Jayhawks Discuss Tough Task Ahead at No. 8 TCU
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Head Kansas football coach David Beaty met with the media Tuesday to talk about the team’s last road test at No. 8 TCU. The Jayhawks head to Fort Worth, Texas, to face the 8-1 Horned Frogs, Saturday, Nov. 14. Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m., and can be seen on Fox Sports 1.
COACH BEATY: We’ll get started with some updates on our players. That was Montell (Cozart). I just got off the phone with him. He is going to undergo surgery tomorrow for that shoulder. It just isn’t responding like we thought it would, so we’re going to go ahead and get it fixed which will get him healthy for next season and be able to kind of move forward instead of that thing continuing to linger. So I literally just got off the phone with him walking in here.
We have a couple of other guys that were banged up. Ryan Willis was banged up during that first half. Like I said, a tough guy, but he moved around a lot better yesterday than what I thought he would move around, that’s good. I think he’ll continue to progress. Check with me later in the week, because I’ll see a little bit more today. Those groins are a little bit finicky, and he’s got a strain on both sides. But he’s a tough kid. He’s moving around good.
One other guy, Bryan Peters, he tweaked his elbow in pregame and tried to go throughout the game for a little while, and then he came out. I don’t think he’s going to make it this week. We’ll see. We’ll see how he responds. But he tweaked that elbow pretty good. So we’ll see how that thing goes from there.
Other than that, it’s really the injury report is about where it was from last week in terms of guys that are completely out. If you have any other specific questions, I can address those during this media session. So let’s take it away.
Q. How about Jordan (Shelley-Smith)?
COACH BEATY: Jordan might. He’s still kind of — we’re not totally sure yet. Today’s going to be a big deal. We know that most of his stuff is gone. He still has a little bit of symptoms. We’ll see how he does today. Probably not hitting today, but we’ll see. He had a pretty good knock on that head. So we want to be very careful with that. I mean, it’s something I take very seriously.
My family has obviously lived close to that. My wife, you guys have heard that story before, so we’re very, very careful with concussion protocol.
Q. What do you do, regardless of how it progresses or not, it sounds favorable right now, but what do you do with Keaton (Perry) or T.J. (Millweard) and getting them ready just in case?
COACH BEATY: Well, you do exactly what you said. You’ve got to get them ready. The thing that you get a little bit of an advantage for is that you do know that Ryan is a little bit banged up. So with that being said, as you go into planning, you know you have to have your Perry plan, you have to have your T.J. plan, and you have to be able to rep all those things and get them where they’re sufficient in the ballgame.
That’s really what you do. You go into it gives us a little advantage knowing that he is tweaked because now we know we really need to put some extra reps on him.
Q. Have you talked to your team about all that is going on at Missouri?
COACH BEATY: No, I have not yet. But we, this is certainly going to be a great opportunity for us to do so. We do a ton of training with our guys. We think one of the most powerful things you can do for your players when they become student-athletes is to educate them on the things that could come in front of them. The things they’re going to see and how they might best react when they come across those things. We just got done off a series of texting and driving that we spent a week-and-a-half, actually two weeks on, brought in guest speakers after I was watching a 30 for 30, going out to practice of a Memphis kid that had a wreck, and he was paralyzed, and I just looked at that video and went we need to talk to our guys about that, because it’s something that all of us maybe do, we may not want to admit it, but we do it, and it could change our lives in a heartbeat. It was another thing that now with the awareness, it’s a fairly new story, but what a great opportunity for us to really talk to our guys about celebrating diversity and the things that come along with that. You know, it’s just another one of those things that our kids in this day and age are being exposed to, and we need to be able to educate them on how to handle things.
I think the best thing for us and the big message for me is going to be the example set by our administration and our Chancellor. They do a tremendous job of communicating. We communicate so well on this campus, and we encourage our guys to communicate. We encourage our guys, our men, our women, everyone in our facility to communicate, talk to one another, have open dialogue and communicate.
We prove that every day by making sure those doors are open on that first floor. It is a very friendly place. We recommend daily come see us, get to know us. We want to know more than just the football players. So it’s going to be a great opportunity for us to talk to our team.
Q. Were you impressed with the Missouri players the way they banded together and stopped the starvation strike?
COACH BEATY: Yeah, you know, I don’t know everything about the details of what went on. But as a coach you are aware of what’s going on on social media. I think that’s one of the things that really has kind of strengthened the voice, I guess, so to speak, of the student-athlete even more than usual is the way that social media can send a message out so quickly and so broad.
