Nov. 26, 2012
Opening statement: We missed a great opportunity on Thursday night to move forward and get our ninth win. It was a very disappointing game for us. Give TCU credit. I did appreciate the fans' support and our players fighting until the end.
We started poorly with the interception, even though we had a good drive. Had the interception in the red zone. Then gave up a 96-yard drive for a touchdown, which was a disappointing start for our defense. Gave up too many rushing yards defensively in the first half. We lost contain on the quarterback a number of times on third down, key third-down situations, which were really the only third downs they converted.
We only forced one turnover. We got a field goal out of it. When you don't stop the run early in the game and force the quarterback into long-yardage situations, you're usually not going to force turnovers. TCU had been a team who turned the ball over. We did play a great fourth quarter, which gave us a chance to win. I liked what I saw out of our defense late. We need to see that kind of effort the entire game.
Ball hawks for the game, [junior S] Adrian Phillips had the interception. We didn't think he was going to play right before the game. We had to check him with a bruised thigh pre-game. He really was tough and did a great job.
[Sophomore CB] Quandre Diggs caused a fumble, even though we didn't get on it. Hardest hit came from Quandre Diggs. Defensive player of the game was [senior S] Kenny Vaccaro. Plays really hard and puts himself in a position to be a high draft pick.
[Senior DE] Alex Okafor played as much as he could in the game. I hated for him that he didn't get to finish his senior game. He is questionable for this weekend.
Offense played poorly. We didn't run the ball well. Gave up three sacks. Had four turnovers with three interceptions and a fumble, two of those interceptions in the red zone, another fumble around the 20-yard line. They got 14 points off of our turnovers; we only gained three off of theirs. Kicked too many field goals in the red zone.
Offensive staff decided we wouldn't have any awards, because we played so poorly throughout the week on offense.
[Junior QB] Case McCoy will start at quarterback. [Sophomore QB] David Ash is questionable for the game. We hope he's available, but we're not sure at this point how much he'll practice or whether he'll play.
Right now, because of the redshirting situation of the other two quarterbacks, we'll work [senior P] Alex King, our punter, as the backup quarterback this week just in precaution if David can't play or if Case had to come out. I think it's another example of where we need five years of eligibility where young people can play. You don't [want] to put your punter in as back-up quarterback because of injuries late in the year.
Special teams; there were no players of the game, even though Alex King did punt well. [Freshman PK] Nick Jordan made both field goals and his extra point. [Freshman PK] Nick Rose kicked off well throughout the game.
They had a 57-yard kickoff return coming out of the half. He took it six yards deep in the end zone, and we lost contain. [Senior WR] Marquise Goodwin also had a great return so that pretty much averaged itself out.
As disappointed as we are, we must move forward. We still have a chance to win 10 games. There is still a lot to play for.
We have the Kansas State game at 7:00 in Manhattan. If they beat us, they win the Big 12 championship. [Kansas State QB] Collin Klein is trying to impress the Heisman voters. They've got to be able to score a lot of points to do that, obviously. It's senior night for them.
I think my friend [Kansas State head coach] Bill Snyder has done the best job hands down of anybody in the country, from his starting date at Kansas State until today. I don't think anybody would question that. Not only with this team this year, but with Kansas State before he got there, the struggles he had early, then he won big, took a break, then he came back and he's won big again.
You have to give the man credit for being one of the best, if not the best coach in the country. I personally think he's the best in the country.
They're a tough, well-coached football team. They have 10 starters on defense and real playmakers on offense. We have a great challenge ahead.
They are 11th in scoring offense, scoring 40 points a game. They are 18th against the run in defense, giving up only 121 yards a game. Like K-State, we are giving up 98 yards a game, but our inability to throw the ball kept us from scoring points. Our defense held TCU to 20 points. That should have been enough in this league.
Their scoring defense is giving up 20 points a game. They're 31st in sacks. They've had 27 sacks for 175 yards in losses, averaging 2.45 sacks per game. They are No. 1 in the country in turnover margin; they're plus-19. They're No. 1 in the country in punt returns. They average 22.87 yards on every punt return. They're No. 1 in kickoff returns, averaging 29.45 yards per return.
You look at the Big 12. We're sitting here with nine, 10-win teams that are bowl eligible. I don't think that's ever happened before. Give the Big 12 credit. Go back and watch games this weekend - it's obvious that anybody in this league can beat anybody else on any given night.
On if anything besides turnovers stands out from Thursday night: I don't think so. Our inability to run the ball after the first drive put us in passing situations, and we didn't throw the ball well. We had five or six drops. Just didn't play well on offense. Played well enough on defense and the kicking game. None of those were a factor. Should have stopped the run more early and forced their quarterback into throwing situations, because he was young and had some turnovers. Our inability to throw it really kept us from being able to be balanced. If we were balanced, we would be able to run it. When it was obvious we weren't throwing it well, they stacked the box and we had trouble running the ball.
On what Case McCoy needs to focus on: I think the biggest thing is take care of the ball. He came in late against Kansas State and did some great things last year. He was able to win on the road at A&M last year, but had turnovers at Baylor. He needs to protect the ball.
On how he will use both Case and David Saturday night: David's injured and may not practice this week and is questionable for the game. You don't have to go into anything other than that. We're lucky to have an experienced quarterback to go in and play. The big decision is who backs him up. That's the question. We had Alex King working at quarterback last night. He hadn't played since his early years at Duke where he was a third-team quarterback. We have to get him a limited package and hope it doesn't get to him, very honestly.
On the importance of the running game: I think it's important. But Case came off the bench and helped us at Kansas to win the game. He came off the bench the other night and gave us a score and had a chance to tie the game up to go into overtime. He gets half the snaps in practice every day. I think we can go ahead and have a normal game plan.
