Photo By Steven Chapman

Choice Cuts: Kansas Week

Texas Tech receiver Dylan Cantrell (pictured above), safety Jah'Shawn Johnson, offensive lineman Baylen Brown and linebacker Luke Stice met with local media following practice on Monday. Senior writer Joe Yeager, who was on-hand, breaks down what was discussed.

Dylan Cantrell

On Areas of Emphasis over Bye Week: "Be more physical in the run game. I think we did a good job of that against Arizona State, kind of fell off against Louisiana Tech, the run game, being more physical. So that's the biggest thing, just getting after it."

On Kingsbury's Statement that the Offensive Performance against KU Last Season Was Very Disappointing: "That's one of the games we went into too confident and we didn't give 'em a whole lot of credit, which we should. We need to approach every game like they're the number one team in the country, and so it's gonna be a great game for us to just go out there and show what we can do and have a good game."

On the Team's Mindset Going into Conference Play: "We feel good. We know we haven't played our best football yet, so that's exciting because we know we can go out there and that's what we're gonna do going into conference, September--it really doesn't matter once conference starts. We are what we put on film and put on paper so we're gonna go out there and give our best."

Jah'Shawn Johnson

On What Defense Needed to Work on Most in Bye Week: "We've been focusing more on turnovers. We've been two weeks straight without turnovers, which is unlike us, so we've been stressing that a lot this week. Staying in our gaps, tackling a lot better, just getting better as we go."

On What Johnson Needed to Work on in Bye Week: "Communicating better, being more of a leader since we've got some new guys in spots, and I'm actually working the ball as well, haven't got any balls out, so I need to do that."

On Working with New Guys at Safety Like Payton Hendrix: "It's been okay. They know what they're doing. They communicate well. We have great chemistry back there. We've been doing that since fall camp, rotating in and out, so they know what they're doing and I'm excited to see 'em play."

On Hendrix's Status on the Depth Chart: "Payton and Kisean Allen, they've both been rotating in and out with the ones so they've both been doing a great job and they're learning the defense, well they already know the defense, but they're learning everybody's checks."

On What Defense Needs to Do to Play a Complete Game: "We need to finish. I mean, we've started fast in a few games, got off the field and kind of got lazy in the second half, so I think we need to tackle better in the second half; I don't think we've done that. And we definitely need to create turnovers, get our offense back the ball."

On If the Team Lets Down after Big Plays against Them: "I have seen it. But we worked on it, got better last week, but things went wrong. I think we'll do better as we go along, picking each other up, things like that."

On More Blitzing and Understanding the Newer Stuff that Has Been Added to the Package: "It's been a lot better, getting guys pressuring the quarterback so he can hopefully throw us a ball or two or get some sacks and get our offense back the ball. We've had a lot of guys going in and out at different positions and they've done a great job, so it's been great and we've been glad to use it."

On the Amount of Tackling in Practice: "We do a day or two. We just do different things with our practice squad. We never really never go one-on-one with our ones, but with our practice squad we do a lot of tackling."

Baylen Brown

On Practicing and Playing with Terence Steele Out of Action: "We're taught to do that. And having Paul [Stawarz] come in step in at guard, Murph [Justin Murphy] out to tackle, and Madison [Akamnonu] move over, they knew what they were doing and everybody was comfortable with it, so it went well."

On What the Offensive Line Worked on over the Bye Week: "Stance, technique, feet, hands, pad level, just trying to do the little things right. It'll all come together in the big picture."

On Playing More Physically: "Yeah, that's all we can ask with the run game opening up, and if we can continue to do good there physicality will come even more and more, but later in the year we should be rolling."

On Kansas' Defensive Line: "They're big guys. In the Big 12 everybody's big. So we just gotta go out there and play our game and try our best to win."

On Demarcus Felton: "He runs hard. He's kind of like Dre [DeAndre Washington], he ran hard, and he's a strong kid, he's our between-the-tackles back. [Justin] Stockton is our outside-the-tackle back, and he comes in and he hits the hole, brings the linebackers to us so it's impressive."

On Terence Steele's Return: "He's been practicing. So we're good with him. He's fine."

Luke Stice

On Playing Kansas: "It's a great opportunity for us after this bye week, as a team. And just excited to get this conference going. It's a one-game season and Kansas is our focus so we're just excited to go out and compete against them this week."

On Virtual Reality Training: "Whether you were on the field or not, it allows you to relieve that rep and see what that linebacker saw even if you weren't out there. It's definitely the next step. It lets you see if you messed up on any reads for the next time you run it on the field.

On How Often He Has Used Virtual Reality: "During the summer when the coaches were out recruiting, and the high school kids were coming in, we'd use it whenever we could, once or twice a day. It took us through installations to where we could go in the film room and almost like take us to practice or game reps: this is the play where there's a pulling guard and you've got to force it back to the other linebacker, or different situations like that, so it's been a great deal for us."

On What the Defense Needed to Work on during the Bye Week: "A bye week like we just had is great to kind of come together as a unit and really just go back and focus on the fundamentals and little things, clean up third-down stuff and different stuff that we just put in, everything we need to move forward next week. The little things."

On What Sorts of Little Things: "Mainly third-down stuff. Different personnel in different blitzes, playing something that maybe they're not used to, making sure everybody is on the same page."

On the Lack of Tipped Passes: "That's just something we emphasize each practice. When you put emphasis on it in practice, you expect it to translate to the games, and unfortunately that's something that hasn't happened yet. It's something we've got to continue to work on. The defensive line's done an unbelievable job practicing at it, and continue to more forward and just translate it to the field."

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