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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Joined by his assistant coaching staff and selected players, head Kansas football coach David Beaty addressed the media at the Jayhawks’ 2016 media day.
Head Coach David Beaty
COACH BEATY: Good to see everybody. Appreciate y’all coming in today, really do.
A couple things before we get started, things you might want to know answers to. The first two days, I think the thing I got out of the first two days more than anything, and there’s a lot we got out of it, is that it confirmed the job that Je’Ney Jackson and his staff did. Man, they did a great job.
These kids are in great shape. They’re physically in great shape. We look a lot better, stronger, faster, which is good. That is what you hope coming into fall camp, that that group hands them back to you looking like that.
I got to take my hat off again to Coach Jackson and his staff. They did just a wonderful job. Now that in and of itself doesn’t ensure wins. Now we have to get to that next level. That’s kind of where we take over. He handed that team off to us the other day, which is great.
The big thing we have focused on is a lot of emphasis placed on competition and value in winning. We talked a lot around here with our team about understanding and learning how to win. You have to learn that in practice. You have to learn that in your everyday life, how you value winning.
I talk all the time about what Coach Self, he had a great message for us the other day, about how those guys value each possession and the culmination equals wins for those guys. I love watching them play because they are so intent with every possession, everything they do. Because of that they’re never out of a game, whether they’re up, down, whatever it is. I just love watching those guys. We learned a lot from those guys along the way. You obviously create that in practice.
I’m pleased with the first two days because those kids have really competed against each other well. They’ve really taken the competitions to heart. They know there is reward behind winning and there’s consequences behind losing. We made sure we hold them accountable to that because that is what the season and the real world does to you.
Man, the competition has been so tight, so in-depth, so heated, we got a little chippy with the wide receivers and DBs, got chippy inside with the offensive line and the D-line. That’s something that you like to see, but you want to be able to see a mature team recover from that and refocus and get back to the objectives that you have at hand. They did that yesterday. That was maybe the first time I’ve seen our kids do that.
We want them getting after each other. It’s a physical game. So I was pleased with seeing that yesterday. It wasn’t the chippiness. I want to see that. It was the ability to recover and finish and practice strong on both sides of the ball.
I said it last night to just a couple of our coaches. I was so pleased to see our offense had a pretty good day yesterday all the way through until about, I don’t know, 10 plays left in team. The defense, they had a chance to drop their head. They were going to have a rough day. They didn’t. They kept playing, they created a turnover. Man, because of what we do on offense, you’re never out of a game.
If we can get them to do that, we don’t need much time to score with what we do. So if we can do that, we can get back in the game really, really quick. I love the fact they were able to overcome that adversity. That’s something that is good in two days. I think that really all goes back to Coach Jackson and what he put them through in the off-season. I think that was big.
One injury note. We really have been pretty lucky. These guys are in great shape. They’re really strong right now which has helped us. Just normal bumps and bruises. Dorance Armstrong kind of tweaked his leg a little bit. He’s going to be fine. We’ve had him evaluated by our doctors, but we know what that guy can do. We’re not going to put him out there for a couple days, let him heal up. He’ll make a full recovery. He’ll be good. Like I said, he’s fine. He won’t be practicing today. We’ll probably hold him out. We’ll be cautious with him. He’s one of our best football players.
He’s a kid that is so strong that I think that helps guys like that when they face injuries. So I know he’s sad that he’s not going to be out there today because we wants to practice every single minute of the day, but we’re going to be cautious with him because he’s one of our best players and we got a lot of young ones we’re going to be able to evaluate today. We put those uppers on today, so it will be fun to watch them practice.
Q. What does the quarterback competition look like?
COACH BEATY: We’ve got competition in every area, which I think that’s the biggest difference in our team right now from a year ago. I had people ask me that the other day. It was kind of hard to tell you that without having a couple practices under our belt.
We had some real competition. We have some depth. I looked at our board two nights ago. We have a color code for walk-ons and scholarship guys. It’s amazing the difference of how many yellow dots are up there now opposed what were there last year. Not that we don’t value our guys that are walk-ons. The point being that we’re getting there, getting our roster back there. I’m proud of our coaches for doing that.
That competition at the quarterback spot is not unlike any of the other spots. They got to earn it. The first day, I didn’t think anybody separated themselves. Yesterday Ryan (Willis) had a really good day, really good day. He stood out yesterday.
But it’s one day. We won’t make a decision based on that, so don’t put too much into that. He had one good day. I thought his eyes were good. I thought his reads were good. I thought his footwork was good. He took care of the ball. He can spin it now. They all can spin it. That’s one thing I’m really pleased with it. From top to bottom, they can spin it.
