Beaty talks Ohio in weekly press conference

vs. OHIO
September 10, 2016

Location Lawrence, Kan.
Venue Memorial Stadium
Time 1:30 p.m.
Listen Jayhawk Radio Network
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Video Weekly Presser
Notes Game Notes


Tickets Ohio (Sept. 10)
Tickets TCU (Oct. 8)

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas head football coach David Beaty met with the media Tuesday afternoon in Mrkonic Auditorium inside the Anderson Family Football Complex to preview the Jayhawks’ upcoming bout with Ohio.

Q. To jump back to last week really quick. I heard you yesterday say that for LaQuvionte Gonzalez, it’s maybe the most impressive catch you’ve seen of his. I was wondering if you could describe the degree of difficulty on that?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, he has really improved since he has played for me personally, even dating back to the prior place where we were at with his ball skills. He’s a unique guy now. He’s got some things going on with his hands that are a little bit different. His thumb doesn’t move like the rest of ours does. He’s got a little bit of a disability there. So for him to really improve his ball skills he’s had to work beyond the disabilities there, which is pretty interesting. If you ever get to talk to him again, you might want to take a look at it. It’s pretty interesting.

But he hasn’t made a lot of plays where he’s gone over the top of guys like that before, and he’s not the biggest guy as it is. So I know that play was important to him. He wanted us to call that play in the game. He felt good about it. When he got his opportunity, there wasn’t going to be much that was going to keep him from making that play.

It was thrown short and it was behind the defender’s back, and he went over the top of him and grabbed it and brought it back over his head. One of the things I was really proud of is how he brought it back over his head, because we talk about when you’re in the end zone all you have to do is possess it. So try to get it over your head so they can’t get the ball out of your hands. If you possess it and leave it down, they’ll knock it out, and you have to possess it through the end zone.

So he did a couple things there that were pretty impressive.

Q. Are guys doing things this year that they weren’t doing much of last year?
DAVID BEATY: Absolutely. That’s just some of the things that are starting to show up from a fundamental standpoint really just the way in which our guys on special teams were ready for play. We pulled up a clip yesterday on punt return and we were able to just really use one of the first clip as ready for play. How do you look? What does your demeanor look like when you’re ready for play? And their pad level, just the things that they were doing really in all phases of the game gave them a good chance.

It’s like we talked about the other day, a great start makes for a great finish, and we put a lot of emphasis on stance and start. Really seeing our guys play with better pad level. Striking low to high. Keeping their strength really where it should be, which is inside out with their elbows and being able to create a good, strong base. There were some good carry over, and those are things that you like to see.

Q. Looking at Ohio defensively, what do you see from them on film?
DAVID BEATY: Talented football team. They’ve returned a lot of really good players up front. Their front is going to be a challenge. Their front and their linebackers have a lot of experience. Their front is nasty. They don’t have as much experience in the back end. I know they gave up quite a few passes last week and a few explosives and I know Coach (Solich) wasn’t very happy about that.

But there are young players back there and I know they’re going to get better. A lot of guys make their best jump from week one to week two, and that’s all of us throughout the country. Just knowing Coach Solich and what a great coach he is, we better be ready to go because they definitely won’t make the same mistakes they made last week.

But their front is talented. I’ve enjoyed watching those guys play just because we need to be like them in terms of how much pressure they can create with four rushers. They do a really nice job there. You know, they’re going to play what they play. They’re going to lineup sound and they’re not going to beat themselves. You’re going to have to beat them. You’re going to have to beat them.

They are a very sound football team which is exactly what you expect from Coach Solich, very disciplined. Even the young guys, they don’t really look like young guys to me. To me when you get your program built, and I think one of the most interesting things I’ve read about this group that I didn’t really know about is the head coach, the offensive coordinator and the defensive coordinator have been there 12 years. You just don’t see that stability in our game anymore. I think that speaks volumes to Coach Solich and what he’s done there and that program.

When you’re able to do that, young players play a lot better a lot quicker because the stability has been there.

Q. You mentioned Coach Solich is one your coaching idols, why is that and how far do you go back?
DAVID BEATY: Well, I really don’t go back with him myself personally. This will be the first time I’ve ever really gotten to spend any time with him personally. But he’s just one of the guys that have done it the right way everywhere he’s been. He’s a class guy. The thing that you always see from his football teams is you just see class. You see a picture of integrity, on and off the field.

