UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
August 5, 2017
DAVID BEATY: First, let me apologize to you for the delay we had today. I apologize for it having to be pushed back. Mother Nature has her way.
It was good for us because we were able to simulate some things that might happen during the season. Obviously you've thought about some of the things that we'd benefit from here.
I've been in the game before where we started at 1:00 in the afternoon, and we didn't restart until 1:00 at night, which was crazy. We got done at, like, 3:00 in the morning. But that happens. It's a reality. It happens a lot in the fall.
So it was great stuff for us because we had to be able to handle that adversity and handle basically just a change in normal protocol. It was good for us, but it wasn't good for you. I know on a Saturday afternoon, this is not what you want to be doing this late. We should have been done by now. So my apologies.
Let's take some questions.
Q. Six practices in, what is your assessment of the quarterback competition at this point?
DAVID BEATY: I'll let Meach talk a little bit more about it than me. But I will say that I love the competition. I think we've got two very talented guys there that are operating this offense at a really high level, which is good.
We did go some live plays yesterday, and it was good just to see both those guys move the football. We did not necessarily move the ball, but both those guys managed the offense well, and did a good job with reads. We didn't move it down the field. We just put the ball back on the same yardline and continued to do it.
Watching those guys have to play out there by themselves with blitzes coming, understanding, recognizing coverages, different fronts that were thrown at them, I thought they did a really nice job of getting into the correct checks when they needed to, getting us into the right calls, and just quite honestly taking what the defense was giving you. I thought we did a pretty nice job of that yesterday.
Both of them, like I said, they're very talented. I think that they do a lot of things very differently. But they actually do both move pretty well, which is something that I don't know that I thought Peyton was such a good moving guy, but he moves pretty well. He's very efficient back there in the pocket.
Q. Can you tell both these guys played in similar offenses their whole careers basically?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, you can. I mean, certainly with Peyton, because he's already done it at a high level. The thing that was a little bit difficult for me for Carter was that he was such a runner. I mean, he's an athletic guy. They ran him a bunch at Vero Beach. We just didn't do a whole lot of that. We didn't do a whole lot of that early. But we're doing some of that now, which is good.
But, yeah, you can tell that they understand the spread concepts, and it's not their first rodeo doing it, which is good.
The thing that I just keep saying, and I keep going back to is, it's almost unfair to judge a quarterback until he has the proper protection up front, to be able to see what he can do.
Now, there's a lot of guys that can escape and make things happen. The guy that's hanging on that wall back there was a guy that could do it. But we were pretty daggum good up front. We had some pretty good players. Some of them are hanging on this wall back here.
We were in a great conference, but we were pretty good up front now. Ryan Cantrell was a three-year starter for us, and that dude was a hell of a center. I don't know if I've ever been around a better one. We had good players up front. We had veteran guys.
He did create a bunch, Todd did, but he also had really good players. We just had a bunch of young guys in front of these guys over the last couple of years. Sometimes it's hard to tell how good a guy is until you get a little bit older up there.
To this day, I sit here and watching through a team period, watching our guys pick up twists, pick up different things blitz-wise, turning the protection the right way, making sure the numbers are in the right direction. It is night and day when it comes to that. You can tell they've progressed so far.
But they just got experience. That's the difference. The thing you can't give 'em, you know. I know that doesn't answer your quarterback question, but...
Q. So you are confident we'll notice the difference up front?
DAVID BEATY: Oh, I think you'll notice a big-time difference up front. At least I do. I mean, we better. We better or I'm going to be very upset, because that means it's not carrying over to the field. That's our job as coaches, to get it out of them on game day, right?
A good thing is they're not new, so they've done it. They've been here, they've done that. It should carry over for us on game day. Now, hey, still got opponents that got something to say about that. I mean, they're getting better, too.
Whether we can do it at the level we need to... I mean, we were turning people loose a couple of years ago, and this last year we got a lot better at it, but we still turned people loose. We weren't IDing it correctly, getting it turned the right way. Now that's something that I don't see very much. I mean, we're few and far between. We're pretty complex defensively in terms of what we're doing throwing blitzes and different things. You're not going to see a whole lot more than what we can throw at you. So that's good.
Q. How are you seeing (indiscernible) develop as an off-the-field leader? When someone gets those pre-season accolades...
DAVID BEATY: I do think it comes with a certain amount of responsibility, yeah. I mean, the easy answer would be like, Oh, that doesn't matter. But it does. It does.
I think for you to be the most effective leader you can be, you got to actually be on the field and you got to be producing. When you're not producing, you can be a leader to a certain point. But when the time comes, there's going to have to be a guy that's actually out there producing for you that's going to be the guy that can move the team.