Tyriek (Starks) can throw it now. He doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing, but he can throw it. It’s amazing how accurate he is, and he doesn’t really know what he’s doing right now. This dude can spin it now. I like him.
Keaton (Perry) is throwing it well. Carter (Stanley) is throwing it so much better. He’s throwing it well. Montell’s (Cozart) arm strength. They’ve got that. There’s no doubt about it. I think if we can protect it, they all can move the ball.
Q. On a scale from 0-100 where would you say Carter Stanley is in terms of correcting the hitch he developed in his throw?
COACH BEATY: Man, that’s a good question. I wasn’t sure where you were going with that.
You know what, he’s probably about 75, 80 percent there. That’s a good question. Very observant by you, by the way. Pretty good. Yeah, he’s about 80 percent there. Obviously, we were looking for that, too, as well. You get to kind of see him a little bit in the summer, not much. Looking out my window, I saw him a couple times. Good to see him.
He looks good now. His feet are so much better, just like the rest of them. They all can spin it now. I can’t wait for all you guys to see them in one of those full scrimmage deals. We are not just there yet. We got some work to do.
Q. So much of the top last year was finding the guy that could get you in the best offense, manage that game. Are you looking for more especially that some of these guys have that experience now?
COACH BEATY: Yeah, we are, because there’s so much of it that even though we are moving into some different things, really they’re so much better at understanding what’s being done to them. I said it last year. The first year is about figuring out what to do, period. It’s not necessarily what you’re doing on offense. It’s literally just how to play in this league, how to play at this level. Now we’ve kind of got a lot of that stuff, the foundation work, kind of poured, if you will. Then the footwork, all that stuff is looking pretty good.
Now they’re really able to put a premium on what the defense is doing to them. To me that’s the biggest difference. That allows us to get ourselves into some of the best plays and gives them the freedom to be able to get into those good plays.
Q. How much of a premium do you put on Ryan getting so many snaps in your system last year?
COACH BEATY: Like I said I guess a couple days ago, there’s two of them that have played. Well, there’s three of them. Keaton has played a little bit, not a lot, but he’s played a little bit. There’s two of them that got a massive amount of reps here. Those two have an advantage because they played college football at a Division I level and in the Big 12. I think that is where the premium is. You know they have experience. There’s things they see.
I don’t care what offense you’re running, that experience of being out there, some of those things are inherently the same no matter what you’re running. From that standpoint, they have an advantage. Whether I want to believe it or not, there’s an advantage because they have some experience out there.
We kind of know how they’re going to react in certain situations. They’ve been there. We’ve walked them through that. You just hope the other guys, because they’ve been here, too, that they’ve learned from the other guy, the previous guy, so they don’t make the same mistakes. Maybe their evolution goes a little bit smoother than the one before them.
I’ll say this about the quarterback deal. Guys, it’s going to take me a few days. There’s a lot of dudes that can look good in T-shirts and shorts. I mean, there’s a lot of guys that can look good when they don’t have a whole blitz package coming at them.
Q. What is your comfort level with your new responsibilities, calling the offense?
COACH BEATY: Guys, this is being done all over the country. There is no new responsibility. It’s the same thing I’ve been doing for years. I mean, there’s nothing to that.
We have a plan for everything involved with regard to how we’re going to manage everything that goes on with our team. There’s nothing different.
Q. How do you determine who is going to relay calls to the field?
COACH BEATY: It will be me.
Q: You have some new specialists on the roster, how are those battles shaping up?
COACH BEATY: Joe DeForest answers a lot of questions for us. Just having him here, the comfort level I have with him, I think that might answer your question a little bit more than anything. That guy’s experience, watching him work with our team each day, I just appreciate him. I’m learning a lot every day from him, how he’s been able to be so successful. He’s a Steady Eddie, man. He’s done a great job.
The thing I really love about watching him is how well he interacts with those specialists, the amount of work and training he’s put into that. No wonder those guys have been really good. He’s had good kickers everywhere he’s been. His place kickers have been good. His punters have been good. That doesn’t just accidentally happen. That guy does a nice job, a nice job. His organization is top-notch. He’s on top of all the situations.
He’s been there. He’s been in the league. He was at Oklahoma State for 11 years. He’s been in the league for a long, long time and he’s done it at a high level.
We brought some new specialists in here, you’ll see them today. They can hit it now, which, I mean, playing good special teams requires you to be good at those positions. You’ve got to be good at kicking off. You’ve got to be good at punting. A couple years ago, we were pretty dad-gum good punting. I wasn’t here, but I think we might have been top in the conference in punting. But we had a really good punter. That makes a big difference.
