Chris Klieman holds weekly press conference ahead of Texas Tech game

Posted Nov 21, 2019 2:39 AM

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman and players met with members of the media on Tuesday at the Vanier Family Football Complex in preparation for the Wildcats’ final road contest of the season at Texas Tech this Saturday. A complete transcript of Klieman’s press conference (also streamed live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and archived here) are posted below, in addition to select comments from players.

 

Following this weekend’s game, K-State returns home on Saturday, November 30 to face Iowa State at either 2:30 p.m. or 6 p.m. Wildcats fans can bring their friends and family to the Thanksgiving weekend game for just $20 per ticket with the Wildcat 4 Pack. Premium bench lower bowl tickets are $55 and bench tickets are $35. Arrive early to celebrate the seniors as we recognize them and their families pregame. Tickets can be purchased online at www.kstatesports.com/tickets, by phone at 1-800-221-CATS or at the main ticket office inside Bramlage Coliseum.


CHRIS KLIEMAN, HEAD COACH

Opening statement…

“Good afternoon everybody. Just going back to Saturday quickly - we’re still fighting consistency, that’s the biggest thing. We put together some good consistent drives together, offensively. (We) had a big play to start the game, so there were real positives, but one of the big drives we had we ended up getting stopped at the four and not getting into the end zone, and end up getting three out of that. That’s been where we had been successful is getting more touchdowns in the red zone. That was a game, obviously, we needed touchdowns and didn’t get that done. Then, defensively, (we) had some really good series. We had a lot of three-and-outs and gave our offense an opportunity on a number of occasions when we were down four (points) late to give ourselves us a chance to get back into the game. Talking to Coach Haze (Scottie Hazelton) and the defensive staff, third and long, obviously, was our big detriment. We couldn't get off the field on third and long and gave up three touchdowns on third and long. For us to be successful, we have to win on third down, we have to be able to get in the red zone and get touchdowns. When you don’t do those things - and the match-ups, in my mind, were pretty even as far as anybody could beat anybody in that game - they had the upper hand because they were able to do some of those things. On special teams, we didn’t do anything elite at all. We just were very average on teams. When you're average at that phase - and we need to win that phase - you can end up on the short end. (We) had a good meeting with the guys yesterday. They know we need to continue to battle, needs to continue to improve, need to continue to hold each other accountable. We had a good workout yesterday. We know we are going into a tough environment at Texas Tech playing a night game. Our guys have to put our best foot forward and play our best game.”

 

On West Virginia’s third down conversions…

“The (first) one, we pressured and they did a nice job of picking it up, then you have all one-on-ones and nobody gets home. I thought J-Mac (Jahron McPherson) had good coverage, and they threw a nice ball for the score. So that one, give them credit, in my mind. Then they sprinted away from us on one time on a third down, and we just didn’t collapse coverage, based on the sprint out, quickly enough, and they scored. Obviously, on the last one, we just had a blown coverage. (We) did a good job getting pressure, and then when they scrambled out, we didn’t follow the scramble rules that we work on on a weekly basis, and they make a big play.”

 

On starting fast offensively but not sustaining the fast start...

“Sometimes it's the worst thing that happens to you, too. You get a big play and you just relax a little bit. I don’t think that’s the case. We were better this week than we were against Texas, but when you struggle to sustain the ability to rush the football, especially on early downs. I thought we were actually pretty good on third down with our offense. Unfortunately, we were on too many third and longs. Our percentages were ok on third-and-long, but you just can’t be in that many of them.”

 

On the lack of explosive plays…

“(There are) a number of things - whether it’s having a guy open and not finding that guy that’s open or having a guy open but missing a protection and getting hit, to having a guy open, making the completion or getting a run to somebody and we get tripped up. We’re not kicking out of enough tackles as a running back, as a wide receiver. We’re not protecting all the time as an offensive line to give Skylar (Thompson) enough protection. There are some times that we think that there may be somebody open and Skylar doesn’t see him because of maybe protection. So, I think it's a combination of everything, which is good and bad. At least we’re not pinpointing, ‘Hey, we just can’t open,’ or, ‘We can’t protect.’ We can do those things. We’ve shown we have done those things. We’re just not doing it consistently enough.”

 

On Texas Tech’s propensity to give up explosive plays...

“It’s still about matchups. I think that’s a big thing. It’s more about matchups. We’re not an explosive offensive group, either. Now, we can be. We’ve shown that in games, but, once again, the consistency factor has to come through for us. We need to find more explosive plays. That’s the challenge this week. It’s not an excuse, but part of it’s our health. Part of it’s the running back situation is not really healthy back there. When we think we going to kick out of tackle a tackle, we have kids with bad ankles. Once again, it’s not an excuse, we still have to kick out of those, but we’re not able to do that.”

 

On Texas Tech’s pass defense struggles…

“We need to still stay within what we do because I just don’t think we’re a team that’s going to get in four wides and throw it 45-50 times. We don’t want to do that. In the same respect, as we watched the TCU game unfold, TCU had a lot of success with quarterback scramble. They blitzed the heck out of TCU, Texas Tech did, and the quarterback beat them with his feet. So, Skylar’s going to have to be able to avoid some rush, as well, simply because if we want to get into a throwing game, it’s going to be a pressure game. We saw that in the last couple weeks that we’ve played. We still need to establish the run so that we can’t get into a nothing-but-throw and they can lay their ears back, or if we can’t run the football early and we’re in a bunch of third-and-longs, they’re going to pressure us. We want to be able to run the football on a 3rd and 4, on a 3rd and 5. We’ve shown the ability to do that with the quarterback run or with our jet series, but when you’re 3rd and 9 and 10, defense’s aren't as worried about it.”

 

On issues with Devin Anctil in the punting game...

“A little bit. Obviously, Devin’s not punting to his capabilities. It’s almost to the point of he’s human because he was punting the ball unbelievably well the first three-fourths of the season. He’s struggled the last couple of weeks. A little bit of it is technique, and we’re working on technique. I don't want him to get frustrated because then your technique does fall apart. He knows that he needs to be better, and I’m confident that he will be because he is a big weapon for us. When he’s punting the ball well, we’re flipping the field when we’re not moving the ball on offense and giving our defense a better opportunity. When he’s not and we’re getting into some short fields, we just lose that field-position game. Devin is a tremendous punter. He has tremendous pride in his craft, and I look for a big bounce back from him.”

 



RYAN LACKEY

Director of Football Communications


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