He’s been doing it for a long, long time. You can’t maintain a staff that long without having something about you that allows that to happen. There is no doubt why he’s been able to do it, just because of his steady nature that he has.

So I’m looking forward to coaching against him, just really the main thing for me is he’s such a man of character and his teams are always sound. They lineup right. You’re going to have to beat them. They’re not going to beat themselves.

Q. Has this Monday and Tuesday felt different than all the Mondays and Tuesdays before?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, it has. Obviously, there is some momentum coming off of that. Lot more smiles walking in that building and a lot more hop in their step so to speak when we got to the practice field yesterday which was good to see.

I thought the thing I really felt good about was how they lifted yesterday morning, and that was the first we’d seen them since the game. You’re always kind of worried about how they’re going to respond, but, man, they did a really good job. Coach Jackson was pleased with them, I was pleased with them, and we carried that over to the field.

I thought the practice was spirited. I thought the energy was really good, and I thought their attention from week one to week two with the scouting report that we were putting together for this team was really good. I think it’s motivated them and driving those guys. So they like the taste and so do we. So we’re going to keep working to try to earn another one.

Q. Did you see anything on tape from Saturday’s game that maybe you didn’t see during the game that surprised you?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, there were a couple things that stuck out to me. We talk a lot around here about doing dirty work, and dirty work is the non-glorifying stuff that doesn’t stand out throughout the week, and a couple of things that stood out to me was the play of our offensive line. You really want to see improvement from year to year with those guys.

They did some really good things the other day. I thought their pad level was good, I thought their hand placement was good. Just technically they were way, way more — they were way past what they were last year. So that’s good to see. But guys like Chase Harrell. Chase Harrell and what he did in the blocking game out wide, man, he did some dirty work. And that’s not the work that most people want to do, but it needs to be done on championship ballclubs and that stuff starts to show up. Our guys blocking on the perimeter and the nice blocks to create explosive runs, you can’t get explosive runs without perimeter blocking. And our guys took pride in that, and Chase had a couple of knockdowns that were pretty impressive. I even sent him to Mike Evans because he reminds me of Mike Evans. And Mike was like, yeah, that’s how we do it. That’s how we do it.

Chase is a big, strong guy, and he had a couple of impressive blocks that really stood out to me.

Q. Coach, Michael Zunica has been around forever, nobody really talks about him, he doesn’t have a position, but he’s out there getting reps, making plays, coming from Columbia, which is probably not a hot bed for recruiting. Could you talk about his history?
DAVID BEATY: He’s a coach’s son, and if you met his dad, he’s a great guy, but he’s a baseball coach. He’s been around that football game his whole life. And Mike is a guy that’s very, very intelligent that can do a lot of things for us. Particularly in that hybrid position where he’s playing where he can attach at the tight end spot, he can be in the back field, we can move him around. He’s very intelligent, which helps him with regard to being able to do multiple things and that’s good. He’s actually a little quicker than you think, which has been good for us.

Mike’s one of those guys that earned a scholarship here. He didn’t come here on scholarship. He has given us value for that, which is what you want. That’s what you hope for. But a great story because he’s a guy I don’t think many people thought would be playing very much for us. He had a really nice explosive for us on a little naked boot the other day that was really good.

So hopefully we can keep him well and he’s a little banged up from the game Saturday, but I think he’s going to be fine going into this week. But he’s been a nice surprise for us. You talk about other guys that surprise us, Kyle Mayberry, that guy played a lot for us last week as a true freshman. Really playing in a press corner position, which is very difficult for a true freshman.

I looked up out there and Bryce Torneden is playing, Mike Lee is playing. You’re seeing a bunch of freshmen out there. Isaiah Bean is playing at key times coming off the edge, rushing the passer. He learned some good stuff on Saturday about how to get away from holds and things like that, because he was being held, and you’re going to get a hold when he’s fast, and he was fast.

It’s good to see those young guys. (Hakeem) Adeniji, the freshmen who started his first game. Hakeem is a very talented young guy, very pleased with what he’s been doing. It’s no surprise he’s from Garland, Texas as a result.

Q. Did you anticipate playing as many true freshmen as you did Saturday?
DAVID BEATY: Probably not that many to be honest with you. We knew there were going to be a few that had to help us early. We knew Isaiah Bean was going to help us early. We knew Adeniji was going to help us early. We knew Khalil Herbert was going to start the game earlier in the week. We didn’t say anything, but we knew he was going to start the game. We knew he was going to help us.

