Player press conference quotes: Sept. 24
OT TONY HILLS
On what the team is excited about for Saturday: It's not even all about Kansas State. Just the fact that we're opening up the Big 12, I think that's the most exciting thing - being able to open (Big 12) play up in front of our fans. It's a new team. We're rejuvenated so to speak. We're ready to finally play in our conference.
On the easy win against Rice: It was great. Obviously there are things we can still work on, but just to see what happens when everyone focuses on both sides of the ball and on special teams, that's a great feeling. It's a great booster going into the conference.
On Mack Brown: I've said it before and I'll say it again - Coach Brown is one the best coaches in the country, not just because of the X's and O's, but because of the type of person he is. When I came in, a lot of people didn't know if I was going to be play and the first thing he told when I sat down in his office was, 'We're not even going to talk about football, we want you to come in, get your degree and graduate.' That showed me the type of man he was. I just wanted to make sure I did whatever I could do to help the team and to make him proud.
On what the young players learned against Rice: I think what they were able to see is that if you go out there and you focus and concentrate, good things will happen. Just for them getting in, I think that was huge. We're going to need that depth with the injuries we've had. The young guys are going to have to contribute. Getting them experience is vital to the growth of our team.
On the status of the offense: I think that we're still getting better. Each week we try to work on different things, whether it's individual things as far as keeping your pad level down or running your routes a certain way. This team is a work in progress, but we were able to show some signs of what he we can do, and hopefully it can carry on going into the Kansas State game.
RB JAMAAL CHARLES
On how he played after the early fumble against Rice: I came back and had a good game after that. I thought I was more focused carrying the ball.
On what he expects to see from the Kansas State defense: A lot of blitzes. They're ranked in the top 20 in stopping the run. They're real aggressive and they have a good defensive end named Campbell. He was real aggressive last year, so I know he's going into this game and trying to play well.
WR NATE JONES
On if the team will be looking for payback: No, we just have to go out there and do our part on offense and as a team. We just have to make sure we go out there and execute.
On trick plays: You like them to a certain extent. If you run a trick play and it doesn't work, it's a waste of time. I like trick plays, we work hard on them throughout the week and try to make sure we execute them when it's our turn to run a trick play.
On the effect of blitzing to the receiving corps: When you see a team that's trying to put a lot of pressure on Colt (McCoy), you know that you're getting one-on-one coverage. That's one thing that we (the receiving corps) like, you know if you beat your man, it could be a touchdown. One of our goals as a receiver is to make sure we beat one-on-one coverage. When you have (Limas) Sweed, Quan (Cosby), Billy (Pittman) and (Jordan) Shipley, it helps Colt a lot because he has faith in us. He knows that if he throws it up there, we're going to come down with the ball.
On the play of the offense against Rice: Our main goal going into Rice was to finish and make this offense go in the right direction before Big 12 play. Last Saturday showed how explosive this offense can be when we're hitting on all cylinders. For us to come out there and make plays against Rice and continue to move the chains on third-down situations and punch the ball in from the red zone like we hadn't been capable of doing in the first three games, it really showed how explosive this offense can be.
On Tony Hills: Tony's an outspoken person. He's a guy that's going to keep the offensive line motivated and don't let anyone get down on themselves. He's the type of guy that's always going to crack jokes, sing, have fun and enjoy his life. That's one thing we really like about Tony, he's a positive person in every aspect of his life.
S MARCUS GRIFFIN
On assuming the position of leader in the secondary: At first I wasn't too excited because I'm not the most talkative person, but now I'm comfortable with myself. I think my teammates have helped instill more confidence in me by just looking at me as a leader. That's a big deal to me because I never considered myself a leader until they started looking up to me for defensive plays calls and issues off the field. I think it's been a smooth transition for the most part.
On the defense in the Rice game: I think our focus was better. We were more in tune in our assignments. Whenever you're trying to do too much, you can get in the wrong gap, and I think we just maintained our gap integrity. We played good run-defense and we got them to throw the ball, and I think we played good pass defense, as well. It was fun to see our progress, but we've still got a ways to go.
