Post Practice Interviews

Inaugural Texas Bowl or not, The Cats are not content just to go bowling- they want to win it. "I just want to make sure they don't lose their focus and that we're here to do a job," said Ian Campbell following Tuesday's practices. Josh Freeman, Ian Campbell, James Johnson and Nick Stringer talk about the game and what it means to them personally.

Kansas State Head Coach Ron Prince

(on RB James Johnson)
"One of the things that was really impressive to me about James was, I had a chance to go to see him on an official visit last year, and to see his home, to go into Port Arthur and meet all the people in the community and see what James Johnson means to that community and his family, obviously, was very touching. James has shown tremendous class so for him to be able to contribute in the way he has and be able to jump in there and be such an impact in some of those games, the Texas game, and so many others, I've been very proud of his effort."

(on having WR Yamon Figurs back)
"I think that will be significant in the game for us. Having him back is getting more than just a wide receiver. He's been a terrific punt cover guy for us, he's been as dominant as you can be in that for a bulk of the season. As a returner, obviously, he gives us quite a spark and kick returner. So yeah, he's a very good receiver and he had a great game in that Texas game and had real impact, but I'm seeing his impact has more far-reaching than just on offense."

(on conference pride)
"Rutgers is college football in 2006. They're the story, no question. Coach Schiano is the National Coach of the Year for a reason. I'm not surprised by the success that they've had. I've been able to watch it for a while and how they put the team together. Coach Schiano is a tough guy, he's got tough guys on his team.
Everything they've done this year is realy no surprise to me. New Jersey is to the Big East and the ACC in recruiting to what Texas is to the Big 12. They have some of those similarities in recruiting and they're sitting in a hot bed. They have a lot of good players at their fingertips there and I'm sure he's going to continue to collect them.
Our whole team with playing a team like this is that this will be our fifth ranked team that we will have played this year. We're really proud of the fact that we play that type of competition, quite often in our conference. I think there will be some regional understanding of where we've come from this year and where we're trying to got and we'll our very best."

(on getting down to Texas where he likes to recruit)
"This has been very important to us. When the pairings were matched, the only word I could use was perfect. You're deep here in the heart of football, USA. For this conference, this is really a hotbed. So many of these players have been contacted and influenced by what happens here. More importantly to be in an NFL city, an NFL venue and to be on the NFL Network and have the opportunity to really spread the word of K-State football nationally, you're always looking for those sort of opportunities in the bowl season.
Any time you have the chance to have your brand behind those talking heads on television, that can mean so many things for the future and even right now so our obligation is to go out in the game and play well, and to win. We're not just encouraged to be in the postseason, we're excited about the bowl. We're really excited about the opponent. We think this will be a great chance for us. We anticipate playing well and winning the game."

(on having extra time with his freshman quarterback)
"You can imagine that having a freshman quarterback doing this for the first time what that's like. I anticipate him playing well and that would be very positive for us. One of things we wanted to do was improve our play and extend it to this part of the year. All of the best teams in college football play deep into December or January and that's how they continue to develop in the future so we're real hopeful that it will play dividends. We think it has."

(on how good QB Josh Freeman will get)
"I think Josh has a very bright future . He can make all the throws. He has the right make up, the physical make up, all those things and really the people around him just need to play well. I think that's one of the things, when you start evaluating quarterbacks, is the cast of characters around them. He can't throw the ball and go out there and catch. That's really the message we've had for him all season. Go out there and play well if you can.
Get us to a close game in the fourth quarter, see if you can win it for us. That will continue to be the way we play. We're balanced, not just with the run and pass, but with the type of runs and passes that we use.

(on Freeman's play in the Texas game)
"I thought he played a real nice game at Iowa State and Colorado. I think there was a couple of weeks there. That's what we're trying to say, that there was a trend. Every now and then you are going to have those bumps in the road. I take responsibility for the way we played. We could have played better. We had turnovers that contributed to points for the opponent and it's very difficult to win when you do that. As long as we have a performance when we don't turn the ball over, I like our chances."

(on Freeman being like Vince Young or Troy Smith, a "foundation block")
"I'm not going to make that kind of comparison with Vince; I think we can all see that he is very special. Josh is just at the beginning of his career. He's a true freshman. He's contributed quite a bit to our program. Everything that we do now is based off him and everything will come with an extra dimension, we think the future is bright."

(on how motivated the team is)
"These seniors were a part of the 2003 Big 12 Championship team and they just had the mentality that they wanted to get back to the postseason this year. I think the kids are excited to be here, we're excited about the opponent, the venue is perfect for us, an NFL city, deep in the heart of where we like to recruit and all those things that go with it, our kids are very excited. We're happy to be in the Texas Bowl and we think it's a great chance to get our eighth win."

(on following a legend in Bill Snyder)
"It's been what I expected. The opponent is always challenging, that hasn't changed, whether it's Florida State or Texas, they're all very good teams and you have disappointments. Sometimes against a certain opponent, you're disappointed when you don't play well. That doesn't change. The job is the job when you're the coach. It's just a different job than I've had in the past in a different organization that someone else was doing. I had a great mentor. We had great expections. Our expectation was to be in the Big 12 Title Game, it didn't happen, but we are in the postseason and we're going to make the most of it."

Kansas State DE Ian Campbell

(on being a leader)
"The younger players do a really good job of emulating everything that we do. I'm not necessarily the oldest guy on the team, but I've been around for a while. I just want to make sure they don't lose their focus and that we're here to do a job. The coaches have done a really good job of keeping us focused, but we also have our fair share of having fun. That's what football's about, having fun."

(on stopping Ray Rice)
"We're not necessarily going to do anything differently on defense. Ray Rice is a phenomenal running back. I think he's one of the best in the country. We'll have to step up our game, obviously. We won't change much schematically. As far as ourselves and how we play, we'll have to be a little tougher and ready to play."

Kansas State RB James Johnson

(on leaving Texas to play at Kansas State)
"I'm happy with where I'm at. There are some great people out here at Kansas State, great coaches, I'm happy with my decision."

(on Rutgers' defense)
"They have a good, quick defense, similar to ours. If we can control our assignments, we should be good."

(on the turning point in the season)
"I think after the Oklahoma State game, I finally got into shape. I didn't get to go to spring ball because I needed some classes to graduate, but after the Oklahoma State game I finally got into shape."

Kansas State C Nick Stringer

(on the team's emotions with the game two days away)
"As we get closer and closer to the game you get pumped. We have a great opponent and we're trying to raise our level of focus and commitment."

(on coach Prince's message at the end of practice)
"Just that we need to come out and play well in a game we've been looking for all season, playing in the postseason. It's our chance to win another game."

(on his first season)
"I think it was good. It could have a been a lot better, but you are always critical of yourself. I think it was alright. There were a couple of setbacks but there is plenty to build on for next season."

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