We have a new kid here, the (Kyle) Thompson kid, that can hit it now. I mean, he can hit it. There’s a few that can hit it. I don’t want to anoint any of them yet. We’ve got some great competition there. Most of them are new faces. Wyman is looking really good kicking as a matter of fact right now. His time with Coach DeForest has been something I think he’s really prized and I have, too, because I’ve seen him come a long way.
Q. Has your relationship with Quiv (LaQuvionte Gonzalez) changed since he’s been here?
COACH BEATY: No, he’s still my son, and literally every day we are together. He’s funny. Y’all might ask him about this. He has this deal about him that he can’t just text you and ask the question. The first text is going to be AYE, hey, coach.
So he can’t just ask the question. So we’re working through that communication part.
Quiv, do you think you can just go ahead and send one text instead of two?
But he is a great kid. You watch him at practice. Man, that guy loves to practice. He is like a kid getting out of the car at an amusement park when he gets there.
The first day, so fun to watch him. I mean, I’m talking to him about noon. We’re going to lunch. I’m like, Hey, Bud, we’re going to have about a two and a half hour practice tonight. You know that, right? I don’t want you dead by the time we get through routes.
Coach, I got it. I got it.
He is spent by the time we get halfway through practice because he’s so ramped up. He’s got so much energy. He’s learning because he hasn’t been on the field and able to play for a while. I know he’s excited. It’s good to see that excitement in a guy.
Here is the deal with Quiv. We can’t put too much on Quiv. He’s not the answer to all the ills that we have. He is just a piece of it. He can’t do too much. We had a kid at Rice named Sam McGuffie, came from Michigan. Sam was a tremendous player, very much like Quiv. The thing we did, we put too much on Sam that year. We learned a hard lesson and he was not as productive as he could have been.
With Quiv, he’s going to naturally get his stuff. We’re going to be able to create ways to get him the ball. My challenge with him is to get him to understand that you don’t have to do it all. It’s okay to run a bubble, stay outside, not cut back 15 times. In this league you’re not going to get away with that. They’re going to tackle you.
Q. Does his growth have to do with getting experience?
COACH BEATY: I think it does a lot, his experience, him playing in another conference, but playing before. He’s an older guy. He’s in his third year of college now I guess it is, going into his fourth, I think. I’ve been with Quiv for a long time, I’m trying to make the years match.
But just, you know, they know that that kid’s talented and if they can get it close to him at the right spot, he can do something extra with it. We can throw it to him short and he can turn it into something big. That’s been really good for him and good for them.
The nice thing is Quiv has really developed as a leader for us. He’s become one of our leaders, which we needed him to do that. It was nice to see him mature into that. For a guy that hasn’t taken a snap yet, for those guys to respect him. It comes down to his work ethic in the off-season. There’s not a guy on this team that works harder than Quiv in the off-season. He works. People still respect people that work.
Q. Does his personality lend itself to being a leader because he’s active and talkative?
COACH BEATY: He used to talk a lot, and it wasn’t very good for leadership back in the day. But he’s learned a lot. He’s just grown. He’s grown a lot. He’s an older player. He has experience, something that you couldn’t give him.
I kid about Quiv. Y’all, he literally is like my son. I mean, he comes to the house. He hangs out with my girls. When it is thundering and lightning outside, he comes to our house because he’s scared of lightning. He’s a trip.
Probably told y’all too much there. Can we strike that from the record (laughter)?
He’s just a great kid. I love him to death. I love his playful spirit. I mean, his spirit, he loves this game. I mean, I like when guys love the game because it matters to them.
Q. You mentioned special teams. Who are you looking at as return guys? How much more balance do you need out of those five?
COACH BEATY: That’s a good question. Quiv will answer a lot of questions for us in that punt return game. Man, I’m excited to see what he can do for us back there. This is a kid that when we had him at the previous stop, he couldn’t catch a punt to save his life. But he will work his way into it. We’d kick him off the field. He’d show up there the next day. We’d kick him off. Don’t come over here, we want to work these other guys. He showed up.
He just worked, worked, worked. He does a great job for us. We value possession and punt returns. The number one thing is possession. He is a guy that has worked his way into being a really sure handy guy back there for us. I think he’ll be a nice answer. We’re using Fish (Smithson) back there. Fish has the ability to catch punts back there as well. Sims is a guy that is going to be able to help answer some questions for us back there.
