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What Collin Klein and Joe Klanderman are Saying Ahead of Kansas State’s Game at Texas Tech

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By Zac Carlson, 247Sports.com

 

LUBBOCK, Tex. – Kansas State coordinators Collin Klein and Joe Klanderman speak to the media ahead of the Wildcats’ game at Texas Tech on Saturday, October 14, 2023.

JOE KLANDERMAN, DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR

On Oklahoma State’s rushing attack…

“I thought probably for the first time this season maybe we didn’t win the physical battle at the line of scrimmage you know there were certainly some individual matchups that I thought we did an okay job with but by and large I thought they were the more aggressive football team and I think when we’re not making plays in their backfield, when we’re playing on our line of scrimmage, just never going to be a good thing. But they did a nice job of, you know, getting the ball out on the perimeter and dinking and dunking and kind of getting us a little bit tentative and that’s the end result.”

On cornerbacks…

“Jacob is progressing but it’s still going to be questionable and Will Lee is in the same boat. Questionable.”

On Tahj Brooks…

“He’s phenomenal and I think he’s probably as hot of a back as there is in the league right now. You know, just a really bigger back, guy that’s tougher to bring down, a guy that’s very patient, really does a good job of keeping his feet underneath him you know, never gets himself overextended. It’s hard to get good shots in on him. I think he’s good in the pass protection. You know, I think he does a lot of things really, really well. I think he’s a really good football player.”

On not playing physical…

“That doesn’t happen very often, you know? And I think that’s where some of our leadership’s just gotta continue to progress. You know, I think when you have a guy, like, Deuce Green rally the troops and it’s not any individual, I don’t even know if it’s just the aggressiveness by which we play, you know, if we’re trying to be right all the time, and we’re trying to be just perfect in everything that we do, instead of just going out and playing football. That’s never going to be a good situation. If we’re sitting there analyzing instead of attacking, you know, we’re always going to be a step behind.”

On getting creative for more turnovers…

“We’ve kind of fallen into this. You know, we’re playing a lot more man coverage, which I think inherently is going to maybe with less eyes on the football sometimes that ends up being a situation that creates less turnovers, just because you don’t have as many eyes on balls. I don’t know, we’re not doing anything differently than we’ve done in the past. We couldn’t be emphasizing it more. I mean, we do turnover circuits all the time. You know, we drill it, we watch it, we do it and practice, just not materializing on game day. You know, and I think sometimes turnovers are, they’re magical things. You know, sometimes they come in bunches, and then sometimes you go into droughts. But again, I think when we play with aggression, and when we just have that mentality, I think that’s when those things start to happen. A little bit more frequently.”

On Kanijal Thomas…

“He is gonna be a really good football player. He doesn’t have quite the idea of what we’re doing to the to the extent of a Jacob Parrish or Will Lee, but he is, he’s making great progress. Is he quite ready? He’s on the cusp.”

On backup cornerbacks…

“Ton of confidence. You know, those guys are good football players. I think they’re good in certain areas, and I’ll say it this way, you know, Keenan Garber is a phenomenal man cover player. He’s one of the fastest guys we have on our team. He’s got good ball skills. I think he does a really good job in that setting. You know, is he the guy that we want on the LOS. You know that that would be Justice’s department, you know, I think and they’re both good football players. They just need time, they need experience and we’re working like heck to get them that during the week. And then on Saturdays. I hope that confidence that they gained during the week carries over to the game.”

On forcing Oklahoma State to kick so many field goals in the red zone…

“I thought we executed a little bit better when we got down there. I think we got our feet underneath and didn’t make any magical calls or do anything different. Guys just bowed up and did their jobs. And I think that had we done that maybe earlier in the series, we wouldn’t have had those situations in the first place. But, you know, I think it just comes down to our aggression and our execution.”

On the mentality of the defense right now…

“I think guys are frustrated. I think guys are, I wouldn’t say the term frustrated, but guys are anxious to show that they can be better. I think we can be better as a unit. I think we can be better individually in some aspects. I think as coaches we can do a better job. I think we just want to get past this thing and get on to the next one.”

