Kansas State offensive coordinator Collin Klein and defensive coordinator Joe Klanderman met with the media on Thursday to discuss K-State’s conference opener against UCF.
Here are some key quotes from both Klein and Klanderman. The full press conferences are linked below.
On the quarterback position: “I figured I was going to dive into that. It’s been a good week. Will (Howard) has gotten better every day. If he can go and gets cleared and healthy, then obviously he’ll go, but it’s been day to day, and it’ll probably continue that way. Avery (Johnson) and Jake (Rubley) have both had a good week, and Avery would be the one to go if Will’s not able to.”
On the fear of playing a true freshman at quarterback: “I think it’s not something I’ve haven’t necessarily experienced. Again, my confidence is in the preparation and how Avery’s worked. We wouldn’t put him out there if he wasn’t ready. It’s not just about one guy, too. It’s about everybody stepping up and playing well around whoever’s back there to make it go.”
On if Avery Johnson can take the wear and tear of running the ball: “No, and not that we would do that, when and if he gets in there. Last game we were using him in a lot of run game stuff. That wasn’t necessarily the only thing we thought he could do. We were trying to use some read and some quarterback run game. That’s how it was helping us last week, but not necessarily indicative of where we think his capacity is in the offense.”
On any surprise blitzes they saw from Missouri: “We knew it was going to be a challenge, and there was one or two that we had not seen. Most of it we had, and credit to them. Doing it in real life and in real speed is not something we can simulate exactly the same. There’s improvement to be made at every level – a part of that is from the quarterback, to the tailbacks, the offensive line. We’ve got to be able to handle that better and be able to make plays and make them pay for doing that when they do.”
On what element of the offensive line he would like to see improved and if Christian Duffie helps with that: “I think it definitely will help. I can’t put my finger on just one aspect of it. It’s a complicated deal. I mean, there’s footwork involved, hand placement, eyes. Just even when you got guys moving and twisting all over the place, where you’re putting your hands, where you’re putting your eyes. So, it’s all of those things that all of them do a great job on. It’s just a matter of doing it when that one time that you need it and all of us stepping up to make sure we would just improve on it.”
On what they learned from the Missouri game: “Well, I think I learned more this week than I learned during the game. I think one thing that was really evident to me is that we weren’t going to let Missouri beat us twice. Meaning that when we came back on Monday, we were ready to work and prepare and move forward. It was disappointing. We all could have been better, and it starts with me, unfortunately, the way things shook down at the end because I do firmly believe we’re a better football team. But only actions matter, right? So, what happened, happened, and I just learned that we have a pretty resilient crew that cares a lot about what they’re doing.”
On why Missouri had success throwing the ball: “I’ll be honest with you, part of it was inexperience. I don’t know if there was anything that really caught us by surprise in terms of what they did or any pictures that we hadn’t seen in our past. We may not have repped them a whole bunch of times that week, but I think it was all pictures that we’d seen, and we were in relatively safe calls on defense. Sometimes you have conflict guys, guys that are part of the run fit but also are supposed to help overlap in the play action pass, and I think sometimes our conflict guys got a little bit juiced up to get into the run fit a little quickly and left some one-on-one matches over the top we weren’t able to win. It’s just incredible that it happened over and over again. You know, sometimes that happens. For it to happen four times in a game is rare. Hopefully we get the lesson learned there.”
On how much the defensive game plan changes with Daniel Green and Jake Clifton out: “We’re going to do what we do. Ultimately, we got to put people in positions to be successful, and Daniel’s a big piece of that just because of his experience and because of his ability, but we have guys that are capable to do the things that we’re asking them to do. I’m excited for Austin Romaine and the challenge that he has. He’s earned this since he got on campus in the wintertime and went through spring practice. We knew he was a good football player with a lot of instincts, and physically I think he’s pretty mature for his age. He’s flanked by two of our better football players in Austin Moore and Desmond Purnell, who I think are sensational and will help him and help keep him grounded throughout this whole thing and will help him in some of the communication and some of that stuff also.”
On if Austin Moore picks up more duties in communication: “Funny thing, kind of a blessing in disguise this week because of the tempo that UCF operates at, I don’t know how much communication there’s really going to be, but certainly both those guys (Austin Moore and Desmond Purnell) will have to help. Kobe Savage will have to help. Guys that have played a lot of football are going to have to help pick up the slack. It’s still ultimately going to lie in Austin Romaine’s lap, but I think he’ll have a lot of good counsel around him.”
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