Buffs Look to Recharge Their Batteries

Colorado head coach Gary Barnett spoke to members of the Big 12 media Monday morning as part of the weekly coaches teleconference. Barnett said he's giving his Buffaloes more time off prior to the beginning of bowl practices than usual, hoping that will help recharge their batteries. Also, senior quarterback Joel Klatt may have played his final collegiate game after suffering a concussion in the loss to Texas.

Barnett began the session talking about CU's bid to play Clemson in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando Dec. 27.

Gary Barnett: It's a great location for us, the Champs with the Citrus Bowl committee that puts on the games down there. I've had a chance to coach in the Citrus Bowl once before. It's a tremendous experience for our players. They do such a great job of organizing those games. They do a great job for your fans and your players.

We're playing a tremendous football team. A team that's probably just one or two plays away from being one of the top 10 teams in the country.

We've got to get our energy back. I'm going to give our team a good period of time off before we start preparing and starting getting ready for (Clemson). It'll be a great challenge, especially in light of having three straight losses and having to bounce back. But I think we'll have our energy back after we get a little rest, and we'll be OK.

I know our guys will be anxious about heading in that direction. I'll talk with them today (Monday afternoon). Of course, it'll be a challenge for our coaches and our players, but that's what the game is about.

Like I said, we'll look forward to it and hopefully we'll get some fans to go down there with us.

Q: You kind of touched on it, but what is the first step to getting the players over the hangover from end of the season?
Gary Barnett:
The first thing is just rest, and let them recharge their batteries a little bit, and get them excited about playing again. I'm going to take more time off (for players) than I've ever taken in a bowl game. Hopefully, that'll help. And just being around each other today and talking through it a little bit will help. That's the first step.

Q: Based on the demeanor following the Texas game, did you sense these kids are going to be resilient? Did you sense anything different as opposed to any other time during the season?
No, I didn't sense anything different. I think our team's just worn out. We've been through a lot in the last two years, and we've just run out of juice. We've got to replenish that and get our focus back.

Our coaches and our players have gone through a whole bunch. And for them to come out of there with two division championships in those two years after everything we've been put through is a tremendous statement about these young people and their coaches.

Maybe I'm the only one that gets to say that, but that's the way it feels.

Q: Do you have a report on Joel Klatt? Will he be back and ready for the bowl game?
That's going to be maybe even a game day decision. We're going to act as if we're not going to have Joel. We'll start preparing our guys as if we're not going to have him. He's safe, but he's nowhere near being cleared to play at this point in time.

Q: I guess that means James Cox would be the starter?
Probably so. We'll work James and Brian White and Bernard Jackson at that position and get them ready.

Q: There were some comments from your players after the game about Texas making blitzes when they were up by such a large margin in the third quarter. Looking back on that, do you have any complaints about…
I have no comment about that.

Q: When you played in the bowl game in Houston last year against UTEP, did you feel like you got any tangible benefits in recruiting from that?
Oh yeah. We absolutely did. We only signed one kid from Texas last year (Marcus Burton), and we signed him I think because he came to a (bowl) practice and watched. And he ended up playing for us as a freshman.

Q: How many coaches do you ordinarily have recruiting in Texas?
We put five coaches down there.

Q:: What exactly has changed about Joel's condition since he got back? Is there anything else that showed up in tests? Or was it more of a serious concussion than you originally believed?
Well, I think it was always considered a serious concussion. I just saw Joel today. There isn't any way you could say he's going to be ready to play after seeing him today. He's still got a headache. He can't do a lot of things. That'll totally be Joel and the doctors' call, not mine. We'll just wait and see how things progress. This is just two days afterwards and I'm sure he's probably at his very worst right now, feeling his very worst. I'll just leave it up to our medical staff.

Q: Is he able to go to class today?
He just came by. I don't know if he's going to class or been to class or what. I think we told him to go home and get to bed.

Q: Are you familiar at all with the new K-State coach, Ron Prince?
I am. I interviewed Ron, I think three or four years ago for the offensive line job. I was really impressed with him. At the time I thought he was a little young and knew that he needed a little more experience coming from Cornell. I followed him when he went with Al to Virginia, and obviously they've done a great job there.

I thought he was really impressive in person. I knew he was from right there in Junction City and had a history with K-State and that part of the country. So I thought he had a lot going on. A very bright young man.

Q: Some believe he's still too young to be a head coach. What are some of the inherent problems with that?
(Laughs) He has no idea. And I couldn't begin to tell him what they all were going to be. The first thing I would tell him is be careful with what you say. I've told every young guy that's come in to be a head coach, that's the first words out of my mouth, always be careful with what you say to your team.

Q: Is this job at K-State tougher now because of some of the recruiting restrictions as far as use of private planes and …
You're talking to somebody who doesn't have a lot of sympathy for somebody else's recruiting restrictions. We're way above everybody else with recruiting restrictions here. It's strangling, almost. But I don't know whether that's a tougher job or not because of some of those things. I don't think a private plane means a whole lot in the recruiting process. Lots of us have done it for years without it.

I think those problems are just whatever you make them. They're as minimal as you want to make it, or as magnified and as large as you chose to make it. It is what it is and you've just got to go about your business and make it work.

Q: If Joel does not play and Cox starts, does that put Brian White as backup and Bernard Jackson as third?
That's it right now on Monday. It could change though. It depends on what we do in practice and how we structure practice and how much competition we create at that position.

Q: Did you think after the game that he might not be able to play in the bowl game?
We knew that it was a very severe hit and injury at the time. We were just fortunate that it didn't break his jaw and fortunate that the CAT scan was normal. Again, all I know is I couldn't play him today. I couldn't get him on the field, or in a plane today. So who knows what it will be like down the road. We'll leave it up to our medical staff to make those decisions.

Q: Will you have guys on the road recruiting now?
We're out now. We'll be out for the next two weeks.

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