Jayhawks Ready for Road Test at Texas

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Head Kansas football coach David Beaty met with the media Tuesday to talk about the team’s second-to-last conference road test at Texas. The Jayhawks head to Austin, Texas, to face the 3-5 Longhorns, Saturday, Nov. 7. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m., and can be seen on the Jayhawk Television Network and Longhorn Network.

Opening Comments:
COACH BEATY: Good morning. Got a big day over in Kansas City, obviously. Man, what a great accomplishment by our Kansas City Royals. So I wanted to make sure that we moved it up and didn’t have any conflicts with you guys getting over to the parade and being part of that. What a great day it is for our city and really great day for those guys. Just want to say a big congratulations to all those guys, and particularly the management and players and all the folks that had that vision. They stayed the course. What a great story they are.

Let’s get going today so we can get you guys over there. Let’s shoot with some questions.

Q. Coach, what did you think about the true freshmen offensive tackles? How did they grade out on the front?
COACH BEATY: They played about what you would think a true freshman would play that was talented. Those guys are both talented guys. They had some really good things they did in the game. The experience is going to be so valuable for them moving forward.

The great thing was, as you watched Clyde(McCauley) play throughout the game, he gets walked back a few plays, and then he figures it out. He figures out how to drop the anchor a little bit, and he stops the bleeding a little bit. Those guys were playing against some topnotch players. Larry’s (Hughes) played a lot more than Clyde has to this point. So that was truly Clyde’s first start, which was really good for him. He’s a talented guy. We really feel good about the future with him moving forward.

The other kid has played a lot more, and he did a lot of really good things. There were a couple times where his guy wound up making a sack in there, but he held up against a good guy for a long period of time, which that’s only going to bode well for those guys in the future. We expect zero sacks.

The great thing that I saw on the sideline with Larry Hughes is, when he gave up the one sack, he was almost inconsolable on the sideline, which you like to see it that way. You don’t want to see it where a guy’s going, well, you know, you could have helped me on that, or we could have chipped or something like that. He took it personal, which is good.

Q. You talked about the offense and its struggles. What did you expect? What areas do you wish were better?
COACH BEATY: Well, production with points is something that we have been at places where we’ve been able to put points on the board. That’s where my disappointment to this point has been is we haven’t been able to score at the rate I know we’re capable of doing. Some of that has to do with a lot of different players playing. But at the end of the day, our job is to get the ball in the end zone, and we haven’t done that. We haven’t done it enough.

We continue to look as coaches — we just got out of a meeting just a second ago, looking at what we can do within our system to make sure that we’re starting to create more production and taking into account maybe a new starter here or a new starter there to make sure we’re taking advantage of the pieces that we have.

Some of the stability will help us a little bit more moving forward. We’re going to be a competitive team. So instability will be part of the growing process because our guys are going to continue to compete and earn their jobs. We said that from day one, and we’re going to continue to do that. From our standpoint, we have to put the ball in the end zone. We’ve got to find a way to create some offense.

In this conference, you have to be able to score. TCU is a team that right now is playing with a lot of first-time players as well. I think I saw a number today, 37 first-time players on the field for TCU, and they’re undefeated. Now, they’ve got some really good players on their football team, but they also have a lot of young players on their defense and things like that. They’re finding a way to get things done. They’ve got some experience, don’t get me wrong, but those are some of the things we have to do with inexperienced guys as well.

They’ve got some different parts that we don’t have, but they’re still finding a way to get it done. So we have to find a way to get it done.

Q. Clyde saw his first real action at tackle last week, but he played some guard during camp. Is tackle where you see him?
COACH BEATY: Absolutely. Long, good looking, he’s what they look like. Big long arms, almost 6’6″, weighs 295 pounds now. When we recruited him, he weighed 265 pounds. Our guys are doing a tremendous job in that weight room developing those guys.

The development we’re doing right now as we’re going through the season is something I’ve been really proud of our staff of. Our strength staff, our staff, just in terms of really doing a good job of making sure that we’re not only trying to maximize the season, but understanding development with the young guys is so important.

We have two hot bowls a week, which gives them ten series. I’ve never been in a place where we have two of those a week. It gives them ten series to practice. We have extra time on Monday we haven’t had in the past just for fundamental work. We have extra opportunities for those guys to get in the weight room to give them the strength they need.