On the defensive tackles…

“We got to get those guys more active. I think sometimes those guys get a little bit stagnant. I think Uso is as good of an athlete as we have in the program. And I think sometimes he’s lost in the shuffle and we need to get him a little bit more active. I think those guys battle in there. They do a good job in their little worlds. We got to find a way to get those guys around the ball a little bit more.”

COLLIN KLEIN, OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

On what happened at Oklahoma State…

“Well, a lot did and a lot didn’t, you know and it’s obviously a frustrating night in a lot of different areas, we’ve got to find and be better at consistently getting better in all phases of the offense week to week. You know, we haven’t been able to stack two or three where, you know, all areas have been improving and it’s been obviously disappointing. You know, I think biggest thing is when you’re on the road, we have to take care of the football and we can’t get penalties and have mental errors. And obviously, it’s very easy to start taking little things for granted. That’s from our perspective, starts with us as a staff and, you know, down to our players and those little things add up really, really fast and that’s what leads to a performance like that.”

On the loss impacting Will Howard’s confidence…

“I know he was hurting for sure after a loss like that and you play the quarterback position at a high level at one point or another, sometimes, it may happen, you know, and those still stick with you, one comes to mind for myself, you know, and so that’s never a good deal. But as far as a true confidence thing, I don’t believe so. I think he’s, because of the confidence he has is genuine and real and something that he’s built over a long period of time and knows the belief that I have in him, coach has in him and we all, his teammates have in him, that you know, it’s obviously something you never want to have to go through. But at the end of the day it was a tough one, but he’ll be fine.”

On Texas Tech defense…

“They’re a really long group. They got really good length up front. I think they’re twitchy, I think they got good pass rushers and they’ll let those four guys up front pin their ears back and come after you a little bit and you know, they’ll play a lot of man coverage and they got some length and some good cover guys in the back end and there’ll be aggressive you know, they were aggressive against us last year and something we’re gonna have to make sure that we handle and take one step at a time.”

On cutting back turnovers…

“That’s a good question. I mean, we still have to be aggressive, Will’s gonna be aggressive and that’s one of one of his strengths too is when you have a player like him, I mean he will and has put the ball in some tight windows, you know, over the course of time and so, biggest thing again, is, in a lot of those situations from a coaching standpoint is hey, how did we build the play? You know, what was I asking of him based on coverage, based on situation, what was the information he had when the time he had to make the decision, you know, sometimes those are the things that you try to look at, to try to, from the player standpoint. And then from a staff standpoint, we’ve got to just make sure that, you know, again, we’re able to do and maintain good balance. We got to create more explosive plays, obviously, in the pass game and keep pushing through and working through to build those things. Because if we don’t push ourselves, then at the end of the day, we’re not going to get any better at it anyways.”

On playing Avery Johnson…

“When it’s been close. You know, it’s been a little bit of a feel, been a little bit of schematically, some of the things that we had in the game plan for what we thought we were gonna get to provide us an advantage. You know, I think we’ve got a good plan for Avery moving forward, you know, in this week, but obviously, Will will be the main guy, so that’s kind of how we’ve worked it but again, he’s gonna be just fine.”

On if any wide receivers will step up…

“I think there’s a chance, I think there’s a there’s a couple young guys that could get in there. I’d say probably Brown would jump to the top of the list in my head for that that might get on the field and have a chance to make an impact.”

On playing in the trenches…

“Remember every time I went down to Lubbock because a player for sure, you know, and it’ll be an evening game, a hostile environment. And you know, I think again, I think they’re a physical bunch. I think they’re aggressive bunch and it’s gonna come down to who’s able to execute and make some plays and not make some mistakes.”

On playing on the road…

“Obviously not great, because we haven’t obviously been able to win but, think it’s bigger than that. I think there’s again, a lot of those little things that I’m talking about, you know, to give you a chance to win tight games on the road and at times when you get into one of those wars where it might be ugly, you know, and that’s something we have to grow and get better and get through is hey, how are we are able to batten down the hatches, focus, execute, not make mistakes and get into a battle on the road and a hostile environment and come out on top because we’ve been close, you know, and unfortunately, haven’t been able to get over the hump.”

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