Nov. 15, 2011
Defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Manny Diaz
On KSU QB Collin Klein: If you're really being honest, what the film says, you would not be stretching the imagination to say that Colin Klein is very similar to Tim Tebow. I mean, the guy has got 24 or something touchdowns. Call it like it is. This is not hyperbole. His body of work and what he's put on film. I think Kansas State obviously had a great football team this year, and I think they've snuck up on the national scene. But when you run for as many yards as he has and the value he has to his offense, it's very similar to what Tim Tebow meant to Florida. I mean, he's a tough guy. When it's short yardage, they run behind him. He's going to make it. He makes explosive runs go, and he can beat you throwing the football, too. That's what his film said. After watching their season, it's very impressive.
On Florida fans taking exception to comparing Klein with Tebow: Well, I understand anytime you say that word, it blows up. But that's just a recent example of a guy in terms of a quarterback at that position, downhill, running quarterback, power plays, moving the pile, and then still being able to be explosive. I mean, that's what I'm saying. Take all the sideshow out of it and just look at the film of just coaching football, and there's a lot of similarities.
On Klein’s size being a problem for defenses: Well, when you talk about the quarterback running game, it gives them an extra blocker so it reduces your ability to have an extra man to account for the run game, which means that everyone is going to be blocked. But what you can do is you can have everything leveraged. We have to make sure in between every two white shirts on Saturday there's an orange shirt. It goes white, orange, white, orange, white, orange. Well, okay, but the problem is that means that you have half of your body being blocked by one of their guys and half able to attack. When you're a big guy you can run through those tackles, so we're going to do a great job of not just fitting in our gaps but shedding blocks and then tackling a guy that's pretty physical, because he will run through arm tackles. And he has really good acceleration and after he gets through the front line to turn them into big plays.
On the Kansas State offense: They are different because their identity is based behind running the football first. Formationally they're very diverse. They're going to line up in a multitude of ways. Even if it appears to the naked eye that they're running the same type plays, let's say you see the quarterback running the football - by changing the formations, what they're doing is they're changing the way that you line up and therefore the way that you fit the run. So they're constantly asking you questions both with their blocking schemes and with their formation, and when you play a team like that, and I say this every week, you don't have to get the answer wrong very many times to get yourself beaten. And that's what they put on tape. They've been explosive with plays, and he has, because they can find a formation where one guy doesn't adjust over or one guy thinks he's got the B gap. He says, “Yeah, I've got it,” and boom, they're off and running and you've got a problem.
On Klein also being able to throw the ball: It's a problem, and the problem is when they're explosive. And that's the killer. And they hit a big one, which was a big point of that game. What they do is all 11 have to come play, and then they've got to come play every snap. They're run, run, run, then they're going to take a shot. So if you get lulled to sleep, or again, if you get one play where you're not mentally locked in, they've got the potential. They run trick plays. They're really good at running trick plays. They're constantly on the attack. It looks like they're methodical, but what they're doing, they're constantly on the attack.
On the challenge for the linebackers: If there's any such thing as oldschool football left anymore, I hope if you're a linebacker you don't come to chase pass routes around every day. There was a time when playing linebacker meant you were backing the line and getting to run in there and stop the run. So this in a way is more that type of challenge. So if you're a front seven guy, you should relish in that. You should want that, and then it's a mental game because like I said, they pose so many mental threats to you in terms of the different run fits that they provide. But it should be a game that if you are a linebacker you have to take this as an immense challenge because they really, really put all the stress in stopping the run game on you.
On watching Emmanuel Acho play as well as he did against Missouri It was very rewarding. As a coach you always want your seniors - you want your whole team to play well, of course - but you really want your seniors to play the best ball of their career. It's important for them personally but it's important for your team. Your best guys have to be your best guys for you to have a chance to be successful. To watch Emmanuel play the way he played against Missouri, I thought in a position that he was a lastminute change when Keenan went out and he had to move over to Mike, practiced very little at that during the course of the week, but he was active. He was everything that we want a Texas linebacker to be, disruptive across the line of scrimmage, sideline to sideline. I was very happy for him and the way he played.
