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Kansas Football 2013: Weis Reflects on West Virginia, Looks Ahead to Iowa State

Kansas Football 2013: Weis Reflects on West Virginia, Looks Ahead to Iowa State

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas Head Coach Charlie Weis
Opening Statement:
"I have a lot of respect for Coach (Paul) Rhoads and I know Saturday night is going to be a tough task. We're going up to Ames, and it's going to be a chilly night. They have a great crowd up there, it'll be raucous and it'll be senior night and they've had some tough losses, especially at home this year. They have a tough loss against Texas and a tough loss against TCU. Almost every week there's a lot of similar patterns that I see his year, where they've been close in game for quite some time, like they had Oklahoma in the ropes for a half last week, and gave up some big plays. I think coach Rhoads is the lifeline in that place, grew up ten minutes away and you can see that the team plays with the same toughness that he has. I have a lot of respect for Iowa State, and I know when I look at their defense and their middle linebacker who's making plays all over the place, reminds me of Ben Heeney. I watch him play and I watch Heeney play, and they look like copy-cat versions. At the end of the day, I think we have a tough task, but this would be another major hurdle for our program if we can get up there to Ames and come out of there with a win I think that would do wonders for us going forward. On that note, I'll open it up for questions.

On Iowa State's offense being fourth in the nation in scoring percentages in the red zone:
"Their offense is fairly proficient, to tell you the truth. I think they're a ground to pound type of team. They're still averaging over 20 points a game, I don't think they've shown big fire power but I think they're very proficient getting down there and that's showed up."

On if Iowa State's offense is similar to Kansas':
"Their offensive line is one of the more athletic groups. I wouldn't say they're the strongest because there have been teams with more size, but there one of the more athletic groups up front with their offensive line. I think we're more of a try to play the physical group, especially after we put Riley (Spencer) in at left tackle and we went more with girth than the other direction. I wouldn't exactly say they're exactly the same. I think their offensive line is the mainstay, or the cornerstone, of their offense, to tell you the truth."

On coming off a win rather than coming off a loss:
"We haven't experienced it that many times since I've been here but it's really easy to bring them back to earth on Sunday. Because they just enjoyed the game and they feel good about themselves, but now you can be overly critical of some things that you would now be overly critical of. Now my sarcasm will be at an all-time high here today because anything they do wrong - I can already hear me now: "Oh you win one game and all of a sudden that's the way it's going to be?" I've sent texts to the team about taking this and running with it, vs. being complacent. I told you last week my juice level was high, and I think it'll be higher this week because I'll be looking for any signs. I'll probably go overboard even when there's not a sign I'll probably create one just to make sure we drive it to them, let's take this and run with it, let's turn this into a positive, let's not turn this into being satisfied with finally winning a game."

On the leaders encouraging them to continue the run:
"It's the coaches, captains and leadership committee, I expect between the assistant coaches and the captains and the leadership committee. And it goes beyond that because there are guys who aren't on the leadership committee that have now assumed roles of leadership as the year goes on. Take a guy like Ben Goodman, even though he's not a senior, he's one of those guys who have been playing all year long and is kind of taking some people along with him."

On Saturday's weather:
"Here's the problem that both teams have in both Lawrence and in Ames, it's going to be a little cooler there than here, but both places during the week, it will be significantly warmer during the week than on game day. It'll actually be winder than it ends up being by kickoff time. And you can't simulate a drop of 20 degrees or whatever it ends up being. The high for the day now is in the low 20s, with the low being around seven, so you figure if the sun goes down before five o'clock, you're playing at seven o'clock, then the odds are by kickoff it's probably going to be in the low teens, with wind chill which is supposed to be a little under 15 miles-per-hour. It's definitely going to be in the single digits, it's going to be chilly but they're going through the same thing because it's not getting colder there until Friday evening. So the same Wednesday, Thursday, Friday pattern that we have, they're going through the same thing. I'll address it one time and it will be at the end of practice today. That's the only time I'll bring it up. I'll address it and say, "Look fellas, this is the way it's going to be and this is the last time I'll talk about it. You already know this is the way it's going to be." I told the assistant coaches I don't want one word said about what the temperature is going to be, and I said I will address it one time and it will be on Tuesday after practice."

On the weather affecting the game plan:
"Wind affects game plans a lot more than cold. Cold doesn't usually change a game plan dramatically, rain doesn't change a game plan dramatically, snow doesn't change game plan dramatically unless there's a lot accumulating on the field. Wind changes a game plan dramatically.

On if the team will be more excited about playing at 7 p.m. under the lights:
"(Iowa State) will be; it's senior night at home. They'll like it; the crowd will be geared up and ready to go. Players love it, the coaches absolutely hate it. We're just polar opposites. An 11 o'clock game? I'd take it every game. Now I don't know what fans like, they probably like something in between. They probably like the afternoon game. Don't have to get up too early and get home earlier. As players, I know they always like playing night games."

On Montell Cozart's performance on Saturday:
"The problem a lot of the time with young guys, they don't know how to do that. There are guys that you actually have to teach how to slide and teach how to dive. He's been pretty quick on the pickup where you say, "Don't take the hit." Now there's times when you take the hit, if it's third down and two and you have to dive to get a first down vs. tacking a hit, there are a few times where you've got to risk your body, but for the most part, what he did was listening to Ron (Powlus) and realizing that there's a time to take a hit and a time to do all you can to avoid one."

