was at Rice, I said like, yeah, I’d be interested, but dude, he’s not going to hire me. I mean, I was at Rice.

We had had a good football player there, Jarett Dillard, he was really good. Matter of fact, I think he finished second in the finals that year to a kid named Calvin Johnson, pretty good player. I was lucky, I had a good player, and Tim was a buddy of mine and Tim and George got us hooked up together and we met. And like I said yesterday, I’m not sure I deserved it, but he gave me a chance. I’ll be forever grateful to him.

Q. Do you remember much about that interview, how it went?
COACH BEATY: He is a really nice guy, very funny. Wasn’t real intense or anything like that with him. It was just very matter of fact in terms of what’s your style like, and I think he was searching so see if I was a fit for what he was looking for. It was fairly straightforward but he was a joy to talk to.

Q. Do you have any injury updates?
COACH BEATY: Yeah, he’s (Deondre Ford) got some strained ligaments, I think is what they called it in that thumb. It’s going to be a little while. I’m not sure how long. We’ll take it week-to-week but there’s no way he’s going to be able to go this week.

So we’ve ruled him out for this week. But we’ll see how it progresses next week. It was a fairly good shot he took when he hit ground.

Q. Still dealing with the flu?
COACH BEATY: A little bit, a little bit here and there. You know how it that is, once it starts, it keeps going. When you’re dealing with 105 guys, it’s not always documented. But it’s not really unlike anything that we usually deal with. Just happened to hit a specific guy the other day and made the news as a result.

Q. How is Montell (Cozart)?
COACH BEATY: He’s a lot better. You can tell he’s still trying to recover. It’s hard to keep your appetite up when you’re sick like that. We all have experienced it. He’s starting to put that weight back on him though.

Q. You talked about going into the Big 12 now, so far, your first job as a head coach, is there anything that you’ve learned, anything surprise you?
COACH BEATY: Well, I’m learning every day and I’ve learned every day since I started coaching. You’re either getting better or worse, and in our case, as well. Particularly I’ve learned a lot.

I think one of the big things for me is just managing the game from a head coaching perspective. I’ve learned so much, and I’ve put a lot of time into that, just making sure that I make sure that I’m there for our team when they need us to make the right decisions and be in the right positions. That’s probably been the biggest change is trying to manage all that.

And trying to keep my eyes off wanting to watch what’s going on offensively or what’s going on defensively and really stay in the moment with situations. I think most new head coaches experience that as they go through it.

Q. Are you talking about managing your coaches?
COACH BEATY: That’s part of it, but really managing the game. Those guys need to be free to coach. They need to be thinking about it’s third and medium, it’s third and short, it’s third and long. I need to be the one that’s being able to tell them, hey, you’ve got two downs here, so they know whether or not they want to run the ball downhill, or what they need to call to be able to make that next play a manageable situation.

So for me, I have to be thinking two, three plays ahead and really understanding the situation, the environment, all the things that go into being a head coach, watching that time. I’ve got some great help up in the box with some guys that we are constantly communicating about, time management and things like that. I really think that’s a lost art form in football sometimes.

I try to put a lot of emphasis on that because I think that — Kevin taught me this a long time ago, Kevin Sumlin, he said: There’s a lot more games that are lost than won, and I certainly don’t want to be that reason. So we work diligently at trying to prevent that.

Q. There’s a balance between you’re talking about managing the game and there’s a balance between stuff on the field and off the field, recruiting relationships and all that stuff. Has that been about what you would expect? That’s a lot of your time, too.
COACH BEATY: It is. There’s no doubt about it. But you’ve got to find the pockets to fit that in. We have a certain schedule set. Last night we are on the phones for a good while, and then we’ll be on the phone again tonight and we’ll be on the phone again tomorrow night. That’s something, you asked me what Coach Mangino — teached me; he taught me that you do it every day. You recruit every single day. And we do it every day.

We are trying to make this thing better by creating a competitive environment and the way you do that is bring in better what you’ve got. Keep trying to find better than what you’ve got and that will make those guys better.

We’ve added seven or eight guys to our roster in the fall that I don’t know that we’ve gotten to the production level we want to be at yet, but I tell you, we have gotten a lot better because those guys are here. Whether they are playing or not, we have gotten a lot better. Most of them are, some of them aren’t, but they have certainly made us a little bit better in areas.

