To recap last week a little bit, it was one of the most bizarre games I've coached in. We had a lot of careless mistakes and they all resulted in points for Oklahoma State. I don't remember so many bizarre, careless mistakes as I do in that game.
Some of them you don't have an answer for. There's know recourse, there's no solution, there's nothing you could have done before or after that would have changed with the outcome of a couple plays. You've just got to live with it and hope some of those (fluky plays) come around to you sooner or later. But they sure put us in a tough situation.
To think that they had one play that was in our territory in the first half and scored 21 points is bizarre.
Going in and looking at it the way we do and examining, we had a lot of good things happen in that game. We just had a lot of bad things happen as well. The bad things added up to points and our good things didn't end up to enough points.
We had a number of guys on defense who played pretty well. But careless mistakes all the way from the first touchdown, where on film, their tailback is moving at the same time that the guy is in motion. Both of our linebackers stand up, and instead of playing linebacker, decide that they're officials and go, ‘Look he's moving.' About that time, they snapped the ball. Both should have been in the position to make the play, and it goes for a touchdown.
And then not covering a receiver that came in from the sideline legally. Not even seeing him. Only the coaches and the 53,000 people in the stands saw the guy standing there. And they throw it down there for a touchdown. Then Hugh Charles going down and running into the punt returner.
It was one of those days. We've tried to glean as much as we can positively from it, and move on. Fix what we can fix and keep working. That's about what we've done with last week. It's dug us a small hole.
Right now our concern is that Colorado quit beating Colorado. We've beat ourselves twice now, two weeks in a row. That's got to be fixed now. We've got to bring that to an end. Usually it's a combination of detail and focus and attention and study. It's not ever one simple thing. If it was, somebody would come up with an answer and fix it. It's a combination, so we're all busy this week trying to fix our end of it. Coaches are trying to fix our part. Some things, only coaches can fix, and some things only players can fix.
Will it get fixed overnight? No. But at least we can identify and start working on it. That's where we are right now.
On the Iowa State game
This game coming up is two teams who've pretty much had the same kind of year. Statistically, we're about the same. They're playing the rush better than we are. They're second in the conference in the run, but statistically in just about everything else we're just about the same.
As I told our team: There's a team in Ames saying, ‘Oh, good, we get to play Colorado.' And there's a team in Colorado saying, ‘Oh, good, we get to play Iowa State.' In reality, both teams are wrong if that's the way they're thinking.
We've got to worry about ourselves, our mistakes. We've got to concentrate on Colorado this week, and that's what we're going to concentrate on.
Iowa State's a better team than they were last year, better on offense, better on defense. A little better on special teams. Last year was an easy game for us. It's not going to be that way this year unless we can fix some things, and unless we can focus on Colorado and avoid making the kind of mistakes we made last week.
I don't think you'll see a lot of changes. We're probably going to be a little simpler on defense. I think we're going to continue to be the way we were in the second half against Oklahoma State. Well, not just in the second half. We're going to involve Lawrence Vickers and get our tight ends involved, disperse the ball around the way we did.
On the play of Blake Mackey
I was really pleased with Blake Mackey's game. It was good to see him step up and make some great plays. He didn't just make a couple good plays, he made some great plays.
We'll keep pushing and expanding and trying to find guys who will make plays and encourage them to make plays, and give them confidence to make plays. We've got to just keep working at that.
Lawrence has certainly taken advantage of his opportunity. That's a pretty good day he had. We look to continue to get him involved in the game like that.
Q: You said after the game that you're on the edge of being a good team. Do you still feel that way?
Gary Barnett: Yeah, I really do. I said to our team yesterday, ‘I don't know what this is, but I just feel like we're a better team than we're playing like. I feel like we should be a better team than we're playing like right now.'
This is still a team that's fun for me to coach. I love this team. They practice hard and they listen. We just made some careless mistakes. Hopefully, we've made them all in one game. This team tends to learn from those, and I hope they will.
We're extremely young in the secondary, and when you make a mistake in the secondary, it usually results in pints and everybody sees it. When you make a mistake in the offensive line, instead of getting four yards, you get two yards and everybody goes,' Shoot, I wish we had gotten two more yards.'
Those guys in the secondary play a tough position and we put a lot on them. We've got to give them every bit of help we can, and some of it is maybe making it simpler, and maybe being patient and giving them the time that they need, and making sure they know we believe in them.
Q: You don't feel like you're getting physically beaten or out-matched?
