Spring Football Press Conference

Below are quotes from Thursday's Spring Football Press Conference.

Head Coach Ron Prince

Opening statement...

"We've had a good time with putting this team together this year, it's been a lot of fun. I'll start out by saying that a lot of credit goes to Mike Kent, our strength coach, for the condition that our team's in right now and the state of mind that they're in. They're having a lot of fun working out. Basically, after our last game he captured the imagination and the hearts of these kids to try and really give them a sense of what a team is supposed to be like and that it's in their power to move forward and make the team whatever they'd like to make it. That's been really valuable for us and we saw progressively throughout the recruiting weekends and on into when we finally reported back in January at the start of the semester, a really positive outlook on what we can accomplish. I've said it before, every year the team has to be reborn. I think that's critical in every circumstance and that's the case this year. None of the things that were positive for us a year ago will cause us to win in the future and none of those things that were less than positive will prohibit us from having anything positive in the future. It's a matter of what we put together now. I think that's a very liberating point of view, particularly for many of these players. I thought it was a real critical aspect with Coach Kent and his staff with the things that they were able to do.

"I've been real proud of the fact that we were able to graduate as many players as we did at mid-year. Many of our players who were on last year's team were able to not only complete their eligibility but graduate. That really allowed us to bring in some players at mid-year that we might not have otherwise been able to do. That really helped our team. It helped having a lot of those young men (mid-year transfers) a year ago, we were able to bring in Gary Chandler and Alesana and both of those young men helped us. This year, we were able to basically add eight guys to the team and that was big from a depth standpoint – to be able to actually practice, to be able to get some legitimate competition and not speculate on what might be in the fall, and also we've had some fun. We've had some fun with these guys and we're really pleased with how they've approached their academic work.

"We feel like with those players that we were able to add at mid-year, we were able to add three people offensively to our team. We were able to add Wade Weibert from (Butler County Community College) who's here working out with the team, is able to practice. We should have some very spirited competition at guard, we think he'll provide some of that. We like the way he's moved around, the way he's done things in workouts to this point. Adrian Hilburn, has been a significant (addition), you can just see how he raises the team speed. I think we have a fast team but he takes it to another level. He's a very good football player that comes from a very good football program, City College of San Francisco. That's what he and Wade have in common, they've won a lot of games, they know how to prepare. They're two veteran players, one's from Texas one's from here, local Kansas kid, so they understand what the Big 12 is about. I've been very pleased that they've come here and haven't acted like newcomers, they've come here and acted like veteran players. That's been a positive thing. Then, Jayson Cuba. Jayson's done a very nice job, he's a young man from Newton (Kan.) who has been in the workouts here – he gray-shirted, so he's enrolled in school doing a nice job. He's going to work at tight end for us. He's a kid who's a big running back or just an athlete, we've been very pleased. We'd like to see him have an opportunity to compete with (Brett) Alstatt and (Jeron) Mastrud. Last year (Michael) Pooschke was a big part of what we did so with him leaving we expect to have some competition for that spot. That's a position that we really took a hard look at and felt like we had to make some strides there. Like a year ago, I was very concerned about the offensive line going into last year. I was concerned about the tight-end situation as much as anything. So inside-linebacker is one of the positions where I would like to see some strides made in the spring and some competition will help that.

"At the corners, we were able to bring Blair Irvin in. Blair is very unusual young man, his story is unusual in that he has had a chance to play baseball at the professional level and he is a married young man and has a child. He is a 23-year-old junior, which is very much a positive. He is a veteran player that has been around. He is still learning the game of football and how to perfect his own craft but from a maturity standpoint has been terrific for that position already. We anticipate him being in the mix to compete and making our corner position better."

Offensive Coordinator Dave Brock

On his new role as offensive coordinator...

"I'm excited to have the opportunity – really looking forward to start spring practice and get the ball rolling and really trying to work on some good things – execution, precision, fundamentals and to get everyone better and on the same page. This is my third opportunity to coordinate; I'm very excited about it. I'm someone who looks forward, not back. I think every challenge is different. I'm excited about the players that we have and the opportunities that we have and looking forward to getting started."

On replacing Jordy Nelson...

"Philosophically, offensively you look to replace production. I don't know that you can replace Jordy Nelson, certainly in the state of Kansas. We need to replace the production that he had and we will look forward to finding the people who will do that."

On what quarterback Josh Freeman has improved on...

"Anytime you have an additional year – he played a full season last year as opposed to basically a half-year the year before – I think (he has improved his) maturity. He is obviously a very talent young man and we are looking forward to him getting better everyday in spring."

On position concerns coming into spring practice...

"I would not categorize anything as a concern. I'm excited about working with the guys to see where everything fits, every year is different; every single year people do different things. Coming out of the 2006 season Jordy had 39 catches and I don't know that anybody would have thought that he had 122 (in 2007). It was a dynamic situation that worded out. We look for somebody else to emerge – I would count on multiple people to emerge. Time will tell."