Same thing with recruiting. We have got to continue to do it because that’s the way we are going to get to where we want to get is continuing to recruit well. We do it every, Monday Tuesday, Wednesday, we do it Sunday nights. Any time you get a chance, you’ve got to be on that phone.

Q. Speaking of players, Tyrone Miller, Jr., is leading the Big 12 among freshmen in tackles per game, can you talk about the impact he has had?
COACH BEATY: He’s had a big impact for us. I was talking about it with our team yesterday. That first game, he got thrown into the fire against a really good receiver. The Wieneke kid is doing to be an NFL player. I firmly believe the kid from South Dakota State, he is a good play. He did the same thing in his third game. The kid had 14 touchdowns last year, 1,400 yards receiving. He is a really good player. That was his first draw was against that guy. That guy is a really good — and he’s big.

So that first game, most guys, I’ve had a bunch of them that they have drawn an assignment like that and you never heard from them again or you didn’t hear from them again until their sophomore year. He kept playing. He just kept battling. He kept battling, Coach Perry stayed on him, loved him, stayed on him, loved him, stayed on him, loved him.

And all he did last week was stand up and make some really big tackles for us when we needed him to. It’s been good to watch him kind of progress. He was a Player of the Week for us defensively. Obviously his production was really good. I’m surprised, a little bit surprised at how good of a tackler he’s been for us. It’s been good to see that.

Q. Sometimes if a cornerback is leading your team in tackles people discredit it and say he is just making tackles after he gives up catches—but that is not the case with Tyrone.
COACH BEATY: No, he’s not. If you watch schematically what people are doing to us, there’s a lot of times where balls are bouncing off tackles to the edge and it’s either guys are correcting receivers and that corner has to replace and that’s happening a lot.

Or, he’s beaten a receiver and he’s getting in there and making a tackle, which is what you need to do. Most of them are perimeter runs, or, they are a pass down the field a little bit. But most of the run game has been perimeter run stuff.

And really to be honest with you, to be able to stop run games, you have to be able to tackle at the corner position. A lot of those guys, I mean, a lot of them, they don’t tackle very well because they think they are there just to cover and man, in this day and age, you’re going to have to tackle at that spot.

Q. The young corners, how much more difficult does it make it going up against all of these big receivers?
COACH BEATY: I think it makes it difficult but it doesn’t make it any more difficult on us than it does anybody else. They are playing against either dudes each week and they are being productive.

But I think as far as we are concerned, we have to do a good job of rising to those occasions and stopping those guys and that doesn’t happen overnight. It’s just like everything else, it’s a process and it’s been fun to watch the process with Tyrone because he’s gotten a little bit better every week.

Brandon Stewart, we’re not talking about him very much but he has gotten a little bit better every week. Those guys, those kids, bless their heart, they are just like a lot of us at times. They want five years of work to be done in six months and it doesn’t work that way. It takes five years to get five years’ worth of work and there’s a process.

And the thing I’ve got to take my hat off to those kids is they have continued to work and they have great attitudes and they will stand right back up and play the next play. That’s a good thing to have those guys doing that.

Q. What have you seen from Tyler Patrick that made him go from scout team to starter?
COACH BEATY: Coming out of spring in that first game was the first time I noticed him. I think he had six or seven catches in that spring game. That was the first time he kind of popped up on our radar.

Like I said earlier, we have a lot of new faces here so we have a lot of guys to get reps with and I’m not sure that he didn’t fall below the line simply because he didn’t get as many reps when we were trying to look at other guys.

He just kept working. I think the big thing that stuck out to us is what he was doing on special teams. When he wasn’t playing, he was still covering kicks for us at the gunner position and man, he was out there showing up.

As a result, we had some injuries and that’s kind of how it happens, you just keep sawing wood, keep sawing wood and your turn comes and you’re either ready or you’re not. He’s one much those kids that has shown he’s been ready for the challenge and he’s been consistent.

I think the quarterbacks like him, because if he gets close to him, he’s going to catch him. I know that dude back there on that wall, if he didn’t catch the ball, he wasn’t going to throw it to you. I mean, he was going to throw it to the guys that were going to catch it. That’s why Kerry (Meier) caught a bunch of balls and (Dezmon) Briscoe caught a bunch of balls. Those quarterbacks know who is going to catch that ball when it gets close and I think that’s how they are feeling with Tyler right now.