On sophomore S Mykkele Thompson being an option at QB: No.
On what element has given Kansas State the edge these last four games: We haven't played them very good since we've been here, very honestly. When we first got here, they were the best team in the league, them and A&M. In the early losses, they were a whole lot better than we were. I remember they held [former Texas RB] Ricky Williams to 43 yards the second game I was here. They played really well. There were times where we weren't very good and they weren't very good, and they beat us. But I think they've played better than us. We've had to play great the two times we've beaten them. That was the last-minute win with [former Texas QB] Vince Young on a quarterback sneak after a deep pass to [former Texas WR] Tony [Jeffery] and a blocked kick by [former Texas RT Marcus Tubbs] up in the cold. Haven't beaten them many times.
On Kansas State's roster outside of QB Collin Klein: They're loaded. They were number one in the country until they had a bump in the road against Baylor. They're that good. They have ten starters on defense that are all seniors. They have two linebackers that are as good as anybody in the country, [Arthur] Brown [is one of them]. They can cover you man-to-man and pass rushing. Collin Klein doesn't get near the credit for their throwing. They'll line you up. He will maul you, he's so accurate. He doesn't miss many.
On K-State's defense changing under Bill Snyder: No. They're going to play pretty basic defense, make you beat them. They're just a very sound, solid football team with a lot of good players. They're number one in the country in punt return, kickoff return and turnover ratio. That's pretty good stuff. That's why they're winning.
On the Kansas State's physical size being a factor: Yes. I think the biggest thing is they are going to run the ball against you; play-action is there. They're doing what we want to do. That's where we want to get. They're stopping the run on defense and forcing you to throw it. Getting long downs, forcing turnovers. [They have forced] 28 turnovers. That's just unbelievable.
On how big of a test this matchup is for the Texas defense: It will be really big. I want to see that. We have improved a lot. I want to see us continue to improve on defense. For us to be the team we need to be next year, this team has to step up. We've lost a lot of defensive starters. Most of these guys that will play Saturday night will be back. That's another reason there's still a lot to play for.
On if working toward next year has become a main focus: The main focus is to beat Kansas State and to try to win 10 games this year. We owe that to our seniors.
On if having a few days off after a loss is better for the players then when they play on Saturday and look at the film the next day: I don't know. I was sick Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I would have rather met with them Thursday night after the game, gone over it, got it settled and get ready for Kansas State. We had a good meeting yesterday. They're not pleased with their performance and they understand that was disappointing. We had a lot on the table. We need to play better than that. They're smart kids and they knew it, so we didn't spend a lot of time talking about it. We went right into meetings.
On how unique this season has been with each phase of the game changing from week-to-week: I think it's happening across the country. You look at Louisville/Connecticut for a championship, Rutgers/Pittsburgh for a championship. It happens every week, and it scares you to death. It is one of the more disappointing things as a coach. I thought they played hard - we just didn't play well.
On considering removing a redshirt from one of the freshman quarterbacks: The last three or four games, I think that's unfair to the kids. I'd hate to use it up. You'd be limited with your game plan anyway, because they haven't gotten quality snaps. Just a personal thought. If I were his parent, I wouldn't want me pulling their son out for the last game. Might get hurt in the first play he gets in there. One-play season. I think it's a no-brainer, give them five years of eligibility and let them play. It's been 21 years that they've looked at that, and it makes no sense to me why we don't do it.
On Alex King's response to being listed as the third-string quarterback: He's mature. He's been one of the bright spots of this team. He said, "Great, I'll do anything you want me to do." He was out there throwing with the quarterbacks last night. I told [co-offensive coordinator] Bryan [Harsin] to put him right in the middle of it because we have no guarantees. Don't work [freshman QB] Connor [Brewer] and [freshman QB] Jalen [Overstreet] this week. Let's work Alex and get him ready to go.
On when David Ash was injured: We don't get into that. That would be with the medical staff. I will say we were not told to take him out. He's a very tough young man. He fought through some soreness during the game. I will say that. But the medical staff never came to us and David never came to us and said, "I'm hurt, I can't play."
On if some players are better than others at coming in as the second-string player: I think Case is an upbeat guy, a team leader and real positive. He'll embrace this week. I don't know if the fact that [former Texas QB and current NFL Cleveland Browns QB] Colt [McCoy] is backing up would make that much difference to him. I think it's more the body of work. I'm sure he's watched Colt do this, too. His dream was to be the Texas quarterback. He has a great opportunity on Saturday night. That goes back to prove again, if you're the backup guy, you're a step away. You better be ready and better be prepared every day. It will be a great message to our team that you better be ready.
On if he feels they could have run the ball more on Thursday after watching the tape: We were running out of time. We tried to run the first two times to start the second half and got nothing. We tried to run it on the goal line, got nothing. I really felt like we gave ourselves an opportunity to win with Case coming in, with him scoring quickly, no-huddle. I think Bryan and [co-offensive coordinator] Major [Applewhite] did what they should have done. Obviously, if you can run it, you'd like to. We just weren't running it well.
On Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein: He's what I'm talking about. He is maybe the best player on one of the best teams in the country because without him, they're not the same team. He's the leader, the toughness, the heartbeat. He's hard to tackle. They run him a whole bunch. He can run power for a quarterback. He can run option. He can beat you scrambling. Out here last year we knocked the heck out of him, knocked him around, and he still found a way to win the game with his throwing. That was just unbelievable. You can't discourage the guy. He's got so many great qualities from what I hear off the field, that obviously adds to his team leadership. Those guys play hard for him. It's been amazing as many hits as he's taken he's been able to stay healthy. He's like a machine.