On Kansas State QB Josh Freeman: He's a big guy at 6-6. He can see the whole field and he can peek over the whole line. He's a good quarterback and a really accurate quarterback.
On preparing for the Kansas State game: We'll review film and I'm sure Coach (Duane) Akina will doctor up a good defense and game plan, which he always does.
On opening conference play at home: I'm happy that we get to start Big 12 here in our own backyard. It's a good way to start off the Big 12 season.
LB SCOTT DERRY
On the Kansas State game last year: I think they did surprise us, and I give credit to their coaches and their players. They really schemed us particularly well. We didn't really have a chance to get too much of a pass rush on them because a lot of the time they were running two- and three-man routes keeping max protection in, and they kept their quarterback on the perimeter a little bit and they let him get outside and use his legs and athletic ability to try and hurt us.
On Kansas State QB Josh Freeman: He's a really gifted athlete. He's a 6-6 guy, real big, real strong and he's got a really strong arm. He played really great (last year) and kind of had a coming out party against us.
On making a statement: Leading up to this game we haven't put together a really complete game as an offense, defense and special teams. We had a chance against Rice, but there were a few points in the game like when we let them score right before the end of the first half. We really shouldn't have let that happen. We just need to put a really complete game together and hopefully starting conference play this week we can do that.
DT DEREK LOKEY
On this year's Kansas State game: We definitely want the outcome to be different. It's a big game because it's the first conference game so we're really going to go to work this week and really focus and get ready for those guys. They have a really good offense.
On playing an offense that throws a lot: It's fun at the same time because we get to rush the passer. I'm sure we'll be putting in some different things to try to get to [Josh Freeman] and put some pressure on him. It's still fun playing teams that are pass heavy because you get opportunities for sacks and big plays other than just tackles.
On playing Rice so effectively: It was nice to see, but there are things that we need to do better like not letting them score right before the half and things like that. That is something that as a defense we really focus on - not letting teams score right at the half or before the end of the game because it's kind of a pride issue. The proudest I was, was when we started with our backs against the wall as a defensive unit and then make them go three-and-out and kick a field goal. We showed a lot of good things on defense, but there is still a lot to work on.
DT FRANK OKAM
On if the Rice game cleared up any issues before heading into conference play: It definitely cleared some issues because we played very well, but there are still some things we saw in the film room that we can do better. One thing we don't want to do is give up points right before halftime. We played great for 28 minutes then that last two we gave up points.
On playing Rice so effectively: I think it just gives a lot of confidence to some of the players. For myself, I've been through many close games here, and that just comes with the territory, it's the nature of the game, you just have to understand that it's going to come sometimes. Especially in conference some of the games are going to be close. To me, having so many close ones already is just going to help with our character later on down the season.
On making a statement with opening conference play this week: I guess you can say that each week you need to make a statement because you're only as good as your last time out. Starting our conference, you want to come out and make a strong statement to the conference and the first game is the first opportunity to do that.
WR QUAN COSBY
On the Kansas State game: Losing to them last year definitely affects your mindset going into it and more than anything it makes you respect them even more knowing they have really good players and a really good team. We're going to have to execute and be on point.
On the team's confidence: To have as big a game as we did last week was huge as far as confidence. But again, we've gained more confidence as a team because we've pulled off those close games. But even more just to execute and know that we can make big plays and that we're getting that explosiveness that we prepared for in two-a-days and this summer. More than anything, we've progressed each week and last week definitely continued that process.
On starting conference play: It will be another test. Each week we play really good teams and especially starting conference play this week. In the conference, you definitely have to figure what you're going to do in it, how you're going to do in it, and we have a really, really good conference, so you have to go in and be ready play. This will be another challenge to go in and create that identity because (Kansas State) does really good things and they do them well. So to go in and hopefully come out with a win would be huge for the team.