Q. The run game last week was not successful last week after Ke’aun (Kinner) had over 100 yards each of the first two games, why was that?
COACH BEATY: I think it was a combination of things. I’m not sure if we played near as good up front as we had in the past weeks. A lot of that, the credit has to go to Rutgers. They have a good front and they lost their best one. He wasn’t even in there, that nose tackle, No. 91. But they have got some big kids, they are capable. I thought they recreated the line of scrimmage a couple times that hurt us, particularly with some of our gap scheme stuff that we were doing to them.

Then I think we had a couple of missed opportunities where we had a chance to squirt it out of there one time and the ball comes out. We might have had some chunks on that one, and those are things that we had been taking advantage of in the past.

And then you get behind a little bit and that dictates what you’re doing to try to catch up a little bit, ball goes in the air a little bit more. I think that might have had a little bit to do with it.

I know Coach Yenser has done a great job with this group because there’s a lot of new faces up front on that O-line and I know he was obviously not pleased with this week’s performance and I know those guys looking forward to turn it around this week and get back to that good spot in the run game.

Q. What about the bigger Iowa State receivers concerns you?
COACH BEATY: We play good receivers every week, so it’s the same deal. Memphis, if you watched them on television the other night, every one of those dudes are making catches and runs. Those guys were good players. I don’t know that they have an Allen Lazard height-wise, but every one of those guys are 6-1, 6-1, and they can run and they have good hands.

The good news is we really don’t have to do much different. The No. 13 for Rutgers was one of the tallest drinks of water I’ve ever seen in my life. That was a big dude playing wide receiver. We have already had to play against that and I think we have been kind of cultured, so to speak, when it comes to the receiving core. We are not going to do much different. What we do is what we do and it’s right. We’ve got to continue to get better at it.

Q. Have the teams you have faced in non-conference play prepared you for what you might see week-to-week in the Big 12?
COACH BEATY: We got to see kind of a good array of what you’re going to see offensively throughout the year. We got to see some power run game from a good football team in South Dakota State who continues to pound the ball at other teams running the football, which has been good.

Obviously last week, these guys let you run the ball pretty good from a 21 personnel perspective. They did a nice job. We will see all of those things at some point throughout our time in the Big 12. I think we have seen a good sampling of it. Only thing I don’t think we saw was any triple option from underneath. Last I checked, I haven’t seen anybody in the Big 12 running that yet. Maybe triple option from the gun but haven’t seen anything from under center.

Q. What is the status of Taylor Cox? Is he close to playing?
COACH BEATY: Getting close. Hopefully next week. This week, I don’t think he’s going to be ready quite yet but man he’s getting close.

Other injuries, we are in pretty good shape. Our guys have taken care of themselves pretty good. Those guys are going to have a pretty healthy ball club going into the game other than Deondre.

Q. When you were here before — anything specific to what Mangino did here that you have used in the program?
COACH BEATY: If you’ve ever spent any time around Coach Mangino, I think the one phrase that people always have common ground with is keep sawing wood. That’s probably the thing that we have started with and we are going to continue with.

Listen, I hate losing. I do not like it, at all. However, I understand that everything is a process and we understand it’s a positive, and part of the process is learning to stay positive in the eyes of adversity.

So we as coaches are going to continue to stay positive and we are going to stay positive with our players, with each other, because we believe in what we are doing and we know that it’s going to finally kick in. To borrow from Coach, we are going to keep sawing wood and that’s the way they are going to get this thing done. We are going to keep working, stay positive, because there are, there some positive things out there that we are building on.

We are No. 1 in the conference in fewest penalties in the Big 12, which is a big goal for us. Unfortunately we had three penalties the other day that extended drives and led to touchdowns, led to 21 points, instead of being able to get off the field. We obviously have some other things that we can learn about that. That stat can be a little bit deceiving at times.

Like I said, his big influence on us was keep sawing wood and just keep working. Because you never know which swing is going to be the one. Never know which touch is going to be the one where you breakthrough. We are looking forward to that.

And I know our guys, they are positive and they are ready to go. I mean, I love our team. I love our team just as much as I did from the first day. Those guys come to work every day and they are excited about taking on Iowa State. They know that we are getting closer every day, just a little bit better every day.

