Head Coach Turner Gill
"Good afternoon. I want to start off with some positive things that we took out of this game. Obviously I think the first thing that jumps out is our defense. When you hold someone to six points in a ball game, that's outstanding, it doesn't matter who the opponent is. We held them to 168 total yards, 15 percent on third-down conversions, and 3.1 yards per play. On special teams, I thought the area where we stood out was kickoff returns. I think we averaged about 42-43 yards per return. Kickoffs were excellent. We put the ball deep and put the ball close to the sideline. Offensively, the only thing that I can say is a positive is that we got a chance to know where we're at. You really don't know anything until you go play a football game. I think the positive is we know where we're at and how we need to move forward. I know our staff is going to be the ones to help us move this program forward. They've coached over 123 NFL players. We have experience. We have guys who have been through the ups and downs. That's why I feel very, very good about our staff and moving forward.
I'll give him this, if he isn't going to be positive no one else is going to be after that game. The Kansas defense did look good, I think we've covered that more than a few times on here and that certainly bodes well for one of the big question marks about this team.
I'm still approaching it with caution though because as we'll all recall last year, we were saying much of the same following the win at UTEP. Hats off to the D for today, but it's a new week and Georgia Tech presents an opportunity to really prove themselves in a big way.
Junior linebacker Steven Johnson
On playing a top 25 team:
"With us losing this week, a lot of people may have jumped off the boat. If we get a win this week, a lot of people will probably jump back on. We try not to worry about that, we try to worry about ourselves. But at the same time, we can get people excited about the season again with a win."
First off, solid game for Johnson and that was good to see. Secondly, he's going to need to have another big one against Tech as the linebackers will be as important as ever. Lastly, he's dead on. The loss stung BIG TIME but if Kansas can steal one somewhere along the way it will swing the perception of it. Right now it's a "sky is falling" scenario. A win against GTech or any number of other solid opponents and it becomes a first game with a new staff in what might just be more of a rebuilding year than we thought.
Senior cornerback Chris Harris
On facing GT's offense:
"You have to beat GT by being disciplined. Everybody is going to have a responsibility. A linebacker might have the quarterback this time. Somebody might be watching the pitch. You've got to stay disciplined, you can't try to be the hero. You have to stay focused on your job."
Absolutely critical that this defense plays assignment sound football this weekend. One blown assignment, one missed pitch man and it's 6 points just like that.
Senior offensive lineman Brad Thorson
On what was most disappointing about the offense on Saturday:
"We just had a lot of missed execution by guys on different plays. We never seemed to piece it together as a whole group. It's not a problem that we have really seen during camp. It is something that came up that kind of shocked and confused us all. It's a reminder of the amount of focus we need going into game day. It wasn't a consistent bad effort or bad play by anybody, it was just guys could not seem to play together as 11 guys on offense."
Shocked and confused would certainly be an accurate way to describe the offense during much of this one.
On if he attributed the new offense to not feeling comfortable running plays:
I think our coaches have put us in the right position. They've given us time to scrimmage. We've been running this offense for 45 practices now and we need to feel comfortable with it. As players, we feel like we let our coaching staff down. Coach Long is going to put us in the right position with play calls and it is up to us to execute."
On what the quarterbacks need to do to improve:
"I think as an offensive line we focus on protecting the quarterback and giving the running backs an opportunity to run the ball. Either of those guys needs to feel comfortable being in the pocket. We need to give them (the quarterbacks) the opportunity to throw the ball and prove what they can do. Both of those guys (Kale Pick and Jordan Webb) prepare very well. Kale and Jordan want that job. That competition is going to help us get better throughout the season. I think they're both doing an excellent job. I don't put any of this on how they prepared or how they've gone go about their business. They're young guys. Quarterbacks are an integral part of the offense and when they're asked to do stuff I think they're going to compete well."
Thorson get's close to owning this and putting it on the offensive line and I think that's a good thing. If the offensive line is truly the group returning the most and one this team is going to lean on they HAVE to get better in a hurry.
Quick Hitters and Thoughts
Coach Gill called out James Sims specifically saying that he will play this week against Georgia Tech.
No Toben back to RB.
Tyrone Sellers out 3-4 weeks, hearing up to 6 with a knee injury.
Deshaun Sands questionable.
Keeston Terry will continue to work his way into more snaps.
Sees Wide Recievers/Tight Ends as the strength of the team.
Looking to work out the RB/QB situation and a little bit on the o-line.
Feels it always takes a little longer to work out offense but still needs to see major improvements.
O-line didn't win the battle against the NDSU defensive front and that was the problem.
Felt the effort was there, but execution and hesitation caused the problems.
First I think it's good that the staff isn't reacting in panic and moving Toben back to running back. If linebacker is his future make that switch and be decisive. It's important for him and the team. Secondly, I would love to get a good look at Sims but the offensive line is going to have to make some strides in order for any of our backs to truly show what they can do.
His view of the strengths might very well be reflected in the scheme we choose to move forward with and the quarterback we choose to play with. Remember, this team was built and recruited by Mark Mangino and his staff. It would make sense in that respect that perhaps a more pass oriented scheme is going to be necessary while Gill and his staff transition to their type of players.
I find it interesting that he sees potential changes on the offensive line. It wouldn't surprise me to see Hatch working his way back in as he gets healthier. I also wonder if they might give someone like Riley Spencer a shot at tackle and move Thorson to the interior. As far as this group goes, it's pretty disappointing when the coach point blank says you were beat up front and that was a major problem in the game. Plenty of work to do for this group.
Last one, I liked Terry a lot in re-watching this one. That's looking like a big recruiting win for this staff.