A good read this week as it seems like Turner Gill is starting to get some pretty pointed questions. Questions about conditioning, the success at Kansas State, how long it should take to build a program. I found some of the answers to be quite interesting for a variety of reasons. I'll let you be the judge.
On the player side it's the Kansas boys. Kale Pick, Tanner Hawkinson and Michael Reynolds talking Sunflower Showdown and Bradley McDougald chimes in as well.
Kansas head coach Turner Gill
"Reflecting on last week's game and some of the positive things that occurred, I thought our guys played with great determination. I thought they played with great confidence and they showed that they can come out and play hard, play fast and make plays. That was very encouraging. The one big thing is we played with great physicality. That's the one thing we talked about as far as offense and defense, particularly in the first half. I thought that was good to see. I think we can build from this last week's game and continue to have confidence and belief in what we can get accomplished for this last half of the season and I expect our guys to do that."
"The defense forced three turnovers. That was huge. We've always talked about we've got to have some takeaways. So that was great to see; to get three turnovers in that last ball game."
"The last thing about the last ball game; Steven Johnson did a great job throughout the week with our players and with the defense. He really took it upon himself with the leadership and ownership of bringing the team together in a good way. I think when those things started to happen, as I've told our team, ‘You guys have to take some ownership and talk amongst each other. Get things corrected both on and off the field amongst each other, not just us as coaches.' I thought that was a great thing that happened this past week as far as our football team making good progress."
"About this next game, it's The Sunflower Showdown. We're ready for this one. It's one of those things that gets me excited and makes myself want to play. Last week was kind of similar, too. You play in those big ball games and you get excited. As a former player you want to throw on a uniform. I also want to thank our fans. I think they've had great support for us. I hope they continue to wear their blue this next weekend and come on out and support our football team. I think it's going to be a great game for us and I want our fans to continue to support us."
On Kansas State:
"Obviously Bill Snyder has done a great job. He's come back here in the last three years and really has continued to move this program forward and they continue to do great things. They've got another quarterback that's good and talented. Colin Kline is definitely a good runner. He can run. He's big and strong. He's probably faster than what you'd think to look at him. It doesn't look like he's moving, but he's moving. He's also powerful. He can run over you and he can do a lot of good things. You've got to stop the run first. That's what they do. (Kline) has definitely shown that he's capable of making the passes he needs to make and he's done that very efficiently."
"Defensively. They're just a solid group of defensive players. They do have an outstanding player in Arthur Brown. He definitely can make a lot of plays. He can go from sideline to sideline. He does a great job of shedding blocks and making good tackles. They've done a great job. I think the one thing that stands out is that they have caused turnovers. I think 10 of them have been interceptions. We have to make sure we take care of the ball. I think that's the key to the game; the turnovers. We have got to win that battle so we can give ourselves a great chance to be successful in this game. I know our guys will be ready to play and play physical and we just have to out-execute them as far as the game plan."
On if the loss of Daymond Patterson has limited the Jayhawks' passing game:
"I don't think it's limited us. It may limit some big play opportunities that may present, because of his experience; being able to read the coverages and do things at the right place and the chemistry between him and Jordan Webb. Since we've had three or four receivers, the timing may not quite always there. I think for the most part we've done fairly well. Daymond Patterson is definitely a good player for us and we miss him."
On what the factors could be for his team has fallen behind in the third quarter this season:
"We look at all of it to be honest. We look at every scenario of what can improve our players' play, whether it's first quarter, second quarter, third quarter and fourth quarter. I'm aware and our players and coaches are aware that the third quarter we have not performed as well overall. There are some things we are trying to incorporate in practices to simulate that. We've also talked to our staff; what we're doing game plan-wise and adjustments at half time. I think we addressed some of those issues in this last ballgame so I think we made a few good adjustments. We've addressed it and talked about it for a few hours as a group, talking about what we need to do to change that and our players to perform better in the third quarter. We're making some adjustments and I think we made a good step this last ballgame on both sides of the ball, particularly the defensive side."
On if conditioning is a reason for his team falling behind in the third quarter:
"That has nothing to do with it. The conditioning has not necessarily been a factor I think it's more execution. We've looked at all that, but I don't think you go back and say we could've done this more in the offseason or the preseason camp or what we do in practice. We made a few adjustments in our conditioning this year. I haven't seen on film where some of our guys have been fatigued. There's some fast-paced teams where some guys may get tired but I can't say the whole third quarter where we were fatigued. It's just been execution."