On the emotions of senior day: It’s tough, because as coaches, we see it every year, but you only go through it the one time that you're the senior. You can explain it to them, but the emotion I believe of going walking through that tunnel for the last time, it is what it is. You can prepare for it, but it's still like walking down the aisle. You know you're going to do it, but still, when you do it, it's still unique. You always worry about the game because you've got to snap back in now. There's a football game is why we're here, and usually after the first drive or first lick of the game, it sort of becomes a football game again.
On using replay to review more calls: I know this: Our heart is in the right place, because we're concerned about players' safety, and you can't ever be wrong if that's the case. But I do think that it's a work in progress, and as long as we continue to review the sort of the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law and how it's legislated, and to give the guys on defense a chance to play the game I think that's the key. As long as every year it goes on we sort of fine tune it, I think we know what we want to avoid and what we want to stop. And it helps. It'll help the players. I know it'll help the people that officiate the game, and I don't see any reason why we can't do that. I would imagine there's enough smart people that are influences in the football game that can kind of figure out where we're headed and get it done right. So I think that would be good.
Co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Bryan Harsin
On where to proceed from this point: Well, we go back to what we've been doing. We go back to practicing hard, go back to our process that we've been talking about since we got here in the spring, and that's what you do. You look at that film and you look at what were some of the things that we could have done better in that game. What were some of the little details that showed up there. And that's what we continue to talk about each and every week. There's one or two things each and every day, and that's what we've got to get corrected in practice and just go back to focusing on those details and learn from this game and get back to work.
On the vertical passing game: That was part of just what we were getting as far as eightman front and guys in the box and oneonone matchups outside. Those are opportunities now that we're trying to hit some big plays, get some big chunks. That's what we need to do to try to swap field position. You know, that won't change. We've got to connect on those. We've got to do a better job with the timing and all those things, just from the quarterback standpoint. But those will come, and we'll continue to try to emphasize those.
On if more repetition in practice will help the passing game: There's a lot of factors that go into that. You're not just dropping back in the game and setting up and everything is perfect and guys aren't moving and you don't have anybody in your face. I mean, there's a lot of different factors that go into it. If we're playing seven on seven, I feel like you can just drop back and get that done, but it's a different game. So there's a lot of different things that come up that from the quarterback position you've got to learn from and maneuver around and still throw on time and be able to do that in those type of situations.
On how the offense might change without RB Fozzy Whittaker: Obviously, the number one thing is his leadership, is him being on the field and being part of our team. You know, that hurts, and he's done a lot for us from that standpoint, and obviously he's been very productive out there on the field. We're going to have to do some different things, maybe a little bit differently. We'll find somebody that's going to fill his role, and that's part of football now. There's going to be dings and things like that that happen, and guys that are backups need to step up and fill the roles. So we'll continue to have those packages in there, but the biggest thing is we're still having Fozzy out there. He's going to be helping us. He's going to be talking to those guys, being a part of the team and still provide the leadership that we need from him.
On who will run the wild formation: Well, they've all done it. I think naturally you would think that would be the progression, that you would just fill [someone] in there. But Joe [Bergeron] and Malcolm [Brown] and all those guys have done it and taken reps on it.
On how important it is to get guys back from injuries: Well, we'd like to get all our guys that are dinged up back. That's part of football. Those things happen. We're trying to get as many guys back as soon as we can, and we'll see what happens from there.
On not expecting to see the KSU team that gave up 50 points last week: No, no. I've seen a lot of Kansas State through our film this year, and I think those guys, they do a very good job. I like the way their kids play. They play hard. They play physical. They're very well coached. I know that those guys are going to come in here and battle, and they've played in a lot of tough games. They've played some very good opponents. They've played them very tough. It's going to be a dogfight from that standpoint, and we have prepare to come in and play our very best for four quarters.