On the offense playing more like Baylor on Saturday:
"It fit more with the quarterback that was playing. Look, there's different ways to approach each games, but basically we sat down last weekend and watched all their games and sat there and kept watching and they had scored 56 by half time and could have scored 100. They called off the dogs. They scored 70, but really they were nice only scoring 70. Now, I'm not saying we have Baylor's players, but you sit there and watch this, and what was the key component? You knew Montell was going to start. With him starting, the more the field is spread, the more opportunities you have when you have him playing quarterback."

On how Montell Cozart acted after the victory:
"I think quarterbacks are very careful not to overstep their bounds. Montell might be a young guy, but he's a natural leader by trade. He's not going to try to be the leader when Jake is the leader when Jake is playing. As I told you a few weeks ago, Jake has been at encouraging when you're out there, it's your team out there. Once you get a game like that under your belt, I think that it helps you. Now you go into the huddle and you feel more in command, where the players are waiting to listen to you and ready to follow you."

On if it is hard to teach young quarterbacks to not throw deep:
"They all want to throw the touchdown pass, so they all want to throw it deep. What's a little harder is to take the shorter route, rather than throw the deep route. Like when you have different levels, if they had their druthers they would always be throwing the deep route if they had the opportunity. But, we didn't throw it that many times in the game. I'm just using that one example right there because, like I said, you call the play where you're running an under and over, and you look at one guy, then they double this guy and you throw to that guy or they double this guy and the other guy is uncovered. Well, the next time that happens you can bet that he'll read the right guy and he'll throw it to the right guy because like anything else, usually when you experience it and you see it, the next time it happens you've got it."

On if a victory gives Cozart more respect from his teammates:
"It helps a lot. Probably the best thing that happens, I hate to say it because it sounds like a negative, Jake, how he handles Montell has been one of the biggest blessings we've dealt with because he's pushed him. It's like he's pushing him and pushing him even though it's your job he's taking. He pushed him to let that come out of him. The players around want to follow, like you were saying, and when you've won the game they want to follow you more. The good things happen in the game, they want you to have the ball in your hands, they want you out there. I think that's definitely something to grow on."

On how big the victory was for the older guys in the program:
"That's what I talked to the team about after the game. I said for all you guys that have been here for five years, who are on the John Belushi plan to be in college for so many years, that's who I was the happiest for. You go through all of these coaching changes and all of these losses on top of it. The combination of the instability and everyone getting on you and telling you how crummy you are and all that other stuff right there, you're showing up and working just as hard as everybody else in America is, if not harder. Even though there hasn't been a bunch of rewards, a game like Saturday was so good to look in their faces, I mean it was so good. To see the absolute joy, this wasn't just a happy that they won, it was joy. One of them described it as a kid on Christmas day, that's what it looked like. Seriously, that's what it looked like. It looked like kids on Christmas day."

On what makes Connor Embree good:
"First of all, he has really good hands. He catches everything. Second of all, he makes really good decisions. And third, he can make the first guy miss. Those three things are the most important things for a punt returner, being able to catch it, making good decisions, and being able to make the first guy miss. That's what he can do. His shiftiness, he'd like to say his quickness. I tell him that there's nothing quick about you. I call it his shiftiness. He'll show a leg one way and they'll go for that. He's really good at contorting his body in such a way where they thing they have him but they don't."

On Cozart and the passing game:
"We only threw it 12 times. We had a couple other passes called that he scrambled for good production that I call hidden yardage. I think that it's not a question of whether Montell can throw the ball and I think he'll get better and better because he has all the tools to be a successful passer. But, when you're in a game like that, and you're running for over 300 yards, and the linemen are controlling the line of scrimmage, why throw it? It just doesn't make any sense. Him running for 60 yards was just as important as him throwing for 60 yards because the game was won at the line of scrimmage. Obviously James Sims had a lot to do with us winning the game, but the line of scrimmage had a lot to do with it on both sides. That's where the game was won."

On if Damon Martin is turning the corner:
"I think he's turned the corner. I said to people recently that have asked, Damon was never a question of whether he had ability because he's one of the strongest guys we have. His question was his consistency because there were a lot of times he'd look really good and a lot of times he'd look really bad. But, as this year has gone on, he's eased into it. He's become a swing guard, playing left guard and right guard. Eventually he became one of the best two and right now he's kind of tough to take out because he's playing so well. We go each week and try to figure out who's playing the best and Damon was playing better than Smithburg. The answer is it's a combination of both of them."

On if Kansas turned the corner more against Louisiana Tech or more last Saturday:
"No, I don't think we turned the corner that day. I thought that that was an indicator that we were ready for that, but obviously we weren't ready for that. I'd say during the next span of week our defense had game good enough for us to win. Not every game. But some games good enough to win. But, I think that knowing how to play complimentary football for our team, sort of like how Iowa State plays, they play complimentary football. When things go right they win, and when they don't, they lose. Or, a game ends up being really close. I think we've learned how to work this together and it's made us better. I told you all along that I thought we'd be playing best at the end of the year and I usually don't just make idol comments. I usually think that they are going to turn out that way. I've said let's just see how it all plays out and hopefully we've got two more opportunities to make some progress and hopefully that's the way it all plays out."

On Gavin Howard:
"It's kind of funny when you think of Gavin. Here's a 4.0 student. It's really tough to be a 4.0 student if you're not playing football. But, throw on top of it the time requirements that it takes to play football on top of it and to be successful playing football and being a great student, that's a great compliment. So if he wants to go out there and talk trash on the field so be it. Sign me up. Normally it's not the offensive linemen talking trash, normally it's the defensive linemen talking trash. That's the nature of the position. It was kind of fun to watch when one of the offensive guys was right there with them. It's kind of fun to watch."