So obviously I saw that. I think the big thing that I really liked about that was it was a team, a team effort, and it’s one of those deals that I don’t know all of the specifics, but seeing Coach Pinkel get involved and the team doing that, I think it was a really good thing to see that team stick together.
Q. People talk about student-athletes having more power than ever before. Is that something you need to address with your team or discuss? What are your general thoughts on that?
COACH BEATY: Well, I think first of all, I’m not sure that they do have more power than ever. I think that the use of social media has kind of helped get the word out a little bit better than maybe it has. I’ve been doing this for 25 years. There is not a whole lot that you haven’t seen over your 25-year period that deals with student-athletes.
These type of things have happened before, just I notice now that you’re able to kind of approach a broader spectrum of people now, and it makes it kind of help accelerate it a little bit more. Also, I think our young people are smart people. They’re handling things in a little bit more of a mature manner, maybe, or a professional manner nowadays.
They’re trying to do things. They’re brilliant kids. There are a lot of really smart guys out there and they’re trying to do things, I think, the right way with the way they handled themselves. I think that’s helping their cause.
Q. You’ve seen a lot of things that probably a lot of things stayed in house and didn’t get outside of football offices or the football program. Because of social media, it’s hard to keep secrets anymore and keep things inside. Is that something you have to be prepared for when trouble or some problem gets out and then having to deal with it?
COACH BEATY: Yeah, I think you do. That’s one reason that we are, as a program as a whole, we over-communicate. We will try to talk to our team about anything that we’re doing and why. We don’t just say go run 19 miles. We’ll tell you why we’re doing that and how it’s going to relate to your success and why it’s good for you.
So we try to explain to our guys why we’re doing what we’re doing. Not only to make sure they feel comfortable with it, but to empower them as to how it’s going to help them. I think that’s really a big deal is making sure that you communicate, and we have open-door policies, and we understand where people are coming from.
Listen, one of the greatest things about being a college football player or a student is that we come from all different walks of life, and I can just tell you in my story alone, when I got to college I realized really quick that I could now become anything I wanted to become. How cool is that?
When you grow up in the same town your entire life, it’s really cool but you grow up there 10 or 12 years and you get stuck in your section and people keep you there. But, man, when I went off to college, it took me a few months to realize, hey, nobody’s judging me. I can be anything I want to be now which is a pretty cool deal. I think that’s something that you’ve got to celebrate. You get around a bunch of different people, see a lot of different perspectives, and I think it does nothing but sharpen us. It helps us become better folks.
Q. What is the status of Steven Sims, Jr., and Tre’ Parmalee?
COACH BEATY: Man, those two dudes practiced their rear ends off yesterday. Thought they did a great job. Came out there, and you know what? Both of them were held accountable and we move on. That’s the way it works. They’re not going to be held anymore accountable than they were the other day. They’re going to be back in there and be a big part of what we do.
Like I said, we love them and we love them enough to hold them accountable. And those guys I know they understand it, and both of them practiced really well yesterday.
Q. What is the most encouraging and discouraging part of watching the tape from Saturday’s game at Texas?
COACH BEATY: Most encouraging thing is as I watch the tape, man, I see us getting better in some areas, I really do. Very encouraging and exciting. Makes you, sometimes you think it’s going to be tough Sunday morning getting up and rolling until you get done watching that tape on the way back from the plane and you’re like, man, I can’t wait to get back in there because we’re this close to being that much better. And I think our guys see that too which is good.
Most discouraging thing is knowing that you had a chance and you had guys on the ropes and you weren’t able to hang on to it and close it out. Once again, it’s a learning process for us. Our guys may not love the look in their eye yesterday. They were engaged and they see themselves getting better.
The truth of the matter is we have a long way to go. We started a long ways away, and it’s a long journey. We have a long way to go. But we thank God every day we’re not still where we were. Where we are today, we’re going to get better today, and we’ll continue to work to close the gap.
Q. So much of this season you’ve mentioned week after week after week, just those freshmen getting reps, getting live action and a feel for what it takes out there. Are you saying to those guys not to be freshmen anymore? Again, I come back to Dorance (Armstrong), and he looks like one of your best players right now and getting after the passer and that kind of thing. Is that showing up more and more? Was that the decision you had the way it was going to unfold or the way you wanted it to?
COACH BEATY: Absolutely. I got in the car yesterday with my daughter, Averie. She’s been driving for about seven months now, something like that, eight months. The first time I got in the car with her, I was scared to death. I was pretty much convinced that she did not see past the hood, and I needed one of those brakes to be honest with you. Got in the car with her yesterday, and it was amazing what that experience has done for her.
