Beaty talks upcoming bout with TCU


The Kansas defense ranks third in the country with 9.8 tackles-for-loss per game, totaling 39 through the first four contests. 

vs. TCU
October 8, 2016 

Location Lawrence, Kan.
Venue Memorial Stadium
Time 11 a.m.
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Notes Game Notes


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Snapchat @ku_footballLAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas head football coach David Beaty met with the media Tuesday afternoon in Mrkonic Auditorium inside the Anderson Family Football Complex to discuss the Jayhawks’ Big 12 home opener Saturday, October 8 against TCU.

Just to get started our thoughts and prayers are going out to those folks at Shawnee Mission West today, this being the third anniversary of us losing Andre Maloney over there and that family, and Joe Dineen continues to wear No. 29 in his honor. So we are thinking about those guys. I know Katy has got a pretty good tie to that school over there, so we are thinking about them today.

A couple injury updates. We think we are getting a lot of these guys back that were injured Saturday. Dorance (Armstrong) looks really well. He looks really good. And Daniel Wise looks like he’s going to be okay, too. Hopefully we’ll have both of those guys available. We’ll have to wait a little bit longer to see on Daniel, but he looks like he’s going to be okay. He’s been working hard at getting right.

One new note injury-wise, we do take concussions very seriously around here. Our medical staff does a tremendous job with them. Murphy Grant, Doc (Larry) McGee, the whole team does a good job with them.

And Jordan Shelley-Smith is no longer going to play because of a series of concussions that he’s had over his career. And it was a very emotional day for him last week when he announced that to our team. But he’s still a very big part of what we do and he’s done a lot for this university and for us, and man, he’s just a great kid and I’m really happy that he’s going to have a really good life moving forward.

We want to make sure that our guys are taken care of around here, and man, they get the care that’s second to none. He will no longer be with us. Obviously we’ll miss him on the field but we are very happy for him and his life moving forward.

Just talking a little bit about TCU, as you guys know, they are a very well-coached football team. Got a ton of respect for Gary Patterson and what he’s done with that program. He’s got a great staff over there. Sonny Cumbie is a dear friend of mine. Doug Meacham, dear friend of mine. Rusty Burns, dear friend of mine. Those guys are really good football coaches. And they have done a really good job over there.

Chad Glasgow who also coaches on that defensive side of the ball, man, just some really good coaches that he’s got a long with just his leadership. He’s done a really nice job over there.

Our goals are not going to change. It’s to be 1-0 this week. It’s the most important game we play because it’s the next one. And our kids, man, I’m proud of them, because they had a great focus coming into practice yesterday. I thought they did a nice job.

Just a couple things about TCU that stick out to me. Obviously every year you think about defense, when you think about TCU. He’s really done a nice job with those guys over there again this year. I think they got a couple defensive linemen that are really talented. Those defensive ends are really good.

I like those guys, the (Josh) Carraway guy I think has a chance to be really special. And the (James) McFarland guy is a guy that’s very, very productive. Those guys are a handful for sure. Particularly in the way that he plays them.

I like his linebackers. I think they are really good Big 12 linebackers. They do a really nice job of what he wants them to do. They got a really good nickel. I like that Denzel Johnson kid. I think that guy does — he makes a lot go back in the back end for them. He does some good things.

He’s got a lot of local talent there that I know well because of recruiting. Niko Small is a guy that’s playing that I know really, really well that’s been making a lot of plays for them. And he’s not a big guy, but he makes a big impact.

(Ranthony) Texada is another local guy from there that we know really well. Both those guys are playing well for those guys.

And then they have a host of corners that they use that have talented. So it will be a challenge against those guys. They have created 16 sacks this year. I think that’s good enough for, I want to say third in the league or second in the league, and 22nd nationally.

So they have been able to get pressure and they are not a real high-pressure team, but they can get to you with four because those ends are good. It’s going to be a challenge.

Offensively, very dynamic, led by a guy that I know really, really well, Kenny Hill. Had the pleasure of recruiting him when I was at A&M; what a great family and great kid. So happy for Kenny. I think he’s right there at one or two in just about every statistical category offensively and in our conference and that’s no surprise to me. Very dynamic guy, can do a lot to extend plays with his legs. He is a handful. Know him well. Know the things that he does well, and he’s had a lot of success.