That’s really one of the areas we’ve got to get to with him and Larry (Hughes) is improving their strength. The great news is their strength numbers have gone up significantly from the time they got here. We’re just not to the level of a third year Big 12 player yet. That’s because you don’t get third year results in six months or seven months. You get that in years. We’ll get there. We’ll have that time.

Q. I know you have about 100 different challenges, but how big is that trying to balance all that stuff you just talked about with game week and make sure they’re fresh and game prep and all those things? That’s got to be one of the biggest challenges you have right now.
COACH BEATY: It’s a reality. We’re going to continue to look at things as reality and what we have to deal with. I’m not trying to escape the cliche. I’m just saying the reality is that we have to be great developers. The Royals just did it. What a great story. We looked at some things yesterday as a staff, and we just walked out of a staff meeting just a few minutes ago, and I said, hey, fellas, I know it’s a difficult deal because it’s more than game planning. I know it’s more on you. But that’s why you’re here because you’re the ones that can handle this. You can game plan and develop those younger ones at the same time.

We can continue to develop them — we’ve got to spend — right now we’re not going to have the luxury of Bowl practice. So we’ve got to build Bowl practice within our practices right now to be able to get the work that we need to get done with young kids that the Bowl kids get the luxury of having.

So we can do one of two things. We can keep going through the season and wait, or we start yesterday, which we started way yesterday, in developing those guys to try to get a little bit better every day. That’s been the goal from the very beginning is to get a little bit better every day. You know what, I see that. I see that, and I really do appreciate the effort of our kids and the resiliency those guys have because they go out and practice hard every day, which is good.

Q. The concept behind that is just make sure you get as many reps to develop as many guys at the same time as possible?
COACH BEATY: Absolutely. It’s just like anything else in life. The more you do it, the better you’re going to get at it. The more you do it, the better you’re going to get at it. Carter Stanley, the amount of reps he’s taken the last few weeks is unbelievable to get him ready to compete for next year.

Keaton Perry, some of those other guys, our running backs, Taylor Martin. All those young freshmen that were not — we have not pulled the shirt off of. Chase Harrell, a ton of work. LaQuivionte Gonzales, who we can’t wait to get on the field, but we can’t put him on there yet. He’s a talented guy and continue to develop him.

Same thing with our guys up front defensively, linebackers, all those guys. Keith Loneker, I talked about him in fall camp. The guy continues to develop. I’m excited about him being eligible next year. We’ve got three or four bodies that are just not eligible right now that I think will help us greatly, but they will be next year. We’re going to continue to develop them, continue to put weight on them, and get them up to the Big 12 standard. It’s going to take a while, but we’ll get it done.

Q. One thing you don’t have is a super burner. Is Gonzales that?
COACH BEATY: Absolutely. He’s as fast as I’ve been around in my career. He can fly. We need that. He’s very versatile. He can do a lot of different things. He’ll be a guy that will instantly help our return game because he’s very dynamic in that regard. He’s a really talented guy.

So he will be a guy that will certainly address that need as we move forward along with, we hope, a couple of the other guys that we’re going to be able to bring in. We’ll see how that goes in recruiting. The good news is we’ve got him here already.

Chase Harrell, that guy has put on 20 pounds. Dorance Armstrong has put on 15 to 20 pounds. Those kids are doing nothing but getting better each day. I know it’s one of those deals as a staff where you sit there and look at the results, but you’ve got to go back and look at what you are really getting better at and how you’re making strides each day. Those young kids are getting better.

And those older kids are getting better too, not just young kids. Those older kids are getting better too, and we need that.

Q. With the pool of redshirt players, did you have your mind made up at the beginning under no circumstances would it be taken away from them? Or if the need arose, you would consider removing that redshirt because you needed them at that moment?
COACH BEATY: Right. We would like to redshirt everybody, but that just can’t happen in college football nowadays. When I first got here, with the number situation that we had that we were facing, there was almost no way that we thought we’d be able to redshirt anyone.

The thing that we did find out is that we had a little bit more depth at wide out than what we thought we had. Now, does that mean we had all the dynamic we needed at wide out? No, but we had a little bit more depth, which was good. It allowed Chase to develop because he needed some things to get there.

But in terms of the quarterbacks, we were going to make sure we kept it on one of them. There was no sense in having both those guys in the same class, and we just needed to see over that month and that summer who was progressing more. It was still fairly close. It was still fairly close.

