Nov 18, 2020 12:09 AM

🎥 🏈 K-State Holds Weekly Football Press Conference Prior to Iowa State Game

Posted Nov 18, 2020 12:09 AM

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman and select players met with members of the media via Zoom on Tuesday prior to the Wildcats traveling to face No. 17 Iowa State on Saturday. A complete transcript of Klieman’s press conference – which was also streamed live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ – and players are posted below. The Wildcats and Cyclones kick off at 3 p.m. inside Jack Trice Stadium, and the game will be shown on FOX.

Watch: Chris Klieman  |  Phillip Brooks  |  Ekow Boye-Doe  |  Eli Huggins

Listen: Wildcats Uncut


CHRIS KLIEMAN, HEAD COACH

Opening Statement...

“Good afternoon everybody. We’re excited about the big challenge we have this week of heading to Ames and playing a really good Iowa State team that is a veteran club, that is playing at a really high level. They have talent on both offense and defense, an extremely well-coached football team. They play really well at home. We have to come up with some really good game plans and have to play error free, disciplined football to be able to give ourselves a chance to be successful in the fourth quarter. That’s what we’re shooting for right now is just to continue attacking each day. We had a good open week. We worked a little bit on Iowa State, worked a little bit on ourselves. We’re back into a normal routine. We’ll get back out on the grass again. We were out on the grass last week. We’ll be out on the grass this whole week to get used to the footing as best as we can. It will be a tremendous challenge for the guys, one the guys are excited about and looking forward to.”

On the status of tight end Briley Moore...

“He’s getting closer. He hasn’t put on pads yet, but he’s been running around a little bit, so I’m optimistic. It might be a game-time decision in seeing how he responds, but we’re making improvements from last week.”

On shifting guys to different positions due to COVID...

“We don’t have enough guys to shift around. That’s probably our issue. We’re playing with the guys we have and just knocking on wood that we’re able to get through Wednesday’s test that will come back Thursday, and Friday’s test, obviously, will come back. We’re not the only ones in the country dealing with this. There are teams all over the country in every conference dealing with this. We’re just down so many guys in certain spots that we can’t even move people. So, I’m just knocking on wood that we get good results here in the next week.”

On guys opting out and transferring...

“It’s just 2020. I don’t really have a reaction to it in the sense that everybody has a different situation, and everybody has a different circumstance. I’m excited about the guys that have stuck with each other and stuck together with their teammates, but it’s not easy. I’m not condemning anybody that left or opted out. Everybody has their own reasons, and I respect all those reasons. Everybody is going through some of this stuff, whether or not it’s a kid that’s opting out or a kid that’s decided to leave the program like is happening all over the country. There’s not one thing throughout this fall that is normal from any other fall. Sometimes that’s really hard to handle and really hard to deal with.”

On keeping the guys pumped up and happy during a pandemic...

“I think one of the times they’re pumped up and happy is going out to practice because they are cooped up all the time. I’m so pleased with our leadership of the older guys, as well as giving the scout team or younger guys not just scout team snaps but going against each other in close to some live settings has been beneficial. Because you’re right, it’s difficult when I’m sitting in my residence hall or apartment and have all the things that are against me going to class, everything is virtual, virtual tutors and virtual everything. To come over here and just get a chance to run around and play the sport that we hope that they love to play with their brothers is something that’s kind of an outlet. It’s been fun to see because I know our practices have been good throughout this time, even though the time is so difficult for everyone.”

On the rivalry with Iowa State...

“I’m not as familiar, probably, with the rivalry just because I’ve only been a part of it (once), but I’m familiar with Iowa State growing up in the state of Iowa. Matt Campbell has done a phenomenal job there, and I have a ton of respect for Matt and his staff and what they’re doing. They’re just such a well-coached football team. I know both teams respect each other and are excited about the great competition. Just looking back, there have been some really, really good football games over the last decade or so.”

On calling plays for two-point conversions...

