Beaty talks Dillons Sunflower Showdown at weekly press conference
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas football head coach David Beaty spoke with the media on Tuesday at his weekly press conference, where he talked about the Jayhawks’ upcoming matchup against in-state rival Kansas State.
A video of the press conference can be seen on the Kansas Football Facebook Page and a transcript is below.
DAVID BEATY: Okay, an exciting week for us, obviously, moving into the Sunflower Showdown. What a great rivalry we have here. Man, first of all, I’m really just excited and glad that Coach’s (Snyder) health is doing well. Like I said before, I think college football is a better place with him in it, and he’s certainly had an impact on a lot of us, so seeing him improve and his health improve is something that I’m certainly glad for.
You know, this game is very, very important to a lot of people. Our people that are on our football team, the people inside our department, our University, all of our stakeholders, all of our fans, all of our former students, former players, it has a lot of meaning. This is one of those games where you can have an opportunity to make yourself a household name. One game has the potential to do that. It’s something that we don’t take lightly when we start this meeting today with our guys and our preparation for K-State. We’ll take some time up front to make sure that they understand the levity of this rivalry. We were going to make darn sure that they understand how important it is, and we’ve got some means by which to do that.
We really don’t have to do a lot, but it’s important for me to educate our guys, particularly our young guys, because we have a lot of young guys on this team that are playing that are young, that they understand and they start making that part of their fabric because it is such a big game for the entire state. It’s one of those games that can change the whole year for you, and for us, getting that first one in conference is a big, big deal, but getting it against Kansas State would be a huge shot in the arm for us. We’re excited about the game moving forward.
I don’t have much on the injury update. I do have Mesa (Ribordy); he’ll be a game-time decision. Other than that, we’re in pretty good shape. Let’s take some questions.
Q. You mentioned Bill Snyder; what kind of conversations have you had with him over the last couple years, especially when you got hired here?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, you know, he’s one of the guys that you can always go to for any kind of advice. In terms of when I first got started here, just understanding the right way to do things within this state. I think he loves this state, and he loves the people in it, and he respects the rivalry, respects the fans on both sides, and man, he’s just been great for the sport. He’s been a guy that’s been always very supportive through my years here, and whether it’s through a note here or there or just a word when we’re at meetings or wherever we are, and I’ve said at times when we’re at meetings there’s a lot of eyes on Coach Snyder because he’s done it so long at such a high level, he certainly has earned that, and a lot of us are working our way into our careers at the head coaching position, and there’s a respect there.
Q. It can not only change the course of this season but the future of this KU program; how valuable is this game from a recruiting standpoint?
DAVID BEATY: I don’t know that they get much more valuable than this one. I mean, it can definitely propel your program, and that goes for both sides. You know, from a recruiting standpoint, obviously, from this season standpoint, literally from where your program is at its current state. You know, it just gives you a nice shot in the arm for your fans, for your university. I don’t know that they get much bigger.
Q. What’s kind of your scout on K-State? They almost snuck out with a win there last week.
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, good football team, as usual. A couple of things that stick out to me is they are a very smart team. You’ve got to beat them. I’ve always said this, a smart team is a hard team to beat, and once again, they’re in the top three of all four penalty categories. They’re going to make you beat them. They’re not going to give you a lot.
They have another quarterback that’s been playing quite a bit. I don’t know if the other kid is going to be able to come back or not, but we’re going to have to prepare for both, and both of them take care of the ball and they manage the game pretty well.
They played a really nice game against a really talented Oklahoma team that — the quarterback at Oklahoma is a talented guy, he really is, and they played him about as good as you can. I mean, he really did some good things in that game. But I was impressed with the way that they played. Their defense is not talked about enough. Those dudes are tough, they’re strong, they’re physical, they run to the ball, they’re always in the right spots. They’re going to make you beat them. They’re disruptive. They try to cause turnovers. Those coaches have been there for a long time, and they’re really, really good. They’re the second ranked rushing team in the Big 12, one of the top in the country, so they always run the football good, and with Delton who can run it, there’s no surprise.