They play a ton of guys on offense. They play ten different receivers. They keep those dudes fresh, and if you look at that Arkansas game, man, at the end of that game, there was a difference in the freshness of their guys, and really, Arkansas’s defensive backs, who played just about every snap. When they are playing 75, 80 snaps a game, man, that makes a big difference. And they are ten deep and they are good. I mean, they are really good. They have great depth there right now.

Some really good players they have, the KaVontae Turpin kid was injured last week. I’m not sure if he’s going to play, but he’s a handful. Not very big, but man, he is explosive and dynamic. That Des (Desmon) White kid is a guy that’s picked up his work and he’s done a great job. He’s every bit as explosive.

Those two guys make their return teams go and they are very dynamic. They lead the Big 12 in punt returns, Turpin went down and Des stepped right in and that dude is a talented guy. I watched him play at DeSoto High School, and he is a guy that is not very big. He is not big. But man, he can play. This dude can really play. And man, he’s had great success for them. He did a great job in the return game last week and he does a good job in the receiving part of the game for them, as well.

They have got some real weapons over there. I think the best player that I’ve seen on their team is the Kyle Hicks guy. That guy is really talented. In my opinion, he’s one of the best players in the conference. He is really talented. That guy is a problem. He can do a lot of things. He can line up in the backfield obviously and run the football, but man, he lines out wide and he looks like a wide receiver when he comes off the ball.

I mean, he can break you down and he can run routes, and that’s not normal for a guy that just lines up at running back. Obviously y’all knew that, recruiting him back in the day but man he’s really developed into a nice player for those guys, so a lot of talent.

Really good in the kicking game. Dan Sharp does a great job, you’d better be on your P’s and Q’s. It’s going to be a nice battle seeing him and Joe DeForest battle again. They have done it for years, years and years, and I’m looking forward to seeing that as we move forward.

I know you guys have a bunch of questions, so let’s get started with exactly what it is you want to know.

But before we get there, we have got some great guests coming in this weekend that we are going to honor, the great Pepper Rodgers is going to be back. He’ll speak to our team Friday, excited as all get out to get here and talk to our team, Terry Donohue you guys know the history of those guys and then Sandy Buda is coming back, as well. So they will be here this weekend, and we are excited to honor those guys in the right way here on Saturday against TCU, so take it away.

Q. What went into the decision with Ryan (Willis) this week at quarterback?
COACH BEATY: You know, we are always, always, evaluating all of our players, and that position is no different. One of the things that we do each week is we sit down and we evaluate each individual position, quarterback not being the exception.

And as we look four games into the books, you start getting a picture of what the games are bringing, as well. Not just practice, but games, as well.

And you know, the thing that we have noticed and we have seen with this guy is he is really done a good job of progressing with his knowledge of what we are doing offensively but really with what defenses are doing to him which is the key — you have to know what they are doing better than they do.

Him really progressing and he’s done a nice job of studying and the thing I love about that guy is he listens and he tries to pay attention to what you’re saying and he’ll try to apply and it’s important to him. His efficiency has been a little bit better than Montell’s (Cozart) the last couple of weeks. And really, when he’s in there as of late, he’s done some things that we haven’t seen him do up until that point.

So they all are going to prepare like they are the starter. Ryan will go out there as the starter this week. He knows that he has to prepare well this week, though, and I thought all those guys practiced well, all three of them, including Carter (Stanley), really practice well yesterday.

Q. Are you hopeful this is a full-game commitment; that he can handle all four quarters for you?
COACH BEATY: It would be nice. It would be nice, absolutely. We would love to be able to have just one guy playing the entire time. But the thing you’ve got to do is prepare all those guys like they are the starter. You have to prepare every one of them like it’s their show and they have done that, they really have. They have done that. They have been able to kind of drown out the noise, so to speak, and listen to what we are telling them and continue moving forward. So I’m proud of the guys for that.

Q. TCU is tied for best record overall and in conference the last three years put together, yet Kansas tends to be more competitive against TCU than a lot of teams in the conference. Do you use that to make your team more confident going into the game?
COACH BEATY: Well, I think it can when you’re talking about trends, I think it can. But the thing our team understands and knows, it doesn’t matter what the past held. It matters what you do on that day, it really does.

Coming off last year and the year before, I think that that serves them with some motivation, as well. You know, coming in as one of the better teams in the conference over the last two seasons, and you know, us being right there, really, on a couple different occasions, I think that’s something that can drive them, as well.

I think it’s an advantage for both sides to kind of know where that game can go. You know, it’s going to be a chore, there’s no doubt about it. But for us, we are preparing and we expect to win the game. Expect to win the game.

