Beaty talks to media at spring football presser
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas football head coach David Beaty spoke with the media on Wednesday about the team’s progress up to this point of the KU spring football slate.
A video of the press conference can be seen on the Kansas Football Facebook Page and a transcript is below.
DAVID BEATY: I know we made an announcement earlier this week about changing the format of our spring game. Let me kind of give you a little explanation, and really for our fans more than anything, because we really like playing the game. I think it’s valuable for our players, and it’s valuable for our fans to be able to see it. Just we’re down to eight available offensive linemen right now.
We’ll be okay when the fall gets here. We’ll be back to a full complement, but we’ve got four guys out for the spring with surgeries already, and then you’ve got guys like (Jacob) Bragg and (Hunter) Saulsbury, (Andru) Tovi, (Antione) Frazier, Nick Williams. Those dudes are demonstrating the toughness that we want, but they’re battling through spring. So we have about eight guys to get us through, and it’s difficult to play a game when you’re there. And we still have five practices left to go.
So we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do to make sure that we’re smart, but we can still get a lot done on that Saturday. So that gives you a little bit of an idea of why we did what we did there. And we’re still going to get a lot out of that day, which is important for our guys. But let’s take some questions.
Q. What was the general reaction from your guys? I’m sure the spring game is generally something they look forward to being able to play.
DAVID BEATY: Right. Those guys, I think we have a little bit more veteran team right now. I think the best way is it really wasn’t a blip on their radar. I didn’t really see much out of them other than knowing that we’re trying to focus on getting better as football players in all facets, so it really didn’t seem like it was a big deal to those guys. Those guys want to win. They want to win in the fall. There’s not going to be a true winner on that spring game. So we want to win the fall.
Q. Where do you think the offensive line is right now? And do you think they’ll be okay in the fall?
DAVID BEATY: Right, well, one of the things that I am very pleased of is we’ve used some very creative practice methods this spring. Just because we’ve had four guys have surgery doesn’t mean they haven’t been going through practice. We’ve been very creative how we’ve approached that.
But those guys are still getting quite a few reps. Now they’re not getting a ton of really physical reps, but they’re getting reps. So they’re getting work under Coach Ricker’s philosophies. Then just watching those guys understand the change in philosophy of what we’re trying to get accomplished up front. I think he’s available to you guys today, so I’ll let him talk more about that.
But he does bring a level of toughness to that room, and I’ve seen the demeanor change, you know, in a big way for those guys. I think you can see the pride come out in them right now. So that’s good. Like I said, we’ve got four, five guys that, a lot of years I probably wouldn’t be practicing them right now, but they’ve been fighting their way through it and they won’t let me pull them out. They’re not ruled completely out, so it’s not like they’re going to hurt themselves worse.
But they’re demonstrating some toughness, and I think a lot of that credit goes to Coach Ricker.
Q. Other than the O-line, what position group are you maybe not concerned with, but really kind of find yourself going back to, looking for answers or just trying to figure out who is going to be able to compete and fill in those roles?
DAVID BEATY: I’m glad you asked that. You asked about what position group do you keep going back to looking at, where did you feel you really had to improve? I am most excited about the corners. I just keep coming back every week to the corner group. And we’ve got more of them, and we still have two more coming which is great.
We’ve got a lot more depth now than we’ve had before. But each week I see each one of those guys getting better. Shak (Shakial) Taylor speaks out to me this week. Corione Harris is getting better by the day at what we’re doing. He’s very athletic, but he’s becoming more of an efficient player because he’s learning what to do.
Hasan (Defense) has been around the ball more than anybody that we’ve had. I’m not sure I would have picked that, to be honest with you, but I would say he would be one of my top three or four choices of most improved players we’ve got coming in to this point.
Now, we’ve got a long way to go, but I’ve been very proud of him, very proud of him. His performance has really improved. There’s just a whole slew of them, a Kyle Mayberry is doing some things over there that I wasn’t quite sure that I would see him do. But he’s done a nice job. I think Coach Bowen has done a really good job with those guys.