Defensive Coordinator Tim Tibesar

On the defensive tackle position...

"We are hoping to find a guy that can lock down the middle for us; make teams have a tough time running the ball between the tackles. Ideally you want a guy in there that can warrant a double team but if not, a guy that can make tackles. Last year we had several problems on defense towards the end of the season so I don't think you can narrow it down to this position. Any type of defense that you have, you have to be strong from the inside out and that's what we need to have defensively."

On being in his second season as defensive coordinator...

"We as a staff and a defensive unit are very hungry and humble about where we've got to go. We know we have a lot of improvement over the way we played last year. You don't get into this business without willing to be competitive and wanting to do well."

On key positions being a question mark going into the spring...

"I think they are all open right now. We have got to find out at all eleven positions who are going to be our guys, where we are going to have depth, and where the problem areas are going to be going into the fall."

On how he plans on using Ian Campbell...

"He will probably play with his hand down more than he did last season and we are still going to try to move him around so teams can't zero in on him. He is obviously one of the better players in the Big 12 so we've got to try to take advantage of the things that he can do."

On Josh Moore and Antwon Moore returning...

"Josh (Moore) is a very talented football player. So if he can play at his talent level he can be a great addition to this defense. Antwon (Moore) can certainly bring a physical level as people saw in the first two games. To have him back and his speed that he brings onto the football field will be a great addition to have back."

On the defensive drop-off towards the end of the season...

"We didn't play good defense. There is no other way to put it. As coaches it is our responsibility to get the players to execute at a level that allows us to be successful and that didn't happen. We are excited for the opportunity to go at it again this coming season."

On the defensive scheme...

"It will be a mix just like it was last year. If you look, everybody in the country is mixing what they do on defense. From the west coast to the east coast everybody has got to change it up, because offenses are doing so many different things you have to show them a lot of looks. You have to show the quarterback more than one look."

Senior Linebacker Antwon Moore

On the team this season...

"This team can be great. It's all basically mind, if coach tells us to do something, it's basically up to us. This team has the advantage to become an awesome team. We got the chance and ability to do it so we just got to do it."

On improving from last year...

"Me, I am going to continue being a leader and continue playing my role on the field."

On his health...

"I'm feeling good. I don't really like to comment about how I'm feeling about my knee but I am doing well."

On being perceived as under the radar...

"Being under the radar, I like it. It makes me work harder. It's going to make us work harder as a team. Everybody always doubts K-State. That's going to do nothing but make us a better team. I am going to continue playing my heart out."

Senior Defensive Back Gary Chandler

On having experience...

"Oh yeah. I feel more confident than last year and have another season under my belt. This next year should be a good year for everybody. I'm a senior now so I'm going to have to step up on my leadership role. I'm doing a good job right now, just got to keep it up."

On the team this off-season...

"We're looking pretty good. Obviously I can't spill the beans and let you know what we're doing yet, but we're looking good and just working hard. Everybody's doing a good job in the weight room and on the practice field, we're looking real good."

Junior Quarterback Josh Freeman

On the off-season...

"This off-season has gone extremely well, a lot of the guys have really come out and done their best job to better their situation as far as academically and in the weight room and collectively we all have the mentally of improving. So I feel that this off-season has gone pretty well."

On becoming a better player this off-season...

"It really doesn't come down to me; it comes down to what the whole offense is doing. Coach Brock is our new offensive coordinator and has a different mentality, we are going to try and go after people. Judging by his personality (Brock), the type of players we have coming back and the maturity levels that our team is beginning to show I feel we have a pretty good shot at doing some good things. This off-season has been a really good stepping block to what we want to get to this next season."

On different offensive coordinators...

"Coach Franklin and Coach Brock are two completely different guys. Coach Franklin was more hands on and has a real different personality than coach Brock. Coach Brock is constant maybe more like a military type - everything is precise until you get it done. They are both good coaches; I can't say anything bad about either of them but I am happy that coach Brock is our coordinator."

On new quarterback coach...

"Coach Ruggiero has a done a great job, I feel like my personality and his really fit each other. I am more of a character, and he is more of a straight arrow. He just keeps us in there and going to work."

Sophomore Wide Receiver Lamark Brown

On Coach Dave Brock...

"He really teaches you to go out there and play hard and really attack the opponent. He is really intense at practice but that is just the way he coaches, a lot of guys will get used to that as we go on with the season."

On Coach Prince's motto for the new season...

"It's more of just know that last year's team has nothing to do with what we can do this year. We have a chance to start something fresh and not worrying about the things that happened last year."

On improving this off-season...

"I didn't do so well last year catching the ball and route running. I need to go out there and compete everyday and make the team better in as many ways as I can.


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