Kansas Head Coach Turner Gill
On the bye week:
"We are excited to play a football game. It was good for us to have a bye week for us to get sharper at things and for our guys to practice. Since it is my first year on the staff we need as many practices as we can get. I saw good progress from our guys. They were very intense. They were ready for detail. I saw them very focused and I saw a good look in their eyes. They were paying attention to a lot of things and they all want to get better. They are very anxious to get on the football field and to do some great things. This is my first time being involved with the Sunflower Showdown. It's going to be an exciting time for us. It will be a great thing for our football team to go out and play well against Kansas State. I continue to believe in our staff and what they are able to do."
Opening statement from Gill is full of generalities which is fine, that's what you get with a coach. What I'm interested in this week is how true those statements appear to be.
For all the grief he receives I think many of us would have to admit that Mark Mangino seemed to do well with extra time to prepare. It doesn't matter what side of the argument you sit on in terms of the decision to move on, he did the job in preparing teams and with an extra week his teams put up a fight.
I'm hoping we see some marked improvement in this one from our group. If we're going to see a positive trend in competing on the field, it's going to have to start this week. Again, throw W's and L's out the window for now, it's about the effort that Gill get's from these players at this point for me.
On the game against Kansas State:
"They are very sound on defense. Historically they have always played defense very, very well. They really do not make a whole lot of mistakes. They do a lot of good things technique-wise. On the offensive side of the ball you have to slow down their running game. You are not going to stop their running game, but you have to slow it down. Daniel Thomas is a great running back and he does a lot of great things. He pounds people, he has pretty good speed and he is someone that we must slow down.
They are always very sound in special teams, too. We have to have an edge in two out of the three phases of the game. It really doesn't matter which phase it is in--offense, defense or special teams; we must win that.
Something that is really important for us to get done is that we must create turnovers. We need to get three turnovers. Whether it's our defense causing turnovers or our special teams, we must get three or more turnovers in the game. We need to have 10 or less missed tackles. If that happens, that means we will play well defensively. Offensively we need to score 28-plus points. We need to have one or less turnovers and 80 knockdowns. We need to be knocking people down and putting them on their backs. We must play physical and we must play with confidence."
Coach Gill puts some pretty quantifiable measuring sticks to this game, I think I like that. 3 or more turnovers might be difficult, unless we can somehow force Carson Coffman to throw 50 times, but I like the thought. 10 or less missed tackles, 28+ points, 80 knockdowns. He's setting some pretty tangible goals here and I think I like it. Give these guys a target, something to shoot for and send them out there to accomplish that. At the end of the day it gives you a measuring stick in terms of how you were able to compete win or lose.
On the Kansas-Kansas State rivalry:
"Early on the players talked about some things from that nature and Kansas State is obviously a big game. Every game is a big game, but the in-state deal, you want to have the bragging rights from the players' perspective. From the fans perspective you want that too. This is a rivalry that is going to go on for a long, long time. It's a special rivalry. This is my introduction into it. I think I will get a better sense of it as we play this first ball game."
I don't know...do you think he gets it?
Junior tight end Tim Biere
On the bye week:
"We went back to basics and got some plays down that we know are going to work. We've added some wrinkles here and there off of those plays, but we fine-tuned all of our offensive plays."
On Kansas State's defense:
"They show that they have a very good defensive end we will be going up against in Brandon Harold. They play with a lot of effort. Obviously they had a rough game versus Nebraska, but before that they were playing pretty decent."
On who stands out in the Kansas State secondary:
"David Garrett, he's a smaller guy, but he is really quick and he will get after you. He is not afraid to stick his nose in there. It will be interesting to go against a player like that."
Sounds like a pretty good scout for this early in the week. Obviously you'd expect that on a short week, but you still have to at least take a little solace in the fact that they seem to have identified their key matchups.
Junior wide receiver Daymond Patterson
On what the biggest improvement was during the past week:
"I think penalties and mistakes - we made a lot of mistakes down in Waco, (Texas), we had a lot of penalties - that will be the biggest thing, just to make sure we improve our technique. We need to make sure we're flying around the ball this Thursday against K-State."
I hope he's right. I've never thought Daymond was one of the ones making most of the mistakes by any means, but I hope he's right in the fact that the team worked to address those.
On the defensive challenges that Kansas State will present:
"They are very good with their technique, they don't give up a lot of big plays; every team gives up some, but I think that is what they really work hard on. They keep everything in front of them; we just have to make sure we do not make mistakes."
They don't give up a lot of big plays? Well that's good, because we don't make a lot of big plays, right Warden?
On what this game means to momentum during the season:
"This is a very big game, we don't want to go 0-2 in the Big 12; we need to get this win against an in-state rival, so this is a very big week for us."
Junior cornerback Isiah Barfield
On why he chose Kansas over Kansas State:
"I took a visit to Manhattan with my mom and dad, and that was back when (former Kansas State Head Coach Ron) Prince was there, and I wasn't a very big fan. I actually almost went to K-State to play basketball, but I decided to play football in Lawrence instead."
Isiah Barfield almost went to K-State to play basketball? Fear the beard part II?
On if the rivalry with K-State feels different than the one with Missouri:
"For me, yes, because I'm a Kansas kid - I didn't really know all the history between Kansas and Missouri, I didn't know how bad it was until I got to college. The Kansas State rivalry always felt like a bigger deal to me. Everybody from my high school went to K-State."
Perspectives are interesting. For me it's always been Mizzou first, I guess I'd be curious how the majority of Kansas fans feel.
Freshman offensive lineman Riley Spencer
On the importance of this rivalry game being from Kansas:
"This is pretty exciting for me because it will be the first time being on the sidelines for the KU-K-State game. I have a lot of friends and family back home that root for both teams."
"When you are from a smaller town farther west of Kansas City, there aren't as many Missouri fans. You see more people get excited for this game rather than Kansas and Missouri."
Sophomore offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson
On how injuries have affected the offensive line:
"We have a lot of guys that have played together in the past. Obviously with Trevor (Marrongelli) going down it hurts, but Duane (Zlatnik) has done a good job for us in his first year starting. We had four guys start on last year's team and Duane was with us all last year too."