He's a guy that has accepted that role and done a really nice job of it. He's grown into it. He's not a guy that really has a lot of words, but he's actually done a lot better job of being vocal and growing into that role.
I think the thing that helps him is he has a great example with Joe Dineen. Joe Dineen is a really good example of how to do it, how to manage that side of the ball. I think he's learned a lot from Joe. I think it's been beneficial for him.
Q. At runningback, you return a lot of guys that have touches from a year ago. Two new guys coming in that look to have a chance, too.
DAVID BEATY: We do have some experience there, which is good. Man, I just got off the field and watched Dom Williams do some stuff that you don't see young guys do very often. He's talented. This dude can run. Great vision, great balance. We hit on him.
There's no doubt about it. I mean, he's going to play. Unless something happens and he gets hurt or something, I mean, that boy is going to play for us. He's a good football player.
Khalil continues to improve. Great vision, smooth feet, very patient, getting even more patient, which is good. Deron Thompson, I mean, that dude, every time we put the ball on the ground, he's going to make a big run somehow, some way. He's so quick. He's fast. He can cover a lot of ground. He just runs away from people.
If we can get him to develop in the passing game a little bit more, I'm not talking about protection, just receiving the ball, that's not his fortГ©, but he's getting better at it day by day.
Dom is another one that needs to get better at that passing game part of it. Khalil has such smooth hands. He could play receiver if he needed to.
Then Taylor Martin, another guy that we don't say a whole lot about him, but I think he's gotten better because of all these guys around him. It's really just made him become more of a complete back, which is good.
I'm excited about our backs. We've got some guys.
Q. Is there a need for a primary back to emerge? Do you want that to happen?
DAVID BEATY: I think you'd like a primary player at every position if you could. You'd like to, but we're going to have to use more than that.
I mean, when I think of runningbacks in this league, I think of a lot of good teams. I think about Oklahoma, their combo that they had. Those dudes were really good. I think really the one that comes to mind for me last year was the Oklahoma State duo. Those dudes, they had the little quick guy, then they had the big back from Georgia.
I mean, that's something that resonated with me, that you're going to have to have two of them that can play that I back, so to speak, that can be the main tailback, 'cause you're going to have to have two of them.
There's just too many hits being taken in this league, and at this level. I mean, you got to have them in the NFL. It's just hard to keep them healthy. Those guys, they're getting smacked. They're having to protect against big linebackers and things like that. Their bodies can only take so much.
So you got to have more than one. I think you have to have five. I think the magic number is five because you can get through five easy in a year. I mean, really you'd like to be able to use most of those guys, to be able to keep the wear and tear down.
Q. David, when you recruit high-profile recruits or transfers, is it more difficult to convince them of the philosophy 'earn it', and how do you go about doing that with those types of players? They have to buy in as much as anybody.
DAVID BEATY: You know, I think that is unique to the player. You can't just throw them in one category. I think about Daylon Charlot. Daylon Charlot has a selfless mentality. He's a guy that y'all heard me speak last year about how he was going down on scout kickoff cover and we couldn't block him. I mean, he loved it. He loved it. He took every kickoff return back to the house every time on scout kickoff return, those type of things.
You're talking about a four-star guy that was highly recruited, went to a school that has been very successful. So he's not like that, you know.
Charles has been maybe a little bit the other way. It takes a little bit of time for him to learn that. But he's come around to understanding that it's not about what people say, it's about what you do.
I've been really, really pleased with what Charles has done over the first three, four or five days of camp. He's done a nice job. He's matured a lot, which is good. But we're going to continue to hold his feet to the fire just so we don't see any of that return, right? Those are characteristics we got to work out of him.
I mean, this is just me. Maybe it's just me. I mean, I don't know that there's any youngins that are ready to play when they get to college. I mean, they may be athletically ready, but there's so much they have to do to be really prepared. For them to make it through a whole season without hitting walls is very, very difficult.
That's why you'd like to play with the older guys and let those guys go in and play in sprinkles, let them learn their way and earn their way, right?
We just weren't really in that position when we first got here. But we're starting to get there now. Got some more depth.
Q. When you went through what Keith has been through the last year, sometimes it can be hard to focus on your job. Have you seen any of that in Keith?
DAVID BEATY: He's been great. I tell you what, I don't know, there's no way that I could be that good. I mean, I think he's been inspirational to our guys. There's times when I pulled him aside, and I know Coach Bowen's pulled him aside, Said, Hey, man, listen, it's okay. I mean, this was hard. There's going to be a time you got to grieve, right? You got to get through it.
He's got an unbelievable family. Keith Sr. had such a great, close-knit family and friends that were all there till the very end. I know he has grieved. But he's handled it here.