There were a few others that we thought were going to help us, but their week of practice went downhill so they didn’t help us at all. So it was a great lesson for a bunch of guys that had opportunities to play Saturday but they didn’t get to play because the week started getting a little bit tough for them. So I think they learned hard lessons because you go through that camp and the grind and things start getting tough on you. And instead of fighting through, you got to wind up getting what you earn.

And there were a couple of really good football players that didn’t get to play Saturday that we need them to earn that opportunity here as we go because they’re good enough to play for us. But most of those guys did a really good job.

Q. Tyler Patrick seemed to have a couple nice blocks on the perimeter. Maybe does not have the look of the prototypical receiver, can you talk about him?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, he’s another guy that had five catches or something like that throughout the game. He’s another dirty work guy. He does a lot of the dirty work under cover. You don’t see it in front of there, but he’s blocking on the perimeter, he’s doing a good job of creating all those long screens that go for distance, because he’s doing a good job of blocking those corners and kicking them out. And then you don’t think about him very much, but he’s collecting two or three passes here and there. And sometimes guys roles like that grow a lot more than people think. You look up and the guy’s got 40 catches after five games.

So from his standpoint, there is not a lot made of him, obviously, but the thing about him is he is reliable. He was reliable last year, he’s like Tyler, he’s going to make you play him. You’re going to try to replace him, and he’s going to find a way back on the field because he knows what he’s doing and you can count on him. We were happy with what he did last week, and we think he’s got even more in him.

Q. You talked about expecting to win. Was that a culture that was here when you first came as a wide receiver coach? And second part, is really the easiest way to do that is just continue winning?
DAVID BEATY: That culture was definitely here when I got here. They had just won an Orange Bowl when I walked in the door. So it was absolutely here. The thing that was the coolest about that was what Coach (Mark Mangino) had developed here was a tough mindset, and winning was the byproduct of that. Our guys are becoming tougher.

I said this before, you know, old habits, bad habits are hard to break, but good habits are hard to break too. There is a lot of that toughness from Coach’s regime that is still around here. Not as much as there was, but we’re trying to get that back. But it was really cool to see, and I came back here — this is my second stint to be back from being here with Coach. There’s a lot of the things that even though there’s been a change of regime, it’s been interesting to see some of the toughness that remains here from the foundation that Coach Mangino and his staff were able to lay in place.

So, we felt like winning was going to be a byproduct of us being the toughest team on the field. We’re adding to that our niche, which is also being the smartest team.

Q. You talked about going the dirty work — I was just wondering about that, receiver and O-line are those two of the most likely positions where that kind of stuff shows up?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, you think that, but everybody has dirty work to do. Like for a quarterback, we talk to them when we grade them about their fakes after they hand the football off. We grade them on that. That’s dirty work. Guys don’t want to do that, but that’s holding the back side defensive end. It’s holding the back side, outside linebacker, and all you need — this game is such a game of inches, if you can create six inches, it might be the difference in a touchdown or first down. So we talked about that.

One of the big places we’re talking about dirty work with our football team right now is our defensive line. Allowing our linebackers to run and make plays. Man, that’s not the most glorifying thing. TFLs is glorifying for a defensive lineman. But there are going to be times where we need you to play a great role and do some dirty work and make sure that that guard and that center can’t come off because they can’t handle you. They can’t pass you off, so that’s another area we’ve been talking about.

Body blows and our receivers. Putting body blows on those dad-gum corners and safeties because body blows add up. You don’t feel them in the first quarter, but in the fourth quarter, they start dropping those hands and, man, we’ve got them. So the focus starts from the beginning.

Dirty work allows you to knock a guy out in the fourth quarter. If you’re not doing it in the first quarter, it’s not going to show up. But you’ve got to start with being able to do the things that do not glorify. And our receivers will take more pride in the blocking aspect than they will the pass catching aspect. That’s what they came here to do. We’ve got to make them a complete player.