I like the way that they structure and it’s always been a fun, competitive game.

Q. You mentioned that you hope that, what scenario would have to present itself for you to put Cozart in?
COACH BEATY: Yeah, the best way for me to answer that question y’all, is I need to make sure that I give our team every competitive advantage that I can. And in order to do that, you know, what I’ve told you is what I can tell you.

We have to get to the game and then we’ll go from there. We’re going to prepare all those guys to play the entire game. We never have prepared a guy to play a couple series. We prepare them to play entire game.

Q. You’ve been reluctant to name a starter, sort of with that in mind, why the change this week in that regard?
COACH BEATY: I figured you would ask that, that’s a good question, Matt. At this point in our season, given the variables and the circumstances that exist today, I felt like it was best for our team.

I felt like it was best for Ryan and our team overall just to get out in front of this and move forward and really kind of give our guys the confidence that they need moving forward today to know where we were headed with the start of the game.

Q. Is one of the competitive advantages — to keep guessing whether they prepare with Cozart or —
COACH BEATY: I think it’s very obvious they are two different quarterbacks in terms of what they can do with their legs I guess, so to speak. I think that would possibly be a competitive advantage. And I certainly do think it would be, but as far as talking about that much more, I’d rather not. I want to keep as many advantages as we can.

Q. How confident are you with the defense the way they played in the middle quarters of the Texas Tech game last week?
COACH BEATY: I’m very comfortable with the way they did in the middle quarters. We’ve got to be better at the beginning of the game. We have to start better in all three areas, we really do.

We have to start better offensively, defensively and special teams, and you know, it’s — we’ve got to be — we’re not good enough individually to win the game. We’re not good enough defensively to win the game. We’re not good enough offensively to win the game.

We’re pretty good special teams-wise but we are not good enough there to win the game. We have to be a collective football team. We have to be able to play collectively and I know it’s cliché-ish but we have to play football in which we complement each other and we have got to get off to a better start.

For the last three games, we’ve gotten ourselves in such a hole so quick, that it changes things on both sides of the ball. But hey, it is what you deal with, but the way you fix that is you get off to faster starts. And we were not able to do that Saturday — excuse me, Thursday. But we need to get off to better starts, and we’re putting lots of time and effort into trying to get that done.

Q. In baseball, pitchers have rough first innings, and warm up more, warm up less, even get superstitious. Is there anything in the pregame routine, just for the sake of change, listen to different music or whatever?
COACH BEATY: Listen, I’m willing to do anything. Whatever it is that will work, I’ll willing to. I’m open. I don’t have an ego when it comes to that.

We’re going to continue to work and keep kind of shuffling the deck, so to speak, until we find the answers that we need to.

I think the big thing for us is we go back and look at it, it really comes back to accurate execution. It’s not necessarily what the team is doing to us; it’s about ten guys doing it right. But man, that ball always finds that 11th guy.

So 99 percent correct is not — that’s not good enough. It’s not good enough. But because the ball always finds that one percent. It always finds that one percent.

So we have to do a good job of everybody going in the right direction and fitting in the right spots and executing correctly. That’s the name of the game is execution. I can handle it, and I talked to our team about it all the time; I can handle it, if we go the right way, everybody uses the proper technique, everybody fits properly and they just — they physically beat us. I can deal with that. I can deal with that.

We’ll work on trying to get you bigger, stronger and faster and get that fixed. The thing that is hard to deal with is us not executing all those things, and the teams that do that, they are enjoying success. There’s very few of them that are getting away with it when they are having issues where they are not executing correctly. So we have to be better as coaches to get them to execute correctly, and as players, they have to individually execute their role and not try to do too much.

Q. Is it a different 11th guy each time? Do you look at that and see —
COACH BEATY: It’s not always the same guy. And that’s the thing that makes it difficult is trying to fix something that’s not broken till it shows up is very difficult. However, that’s what we are trained to do as coaches is to kind of forecast down the road and see.

You know, sometimes it’s a guy trying to do too much to make up for something he doesn’t need to make up for. There’s that element of making sure that you focus on your job at hand right there to get it done.

If we do that, and you look at the plays where we do that, we’re successful. We’re efficient. We are either four yards or less on defense — excuse me, three yard or less on defense and we’re or four yards or more on offense.