“You work on them every week, and you have a bunch of two-point plays or a bunch of three- to five-yard plays that you’re trying to work each week. Everybody has their different analytics and data analysis that tell you when you should go and shouldn’t go. It still has to be a gut decision from a coaching staff, and I’m obviously responsible for that. There was no hesitation when it was 12-0. We were going to go for two and go up 14. We had a similar situation at TCU, and nobody talks about because we got the two-point conversion. When it works, boy, what a great call. When it doesn’t work, why did you do that? I get it. There’s a second guess world. If I’m the Tampa Bay Rays, why are we taking that guy out? He’s pitching a gem, but he gives up a hit. That’s what the gut said. That’s what the analytics and the manager did. It is what it is, guys. I would do it again because I saw it work against TCU and it gave us a seven-point lead at a critical time. Hindsight, you can always look back at different things. I would’ve not wanted to go into TCU with a 20-14 lead with them having the ball and knowing a touchdown was going to beat us rather than a touchdown tying us. I sleep well at night knowing that I’m giving our kids the best opportunity to be successful.”

On analytics in football...

“It’s all a gut thing as far as where you’re at. I’ve seen it in a positive, I’ve seen it in a negative. What was the game this weekend? Why did the kid go out of bounds at the one-yard line in the NFL? We had a situation this year. We were in a very similar situation, and Deuce (Vaughn) scored a touchdown against Texas Tech. We were in a ‘go down’ situation. It’s hard. It’s hard to get a kid to go to the ground in that situation. He ended up scoring a touchdown, we were up 10 and everything worked out. It didn’t work out with Indiana and Penn State this year. When Penn State was going in to score, they take a knee after the first down and the game is over. Those are things the average fan may say, ‘Why wouldn’t he score?’ or, ‘Why did he go down at the one-yard line?’ Those are things that we talk about all the time through the offseason and through our fall camp and Thursday walk through things. When you get in the heat of the game, sometimes you revert back to if I’m in the open field, I’m going to score. Everything is kind of a gut feel, but you have those statistics. You have those thoughts in your mind as well as on a book that thick that you’re trying to look at every week.”

On balancing situational football in practice...

“You usually try to do a lot of those analytical situation football on Thursday and Friday when it’s closer to game day, as well as you can maybe do it in a walk through or jog through setting. It’s hard to get that simulated where you’re running downfield and you go out of bounds, fall to the knee or whatever, or it’s a four-minute drive and you get a first down and could run out of bounds but you end up going to the ground and keeping the clock going. You spend a lot of time on that late in the week, as well as during your preseason camp when you have to keep refreshing those guys’ minds as far as this is a situation where we would go down, or this is a situation where we would go out of bounds, stay in bounds or whatever it may be.”

On trying to not postpone games during COVID...

“Well, I don’t think any of us want that because you just don’t know what the future is going to hold. Okay, you can cancel, whatever, this week, and feel like you’re going to have a chance to play that game because you don’t know what’s going to happen two weeks from now. I just know how hard these guys have worked since July to get the opportunity to play ‘X’ amount of games. I’m a little bit amazed that we’re going into game eight, and there’s a lot of schools that are trying to get through game three and four. We’ve been doing this since July, and I can count on probably two hands how many guys haven’t missed 14 days, or 12 or 13 days, or 17 days because they are positive or because they are a close contact. Shoot, if a young man is not feeling well, that kid sometimes doesn’t come into the facility for 48 hours because then we have to go get a COVID test, then we have to wait for that COVID test. That’s stuff that you would like to have a plan for, you just don’t, but I want to play these games because I think these guys deserve the opportunity to compete as much as they can.”

On this season forcing guys into action in 2020...

“There’s not an advantage as far as, I wish, all of us in the country wish this thing were over. It’s not over. But, because it’s a ‘free year,’ and I think that’s also led into people opting out, people transferring, people doing this all over the country, you see it everywhere is because, this is a free year. I can do whatever the heck I want. Well, that’s a positive for some kids because they’re really young and they either can move on or play a little bit and get that year back. When you get older and play in this game, you don’t know how many snaps you have in you. You don’t know how long my back is going to hold out, my knees are going to hold out, so you just want to play any chance you can. So, all of us want this thing to be over. Unfortunately, and I think it’s going to lead into the winter sports, it’s far from over.”