Q. You played three quarterbacks—and each threw a touchdown pass, which was the first time in KU history three QBs did that in a game–did that position go about as well as expected overall through week one?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, I think it did. I didn’t know that was the first time ever in a game. I was proud of those guys and the thing that they did well was they played the game the way it was supposed to be played. They didn’t do anything extraordinary. All they did is play by the rules. That’s why I love the offense that we run. I believe in it, I believe in it. The thing that I saw is their eyes when they came to the sideline when they said, hey, man, the thing coach is telling me is right. I’ve got the answers to the test. And they pushed us so hard. They told us it was going to be easier in the game. And that’s what Montell (Cozart) said, and he was like, coach, man you were right it slowed down for me out there.

And it was good to see that for Montell, for Ryan (Willis). I said it about Carter (Stanley). Carter’s a talented guy now. He can do a lot of things. He didn’t get a lot of reps the other night, but he’s not going to lay down. We’ve got some good options.

Q. You obviously rotated a lot of guys, but offensive line you kind of kept intact for a good portion of that game. How important is it for you to have that group together and play together?
DAVID BEATY: Very important. However, we played ten guys on the offensive line the other night, which is more than I’ve ever played, and we didn’t play them by necessity, we played them because we were able to do that. We actually had a very difficult game because they didn’t show up in anything we saw on tape. We worked the whole week, which is what happens in this offense a lot. We worked the whole week on four down and they showed up in three down from the word go and they brought things from all over the place.

And man, our guys did a really nice job of adjusting to it on the road. Adeniji, the freshman Hakeem, he played right tackle and left tackle in the game. (Jacob) Bragg played center and guard. Those guys were able to move around, and that was a good opportunity for us to see how they were going to handle playing different positions.

So we’d like to keep those guys in there, but we need to see what type of combination we can come up with because the Big 12 is a tough conference, and it’s hard to keep them healthy. So it was good to be able to move guys around.

Q. You talked about what you liked from last week, but what do you think your team has to improve on before Saturday?
DAVID BEATY: That is a very, very good question. We had a lot of things that were really good. But there was a lot of great stuff to go to school on. First and foremost, we are around the top of our conference in all the major penalty categories, which is a huge, huge goal for us.

However, the penalties that we took are inexcusable, and that’s not just on the players; that’s on us as coaches. A couple things that happened throughout that game, man, those are things if they don’t bother you, there’s got to be something wrong with you. And it’s been a hard couple days around here for myself, our staff and our players because those things were definitely preventable.

It doesn’t have to happen. Just because it’s the first game doesn’t mean it has to be dirty. We knew that going into it. So we had plans in place to make sure that everything was taken care of. And like I said the other night, most of those plans worked. However, when you lose your focus for just a second, that’s when problems happen, and we learned a lot about staying focused. Staying focused. And that’s something that we’re going to be able to get better at.

The other thing is straining through the echo of the whistle and understanding that a loaf is not just jogging. That’s not a loaf to us. A loaf is not finishing between the ball carrier and your defender as a receiver on a blocking play. If not, you’ve got to loaf and there is hyper accountability to them.

So there is another level we’re going to have to go to if we’re going to continue to be able to experience those Mondays and Tuesdays that we talked about. Because those things are pretty fun, but they don’t come free, and you’ve got to earn them and they’re only going to get tougher from here starting Saturday with Ohio.

So we’re looking forward to the opportunity. I didn’t get to talk much about it. But they’ve got a good offensive unit. They’ve got a good quarterback. He’s a fifth-year senior. He hasn’t played a whole, whole lot, but he’s very athletic. We’ve got our hands full.

They did have one of their better running backs get banged up. I’m not sure if he’s going to play or not. We’ve got another kid, the Papi White kid, number four who is as explosive as all get out. He’s a guy that can play in this conference and be really good. We’ll have to know where he’s headed all the time. I light their tight end. I think he’s a talented guy. He does a lot of things. We’ve got to know where he is. Their center is a dirty dude, not a dirty player, he is a good player. He really is. And they’ve got a veteran group up front: Two seniors, two juniors and a sophomore.

They’re going to be good offensively. We’ll have our work cut out for us. Finally, you don’t talk about it, but that hidden third man. They’re pretty good in that third. They’re pretty good. The kicker was the special teams player of the week for their conference this week.

So we’re going to have to really do well to be able to be where we want to be this week. Because Coach Solich’s teams don’t beat themselves. We’ll have to be getting busy trying to beat them. And it’s going to be a great opportunity to see where we’re at this weekend. So looking forward to seeing you all out there. Appreciate it.

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