And I’ve loved the way that Carter Stanley has approached it because he has done nothing but get better. We don’t talk about him enough because he’s not playing. But Ryan Willis has gotten a lot better. There’s some things we have to address with him obviously to help him continue to get better.

But both those guys, the plan was as such. We were going to redshirt one of them unless we absolutely just could not help it, and we’ve been pretty fortunate to be able to hang on to all those quarterbacks to this point since Montell (Cozart) went down.

Q. Is the hitch gone in Carter’s throwing motion?
COACH BEATY: It’s not all the way gone, but the more he does it, you can see the baseball getting out of him a little bit. I think that’s the key. The more you do anything. We spend a lot more time in fundamental development with him to be able to address that hitch and get that thing back to where it was when we saw it on film.

The funny thing is there’s times when it’s completely gone, and it will reappear for a couple of reps and go away again. I think it’s just muscle memory, continuing to do it over and over again.

He’s a guy that — he gives us a different dynamic than even Ryan because he can move now. When he gets on the move, he’s been tough to deal with for the defense, when he gets on the move. He’s got a live arm. He’s a guy we’re excited about moving forward too. It will be great competition moving forward. That’s why I don’t ever just ordain somebody until we see.

While Ryan’s done a great job, we’ll still have that competition.

Q. Cozart, what’s his status this week?
COACH BEATY: He is still out, still not ready to go.

Q. You’ve seen Texas use their two quarterbacks in certain down situations throughout the course of the game. When Montell is game ready, could that work in some regard in this system?
COACH BEATY: Absolutely. It certainly can. When you’ve got a guy that really his strength is not running, but you’ve got another guy his strength might be running, there’s a chance for us to do that. I said it before, we’d like to be a one quarterback system team if we can get that done, but you live and you learn. You try to figure out what gives you the best chance to win. And really what gives you the best chance to develop as a program moving forward.

So if he can help us in that regard when he’s back, absolutely.

Q. I feel like the past few weeks when you watch tape of opponents, it seems like every week is a well-oiled Big 12 machine. Different watching tape on Texas? It seems like they’re trying to figure some things out similar to what you guys are trying to do?
COACH BEATY: Well, not really. I will say this. Offensively, with the (Jerrod) Heard kid coming in — I know most of those guys. I’ve recruited all of them or been around them and their families for a while. I almost know these guys so well it’s crazy.

But watching the Heard kid, you knew in high school he was a dynamic runner, and he did really good things with his feet. I think they improved their run game dramatically the last three games, and he’s been a big part of that. As you see that and you see him kind of stabilizing as the guy in there a little bit, you start seeing the identity show up a little bit with the quarterback run game.

Of course, they put (Tyrone) Swoopes back in there, and he goes in and does a lot of great things too. I recruited him out of North Texas too. Great looking guy, 6’4″, 250-pound dude that can run.

So they don’t look like a team to me that is in disarray, if you were asking that, at all. They are very well coached on the defensive side of the ball. Vance Bedford does a great job. Watching what he’s doing defensively, there’s a reason why they beat Oklahoma. He did a good job with them. He got after Baker Mayfield and those guys, and they did a nice job. They had a good game plan, and they had the right things called at the right time. That was one of the things I was very interested in seeing is how did that game play out the way it did?

I didn’t watch it as much last week as I did this week, but going back and looking at it, he did a really good job defensively, and they do a pretty good job on special teams as well. They’ve had a couple of miscues, kind of like us, that have cost them some games, and they’ve learned from and continued to do better.

Coach Strong does a great job. He has not forgotten how to coach football, I can promise you that. He did an unbelievable job at Louisville, and his reputation speaks for itself. I do believe that guy will get that ship righted. And they’re in a situation where they need to stabilize. So we’ve got to bring our very best effort and all of our intensity into this game because they have some of the best players in the country recruiting-wise.

Malik Jefferson, I know that kid really, really well. I know his family really, really well. He’s a very young guy, but he is a talented dude at that mike backer. They’ve got a couple on the defensive line, Hassan Ridgeway, kid that plays tackle. When he goes, he’s as good as you’ve seen. He’s really good.

Shiro Davis. Naashon Hughes, I know him and his family well. Holton Hill at corner. I know these names well. Daje Johnson, their return man, is as dynamic as you’ll see in the country. Reminds me of the kid from Rutgers but bigger. We’ve got to do a good job of managing this guy because he can change a game like that. Johnathan Gray, one of the top players in the country when he came out, running back. Kent Perkins, one of the top offensive linemen in the country coming out of his class, really good player. Got hurt last year. He’s back, and you can see him playing really, really well. They’ve got a bunch of good parts. Man, when it starts clicking, it could be a tough deal for everybody.