GB: No, I certainly don't. I don't feel like there's a game where we've been out-matched. We've had two other teams play better than we did. And that's the way it should be. One team should win because they play better, not because they outman the other team.
Q: What is Joel Klatt's status?
GB: Joel, I believe, is going to practice today. He felt pretty good this morning. I think he'll be close to full speed.
Q: Lawrence Vickers talked today about working on having a more uptempo offense. Can you expand on that?
GB: I do think that we felt like in the seoncd half, we were in more fast ball, more no huddle. We felt like we could have taken advantage of conditioning and the altitude a little better than we did. We did do it in the second half. There were a number of Oklahoma State players who were cramping. It slowed the game down a little bit. But it did look as though conditioning could have played to our side. Maybe we could have used it a little better earlier.
Q: You said Lawrence is making the most of his opportunity. What makes him a special player?
GB: His passion for the game. He's got great ability, but he just loves to play the game. He loves to play the game — every aspect of it. He loves the physical nature of it, he likes the finesse of it, the team part of it. He's just a really good football player.
Q: Is it good to have a player like that?
GB: Yeah, Lawrence is very, very valuable. The fact that he can go to tailback or fullback. When Bobby's healthy, we've got both of them back there. We've got a pretty good situation, I think.
Q: Any word on J.J. Billingsley's surgery?
GB: J.J.'s having surgery this afternoon.
Q: Did your offensive line take a step forward last week?
GB: I think that our offensive line, I think it's like our team. It's really close to being really effective. While I don't know that any of our offensive linemen made Victory Club last week, we had three defensive linemen make it.
They're all really close. Patience is really a key for this team from my end of it. I just feel like we're getting closer and closer and closer to being a really good football team.
Q: Are you still undecided what your going to do with James Cox and Joel Klatt?
GB: No, I've decided what I'm going to do with Cox and Klatt. And when it's appropriate, I'll let you know.
Q: Is Bernard Jackson ready to go?
GB: Bernard's going to get some work this week. More than he did last week. I think he'll be close. We'll see how much strength he has today, but he did practice yesterday. He practiced some last week in blue, no contact. So he'll be pretty close.
Q: You've got one team to worry about, but in the Big 12 North are their about five teams on the edge like you?
GB: I think you're right. We're all sitting there about the same. Call it parity, or five average teams, or whatever you want to call it. We're all sitting there and, I can't speak for the other clubs whether they're making progress or not, but ours is.
Q: Sometimes an early start kind of zaps some of the home field energy. Is that at all a concern (with Saturday's 11:30 a.m. kickoff)?
GB: I don't think it'll hurt us as a team. We can't control what kind of energy is out there with the fans. We can't go in each week relying on it. This is one of those things where we've got to take care of us, and we've got to do the right thing for us.
I don't think we've had two times where we've started at the same time all year. The guys love playing night games. Guys absolutely love it. But then there's a handful who like playing the early games too.
That can't be an issue to our team right now. We've got a lot more issues that are a lot more important than whether it's at 11:30 in the morning or 9:30 at night.
Q: What do you look for from Iowa State?
GB: They run a spread offense. They run a lot of option to keep you out of pressures. They trade quarterbacks in and out of there. They've got a kid who's thrown a touchdown in every game except the last one, and he's just a freshman.
Both quarterbacks are running quarterbacks, so you've got to defend the quarterback. You've got to defend the quarterback and the vertical game. They play four side outs and send them all over the place. It's a wide open attack. It just means that we probably have to play more nickel than we really would want to.
Defensively, they've been stingy against the run. People have hurt them in the pass game. A lot of zone pressures, much like Missouri did.
Q: Have you had a chance to follow Chris Brown this year?
GB: I actually was watching doing punt coverage last night on my computer, and had (the Tennessee – Green Bay game) on with no sound. I happened to catch his first three or four runs. I hadn't followed him much until then, but I knew he was doing well.
You beam like a proud father when that happens. He looked good.
Q: What kind of a difference would Jeremy Bloom have made to this team?
GB: Just pure speculation, we don't have anybody who can run as fast as Jeremy, or probably can make somebody miss the way Jeremy can. So immediately, I would say we'd have a few more yards in the punt return, and we'd probably have a few more throws down the field, probably would have run a few more reverses.
Q: Where has the defense improved from a year ago?
GB: We're better up front, we're better at the linebacker spot. Our whole front seven — we're better there.
Q: If Cox ends up playing Saturday, does your offense change at all?
GB: No. You could play any one of those three guys and it wouldn't change at all.