You know, they’re No. 2 in the conference in sacks allowed, which tells you they protect the passer pretty well. People don’t talk about it because they’ve always ran the ball so well, but these guys throw the ball really good. They’ve got a bunch of spread principles in their offense and they do it as good as anybody we see, and for a team that’s been known for running the ball so much, they throw the ball really, really well.
Special teams sticks out, once again. I think they’re 2 in the conference in punt returns and kickoff returns. The Reed kid is one of the most dynamic guys in the conference. We have to do a terrific job, it’s an area that we certainly have to improve on, and then their coverage teams are really, really good. They’re going to do a great job in that third of the game. They really typically win the field position battle, the hidden yardage, and we have that challenge ahead of us. We felt like we closed the gap in that area last year, and we certainly have to close that gap really tight this year to be able to do what we want to do in the game.
Q. The offense has obviously kind of struggled the past couple of games. Has that led you to reevaluate things at the quarterback position, who you put out there or anything?
DAVID BEATY: You know, whenever you’re not having success, whether it’s offense, defense, special teams, you always are evaluating, right, and I’ve said it from the very beginning, you’re only as good as your next, and that’s true competition. I’m not sure many people articulate it that way, but that’s the way this game works. You have to produce. It’s a production business, right, for all of us. No different for each one of our individual players.
We have confidence in our players. We have confidence in our quarterbacks. I look back and there’s some things I’m sure that Peyton (Bender) may have wanted back, but I do know this, that there was not a whole lot of time to get rid of the ball the other night, and credit TCU’s defensive line and their defense. They did a nice job getting pressure on us. They’ve done a nice job getting pressure on just about everybody. They’re pretty talented.
But sometimes it’s hard to tell what maybe a guy is capable of until you can keep him upright in the back because the guy is a really talented guy. It’s real easy to pin it all on one person, but when you flip the tape on, it normally — the blame usually lies a number of different places, so we have evaluate every bit of it. It’s not just the quarterback, it’s the guys up front making sure we get the right gel, the right mix there, continuing to improve. They’re not going to let you go sign a couple before this next game, so you’ve got what you’ve got, you’ve got to develop them. And the same thing with the wide outs. We’ve got to do a great job of spacing properly, getting off the ball quick enough, making sure that we’re not getting held up on man-to-man coverage. Those things all go into the success of what you’re doing offensive.
You know, we are always evaluating our personnel. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the quarterbacks or not.
Q. How do you go about trying to maintain confidence after specifically offensively after last week’s performance?
DAVID BEATY: Well, you know, I think maybe the best way for me to describe that is that although we are not satisfied and not happy with where we are record-wise, it doesn’t mean that there’s not been improvement in our program. One of the things that we really wanted to make sure that we did well early and we were able to try to set as a standard was creating a culture, and the culture is in a great place, and it’s a very healthy program when it comes to that. That’s how you don’t have problems with that.
We have a very, very good — we have a great locker room full of great guys. You haven’t heard me say anything different from that from the very beginning. Those guys want their stakeholders. It’s about more than them. It just is. And you’ve got great leaders like Joe Dineen, Dorance Armstrong that simply won’t allow anyone to venture away from that. The way they played until the end of the game I think speaks to where the program is and with our culture because they’re playing their rear ends off to the very end, which is something that is pretty good.
But we have to start getting the play on the field to match that consistency in our culture because culture alone won’t get it done. It’ll allow you to get it directed in the right direction and keep it in the right direction, but you have to be able to produce consistently offensively, defensively and special teams.
That’s the best answer for you there. We won’t have a problem with keeping the morale up because they keep us up. These dudes are real. They’re real dudes. I mean, any time I feel like there might be a chance where I’m going to have to come in here and do something special, I walk in, and I’m like, wow, some good dudes, man. I’ve even taken the approach where I’m like, you know what, does this mean enough to them that they’re able to bounce back like that? I can assure you, it’s not a softness issue. They’re some tough dudes. They’re doing some tough work, and they’re not afraid of it, and they love this university, which I think is what helps that morale stay high.
Q. You mentioned the line struggles; given their issues that they’ve had in recent weeks, how hard is it even to assess or evaluate the quarterback position?