For us, we’ve got to go in here and worry about us and what we do and make sure what they’re doing schematically and get a little better every week at what we’re doing and try to close the gap as quick as we can.

Q. It’s obviously two different situations, but can you take comfort in the fact that even mighty Texas does struggle when they’re putting in coaching and a new system in? It takes time there too. Can you use that for comfort for yourself or for your program here or even in recruiting? Can you just kind of point that out as a reason to believe that this is no different?
COACH BEATY: I think the day and age of patience is very much wearing thin in our society, and I get that. It is what it is. But I say it all the time, you don’t get three years worth of work in six months and it last. There’s some people that could create something for a short period of time, but most of the time, when you’re cutting corners like that, it’s hard for it to last for a long, long time.

Some people can pull it off, but at the end of the day, I just noticed one of the great men in our coaching profession retire, saying he’s going to retire from Virginia Tech. Him, Coach Snyder, some of these guys that, if you go back and look at their careers and how it started and how their programs hung with them, just like the Royals hung with their guy. Those things to me are how you create winners over a long period of time.

And I think, like everything, I really believe that everything is cyclical. I think we’ll all even come back to it at some point. It will cycle back around that we’ll realize that the only way you do it is by being committed and sticking to it and staying the course if you want to create something over a long period of time.

Q. In every sport you have some guys who show better in games than they do in practice. But you want to judge based on how they do in practice. You want to reward that. How do you balance that? Are there any players on your team that show better in games?
COACH BEATY: They very good. You’re right. If you’re not at practice all the time, it’s hard to understand that. Being around it for a long time, you know that actually occurs. There’s a kid on our team that actually plays better in the game than I think he does in practice sometimes, and we’re working with him because he’s a young guy.

Emmanuel Moore is a guy that sticks out to me when you mention that. He’s a young guy, so he’s learning how to understand urgency. And young guys, they’re usually just a count behind because they’re chasing airplanes every now and then. They’re learning how to stay focused through an entire practice, and things are a little bit different for them. He’s a guy that sticks out to me in that regard. I think he’s going to be a really good player, but he’s just a guy who doesn’t necessarily always do it great in practice, but we put him in game a couple times — not necessarily when you see him get the ball thrown to him, you see him do some things away from the ball and you think, okay, this guy has a chance of being a decent player for us.

Osaze Ogbebor for us, same guy that’s playing linebacker for us, he’s very much in the same category. It’s difficult sometimes until you put them in. Sometimes guys, it takes a little bit longer to learn how to be a better practice player. Once they learn it, usually those better players continue to improve. So it’s good to know that. Good to see that you’ve got guys that actually can do more than what you thought they could do. Sometimes it helps you motivate them.

Q. What are some things in the run game you guys can improve on the last couple of weeks.
COACH BEATY: I think the big thing that we have to continue to do is we’ve got to get stronger. When you create movement up front is when you create space. This game is about space and real estate. It’s about moving people to create space. Up front, that is what you have to do. Defensively, we try to recreate the defensive line. We try to recreate the line of scrimmage, just like everybody else does. Recreate it back into our backfield.

When you’re not able to hold that line of scrimmage or recreate it back in the way their defensive line is, it compacts the space. So I think, as you look at that, you can yell and scream and moan and complain about it, or you can figure out why it’s happening.

When Clyde gets here and his bench press is 90 pounds less than it is today, then you realize that, hey, there’s a little ways to go. You look at the numbers of guys and their strength level of established Big 12 programs, you start realizing that, hey, man, these guys have got to get bigger and stronger. We’ve already started that. We’ve already improved so much in the weight room, but that just tells you how much further we have to go with young guys to get them on the field. The stronger we get, the better we’re going to get up front, and that will help us in the run game.

I also think that we’ve got to do a good job of being able to control two people with one and be able to get off the backers better than we have. We’ve seen that decline. Some of that has to do with playing pretty good dudes. But at the end of the day, that’s still your job. If we put two men on one, we’ve got to be able to get movement on that one guy and be able to get him back and get him off to that backer.

We’re putting a lot of emphasis on that right now, and we really are holding in on that. All our guys need is just a crease. We just haven’t been able to get it done.

