Coach Mike Leach
On the quarterback situation:
"Nothing's changed there, Graham's still the quarterback and I probably shouldn't have pulled him because I thought it was more disruptive than positive. I thought it was good during the Missouri game, but I don't think it was smart this last game. What I've done in the past is stick with [the quarterback] and let him get in a rhythm because you've got to fix your way through some of that stuff. It would have been better on my part if I would have left him in."
On replacing Harrell with Chris Todd against Colorado:
"I was hoping to spark the offense, but that's not how I've done things for the most part in the past. Everybody's going to have a tough period and you have to let them fight through it because it's part of how they grow and part of how the offense grows. I've always done it in the past and that's what I should have done there."
On the criticism of Harrell after the last two games:
"I think it's misconceived that he specifically struggled; I think as a team we struggled. The notion that he struggled and in particular struggled by himself is just not accurate."
On the lack of chemistry within the team:
"The biggest thing is that we're just too splintered. As a group we used to hang out a lot more, players in general used to be around each other a lot more. I think that as coaches we could do a better job of facilitating that and making that happen. I think as a coaching staff if we can provide more opportunities for them to be more cohesive, it will help. Anytime you don't like the way your players are playing, you need to look at yourself as a coach, because I've always felt that they play how you coach them. We all had high expectations and nobody had higher expectations than the team or the coaches."
On what the team can do to get through its recent slide:
"We can decide together as a group and as a team to change it and make the decision in that direction and make it happen. People
everywhere at some point in time battle these things and you just have to slug through it."
On building trust amongst the players and coaching staff:
"I think we have a level of worrying about what somebody else is doing. Coaches are worrying about, ‘Is this player really going to do that? Should I call this?' The other thing is that some player maybe overcompensates on his assignment because he's afraid of what the guy next to him will do. Really I think that the coaches and players need to trust one another to do their jobs and build that trust, do it over and over, practice that way and it takes care of itself."
On whether these problems have been developing throughout the year:
"I don't think it's just ever out of nowhere. I think we've got a group of old and young and there aren't many guys in between. I think as coaches a lot of times we get too caught up on what we're doing instead of bringing a guy in the office and patting him on the back. I think there's a lot more to this than just X's and O's because you're dealing with people and people working together."
On whether the team can still accomplish what it set out to early in the season:
"As far as what we're capable of-and you can't go back to games you lost-but as far as what our ability is and what we can do, I don't think any of that's changed. The thing is just the team aspect of it and everybody doing it together because that's one of the most vital aspects of it. That's what we've got to improve on, that's what we have got to do better."
On changing the usual Sunday routine and holding a team meeting:
"We've got to fix things and everybody's got to fix it together. Rather than us splitting up and watching the film and having each assistant coach meet with their group, my point of view was that it was more important to be together. Rather than have the little units where you go through your X and O stuff, we got the whole group together. I think team wise we've got to become healthier and I think it was important to have the whole team together."
On Iowa State wide receiver Todd Blythe:
"He's really good; he's a really good player. Some guys you refer to as ‘talented' or ‘great potential' or ‘explosive', but the best compliment to the guy is that he's a good player. There may be guys faster, there may be guys bigger, but he is a good player and that's the most important thing. Wes [Welker] was good player. Was he fast? Well, no not really. Did he have great hands? Not necessarily, but he was a great player."
Keyunta Dawson, Sr., LB
On the team meetings:
"We discuss some things that need to change and things that people need to do for the team. I think it was a good meeting and we got some things out there that we needed to talk about."
On being a senior:
"You are doing everything for the last time. We want to give it our best in the last five games. Coach Leach always asks us what we want to be known for. Our senior group wants to be known as somebody that fights back from adversity and finishes strong."
On Iowa State:
"They have a good offense. They have a very good running back. Good quarterback. They have a very good offense that does a lot of things. I have to watch film after this and learn what they do."
On the importance of the Iowa State game:
"It is very important. We just want to get back on track and do some of the things we have wanted to accomplish in the season. We still have a lot of things we can accomplish in the season and it will start this week. We need to have a great practice and a great game. It is important for us to good in this game and we want to come out with a victory."
Brandon Jones, Sr, OL
"I think trust is just a foundation to anything. Coach Leach has been stressing that and it is pretty evident that we need trust more now than ever. We need to trust the person that is playing next to you. I trust Manny (Manuel Ramirez) and Louis (Louis Vasquez). Those are the guys next to me. I trust Joel (Joel Filani) and everybody has to do their part. You have to have enough faith that everyone is going to their part. As a group, if everyone does their job we will be successful. I trust him (Graham Harrell) and I believe that the rest of our teammates do. Graham is just a young guy. I can understand the growing pains that he is having. Kliff Kingsbury wasn't just good over night either. I have all of the faith in the world in Graham. I know our fans are accustomed to that fifth year quarterback. People are just so use to having that in the quarterback position and that is different. We are going to ride the wave and continue to get better as a team and as an offense."
"That is another thing we have adjusted, just having confidence in our ability. We are a physical team and mentally I think we are pretty good. The confidence just comes when we are down. When we are three and out we have to have the ability to come back and be confident that we can put points on the board and we can get a first down. We might have run into a little bit of adversity in that, but for the most part we have to be confident in everything we do. That reflects how the team plays. Confidence might be an issue but we have addressed it."
On the changes in preparation for the next game:
"We have had a few team meetings. They were much needed team meetings, I think. I think it will help. Everyone went around and said what we thought needed to be addressed. We set some team goals, and I think it will benefit us. We addressed being consistent. I thought that was the most passed around word. Just remain focused and the biggest thing is to have fun. Football is supposed to be fun. Being a college athlete it becomes a job. After school I don't go to work, I go to practice. So, it is definitely considered a job. It is important to have fun. It is my last go around and I expressed to the group that it has to be fun. As a senior, I am never going to have a Tuesday or Wednesday practice to prepare for a Saturday game against Colorado. You have to make the most of it and enjoy it, because it is short. I am seeing that now."
On what is not happening for the team:
"In practice it is there. We have to play like we practice. Practice is pretty intense. We have a lot of tempo, but on Saturday it goes out the window. I think if we practice like we play we will fine. I don't think there is really a team chemistry problem. The same receivers are catching the ball, the same guys snapping the ball, we all are blocking. I think we are just one step away from all of us gelling together."
On Graham Harrell:
"I know there were growing pains with Kliff (Kingsbury). They were starting a new system, I don't know if it is similar to this situation, but I can understand having a young quarterback. I am all for Graham."
Weekly Press Conference Quotes
Coach Mike Leach