We don’t want to get complacent. But in my mind, it’s the same thing. Tyrone Miller, we were standing in the stretch lines and I said, hey, man, how much more comfortable do you feel now from the first snap you took against South Dakota State? And he’s like, Coach, I can’t even believe that I was out there.
Talking to Ben Goodman yesterday in leadership council, I said, look, tell these guys what it was like as a freshman until now. He was very eloquent in the way he said it. He said my first year I was trying to figure out what to do. Next it was figuring out how to do it. Now, it’s how to attack them. I know what that tackle is doing now because his legs are further back. But he’s got a slight bend in his front knee. Those things all tell you things. As a freshman, you don’t have the benefit of that experience.
So they’re getting better day by day. First game we’re playing against some guys that had more experience than we did, even though they were not an FBS opponent, but they had more experience than our guys did. Our guys have continued to get better and now we’re competing. We’re competing in areas, which is good. We’ve still got a long way to go though.
Q. So what were the specific areas of improvement you have seen?
COACH BEATY: Guys like Dorance, starting to play with confidence, and watching him talk to people on the sideline instead of going in his shell and just trying to survive. Watching him do that, watching guys like Darious Crawley catching a ball over his outside corner and seeing it to the Tuck, as the safety is bearing down on him, and I mean smacked him, but he made a great play.
Those are just things that we continue to build those habits every day, and then you see them carry over and we were able to come in here and go, D. Look at that. He didn’t catch the ball. He redirected it to the tuck and as a result the same ball that he dropped a couple weeks ago he caught that there. And it’s really just a product of our habits, building those habits, doing it over and over again, seeing some of those things.
But like-wise, talking to Fish (Smithson) yesterday, just one play, the 93-yard run, he said something really smart. He said the play after that I walked up to one of my guys and said, hey, listen, you’re going to spill this and you’re boxing it. This safety knows all these terms for these guys in front of him. But he was able to play comfortable because he knew they knew what to do then.
On that previous play, I’m not sure he completely trusted that he was going to come under, that guy was going to spill it, and those things slow guys down a little bit. He’s trying to do a little too much so everybody has to do their 1/11th. And stuff’s starting to take hold. It really is.
We’re kind of winding down towards the end of the season here, but as coaches we wish we had 10 more right now. We need ten more to close that gap. But we have what we have. And we’re going into an opponent this week that’s going to be angry. They’re talented as all get out. That guy’s a Heisman Trophy candidate, and he still is. He’s a ridiculously good player. The receiver may be as good as I’ve seen in a long time. He reminds me a lot of some of those guys I played against last year in the SEC, Amari Cooper.
I mean, this guy’s good now. He’s strong. He’s got great hands. He can run. He’s a very good player. They’ve got one of the fastest dudes I’ve ever seen from Neville, Louisiana, the Turpin kid, that kid can fly. They’ve got a bunch of ways they can hit you, a bunch. I think you have to find a way you pick to slow down and then try to react to some of the others because you can’t stop all of it. You have to manage it.
Oklahoma State did a great job against them. They had a great plan and they have to execute it.
Q. What did they do as far as making Boykin uncomfortable? How did he have success with that?
COACH BEATY: Well, as good as those guys are at TCU, and I know you’ve heard me talk about Sonny (Cumbie), you’ve heard me talk about Doug Meacham and Rusty (Burns). Those guys are as good as there are in the game. There are some really good football coaches in this conference, and I talked about it the other day.
Glenn Spencer is a really good defensive coordinator. I’m not sure maybe they knew some of the things they were going to get and some of the pictures may have been different. I think that causes guys problems. They mixed it up between three down and four down, and they had a good plan. You could tell they were in the right spots and they made plays when they needed to.
Q. You obviously don’t have the same personnel that Oklahoma State does. But do you have time to look at that film and say let’s try to do some of that in one week’s time?
COACH BEATY: I think you have to be really careful of straying away from what you do. But the good news is we’re a team that’s always done that. We slid between three down and four down. Clint (Bowen) and those guys were exclusively a three-down front last year. So we kept some of those elements in what we do. We have the ability to do that.
Now whether we choose to do that or not this week, we have to wait to see. I’m not sure if I’m going to tell you that. But we have the things in our arsenal to be able to do the things we want to do to play against these guys. It’s just going to come down to us executing better than they execute. We’re going to have to make some plays at key points. I think that’s going to be big. Our guys are starting to get more confidence in them, and as we do that, we’re going to start doing the things that we probably haven’t done which is make plays. I think there is something missing there. We started to make a few last week, but we’ve got to make more.