DAVID BEATY: Makes it tough. I think I mentioned that just a few minutes ago. Everything works together. It all works together. We’ve got some very talented guys out wide, but it all starts up front being able to let us get the football downfield. Sometimes you’ll never see it if you can’t hold up long enough, right. So we obviously have to keep working, keep fighting up there to make sure that we get the best combination and we get those guys prepared in a way to where we find some things that our offense can do and do well and spend a lot of time on the things that we can do well and not as much on things that we feel like maybe are things that are robbing us from just creating our own identity offensively.
Q. Every team is dinged up; explain the development of guys who have been in this program three, four, five years and how their bodies are able to endure just the rigors of football season.
DAVID BEATY: Man, that’s a good question. I think you answered it. It’s Division I football. I think that’s a great question because I’m not sure many people understand that, right. When you look at really good teams out there, above average teams really, there’s not a whole lot of young guys playing. The program is healthy, it’s got a full roster, and it allows you to redshirt a lot of guys, and it allows those guys to grow. It allows those bodies to grow. It allows their bodies to grow.
I’m not sure you couldn’t sign the biggest, fastest dudes in the country, and if they were all freshmen they’d struggle. They just would because there’s so many things that go into their bodies being ready from a maturity standpoint to face what they’re facing across from them in these leagues. Most of these teams have third-, fourth-year players. Maybe not — maybe they’re redshirt sophomores, redshirt juniors and seniors, maybe fifth-year seniors, but a lot of teams do have a load of those guys, and that’s how you do it. You win with upperclassmen. I think I saw a stat the other day, TCU has 46 fourth- and fifth-year players. I want to say Oklahoma — let’s see, I can’t remember exactly who it was, but Oklahoma State has somewhere around 43, something like that. It’s pretty unique. You look at it, and the standings are kind of mirroring how many guys they’ve in that upper class. Texas has 25, I believe, right now, and that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all scholarship guys, that’s just who they are.
Right now we currently have around eight guys that are here — that were here on scholarship that are fourth- and fifth-year players that came here on scholarship, recruited as scholarship players. You know, typically that number should be up somewhere around 25 to 30. But it gives those young guys a great opportunity. Unfortunately their bodies aren’t quite developed yet. Sometimes it causes some injury.
Mesa being able to play that position a little bit longer with a little bit more size on him might have helped his durability. Same thing with — I always am concerned about Akeem because he’s played more plays than anybody on the football team in two years. He came in at 265 pounds, he’s 300 pounds now, but it’s a new 300 to him. Those are no excuses. That’s just what it is, and that’s why I’m really impressed with our guys, because a lot of them are beat up just like the rest of the country, and they just keep working.
Q. What impresses you most about the Alex Delton and Jesse Ertz when you watch them on tape?
DAVID BEATY: I think the thing that impresses me the most is basically their ability to run the offense regardless. I mean, when Jesse Ertz is in there, that dude can run the rock now. That’s a big dude, and he can run, and he can sling it, too, now. I think Delton can throw it. When he’s asked to throw it, he’s got a nice live arm, but he is obviously very talented with his legs.
Those two guys, you can tell they have a command of their offense. You just don’t see much confusion when the ball is snapped with those guys. They’re prepared well. Those guys obviously have played for a little while, which is good, but I think that’s the thing that sticks out to me is they can operate that offense at a high level.
Q. Did you receive an explanation from the Big 12 as to why they introduced the idea of having a running clock?
DAVID BEATY: You know, we really haven’t, but I really haven’t given it much thought. I think the reason I haven’t given it much thought is they got it right. You know, regardless of what the confusion was, there was not a whole lot of time, if any, that really ran off the clock. Obviously I was a little confused on what was being said there early in the deal, but they fixed it fairly quickly, and the main thing was that they got it right.
I think if there’s any questions that you have about that, rather than ask me, I think maybe you should direct those questions towards maybe the Big 12 through Katy and they can help you. But I will say this: That dude did the National Championship last year. That guy is a terrific official. That whole crew is really, really good. The thing is they got it right. They got it right, and thankfully it didn’t affect the outcome of the game, the few seconds that went off.
Q. With the new official early signing day, how does that affect your staff and what you’re trying to do as far as scouting and getting game plans ready and everything that you have to do, and then, oh, by the way, you’ve got to focus on that new day?