Q. Talk about the future. You seem to be really excited about those guys. Where in three years do you think they could be?
COACH BEATY: I’ve got high hopes. I really do. Right now they work as hard as we ask them to do. They do everything we ask them to do. They’re an accountable group. Sometimes they mess up, and when they do, we slap their wrist, and they learn from it.

We have a high, high standard here. No one gets away with anything. It does not matter who you are. You do not get away with anything because the standard is such, that that’s the way we’re going to get there. Those freshmen have done a really nice job. They’re still freshmen. They still make mistakes, but they learn because they get held accountable. It’s not just them, it’s the whole team.

We meet with those guys once a week just to develop them mentally. Not just what we’re doing football-wise, but we meet with them. I have different people come in and visit with them and talk to them. That class is going to be a marquee class for us moving forward. Lots of talented guys in that class. I’m really happy with the talent we’ve got in that class. A lot of those guys are playing right now.

I think it can only bode better for us in the future. In the meantime, we’ve got to continue to get better because we’re playing games right now that matter.

Q. What’s your favorite part about them (young players)?
COACH BEATY: Work ethic, resiliency, willing to do what you ask them to do. Those are the things that I like about this group. We have a lot of really good kids in there, which is good. I think that has a lot to do with the older guys. You’d be surprised how much the environment affected the younger guys. We have a lot of really good older guys here that have been really good for us.

Our seniors for the most part have been really good. Those guys, I told them the other day, I can promise you one thing, I will never let you be forgotten because they have done an amazing job for us. Amazing job for us.

Q. I know you touched on it a little, but what teaching moment can you draw from the Royals? They struggled for a really long time, and now look at them.
COACH BEATY: Well, it’s ironic that you talk about that because our team meeting yesterday chronicled them from 2010, 2011, 2012, and we just talked about the maturation of that team, and we basically tracked the development of that team and really truly the development from the farm league up and how they did it and what Coach Yost’s vision was and what the management’s vision was and how they stuck with it even when though guys were having a rough time for three years.

And the thing that we talked about was it’s amazing how the people that are there now were allowed to develop even when people were saying, why are you pinch-hitting this guy? Why aren’t you pinch-hitting for this guy at this point, and that guy ends up winning the game for them the other night. Some really, really cool things that happened throughout this season that really you can track all the way back to the beginning.

So we talked a lot about that yesterday with our team, and I think it gives them some perspective on how you build something.

Q. At the Big 12 Media Days, the first thing out of your mouth as you sat down at the podium, it wasn’t necessarily a pitch, but it was recruiting. It was on your mind to talk about the Dallas high schools of that area, your familiarity with it all, all that. And I think all the Big 12 writers were pretty impressed by that. They thought you were pretty sharp. How important is it for your team to show well the next two weeks? You’ve got at Texas, at TCU. For recruiting and obviously for that area, obviously, you’re connected, but do you have to show well too? Do you have to perform when you’re down there?
COACH BEATY: Yeah, you do. I think that’s important for us. Guys want to see you improving. They want to see you getting better in places.

The good news is a lot of those same friends down there are literally calling and texting and saying, hey, man, I know a lot of people can’t see it, but I can see it, which is good. And we stay in constant contact with all of our contacts all over the country, but down there, I know I’ve had a lot of calls. I’ve had a lot of guys saying, I’m going to be there. It’s going to be good. That’s something that’s paid dividends because our staff do such a great job down there.

There’s some really good games down there this weekend. First round of the playoffs, some of the best teams in the area have to play against each other. It’s a shame some of the best teams are going to go home this week. That’s what makes that place so special, over there and over in Missouri as well. It’s a really exciting time for high school football. Those guys are really excited.

I know they’re going to be at the game, and I know they’re excited to see improvement in those areas. They want to see movement so, when the guys come, they know they have Bowl games in their future. That’s the reward for playing in college football, Bowl games and Championships as you move forward.

Q. What’s Cozart’s status? Can you redshirt him? I think he has missed four games in a row.
COACH BEATY: Right now it’s going to be up to how much he is continuing to get well. Right now he can’t take a hit. There’s no way he can take a hit right now on that shoulder. I think we’re going to see over the next couple weeks how he does and see if we’re doing everything we have to do to this point, or is it something we have to do a little bit more to get him well?

I think we might be okay in that regard when it comes to the redshirt, but I really can’t speak to that yet until I know what our medical staff and we put it before the NCAA. I’m not sure about that. We’re trying to get him back.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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