Q. How do you coach that third down penalty, he’s (Ben Goodman) going after the quarterback, how do you coach that?
COACH BEATY: That’s tough. The fact of the matter is we don’t ever pull down. We do the same thing that with Damani (Mosby) on the reverse against Memphis. You can’t pull down in those situations. You can’t do that. You have to be able to hold on but you can’t pull down. Damani did a nice job from it, and Ben will learn from it. Those are difficult because you don’t know if you are going to be able to stay on your feet or not.

Believe it or not, we do it the rest of the way — to handle those horse collar situations, and unfortunately it reared itself on their head on that particular moment. But I tell you this, there’s nobody that felt worse about that than Ben Goodman. He was one of the big time, one of the loan bright spots for us the other day.

So I know he’ll make that adjustment and we’ve all got to learn from that. I think we’ve got to player lower, too. That’s why some of those penalties are occurring because we straighten our legs out, bend our knees and we will be in a lot better position. That will help us.

Q. Was conditioning a factor in Larry Hughes starting over Larry Mazyck the last two games?
COACH BEATY: Well, he’s earned it. I think it just goes back to that. He’s earned it. He has had consistent practice habits from the time that he got here. He’s shown us that we can trust him; that he understands what we’re doing schematically. He puts the extra time in and as a result, he’s earned it. He just played more consistent throughout the week, which is a common thing throughout every position that we have. That’s why he’s in there.

Q. What do you do in practice to try to help the defense get more tackles-for-loss in the games?
COACH BEATY: Well, I think the biggest thing for us is that when you — any of the issue that is you’re having with production usually starts with fundamentals and back to basics. As we look at it and as we have evaluated it, over the last few weeks is we have to keep working at this but we have to be able to play with lower pad level, and it will start with — we say this all the time: A make stance makes for a great start and a great start makes for a great finish. I know it is cliché but it is absolutely the truth.

You have to do a good job fundamentally of being in the proper position at the beginning and if not, you’re going to have a hard time being at the right spot at the end.

One of the things that creates negative yardage plays is great explosion, great blow delivery up front, and we are working at it. We have got a lot of young guys up front. We have a couple of older dudes, but there’s a lot of those young dudes that are playing. And they are having to learn that you’ve got to be able to play low to high and I think that will start creating some more situations where we can create TFLs. We have to get to that and we have to do a better job of getting to the passer even more.

Q. Did you expect more from the defensive line at this point?
COACH BEATY: Yeah, I think we did. You know, and I know Coach Thibs (Calvin Thibodeaux) does a great job with those guys and I know he has high expectations for those guys, as well.

We have to continue to get more production from those guys up front. Being able to get pressure with four instead of having to create it with pressure and trying to add a fifth and sixth guy but because you put young DBs on islands when you do that sometimes. We have to do a better job there. We really need some guys. We need some guys.

Anthony Olobia, we saw him stand up a little bit the other day but he has to come on and play better for us and really get some production.

Damani Mosby, another guy, needs to step up and give us some production, those guys inside, they have got to step up and start creating some production for us on the other side of the line of scrimmage.

Really that group, I think they are taking it personally and understand that they have higher aspirations than what they have played with to this point. And for us to be to where we need to be, those guys need to continue to get better, just like the rest of them but they really do, they need to continue to get better because that’s going to help us to stop the run.

Q. All three of your opponents have pretty good success running the ball. Just a matter of what you talked about, going back to fundamentals, all 11 guys — it takes care of itself; is it as simple as that, or maybe sometimes a little undersized or out matched and just take your medicine and do the best you can?
COACH BEATY: Well, the first thing is that the focus in the off week was accurate execution. So when we accurately execute, we are better, I know that. We are better.

When it comes to us not maybe being as big or as strong as some other people, we control that. So we need to continue to work to get bigger and stronger.

Coach (JeNey) Jackson has done a great job. We looked at the numbers other day. There’s been a lot of progress here from the day that we got here till we started fall camp. But man, we’ve got a long way to go. There’s just a lot to do. It’s like I told our team, I know you want five years’ worth of work in six months, but it’s not going to happen. Doesn’t work that way. My mom taught me that a long time ago. Just doesn’t work that way.

We have got a lot of work to do and it’s going to start with one step at a time, one day at a time, and we’ll keep sawing wood. Keep sawing wood. It will hit. It will hit here soon.

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