On week four against Kansas
"I am really excited about the opportunity to play in Kansas. We had a really good experience last week at Arkansas. What a cool environment. We are happy with the result, but we want to make sure that we enjoyed the hospitality and the competitive nature of the fans there. I hope everyone knows that we have a great appreciation for that environment, that stadium, their coaches, their program, and definitely for their fans. We got a lot of positive feedback from our fans about Arkansas. It was loud. What a good experience for our players. Looking forward to another great experience this weekend to see the wonderful campus at Kansas. Hoping our faithful fans will show up again just like they did last week."
"There are still some improvements to be made. We are looking forward to correcting those mistakes. The great thing is that our energy and effort is there. I love the resiliency and fight in our young men. To come back from two scores down early in the game and to do it again in the second half shows how much our team is buying into everything we’ve asked them to. It’s nice to see a team that can fight back when they need to. I like watching Kansas’ coach as a leader. I’ve had great interactions with him and his players, especially on Big 12 Media Day. It’s a really talented team. They have a lot of returning production. I’ve been able to meet their quarterback, and had a really cool interaction with him. They seem like really great kids who are committed to their culture and coach. I think the world of their coach, so I know they will be ready to play. We are looking forward to taking advantage of all the practice time and the preparation to play Kansas. Looking to get better from last week. We have been getting better every week. I think Kansas does some really cool things on offense. They can get over 500 yards on offense and tons of points on the board. Their defense does a great job being physical and tackling well. I think we got our work cut out for us and we are excited for the challenge."
On impressions of all the Big 12 football teams so far this season
"They are all well-coached teams with tons of talent. That’s the same. You can’t judge it all on one week or even three weeks. We are getting to that point now where people are playing conference games, so it’s all about those current matchups. Every team is dangerous in this conference. We are focused on Kansas. I’ve been around those coaches in meetings, and I’ve watched enough film to know that they know how to get their teams ready. I need to do my part to match the level of play that they have. And that starts this week with Kansas."
On Parker Kingston’s skillset
"We knew he was a playmaker. I trust Fesi and A-Rod and our coaches' evaluations in the recruiting process. We are really excited that he’s able to do some things when his number is called. It’s the little things he does that people don’t realize. He blocks well and is a great teammate. I’m glad that he was able to make those plays. I love the team and their commitment to each other. I enjoy seeing them on the sideline, believing in each other and supporting each other. We had some guys who didn't even get a stat but did everything right and we couldn't have won without them. Parker has been that guy since he got here. It just happens that he made some plays when his number was called. Really proud of him."
On defensive third downs against Arkansas
"In a lot of ways that is the only down that matters when it comes to defense and getting off the field. It’s also a down where you can wreak a lot of havoc. We want to create third-and-longs. I don’t think we had a ton of those, but looking at the film, we were able to have a bunch of meetings about it. We could've done so many more things defensively. But these are simple things that can be fixed. Us as coaches, we’ve got to find ways to eliminate those mistakes that are very fixable."
On preparing for the Kansas offense
"They have movement all over the place. It’s definitely our most difficult offense to prepare for. They do variable things; they are so diverse in their movement. They use the entire field. They can hurt you in so many ways. They have a returning rusher that rushed over 1,000 yards. Their quarterbacks run as well. When you start talking about their offensive weapons, you forget that their defense is solid too. I don’t see a lot of weaknesses on this team and that’s the reason why they are winning a lot of games. We have to take advantage of our strengths and practice what we think we are good at. We’ll see what happens on Saturday. We are really excited about the opportunity to play against Kansas. I like the young men on their team. This is a Big 12 opening game, so we are really excited about that."
On conference play for the first time in 12 seasons
"Nobody has been in the Big 12 before. I’ve been in the WAC and Mountain West as a player, and I’ve coached in the Mountain West, and I’ve coached in the Pac-12 and as an independent. We’ve been hoping for this since we were in independence. Now that we are here, it just happens to be Kansas in our opening moment. I admire the way they do things. It’s going to be a fun game. They do a lot of things there that I am trying to implement here as a head coach. We are expecting a great competition. We’ll see what happens. Being a part of the conference is fun because Conference Player of the Week stuff is released now. It’s more about the guys getting familiar with these new places. We know that Kansas will have an excited crowd and big playmakers in all three phases on the field. We are looking forward to this."
On resiliency against Arkansas
I like the connection that the players have with each other. It definitely showed last week. Kedon [Slovis] was one of those guys out there leading. The entire sideline was bought in. When we were down 14-0, there wasn't a lot of panic on the sideline. We knew that this would be a long game. My job as a coach is to make sure we start faster. We were able to weather the storm a little bit and find ways to keep going. The excitement and energy was great. Some players who didn't even get in the game were just so happy. These guys love each other, and that will go a long way to keep trusting in each other. If we can overcome adversity by not putting ourselves in that position to begin with then that might be a lot easier. I’m happy that our coaches are on top of it."