Nov 25, 2020 12:08 AM

Chris Klieman conducts weekly press conference

Posted Nov 25, 2020 12:08 AM

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman met with members of the media via Zoom on Tuesday prior to the Wildcats’ contest this Saturday at Baylor.  K-State and Baylor kick off at 6 p.m. on Saturday inside McLane Stadium, and the game will be shown on ESPN2. 


CHRIS KLIEMAN, HEAD COACH

Opening Statement...

“Good afternoon everybody. I hope everyone is having a good Thanksgiving week. It’s a different week for us with not any students on campus and school not in session. We flipped our week a little bit. We will go a little bit earlier on Wednesday and pretty early on Thursday. Even though it doesn’t feel like a short week, it is a short week to prepare for a really good Baylor team that I feel has played really well at times and played really well on both sides of the ball and have had opportunities to win just like we have in the fourth quarter and haven’t gotten that done similar to ourselves. It’s a game that our kids know the importance of. I was pleased with practice yesterday. We had a really good team meeting and talked about a lot of things. Our kids bounced back and had a really good day on Monday. Now we just have to sustain that and make sure we are playing at as high of a level as we can. We have to do a great job as coaches of putting them in positions to be successful on Saturday. It was a humbling day on Saturday for all of us, players and coaches included. Sometimes that happens to you in this profession. Nobody wants to have that happen ever to them, but sometimes it does and you have to learn from it and grow from it and you have to hit it head on and attack the next day.”

On the importance of fast starts to the team...

“It gives life to a young team. When you have a new offensive line, a freshman quarterback, a freshman running back, and some newer kids in the secondary – those are areas where we don’t have a ton of experience – I think it is important to have some confidence built early. You saw what it did here at home against Oklahoma to have a lead and to play with energy and emotion. Then, you see what it does when we don’t have that, whether it is West Virginia or this past weekend at Iowa State. I would flip it and say we were down against Oklahoma and found a way to continue to have great resolve. Part of that is the fact that we didn’t finish some drives early offensively and we didn’t prevent some touchdowns defensively. We had a couple opportunities to get off the field on third down on defense on the first drive, and they took it down and scored. That was pretty demoralizing for both players and defensive staff. Then, obviously, when you get first and goal at the four or five, you have to find a way to punch that in there.”

On if there is more clarity on the quarterback position entering Saturday...

“We are going to keep working both of them. I thought Nick (Ast) did some nice things. I think it was a great learning experience for Will (Howard), especially after he got hit really good the one time and then had a couple frustrating plays for him. I thought it was a good opportunity for him to learn from the sideline and watch. I didn’t want to get him any more shots taken, especially when the game was in the balance that it was where it was going in Iowa State’s favor. I didn’t think that was going to help his growth either by having him take more shots. Both practiced yesterday, and obviously it was a limited day on Monday, but we will keep working both of them, and we are excited about the opportunity for Will to bounce back and the opportunity for Nick to build on what he had on the field.”

On what complications are added with recruiting this year...

“Well, the fact that right now, this is how you and I would recruit. If I was recruiting you, we’d be on a Zoom call and that’s how I’m getting to know you. I’m not going into your home and visiting with your parents. I’m not going to your school and visiting with your head coach. I’m on a phone call with a parent. I’m on a phone call with a head coach. I’m on a phone call with somebody. It’s the only way we know how right now. That’s the only way that’s available to us. That connection is not there of any of us coaches sitting in a living room with somebody, sitting with a young man in his coach’s office or whatever it may be. That’s everyone across the country that are going through these same challenges. That’s my fear moving forward, especially what this year has done. Kids are going to choose schools all over the country without ever being on that campus and never being that far away from home. They’ve never taken an official visit. Some have never taken an unofficial visit. And all of the sudden, we throw that carrot out there that if you don’t like it, you can just leave. That’s sometimes in the best interest of some kids. Oftentimes, and most times, it’s not because just like life, you have to be able to fight through the adverse times that you have. That’s my concern for all of college athletics as we move into the open market for transfers, as well as not getting the opportunity to build those relationships.”

On Baylor’s record not telling the whole story...

“Without question. I watched just a little bit of that game (Baylor at Iowa State), and they really rattled (Brock) Purdy in the first half. Then Brock, like he does, came back and played really well in the second half, but they had an opportunity to win that game. During our open week, I watched the entire Baylor vs. Texas Tech game. Baylor was up two scores in the second half and had an opportunity to close the game out. Credit Texas Tech. They found a way to come back, and so that was another game they had an opportunity. We watched, before we played West Virginia, a really talented Baylor team that took West Virginia at West Virginia to overtime. We said boy, this is a pretty physical and good football team. Those are three losses right there that I’m sure if you asked Dave (Aranda), he’d say they had a chance to win and should’ve lost those three games. Then there’s TCU and Texas, but they’re a team that could probably have four wins right now. Football is so strange. We’re not playing at the best level for us right now, but we played at a high enough level against Oklahoma. We played at a high enough level to beat TCU. We played at a high enough level to beat Texas Tech. The latter two were with Will (Howard) at the helm. We just have to focus on what we can control. That’s our play, our effort, our attitude, our energy and our ability to execute.”

On what Baylor has gone through with COVID this season...

“Yeah, and they had the open week before they played us. I’m assuming they were able to get a number of practices in, whether with their young guys or continuing to develop everybody and I’m sure that’s what Dave (Aranda) wanted to do was develop everybody because he’s still putting in his system. You can flip on the film and watch a very fast, physical defense. Similar to what I say about Skylar (Thompson), I kind of feel the same way when watching Charlie Brewer play. If he’s in the game, they have an opportunity to win. I’ve said this: every time Skylar steps on the field, I think we have an opportunity to win. I think that same thing with Brewer. I think he’s a really, really good competitor. I think he’s an excellent football player. He gives those guys a chance to win.”