On the Kansas State defense: I see a lot of athletic players out there that play very hard. I think they're maximizing their ability. They're flying around and they're doing it consistently through each and every quarter when you watch the games. They're a team that continues to play all four quarters and they play hard, and they're good at what they do on defense. They play a lot of guys in there, too. They'll rotate quite a few guys in and out, so they've got depth from that standpoint. It's a good structure the way the kids play, having depth. There's a lot of good things you see from their defensive side.
On if KSU’s defense is as physical as their offense: Oh, yeah, the entire team. They're a physical football team. They're physical on offense and defense. That's their mentality.That's their nature, and you've got to be able to match that intensity.
On switching quarterbacks during the game against Missouri: Neither one had had the impact in there that [we wanted], so we were trying to get that from either one of the guys and didn't quite get that. We made the change and tried to go back and see if we couldn't get something going there. It was still a tight ballgame and we needed just a couple scores from that standpoint, and that's what you've got to have. It's not just the quarterback position. It's other positions when you have depth there to try to get somebody in there that's going to get an explosive play for you and get the thing going.
On if having so many injured players at one position makes you change the philosophy of the offense: You've got to stick with your philosophy. You can only adjust so much with what you're doing because the other thing is is those guys that are filling in those roles that were backups are also taking those same reps throughout the week. It's not like they hadn't taken the reps or they hadn't been in those situations in practice or in some scenarios in the games towards the end and things like that. You go into that prepared from the standpoint that these players may or may not be able to go, and that's what your game plan is based off. So that has nothing to do with the outcome of the game. You want to have those guys back, but that has nothing to do with that.
On if Fozzy’s injury had a big emotional impact on the team right when it happened: I think right there initially. Anytime somebody on your team gets hurt and they go down and trainers are out there and they're not getting up right away, you're always concerned about that. We know how good we feel about Fozzy and what he's done for us. But that's part of football. That's something that when everybody plays and you strap on that helmet, you assume there could be some injury and some risk from that standpoint, and so that's nothing new. And guys have to get back on the field and go play. And I thought we did that. I thought our mentality was right after that happened to go back out there and play. That's a hard blow now for the football team, but during the game you've got to get back out there and go do your job.
On what Fozzy has meant to the team:
I wish I had more time with him. That's the one thing. In just a short period of time he's done so much you can see for our team. For our young players on our team. For us as coaches. He's the total package from that standpoint as far as just the type of player you want with the toughness, smarts, a guy that will go out there and practice hard and just gives you everything he's got. When you lose that, not just from the game standpoint, just from everything else, how you prepare and things like that, I mean, that's big. Obviously for Fozzy, as well, it's hard in his situation right now. But he's a guy that even in this situation has great spirits, is going to continue to be a part of what we're doing and help those guys out.
On QB David Ash: The one thing about him, that's all we can do at this point is learn from it. After a loss like that, you come back, and these guys care tremendously about going out there and playing well, and so that's not a concern. What you want to do is teach them, especially at that position, here's what happened, here's how we can get better, here were some scenarios in the game that will come up again, what should we do next time. He's all ears. He wants to learn. He wants to understand why he gets frustrated like anybody else as a player. I think he takes that energy out on the field there and turns it into a positive, and I thought he practiced well yesterday. I expect him to be practicing well this week, and he's excited to get back today and start preparing for this game. So his mentality is right. He's on the right track as far as learning from some of those mistakes, and he continues to improve and learn, and that's part of the process.
On his experience with this senior class: It has been good. All these guys have been good, and I think they've embraced just the entire change and what's happened, from both sides of the ball and all those things. They've been very good. They've been very coachable, and their attitudes have been positive, and when it's been really, really good and it's been really, really bad I think they've been consistent. They've been positive. So I've had a lot of respect for these seniors and what they've gone through. Obviously they've been very successful, and I think they've been very good this year, as well.