On getting better in the red zone...

“Execution. We just have to keep executing, bottom line. You can’t say it's on this position, that position, the play call, whatever. We just have to execute, and sometimes you have to be careful about putting so much emphasis on you have to do, you have to do, you have to do, rather than just do your job. If we each do our job within a play, we’re going to be successful. We have a red-zone period, ones against ones today because somebody is going to win that and somebody is going to lose that. We talk about it on defense, too. We have to be able to limit people to field goals, and we’ve done a nice job of that. But, today somebody is going to win a competition, somebody is going to lose a competition. It’s all about just executing each play and not worrying about, ‘Oh, I’m at the 12 we have to score.’ No, we’re at the 12, we have to execute a really good play to get five, to get seven, whatever it may be and not worry about just the results. It’s more the process.”

On if seniors will be asked to come back next year...

“Yeah probably, we just haven’t gotten into that yet. It’s not too early, it’s not too late, but I just want guys to focus on what they are doing right now and playing. We’ll have time on that at a later date.”

On K-State’s Big 12 results being similar to last year’s...

“I think it’s circumstance. I don’t really play much into that at all. You better execute every week and each day getting yourself prepared to play on Saturday. I don’t play much into the matchups. It may be something there, but that’s not a big enough body of work. If it were three or four years, maybe.”

On the performance of defensive back Ekow Boye-Doe this season...

“I think none of us are surprised because he’s probably the fastest guy on the football team. It’s one of those things when we talk about and use Ekow as an example a lot as far as, boy, some of the freshmen or redshirt freshmen that are not playing as much that get frustrated, look at Ekow. Look at somebody that has been here for his third year and hadn’t played a snap and through the first game hadn’t really played at all, and all of the sudden he’s thrust into it. The biggest thing I would say is when your opportunity does come, make the most of it. Something that Ekow has really done is made the most of his opportunity. For us, we’re really excited because he’s a young player, and I know his best football is in front of him. It’s all about confidence, and he’s playing with a lot of confidence right now.”

On what makes Boye-Doe a good corner...

“He has really good length. He can run extremely fast. He’s aggressive to the ball. He’s just gaining more experience about seeing the field better. A lot of it is seeing pictures, and when you get the opportunity to play as much as he has, the game starts to slow down because you see those pictures better and more frequent. He’s done that and played at a really high level for us.”

On keeping sanity during such a tough year...

“I haven’t thought about it that way, but the fact that we visit every Sunday and go through the ‘bottom half’ of the roster, the young guys that aren’t playing a whole bunch right now and spend a good amount of time on those guys. Talking about finding ways to get those guys more reps, whether it’s a special team rep, whether it’s going young guys against young guys like we will today for maybe 15-18 plays just to keep pushing the program forward. We’re always dealing with the now, but in a year like this, when it is a ‘free year’ or however you want to say it, we have to continue to talk about the future and have to continue to push guys to be better. Sometimes you forget about that when you’re in a season. Let’s just work on the guys that are playing. I don’t think you can do that. You have to keep developing, you have to keep building your guys, you have to keep developing guys. We talk about that a bunch as a staff and try to make sure that we get a chance to watch some film with those young guys and Riles (Conor Riley), watches the young guys reps with those young o-lineman as often as he can because he knows that that’s the future, and those kids, that future may come sooner for some because maybe the reps they’re getting or the coaching they’re getting.”

On what he does away from football during this time...