Quiv on kickoff return. He did it for us at the last stop we were at. He’s got some juice back there, there’s no doubt about it. We’ve got a few other fast ones that we can get the ball to. Ryan Schadler, another guy that is going to be back there in the return game, was a sprinter before he got here.
The good news is we’ve been able to recruit some guys that fit the mold there.
Q. What made you coin Joe Dineen ‘the Mayor’?
COACH BEATY: The term ‘Mayor’ for Joe was more of a joke. We kid around a bunch with each other. It fits. It’s kind of stuck. He is a kid that always has a smile on his face. He does kind of have a little presidential look when you think about it in an election year.
Anyway, he can talk to anybody. Just a great kid. Always got a smile on his face. I was walking down the hall a while ago, watching him make a tackle last year. That dude, he has a switch he flips on game day. He’s got the ability to, when he needs to, turn it on and flip that switch and do what has to be done. As a leader, I think that’s important. I think that fits him, the mayor. You got to be able to do a lot of things. You got to be able to make decisions and do hard things.
Q. Ke’aun Kinner was injured and his production went down at the end of last season, is he healthy and do you like what have you seen from him?
COACH BEATY: I do. He was injured. Torn labrum coming into the season, which is never good. Those things tend to pop out all the time, which he faced that. He had a thigh injury that held him out a little bit. He faced some injuries that he just never could get over the hump to get back.
But he is in great shape. He looks extremely quick right now. He doesn’t even look like the same guy to me. I’d be interested to see what you guys think. But you know what, camp is camp. He’s got to be able to do it in a ballgame just like the rest of us. We’re aren’t anointing anybody. We have a long way to go.
A lot of emphasis put on accurate execution and understanding just the value of being penalty free and being a smart football team because those are the things that are going to help us win. Right now we’re making daily deposits trying get a little bit better to play in what we deem as the most important game we have in our future, which is Rhode Island.
Q. Running back is a position where guys seem to have a chance to play right away, can you see freshman Khalil Herbert fitting that mold?
COACH BEATY: We’re a couple days into it. We’re kind of excited about today because we’re putting uppers on. I watch him go through inside hole, he’ll slam it up in there. That’s one thing you look for. A lot more will come to pass today when we get those uppers on because you can pretty much go through a full inside drill and see if the guy has that instinct.
So far he’s been impressive. He’s got great speed, great quickness, really good vision. We got high hopes for him. But we’ve got a pretty decent stable of backs right now. If he’s playing for us, he’s pretty good because those other guys I think have done a pretty nice job.
Q. You talked about your scholarship dot. Do you have a sense of how much better progress-wise you’ve made from that from a year ago?
COACH BEATY: We’ve continued to just work at it and grind at it. We hired a guy by the name of Jeff Jordan to run our personnel department here. He has been monumental in what he has done to put our team on a better level with regard to evaluation of our prospects. He actually runs that personnel department. He comes to us from Garland High School in Garland, Texas. He actually coached me way back in the day. I’m not much younger than him. But he was at Garland for 28 years. He was a scout for the Dallas Cowboys for 28 seasons. This guy has the benefit of all of the research that’s been done with that team over 28 years. So he brings a wealth of knowledge for us that helps us in ways that maybe I haven’t seen done before.
I mean, I would dare to say it may start to be a trend that personnel departments may start blossoming around the country. Because the ability for us to look at 1400 recruits while our guys were on the road, with Jeff and his staff, that’s second to none. I’m talking about highly evaluate. That’s been really good.
When you do that, you’re able to see a lot of guys that might be able to help you that might fit in creative ways. So, you know, that’s where it’s really helped us. I think that’s kind of the dots that I talked about have minimized a lot and allowed us to move up the ladder the other way.
Q. Keith Loneker Jr., what’s his progress been like lately?
COACH BEATY: We got a good stable of linebackers over there right now. He’s a guy that suffered an injury in the spring to his knee. It slowed his progress a little bit. He’s probably the mayor pro tem so to speak.
He’s a guy that everybody loves on our team. He’s a great kid. Great kid. Great student. Great kid in the community. But a good player. We’re looking forward to him helping us this year.
His deal, much like Joe, when Joe was a young guy, was helping us on every single special teams and let’s see if you can fight your way into the starting lineup. We have a bunch of starting linebackers that are coming back. If he can get on the field then he’s pretty good because those other guys have a lot of experience and they’re pretty good, too.
He projects. He has some weight on him now. He is 100% healthy, which is good. He has some instincts. He can play a couple different spots, I think that makes him versatile.