Q. Is it realistic for a guy like Corione to start from day one? What would you need to see out of a freshman cornerback to have trust in him to start?
DAVID BEATY: Well, I think the best way to say this is we’re going to play the best one and that means holistically. Not just the fastest. Not because the guy was the fastest or he was the highest rated recruit. It’s the guy that shows you in practice that he can do it consistently time after time. And he’s doing it within our system. He’s not making up his own things and doing his own thing, because it all fits together like a puzzle.
So he has the potential, I think, athletic-wise to do that. But I think we’ve only had nine, ten practices, so it would be very premature for me to say that, particularly after I just talked about how that group has improved. I do think that maybe his presence has probably helped that, even though he’s a rookie, I think his presence has helped it because he’s a very competitive guy.
The thing that sticks out to me about Corione is he loves the game. He loves it. I mean, he walks through this building with a smile on his face all the time. I can’t tell if it’s just love or he cannot wait to lock you up at the line of scrimmage because he is just not going to let that happen. He is a competitive dude. I’ve enjoyed having that guy here.
He’s going back to New Orleans this weekend for his prom, his high school prom. High school problems.
Q. Do you put any pressure on yourself, at least in your mind, to kind of have the guys that will be the starters by the end of spring, or are you comfortable saying, hey, I’m going to hold off until we come back in the summer and start making those decisions?
DAVID BEATY: We don’t put any pressure on ourselves to do that. I’m going to go back to what I said a long time ago. In our business, the cream typically rises. There is a separation between one and two in a lot of different ways. It really does. Some of it is just because a guy — you can count on a guy more than the other. It may not just be athletic ability. It may be because you can count on him.
I look at the Patriots, Super Bowl champions. I’m not sure that everybody would say that would be on paper the most athletic team, but they can count on those guys. Now they’re all in the right spot. I know that head coach requires that. There is no doubt about that.
But from our standpoint, we would like to settle the starters as quickly as we can. But we can’t just force it, right? You can do that, and that’s perception. Like I said before, we don’t get to live in that. We’ve got to go by what we see as we go through the installations. We get to throw all the different concepts, and all the different things that come at you, how do you handle them, because you’re not going to just play against a small sample size.
It’s legal to do a lot of things, and you have to be able to defend it, and you have to work offense against them.
Q. Who has had a strong spring on the offense so far?
DAVID BEATY: I tell you what, I’d like to do this every week, if I can, as we finish up. We don’t have a whole lot left. But there are some guys that have really stuck out to me, and they deserve to be mentioned. Maybe one of the guys that is most well-respected on this team is Gabriel Rui. He has had a terrific spring. Now I know he is not an offensive football player, but he puts up a lot of numbers for us. He has had a terrific spring. He’s really done well. His confidence is pretty impressive for our kicker.
John Wirtel, another dude that’s changed his body. He’s almost 255, 260 pounds now. He’s got NFL caliber. He’s a talented guy. Having him back healthy has been good.
Miles Kendrick sticks out to me. His work ethic. He’s thrown 127 passes in the spring through team and 7-on-7, and he’s had two balls intercepted. That’s not bad. That’s good ball security. That means a guy’s prepared and he knows what he’s seeing.
Steven Sims sticks out to me again, just athletically. But just understanding how to become even more of a savvy route runner, he’s doing a nice job.
Evan Fairs, another guy that sticks out to me. I think he can be a really good player. I really think he can. We have high hopes for him.
Malik Clark playing left guard. He’s kind of been forced to take more reps than probably he would like. But I think back to him coming in. We were looking at him another day he was 350-something pounds, and he’s down to 325 or so. He looks good. He’s getting a lot of reps, and you’re starting to see him improve.