On if fatigue could be the reason for poor execution:
"It could. I've looked at that and evaluated it. We may substitute a little bit more with that early in the season. Injuries lately too have us substituting a little bit more as far as helping our guys who are playing more snaps. We try to to look at some guys and say they need to be able to play 60 snaps or he only needs to be playing 50 snaps. You get into that 75 or 80, as a human being you are going to get a little tired, that's just natural."
On what he learned from last year's K-State game:
"We've got some things that we're going to adjust. We came up with some things we learned from last year. But more importantly we're thinking about ourselves. What we're capable of doing and making sure we stick to those game plans and making adjustments. We've learned and I think you'll see some of those adjustments in this ball game."
On what impressed him most about Bill Snyder in last year's game:
"I'm somewhat familiar with him just because Nebraska played against him. He has not made a whole lot of adjustments. Just like all good coaches, you believe what you do and you do it. You may make a few adjustments here and there both offensively and defensively. We've made a few adjustments. We're a little more detailed on some things but I think I've got a pretty good idea of what he's all about and what he does."
On why he thinks Bill Synder has been able to be successful in Manhattan:
"I haven't researched that enough to give a true answer. I'm trying to figure out how to do things at Kansas and go on from there. I can't give a direct answer to say why he's been successful over so many years and why Kansas hasn't. I guess I'm in that process of trying to, but all those things together and what's going to be better for the University of Kansas. I don't have the time to go figure all those things out. I've taken a couple things that I think he does. What I mean by that is: he believes in his plan and he sticks with it. That tells a lot. We have a plan here and I believe in what we're doing. You just have to believe in your plan and keep going with it. That's a big key. He's had some time to put his plan together."
On how many years he thinks it takes to implement a plan in a football team:
"Nobody can sit here and tell you how many years it's going to take to get to a point where you can be consistently winning over and over again. I think if we all had that magical number you wouldn't see as many coaching changes. I know we have a good plan and we're working in the right direction."
On the success of Kansas State:
"I think they have their plan for what they do. Defensively, they do a good job understanding the schemes you're trying to run. Their guys do a pretty good job of being disciplined in what they need to get done. His system that he's been doing it now for ‘X' amount of years, everybody understands what needs to take place. I think it's good that the upper classmen know what to do and how to do things there on offense and defense. On offense, he has the philosophy to run the football and (win) time of possession. They take care of the football. I think the key thing is the turnover margin."
On how to combat this:
"We have to do things to make them make adjustments. I know they do a pretty good job of knowing what you're trying to do offensively, defensively and on special teams. The bottom line is that you have to execute. There may be some possessions you might be a little bit better at as an opponent than Kansas State, but you have to be able to out-execute them and that's the bottom line. He has a system that he's built and that's the key. He's been there a while and understands what he needs to do and how he needs to do it. Another big key thing that benefits him is that he understands the recruiting part, how and why those guys can fit at Kansas State."
On how to sell KU over K-State in recruiting:
"You have to find out a little more details about the kid. (You have to find out) what he wants to study and what things are important to him. It's always wanting to find out what two or three things that are priorities to him and what's going to help him make that decision. Then we have to approach and attack that and find out what we have that's advantageous over that institution. We may and we may not, but we have to find out what we do have that is advantageous about it. Most important, it's about the people. They have to get a good feel when they come in and see us, when they talk over the phone with us and when they see us in person. That's always a key ingredient. You have to at least give them an opportunity to get here on the campus, so you have to do a good job of making sure you can get them here. You have to have good people skills and get people here to understand what you're trying to get done."
On this tough stretch of the schedule:
"I don't know if it's the toughest (in the country). I think one of our coaches mentioned to me yesterday that every team we've played so far has been undefeated. That's the way it goes, but we have to go out and play. We're doing some good things and we still have to make some good progress here. That's the way the game is. We have a great conference, and I think that's what it speaks toward. This conference is very good and talented. I'm proud to still be a part of it and I know we're going to be successful here at some point in time."
On opportunity to showcase program against K-State:
"Every game that you play in right now in the Big 12 Conference can speak volumes for our program. As you get the teams that are ranked, it becomes a little bit more visible. I think our guys are ready to play a great ballgame. You have the rivalry, obviously, involved in it, too. Our guys will be ready to play as far as that goes. It's a great opportunity again for us, and our guys will be ready for the challenge."