“We’re all in this together, and we’re going to have each other backs through the good, the bad. I have a great staff. I love the guys. Stick together is the bottom line. It’s hard because it’s not like you’re going to have a lot of staff functions with husbands and wives and kids, you can’t do that. We typically would. We can’t do any of that stuff. So, I gave the staff off this weekend. I thought it was really important that they spend some time with their families and got around their kids and got around their wives. We practiced on Friday and I told them, ‘Guys, I don’t want to see anybody on Saturday and Sunday because you need to recharge your own battery as a coach with your family and spend some time with the kids,’ because oftentimes they are the ones that get neglected during the season.”

PHILLIP BROOKS, SOPHOMORE WIDE RECEIVER

On his favorite memory playing against Iowa State…  

“Well, last year was my first time playing against Iowa State. It was that opening kickoff we had, that was awesome. Just seeing us dominate, I feel like we dominated that game. We had the lead the whole time, and it was just good to see everyone play well. We played a heck of a game.”

On beginning to gel more with quarterback Will Howard…

“Yeah, I feel like we have increased our receptions and our yardage in the past game. We still have work to do of course, but chemistry is definitely building.”

On how they can get more catches for the receiving corps…

“It just depends on the scheme our offense is working on, basically. If we feel like we can run against them, we will run against them. If we feel we can pass, we will pass. It’s just scheme based,  game by game, a game plan.”

On having the opportunity to make a big play on special teams…

“Yeah, I mean, we’re Special Teams U, so we plan on making a big play on special teams every week. We go into every week trying to return things, trying to block kicks, trying to create big plays, flip the field. Like I said, we’re going to go into every week and try to make a big play on special teams. That’s what we plan on doing this week.”

On if teams have been approaching K-State special teams differently…

“Yeah, I would say so. Teams scheme too. They scheme as well, but there will be opportunities this game to take advantage of. So, even though they might be scheming differently, we can still have the ability to scheme ourselves and create big plays on special teams.”

On what practice has been like since so many players are out…

“Basically, we just all need to stay healthy. COVID is still a thing, and it’s going up again in numbers with cases. So, at this point we have to have the mindset of when one guy goes down, the next guy has to be ready to be up. Take advantage of their opportunity, next guy up, that’s what we’ve been talking about this last week when we had a guy go down. We definitely have to be aware of what’s going on in the world with COVID, and hopefully we can just get it together and execute and play well on Saturday.”

On fear of games being cancelled…

“It’s not a fear because our coaching staff always talks to us, and I think we’re prepared for every situation. I don’t think we are too worried about that. We go into every week and try to execute the game plan and get ready for the appointment. We have three weeks left. If we win out, we can get to the championship. So, we have to have the mindset of winning, taking each play that is given to us at a time. So, we are just excited for this week.”

On what he does for fun now with COVID…

“I still have school. Most of my time is spent watching movies and stuff in the house because COVID is still happening. Making fun around the house, a lot of Facetime calls from me.”

EKOW BOYE-DOE, SOPHOMORE DEFENSIVE BACK

On the chance of going to the Big 12 Championship…

“That’s always the main goal, playing in the Big 12 Championship.”

On staying engaged knowing there is a chance of going to the Big 12 Championship…

“Yeah, it definitely helps a lot. It’s just a goal that we strive for and work for everyday out on the practice field.”

On preparing for Iowa State…

“They have a great back, Breece Hall, so we have to gang tackle, and we have to be around the ball and make plays. We have to stop the run.”

On his mindset prior to earning his first start against Oklahoma…

“I feel like I prepared for that moment right there out on the practice field every day, whether I know I’m going to play or not. I think the biggest thing is for sure giving it my all on the practice field and being able to execute on the field when it comes to big plays.”

On how he stayed patient while not playing over the past couple years…

“The older guys telling me I’m going to be a good player and just trusting the process, and my coaches telling me the same thing. I just kept my head down and worked every day on the practice field.”

On what he’s done best this season…

“The man coverage. I feel really comfortable playing man-to-man. I think that’s my best attribute.”

On if there was a moment during the season when he knew he belonged…  

“The Oklahoma game, and the first drive feeling that contact just making tackles right away. It builds confidence real quick.”