Q. Sometimes it’s overrated but how much can Kenny (Perry) help you? He’s there, you know these guys inside and out obviously?
COACH BEATY: I think it can help you a lot. But once that whistle is blown and that ball is snapped, at that point it’s up to those guys to execute.
Now the thing that guys help you with a little bit is obviously understanding what the mindset is and what they’re trying to get accomplished. It’s very similar to when we played Tech and we play these guys. The air raid, I basically know the principles of it. So just having an idea of how they’re trying to attack you in different fronts and coverages, I think it can be helpful. But you have to be careful not trying to play too much of that because you can get your eyes in a wrong spot in a hurry and get in trouble.
So we’re going to rely on continuing to build our fundamentals. Play fundamentally sound football, read our keys, react, get to the football and make plays.
Q. With Keaton’ interception down on the right side, was that a teaching moment with him? Did you talk to him about that at all?
COACH BEATY: Absolutely. It was a big-time teaching moment. First thing is you’re just winning the game. We didn’t give you the freedom to just go check. So he made a check there but the thing I like about that is he felt like he saw something. If a guy puts it on the line there, he might have been able to make something happen.
And you know me. I’m an open book when I talk about stuff like that. Keaton is one of my players, but he’s also like a family to me. I’ve been around him for a long time. So I can talk to him a little differently than other people can.
But when we talked on the sideline he put the guy on a little bit of a double move play, and it gave the safety time to react over there. When you’re doing double moves, you can’t hold the safety with your eyes and that’s how the safety got over the top and made the play. So that was a good thing for him to learn.
We talked after that. I said, listen, there is one area where they’re one-on-one, so if you get this chance again and you go to that one area, I think you’ll find success, and he did it, and he scored. So the good news is he learned from there, and applied it and moved forward.
Q. What is the status of the backup quarterback position?
COACH BEATY: And after that we have Keaton and T.J., and after that I think it’s probably Coach Likens, and I think I’ve still got a few throws left in me to be honest with you (laughing). We don’t have a lot left. I say we don’t. We’ve got three guys. We’ll be fine. We’ll be fine. If something were to happen and we had to get to another guy, we’ve got plans for that. But we’re not going to say anything about that right now.
Q. Are they kind of in an “or” situation?
COACH BEATY: Yeah.
Q. Would it depend on the situation of the game who would play? Are they listed as an “or” on the depth chart?
COACH BEATY: Absolutely they are. It just depends. Hey, listen, those guys at TCU know Keaton too. He was there last year. He throws the ball well, but he gives us a little bit of element running the football too. So he’s, you know, in that particular game, he gave us some things that we needed in the quarterback run game that we wanted to do with him there. And T.J.’s not a real quarterback run guy.
So that’s what our plan was at that point in the game, and we went with Keaton at that point.
Q. Is Montell able to get a medical redshirt?
COACH BEATY: No, I think he might be. I think he might be. Once again, I don’t want to comment on those things until I know. I probably should spend more time kind of getting to know whether he is or not. But we’re just so busy on trying to get ready to play just with the information that I’ve got, I think it looks pretty good and pretty promising for him, but we’ll see.
Q. Where’s Boykin rank among the quarterbacks? You guys played a lot of great offenses?
COACH BEATY: Man, he’s good. I mean, he’s got to be as good as we played. I really like the Rudolph kid at Oklahoma State because I think he’s done it time and time again. But as far as talent goes, man, this guy is really talented. He can sling it. He can run it. He’s what those guys that go to New York look like because I’ve seen them firsthand. He is that kind of a player.
Really good player, and great kid. I know him, know his family, recruited him. He played for one of my coaches at McArthur. I didn’t get him, so obviously I didn’t do a very good job.
Q. Does Boykin remind you of Johnny Manziel at all, with his skillset?
COACH BEATY: Yeah, he does a lot with his feet to extend plays. He’s got a strong arm. He’s got a cannon. Johnny does too. It’s just deceptively different. I believe this kid does a good job operating the offense. He really does. Johnny did a nice job of doing that too, but he was so athletic he could get out and run. This kid does that on occasion, but he will make you hurt if you are in the wrong coverage and he can put the people in the right spot.
He can make a throw on a dime. Just left a while ago. He drops a post into their number two receiver last week. The guy drops it, hits him right in the face, and there are three people around him. I don’t know how he got the ball in there, but that’s how good of a player this guy is. I’m like, wow, look at that throw, and the DBs were right there and they couldn’t touch it. Don’t count him out of that Heisman race yet. Don’t count him out because this kid’s really good.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
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