On stacking box to force K-State to pass:
"They are going to do what they're going to do. Whether you stack it or you don't stack it, they are going to run the football. That's Coach Snyder and what he's done for many years. We just have to do some things that can make them make adjustments and continue for our guys to play fast. We're going to do what we do, too. We're still making some adjustments, trying to make sure we understand our people in our own defensive personnel and how it's going to best fit against certain opponents. So now, you're not into the typical spread offense. They do spread it out some, but they are going to be in that two-back quite a bit. We now have to make a little bit of an adjustment from what we've done in the last two ballgames. We're prepared and we'll put together a great game plan for this game."
On efficiently moving ball:
"You're trying to be efficient every single ballgame. We just know more from an opportunity, as far as they've done, is that you have to make sure on offense, you're going to have to be very good in what you do. More importantly, our defense has to get off the field. We cannot afford to get hurt on special teams. That's the other thing that they've added is that they've done some good things on their special teams. We have to equalize that or make sure we definitely beat it. We cannot lose the special teams' battle so I think that's the edge; you always have to do things, particularly where a team is really controlling the ball. You have to get an edge on special teams."
On senior center Jeremiah Hatch:
"He's fine today. He's all good as far as that goes, very excited to have an opportunity. He still has a little bit of soreness. It was a little bit scary. No doubt he was nervous and all those things about what was taking place when you can't even move your arms. He's ready to go and I'm glad that he is physically going to be alright. I don't think, as far as that goes, there's any danger from that. He's a good football player and definitely done a great job with his leadership skills this season."
Junior wide receiver Kale Pick
On if the rivalry is more important to him since he grew up in Dodge City, Kan.:
"It means a lot to a lot of our guys, but I have been looking forward to this game for a while. Since I'm a Kansas kid, I know quite a bit about this rivalry, so you could definitely say I've been looking forward to this for quite some time."
On what he remembers about the rivalry when he was a kid:
"I remember watching it and remembering how competitive the games were. I have an uncle in Manhattan, so I was over there watching K-State games every once in awhile, then I would come to Lawrence and watch some Kansas games. Knowing both sides of the fence, it's a big game."
On who had to step up when Jeremiah Hatch went down with an injury against Oklahoma:
"I think our whole offense had to step up, especially our offensive line, but they told us that they would be all right. (Junior Offensive Lineman) Trevor (Marrongelli) said he is confident moving to center, and he did a really good job. He ended up being our player of the week, so he did a really good job filling in for us."
Junior offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson
On how he would evaluate the offensive line's performance from Saturday:
"Watching the film, I noticed that we did some really good things, especially in the first half. We were really physical with (Oklahoma), and we were able to make some plays. With (Jeremiah) Hatch going down we needed some guys to step up and make some plays; we have to give some credit to Trevor (Marrongelli) and the rest of the guys on the line, they did a great job."
On what he believes to be the best game he has had at right tackle:
"I think I've been happy with myself consistently improving week-to-week, from the start of the McNeese State game to where we are now, I think I have become a much better player. I'm trying to not be complacent, and I want to improve every week."
On where he thinks he has improved the most:
"I think my run blocking ability, I've been a lot more physical. When the new staff came in, they put a lot more emphasis on the run game, so I'm very happy with where I've improved in that regard."
Freshman linebacker Michael Reynolds
On how it felt getting more playing time:
"It felt great. I've been working real hard to try and get that opportunity to get on the field. My hard work finally payed off."
On the interception he almost had:
"I was really kicking myself because it could have been a big game-changer, but I have to move on and hopefully get another opportunity."
On what he's improved the most since stepping on campus:
"My technique because I didn't have very good technique coming in, so I've been trying to work on that to blend with my speed. It has already helped me a lot."
Junior safety Bradley McDougald
On the rivalry with Kansas State:
"When I first got here I didn't know too much about the rivalry and to me it was just another game. As long as I've been here now, this place is like a second home to me. I've made a lot of close relationships with a lot of guys here. They are like my brothers and so it's not just another game anymore. This is a rivalry and you have to treat it like one."
On the emphasis put on the rivalry:
"It's K-State week. It gets its own week name. It's got a special feel to it. Of course, we have Mizzou at the end of the year, but this is a great mid-season game. It's the next step because we had first game week, and then Big 12 week and now it's K-State week. Everybody's intensity has to rise up this week."
On if the team is already getting intense for the game:
"Of course. The first thing Coach (Turner) Gill said when we met on Sunday was that it's K-State week. We watched film and corrected everything and now it's time to put all our effort and attention into this one game."