On his recruitment in state…  

“Kansas State actually offered me a day before KU did. I wouldn’t say they (KU) recruited me. They gave me the offer after K-State and nothing was said after that.”

On playing against current K-State wide receiver Keenan Garber in high school…

“In high school we played against each other for two years. They beat us both of the years.”

On playing with Garber at K-State…

“Keenan is a great receiver. I think he is one of the hardest to guard man-to-man. He has real speed and is a physical guy. We will trash talk a little bit, but those are my guys, Jax (Dineen) and Keenan.”

On Coach Klieman calling him the fastest guy on the team…

“I do agree. I think I’m the fastest guy on the team. Keenan Garber and Phillip Brooks are pretty fast too.”

On his attitude the past couple years after not playing…

“The coaches encouraging me, and the older guys letting me know that my time will come and I need to trust the process. I have a great support system with my family. Living in Kansas and just being an hour away is not too bad if I’m not playing. I know my time will come.”

On coming to Manhattan from Lawrence…

“With me, Kennan (Garber) and Jax (Dineen), our dream has always been to play at the same school. The most realistic school was either KU or K-State. K-State did a great job of recruiting all of us, so I think it was a no brainer. It’s going well with us getting more playing time.”

ELI HUGGINS, JUNIOR DEFENSIVE TACKLE

On what stands out about Iowa State’s offense…

“Iowa State has some really good playmakers right now. Their running back is a very good player, and their quarterback is experienced. He’s shown that he can do a lot, and he’s capable with his legs. They have some playmakers on that side of the ball for sure.”

On the performance of K-State defensive back Ekow Boye-Doe…

“Ekow has been very impressive. He did a great job of just fighting and staying in there and kept working hard even when he was not getting the reps. When his opportunity came, he showed he can play. He’s done a great job so far this season for us. Ekow is fast, he’s very fast and that definitely helps. He’s shown he has some great technique, and I’m sure our coaches have gotten him ready for every game. He’s done a great job.”

On being a college student during COVID-19…

“It’s unique. It’s a new challenge. I just started grad school, so it’s not quite what I was expecting, but it’s been alright. It’s just a little adjustment. Everything is online for the most part. The academic staff and everyone here has still been great at helping everyone here stay on track and get their stuff done.”

On the importance of the older players being mentors this year…

“It’s definitely important this year. Every year we have a big role in keeping the younger guys in line and mentoring them. It’s tough when you get here. It’s not easy. People get homesick and go through stuff they haven’t been through before. With all the new stuff thrown into it this year, it’s tough. Us older guys definitely have had to take on a new and bigger role of mentoring these guys and trying to be there for them as much as we can.”

On Drew Wiley being one of the strongest defensive players...

“Drew Wiley is awesome. He’s a super smart guy and a really hard worker. He’s probably the strongest guy on the team. He attacks every day and doesn’t take any plays off. He prepares hard and works hard in practice. You know he is going to be ready every single Saturday.”

On Will Howard’s improvement since he started…  

“He’s playing a very tough position. He got thrown into the fire early. He’s doing a great job working hard and really been improving throughout this year.”

On seeing extra energy to get back on the winning track…

“It sucks when you lose. No one likes losing. I think you can definitely say that people are approaching things differently. There has been more intensity and energy out there. People want to get back on the wins. It’s tough losing.”

On the defensive line being perhaps the strength of the team this year…

“I’m not surprised. I’ve been able to see everyone playing the past few years behind the scenes of practices. We have great coaches, great d-line coaches, Coach (Buddy) Wyatt and Coach Tui (Mike Tuiasosopo), so I knew we were going to be ready this year. I saw how hard we were all working throughout the offseason, and I knew that we were going to have some success this year. Fortunately, we have.”

On Ekow Boye-Doe being the fastest player on the team…

“Ekow is fast. If I was going to pick someone, it would probably be him to be the fastest on the team. If we were running 100 yards, I would probably need three seconds at least to beat Ekow. He can fly.”