When we actually are doing what we’re actually asking those guys to do, we’re not bad. We’re not bad. The problem is they are sporadic right now. Let’s try to bring them together and see if we can get this thing moving.

Q. Going back to Jordan, how is the approach to concussions changed since you were a playing and starting out as a coach?
COACH BEATY: Since I was a player, it’s changed a lot. We just called them cobwebs back in the day, which is crazy. And it really should — it should. These kids’s health, not only for today, but down the road, is so important. That’s somebody’s family treasure and that’s their one life. That’s their one life. That’s it. That’s all they get.

And we have seen all of the examples of men that are walking around right now that suffered from these types of injuries and we didn’t have the technology or we didn’t have the study available to tell us how dangerous it really was.

So we have to be so smart, because these are these individuals’ one life that we are talking about. And you know what, this is a big industry. Football is a big industry. You know, there’s a lot of things going on that would make you want to have a player out there regardless. But the truth of the matter is, not one of them is worth it. It’s not worth it. That’s somebody’s family treasure. That’s not worth it. Think about it being yours. Not worth it.

And you know what, he gave a lot to our program, loved that guy to death. I mean, he gave it more opportunities than really anybody I’ve ever seen trying to get back and get healthy.

Really the only other one maybe was Ryan Swope might be the other one I dealt with that was close and his career ended on a non-contact rep in Arizona Cardinals camp. I mean, that’s how bad those things can get. They can get so bad that you don’t even need contact at times.

So just crazy deal that we have to be mindful of that these are these kids’ lives. It’s not just Saturday; it’s their lives that they are dealing with.

Q. Do you think the game, the way it’s played, lends itself to more violent concussions and maybe the training that these kids go through, bigger, faster, stronger, all that?
COACH BEATY: I do know that the kids are bigger, faster and stronger. When I was coming up, 4:6 was blazing fast, and now I mean, 4:6, it can hardly get you looked at. That was really fast.

Kids are bigger, they are stronger, and we are spread out a lot more. There weren’t a lot — I mean, was in a three-point stance at first year at high school as a receiver, a three-point stance. I look back at that and go, wow. I mean, these guys are so spread out.

So the space that they are traveling with these big bodies is a lot further. Even though it looks like they are five to seven yards, they used to travel two to three yards. And the momentum, the physics, just doesn’t add up.

Q. How different is Hill now versus when you saw him as a freshman?
COACH BEATY: He looks very similar. He looks very, very similar. He looks like he’s more comfortable with the offense now, which you would expect after being in it, this is going on, his fourth year now, to be around the air raid. And as they get around it, they get better. Just like anything else, you get to go through it by experience.

So he’s throwing the ball really well. He’s doing some really nice things in particular areas of the field and he can run. The dude can run with the ball. He can extend plays with his feet, and he’s got enough flexibility in his body that he can do a lot of what Mahomes did. He reminds me a lot of Pat.

Q. How has this extra time helped with the overall health of the team?
COACH BEATY: It’s helped a lot. I mean, I walk in today and we had our staff meeting this morning, and when we’re talking about the guys that are definitely, definitely out today and the ones that were possibly questionable today, I mean, there was very few guys on there. And as we come off of the game, there was a good laundry list.

So our staff does as good a job as anybody in the country. Murphy Grant, dude is a stud. I mean, absolute stud. He and his staff do a tremendous job. Getting those guys back well, just the extra 72 hours we are getting out of this deal, is huge, 48 hours, whatever it may be. To be able to get guys like Dorance and guys like Wise back, possibly Marcquis Roberts, some of those guys that were banged up a little bit, it gives them some time.

Forty-eight hours is a long time when you’re talking about soft tissue stuff.

Q. Does (Joe) Dineen have a chance?
COACH BEATY: I don’t know. That’s a good question. I’m not sure if he has a chance or not. He’s out there moving around. He is way ahead of schedule, I’ll tell you that. I don’t know for sure today that he’ll be able to. He’ll be a game-time decision.

Q. Stevens Sims, what’s he doing right so far? What’s allowed him to be so successful and be a target?
COACH BEATY: You know, he is. He’s having a great year. Besides Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe a few years back who had seven and eight touchdowns in a season, he’s got the best start to a season that I know we’ve had in recent years.

Yesterday we talked to him about his success and it’s because he practices hard every single play. He looks so fast out there to us right now. But he plays like that in practice every day. It’s amazing how when you do that, it carries over to the field. He’s really done a nice job. He had a great summer, great spring and he’s bought into what we’re doing. He’s a talented guy.