DAVID BEATY: You know, it’s exciting. It is another thing that you have to fit into your schedule because those things are things that will expose you if you’re not prepared for them, right, because there’s always a recruiting opportunity, and that is those kids’ day in the sun. It’s their opportunity to sign their future. And for us to be able to manage that day and all the day-to-day that goes on with that, I know that all the teams throughout the country are going to be dealing with the same thing, but I think the ones that think about it the most, that really put some time into it are the ones that might benefit moving forward because it is new to all of us, and there’s some really thoughtful, crafty people out there. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all turns out.
Q. What’s it like preparing for a team like K-State what runs a different type of offense than most you what you see in the Big 12 in terms of practicing and scout team, getting a defense ready to face that type of offense?
DAVID BEATY: Well, you know, you only have a couple days, and thankfully the rest of the league has kind of moved a little bit more towards some of the things that they’ve done. It’s not completely like that, but we’ve had to fit some of the things that they’ve done before. As you’re planning for them defensively and you look at the number of runs that they’ve got, I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you it was substantially more when you’re sitting there trying to fit all those runs. They do a terrific job of. It those coaches, Dana Dimel and them have been there forever, and you’ve got to be on top of your game when it comes to gapping that up and making sure that you stop the run game. But like I said, the thing that people don’t give them enough credit for, they throw the ball really well now. I mean, they look like a spread team when they spread it out. Those guys have done a good job developing that part of their game.
Q. Do the points of emphasis in practice change depending on who the opponent is?
DAVID BEATY: Of course they do. It depends on what their personality is as a team and understanding what their identity is, trying to make sure that you stop the things that they’re going to do the most and force them to kind of go — try to force them to go to things that they maybe don’t do as much in hopes that the execution won’t be there, and that’s true for anybody throughout the country. Same thing on both sides of the ball and in the kicking game. It’s a real challenge. These guys are stinking good now on kicking game. They always have been. They’ve returned two or three kicks already. They’ve got a couple punt returns, I think, and a kickoff return, and you know what they’re going to run. It’s not like it’s anything new. It’s just hard to stop. They do it good. They do it really well. So we have a big challenge this week to be able to stop that, particularly when we’ve given up two in the last two weeks on punt return. We’ve got to get that shored up.
And you know what, I couldn’t be happier with the guy I’ve got right here. Joe Deforest is a guy that’s been here for a number of years, and he’ll get it figured out.
Q. When you have a guy that’s as talented as Steven Sims and the past couple weeks I think he’s had one catch in each game, what do you feel is the primary reason for that low production, and how has he handled it because he’s a guy with high personal expectations?
DAVID BEATY: I’ll tell you this: He is as competitive of a guy as I’ve ever been around. He really is. He is a very talented guy.
He has handled it great. You know, for him to not get frustrated when he knows that the defense is trying to do things to him to take him away. TCU did some things — after that first quarter they really did some things to try to limit his ability to be a playmaker in that game. Now the onus is on us to make sure that that can never happen, that we find a way to create to where they can’t bracket him or they can’t take him out of the game, so to speak, right. So we have to find ways to do that, and sometimes you don’t know that until you go into a game because they haven’t shown how they’re going to do, right. Honestly in the first quarter I thought we had a couple opportunities at it, and then after that his plan was clearly to go over there. I mean, there was going to be two, sometimes three. We moved him to the three hole, there were three guys on him, everywhere he went. And I don’t blame them. That guy is a pretty good player. And Gary is as good a defensive coach as I’ve ever been around, and he knows where your weapons are. He did a really nice job of locating him no matter where we put him. We had him in one hole, the two hole, the three hole, we had him in empty. He did a good job of making sure that he had people around him. But there’s still opportunities, there’s ways to create it, and that’s the cat-and-mouse game we’ve got to be better at.
Q. Do you have an update on Derrick Neal? He started the first four games and we haven’t seen him since.
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, currently he’s not with us. He’s got a daughter, and he’s taking care of her. He’s kind of taken a little bit of a leave. He’s taking care of her right now, and we certainly support him in that. He’s a good father, and he’s a good man, and hopefully everything there is going to stabilize for him and he can rejoin us, and hopefully he can.
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