Antione (Frazier), even though he’s been hurt, he keeps fighting and continues to do good. And Clyde McCauley. Clyde McCauley is another guy that nobody talks about very much. But he may be one of the more improved guys that we’ve had up front, which is good. He’s going into year four for him, so you’re starting to see guys’ experience pay off a little bit.
I don’t want to miss anybody. I had several people written down. Offensively I think that’s where it ends. Peyton Bender, another guy, his team percentage is higher than all of them right now. The overall percentage belongs to Miles right now, but just by a point. It’s 73% for Miles and 72% for Bender.
But Peyton is a talented guy, a very, very talented guy. Some of the things that we’re doing with understanding what we’re seeing, I think it’s really helping him.
So those are the guys. James Sosinski continues to stick out to me as well. Mavin Saunders as well.
Q. What does team percentage mean?
DAVID BEATY: That’s when you’re in team setting, when you’re 11 on 11.
Q. So his percentage is in 11-on-11?
DAVID BEATY: 11 on 11 — yes. I think I may have some of it written down. You would make me get my glasses out. Peyton has in his team percentage he’s around 72% right now. Then he’s right at the same in seven on seven. Miles is around 80% on seven on seven and around 61% in team. So that tells you a little bit there.
As you start totaling them together, it comes up with an average. It’s more than 73%. Is it when he’s got 11 coming at him or not? What is that telling us, and that’s for us as coaches to know, okay, he may be struggling because he doesn’t understand a little bit about a structured blitz yet. Right? That may be where his incompletions are coming from. Peyton may know a little bit better, or he’s just not seeing those blitzes and Peyton is. Or Peyton is seeing them and the other one’s not.
So we don’t just go by those numbers. You’ve got to go back to how they’re handling the whole package. Does that make sense?
Q. Obviously you’re familiar with Bill Miller from 2009. What’s it like having him back and what does he bring to the defense?
DAVID BEATY: Bill’s great to have back for a lot of different reasons. Number one, he is hilarious. I think y’all are going to get to speak to him today. He’s funnier than all get out. He’s got more sayings. He’s hilarious, and a great Kansan. He loves, loves being a Kansas guy.
I was in Florida recruiting — and I don’t know if I’ve ever said this — I was down there recruiting when I was at A&M, and I ran into him at a school. He was showing me a picture of a Kansas sunset, and I mean, it just always stuck with me how much he loves this state. So I know he’s prideful to be back here.
I think thing that sticks out to me is Bill Miller is a very matured, detailed coach. He’s truly a teacher. I think some of the best coaches I’ve ever been around, all of them, they’re good teachers. You can be a motivator and not really be a good coach, a good teacher.
It’s hard to be able to get a lot out of a guy when you’re getting to be my age and Bill’s age without showing them. You’ve got to be able to tell them. You’ve got to be able to show them on film and be able to do things like that. Bill can do that.
I’ll end with this, not to give you too much, but when I was here before with Bill, we conducted a clinic here, and it was for all high school coaches. He basically showed his drill tape with how he trains, basically, his strike methods with his linebackers. Changed everything for me and my receivers when I was coaching receivers in terms of how we blocked.
The detail at which he coaches, striking on the rise, focused hand placement, feet, keeping your head out of it. Where the head goes, the rear end goes. He had so many details in there, that he spoke it, and those kids understood it. It wasn’t just him going out there and showing him. He was able to speak and had great coaching points because he’s a great, great teacher.
He’s helped elevate all of us. I mean, he’s been really, really good on that defensive side, but he’s been good for all of us. Bill is a guy that I respect so much that we ask for him to speak quite a bit with our staff, and he does a really nice job of really helping us understand how we should teach things, and how we should say things.
He doesn’t like this phrase because he’s a country boy, but I say it all the time, Bill’s really good at having an economy of words, or being very economical on words and making them work really good for him, right. He does a really nice job of that.
So I’m excited for him to be here. You guys will get a kick out of him today. He’s funny. All right. You guys have a good one.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports