We didn't spend a lot of time looking at Texas as a team. We did as a staff, but we jest decided that we need to look forward and not spend much time looking back at what happened.
As a staff we can tell what we did wrong, and we need to correct those things, but we didn't spend a lot of time showing our guys the Texas film. We just didn't see a need to do it. We decided by position — some guys did and some guys didn't. But we did not sit down and make a big deal about it.
What we've got to concentrate on is what we can do now, and look forward to what can happen.
Against Texas, we hung on for a while, and then we just couldn't make any plays. And I'm not sure why. I can't put my finger on that.
Again, all of our efforts are going toward Kansas now and the opportunities that are out there for us. One thing we've got to be careful of, is we have got to look at Kansas as the only team we're playing, and that's the only team we can be concerned about.
Kansas is a good team and they always play us tough. It's always a good, hard-fought game. They're a team that is really dangerous on offense because they do so many things, they've got so many weapons. Statistically it doesn't show, but I know our defensive coaches feel like John Randle's probably the second-best back that they're gonna face after Cedric Benson.
At quarterback, they're gonna start No. 8, Jason Swanson. He moves really well, so we expect more option out of them. Quarterback runs, draws, those sort of things. He made a couple big throws in the K-State game to beat Kansas State. They've been trying to bring him along, so now with the other kid hurt they're going to play him. We've got to get ready for him. He's a little different quarterback than Adam Barmann.
Defensively, they've really impressed me. For the last two years now they've steadily improved on defense. They're really sound, they really tackle well, and make very few mistakes. They make you earn everything. You don't make big plays against them. You have to take the ball and drive it, sustain it and keep possession of it.
This is what we haven't done, so that's our challenge — to be that kind of team. Kansas, statistically on defense, is right in the middle of the pack. Much higher than we are.
Practice this week is critical. We've got to have a good day today and tomorrow.
For us, the key to winning the game is being able to move the ball against their defense. And then not getting caught up in all the options. There's a lot of smoke and mirrors with this offense, a lot of trick plays. We've just got to be really sound.
I think that we're making considerable progress in our secondary. That group has steadily improved every week. Now we've just got to be more disciplined.
Special teams, John Torp and the punting game is leading the nation in net punting. And he's second in the country in punting. He's doing a great job. We need to get Mason Crosby back involved a little bit.
This is a three game season. We always try to play our best football in November. We have a saying, "They remember what you do in November."
Q: Outside of Oklahoma, all of Kansas' losses seem to be really close. Is there something that you see where they just can't get over the hump?
Gary Barnett: The defense has kept them in every game. They played three quarterbacks last week. I imagine at it like they just need to settle down a little bit and go with one guy.
This particular quarterback is a JC transfer and they're probably just now getting comfortable with him. You worry about a team getting to that point, especially as steady as their defense has played.
Q: How improved are they from a year ago?
GB: Defensively they're considerably improved. They're playing the same scheme, the same coaches. Those kids are a year older; it's a real senior-laden team. But they're just really solid players.
They play a scheme that doesn't give up the big play, they're a bend-don't-break scheme. You never fool them, you never get them out of position. They're deadly on screen passes; they have a sense about screen passes.
Q: Can you start to see Mark Mangino's imprint on their team?
GB: I think so. I don't worry too much about Mangino, I'm more worried about our imprint.
But Kansas plays hard every snap. Last year I felt that way. The year before when we played there, I went into their locker room (after the game) because I was so impressed with how hard they played every minute. That's the way they're playing now. You turn the film on and the first thing you say is, "Man, those guys play hard."
Q: How do you move the ball against them? Do you change what you do on offense?
GB: No, we can't change. We've got to get better at what we do. You can't do much changing; if you can add one new play a week, that's pretty significant. We've just got to get better at what we do and try and find different ways to do it.
Q: How do you free up the running game?
GB: We had no running game last week. We've got to get it going and be a balanced team. While we knew we needed to throw it a little last week, we didn't want to have to throw it as much as we did. The way the game was going, we shot ourselves in the foot and we couldn't get any rhythm going in the first half. We got a little bit in the second half, but not enough.
Q: When a team sees a tape of the Texas game — particularly what their defense did against you — does Kansas try and incorporate some of the things that worked?
GB: Texas did a couple things to us they hadn't done all year that caused us problems. I'm sure Kansas will play to that a little bit. On the other side of it, you've got to figure the team that had it done to them is going to fix it. You can't wholesale it out, but you do add a wrinkle or two.
Q: Did anything Texas used resemble what Kansas does on defense?
GB: A little bit. Kansas has got it's own flavor. Texas does it with a different group of guys. The strength of the Texas defense was their linebackers. Kansas is pretty balanced. There's not an area you go pick out right away. But I'm sure they'll incorporate a couple things.
Q: Any update on injuries?
GB: Bobby is pretty much the same week to week. He'll go out in blue today, no contact. He'll run around and we'll see what he can do by Saturday.
Q: What do you need from your offensive line?
GB: Confidence. That's the big thing. We just need to be confident. We don't have to dominate line of scrimmages, just control it and give (the offense) a chance. We need to be what we think we can be.
Q: What percentage does Bobby Purify have to be health-wise to be more effective than the other backs like Lawrence Vickers or Hugh Charles or Daniel Jolly? GB: I do think we need to rest him a little bit more during the games. We need to spell him a little. And we've got to get some fresh legs in there, and take a look at Lawrence or some of the young guys if we can.
Q: Are young players more susceptible to the emotional roller coaster in a season like this?
GB: Absolutely. Young players are always more susceptible to that. They're also more susceptible to listening to the outside world. There are so many more things now that they listen to and read than there were 10 years. It comes down to who they're listening too. When you've only got a few seniors, it makes it more difficult.
Q: What was the mood of the team when you met with them Monday?
GB: Real somber.
Q: How difficult is it to keep Lawrence Vickers and Joe Klopfenstein involved in the offense from week to week?
GB: Some games it's easier to involve them than others. It's amazing how you go into each game trying to involve them, and things happen to where you can't do it. Sometimes you don't have any control over it. You think you do in your plan, but the way things go sometimes you just can't get to it, or they've got an answer for it. Or everything tells you to go the other way with the ball.
Those sort of things happen. You're constantly trying to involve those guys. We realize that when we do get those guys involved, we're a better team. But so does the other team. They pay a lot of attention to those two guys.
Q: Is Vickers the main guy when you rest Bobby now?
GB: Well, I think we need to play the two freshmen a little bit, as well. But we need to play Vickers too.