Thank you, y’all. Appreciate it. We’ll see you out there today.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Safeties Clint Bowen
On how camp has been so far:
“You know, really well. I’m happy with the way kids showed up from the end of the summer program and how people, the approach they are taking to start camp. There’s good enthusiasm, but then also business-like working demeanor, going about their business and doing things. The players came back with a very positive attitude, very happy attitude. I think it’s been going good.”
On Dorance Armstrong’s health:
“Dorance, obviously, is one of our better players on defense, a kid that did a great job for us last year and has continued to develop. He got a little nicked up, which was unfortunate, but he’ll go through his rehab, he’ll figure it out and he’ll do a great job. All of our players get banged up, and Dorance will be back with us.”
On Joe Dineen’s improvement:
“Our kids in the summertime, credit to our strength staff, have come back in really good shape, looking really good, performance numbers have increased. Joe is one of those guys who has developed himself. You know they gain weight, and at the same time add speed to it, so his running and changing direction is good. He’s probably 15 pounds heavier, but he’s continued to be able to move even faster and change direction better. He’s a guy that got to play a lot of football last year so that experience is critical for kids.”
Running backs coach Tony Hull
On senior running back Ke’aun Kinner:
“I didn’t get a chance to work with him in the spring, but he has changed his body from the spring to now. When I watch film, he’s much bigger, stronger and faster. He’s done a great job this offseason of changing his frame and I think that’s going to help his performance on the field.”
On freshman running back Khalil Herbert:
“It’s only been two days, however I love what I’ve seen so far. I love his work ethic, measurable and athletic ability. He’s a hard worker and a humble kid and those are great characteristics of what it takes to be really good in this league. I’m looking forward to seeing him this year.”
Junior quarterback Montell Cozart
On his improved arm strength:
“I’ve gotten stronger. I have gained 10 pounds since my injury. I’m up to 205 pounds and it’s helped a lot getting into the weight room. I’m stronger than I was before. It’s helped me get the ball out quicker. Coach (Je’Ney) Jackson and his strength staff have helped our whole team. We can see all of our bodies look different.”
On the wide receivers and their improvement:
“There’s been a great leap. We have depth now and it’s been a competition for all of those guys. There’s no drop off from the guys who are up first, down to the second and third team. With this offense, it allows everyone to play fast and at a high tempo, so the guys around us can utilize their speed and do what they do best. We are looking forward to it.”
Sophomore quarterback Ryan Willis
On the offseason workouts:
“We have all gotten bigger, faster and stronger and that’s all credit to Coach (Je’Ney) Jackson. Our whole team looks better. Our running backs are looking more explosive and are cutting better. The offensive line is bigger and more mature. The receivers are better at their route running.”
On his experience last season helping this year:
“Experience is key. We had a rough year and I missed Spring, which was unfortunate. We had a good summer as a team in general and I’m really looking forward to the fall.”
On the running backs and wide receivers:
“It takes pressure off of the quarterback. You know the guy next to you as a quarterback can take the ball and make an explosive play or maybe go all of the way. The receivers, when I throw the ball deep, just knowing they can come down with it is a good feeling.”
Senior linebacker Marcquis Roberts
“Camp is going great so far. The strength and conditioning staff got us ready during the summer, so we’re just ready to go. We feel real good about it. Conditioning is going great, Coach (Je’Ney) Jackson and his strength staff, they did an awesome job this summer. (They) Prepared us very well for these hot practices we’re going to have, but I believe we’re ready.”
On stepping up as a leader in his senior season:
“I’m prepared. I’ve worked my tail off up to this point, so I don’t have a reason to be nervous really. I’m just ready to go.”
On the linebacker group:
“I feel like we’ve all improved, we’ve all taken leaps and bounds and strength wise, weight wise, and stepping up as leaders. Even our D-line looks well too, so that’s always a plus for us. It should be fun to be out there. I feel very confident, we’ve all come very far.”
Sophomore defensive end Dorance Armstrong
On the off season:
“It’s been great. I’ve gained more weight since last season. Coach Jackson has gotten the whole team gaining weight, getting faster, getting stronger. It’s been good. (We’ve) Been increasing our team chemistry, so we know how each other plays, we know how to feed off of each other’s momentum and energy. It’s going to make us be more successful. I’m definitely feeling good about the team this year. Everything is working out so good this summer.”
On being a sophomore this season:
“It makes me feel different because last year I wasn’t the guy to talk to be vocal or anything. But now, as a team, the team has pushed the leadership thing on me so now I’m more vocal and get the team going a lot. We got a lot of new freshmen. They don’t know the playbook like that, but that’s what we’re here for, the older guys are here to help them get down and get on track with it, so they can play as fast as they can.”
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