Q. Offensive line for you guys, where are you at right now?
COACH BEATY: It’s a long season. We’re in one of those periods where there’s not a single guy playing healthy. Just the way it is, all throughout the country.

But for this point, we’re in actually pretty good shape. You know, it was a blow to lose Jordan because Jordan is a good player. He came back and played one game for us against Memphis, and he played really well in that game. He played really well in his game.

In that game, the guy that had the pick six in that game, he was in that spot because Jordan stoned him. And he just turned around, the ball hit him in the face. I mean, Jordan did a great job in that game.

So that is a blow, but other guys are stepping up and starting to help us a little bit. We’ve got to get a steady, consistent lineup there and keep it. We haven’t had the same lineup two times in a game since we’ve been here but maybe one time.

So you know, some of that’s injury. Some of it is just proficiency and making sure that the competition is there and next guy up. So we’ll see.

Q. Any concern about the running game or lack of running production at this point?
COACH BEATY: You’ve got to be able to run the football in college football. So as far as being concerned, not really. And because I know we’re capable to run the football — I think a faster start will help that, you know. That will help that. It’s not going to be the cure of it, but it will help it. When you start off in a situation that’s a little bit more conducive for it, it helps it a little bit.

We’ve got to be more consistent up front, which will help those guys behind them be more consistent with their aiming points, their pass, because all that stuff is important. It’s not just turnaround and hand the ball off to a dude and take off running. There’s a lot more to it. That’s a way that first step has to work and how those guys are working up front and synchronization is so important for how that hole opens up and where their entry points are. That stuff’s important.

We can run the football effectively, I really believe that. We just, I think we’ve got to start faster and we’ve got to be more effective with what we’re doing schematically up front, because the plays, they are there. It’s not the calls. It’s not what we’re calling. We’ve got to execute better. We’ve got to execute better. The stuff is there. We’re one man away, one-half a man away on a lot of things and if we can get that cleared away, then our running game will get better.

Q. By the time you stand up on Saturday, it will be nearly a full calendar month since you’ve played at home. Does it seem like it’s been eons?
COACH BEATY: You know what, I didn’t even think about that. But you’re right. It has been awhile. Golly, I didn’t — I can’t believe I didn’t think about that.

But we have been gone for a while. It’s going to be great to be right back here at home. I did not realize it was that — it flies. The season flies for us. But it has been awhile.

So we’re excited to get back home in front of our fans. It’s going to be a great game. It’s going to be a great opportunity for us. We like playing against TCU. I mean, and I think they like playing against us. It’s always been a good game. It’s been fun. And you know, once again, I always tell you, I respect Gary Patterson so much. It’s always good to go against his teams.

Q. Have you ever been involved with a team that gets off to such bad starts? It’s three weeks in a row, and have you seen a turnaround, if you have?
COACH BEATY: I have. I’ve been a part of a couple teams where we struggled early in games. Some of it’s figuring out what guys are doing. If you’re in a spread league where guys take advantage of space, early in the game, it’s not unusual for guys to kind of scheme a little bit and create some space and be able to get off to a fast start.

And we played in that same league when I was in Rice. Everybody was spread. Early on, you might trail by a couple touchdowns until your defense kind of figures out what their plan is and they kind of lock it down. Then you go from there.

But it’s been awhile. But in this league, you’ve got to be able to adjust. You know, Gary and those guys last week, they were completely out of that game, and next thing you know, they get close to winning it. I mean, you have to keep playing in this league. You have to keep playing in this league, because these guys can score on a moment’s notice.

You know, what we do offensively, I mean, if you look back to the Ohio game in the third quarter, those things happen pretty fast, if you can get everything executed right, you can get the ball in the end zone pretty quick. You’ve got to keep playing, regardless of what the score is.

Q. With that in mind, is there anything you saw from the film against Oklahoma that you can use to help against TCU this week?
COACH BEATY: They did a lot of things — obviously every team has their way of attacking people. But we’ll take a little bit from each video that we saw in terms of what we’re going to school on, and how we can schematically help ourselves a little bit. Everybody has — they have some things on their offense and defense that are kind of Achilles heels, but the thing about that, they know what those heels are and they plan for those. The challenge is for us to know those, take advantage of them, but our guy has to go execute it to take advantage of that, so we have to do a better job of doing that across the board.

All right, thanks a lot, y’all. We’ll see y’all Saturday.

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