I mean, the day before Keith went into a bad, bad deal right before he passed away, we had not had little Loneker here for, I don't know, maybe two weeks or so. The day before, he showed back up out here. He's going through summer workouts.
I'm like, Dude, you ain't got to be here. C'mon.
He's like, No, I do need to be here. My dad wants me here.
Then the very next day was when we lost Keith.
But he's been phenomenal. He's been inspiring. I don't know that I could be as strong as he's been with what he's gone through.
Q. Any big takeaways from yesterday?
DAVID BEATY: Really I guess the best way to call it is we livened up team period. So we tackled. Our goal yesterday was not to move the ball, it was to see what the carryover was for three-day install. We have a three-day install offensively, defensively, and special teams. So the goal was to see how much the alignment assignment and all that stuff was going to carry over.
That's why we put the ball on the 41, and we just kept bringing it back to the 41. We would move it on the hash. But there was really no situational movement that they had to deal with. We just wanted to deal with installations.
Then we did have a live third-down period. We had, I don't know, about 15, 20 plays or so between three groups. So we really didn't get more than 25 shots on anybody's legs. It's too early for us to start losing guys. We didn't think they were acclimated to do that yet.
We're taking our time and trying to make sure that we do it the right way, we don't just start throwing a bunch of stuff on the wall. We make sure that they got the foundation of it before they move along. We think some of these young guys are going to play for us and we don't want to miss this opportunity to make sure they got the basics.
Q. Could you see progress from Mike Lee in terms of some of the things you've talked about?
DAVID BEATY: Oh, yeah, man. He's learned a lot more. I think he's a great example of how it's very difficult to play as a freshman. And Mike knows this. This is not a knock on him. It's true for almost every freshman that I've ever been around, is you remember Mike for all those big hits. But if you go put the film on and you watch some other things, you're like, Whoa, hang on now, c'mon. I mean, there's some things that you got to get better at.
He knows that. That's the great thing, is watching him really hone his skills on coverages. He'll hit you. He's so physical and so aggressive that a lot of times some of the other things go to the wayside because he wants to hit you so bad, right? But he's been fun to watch develop and grow.
I'm hard on Mike. Mike will tell you. I mean, when you speak to him, you can ask him. I mean, I'm hard on Mike because I don't want to see him sophomore flop. That's what happens. When you play as a freshman, all you guys are going to tell him how good he is, everybody in the world is going to tell him how good he is, and the truth is he's not very good yet.
But he's getting there. He is going to be good. He just ain't good yet. He's going to be really good. He's shown flashes. His big deal is not to believe it. His deal is to know where he really is and what he has to do to continue to get better.
Our job is to continue to keep our thumb on him to make sure we don't let him be less than he's capable of being. We're not going to anoint him, we are not going to treat him like he's an All-American and he's been here for three years, because he's got a lot of stuff to learn.
I think he appreciates that. There's times when he doesn't. At the end I think he appreciates it.
Q. To be in such a different place, Louisiana, could be culture shock. Do you think he's enjoyed that part of it?
DAVID BEATY: You know what is really unique. That's a good question because you would think that it would be something that would be kind of maybe counterproductive.
They love it here. I mean, of course, Mike has got such a good personality, I think he's got the whole campus as his friend, he knows everybody. But he loves it here. He loves it here. Really, you got Travis Jordan who just got here, Tyriek, Malik. I jack with Malik all the time. Hey, man, I don't even know you any more. You're like this pretty boy, pretty dreads, your face is all clean. You didn't come to us looking like that. You had a little rough edge to you. I want to see a little bit more of that rough edge.
They just love it here. Malik, those Louisiana guys, I think they really like it. I'll tell you why they like it. Because, man, you Kansans are great people. This is a great place to fall in love with folks. It's not like this everywhere. We are honored and humbled to be around you. That's living proof that it's such a great place, because of the people of this state, just how you are.
Q. (Indiscernible) a microcosm of the whole defense, players instinctively made great plays, showed potential, but then sometimes there were breakdowns that led to big gains by the opposing offense.
DAVID BEATY: That's right. That's right. You know, that's where a lot of it did happen sometimes. Sometimes it was Mike being maybe a little bit too aggressive, or not having enough film study to understand what was happening with routes. Was I lined up on the right leverage. Should I have been on the outside of the man pressing him to the free safety. Was I lined up inside of him in cover two. How was I supposed to be lined up.
There's a reason why you line up correctly. It's really not all that difficult. But when you're used to just playing man coverage all the time, which is kind of what he came from. I mean, those dudes are so talented down there where he came from, they line up in cover one and cover zero every stinking play, and they just lock the guy down in front of them. I mean, it is a battle every play.
There's not a complex amount that they have to learn. It's just, Are you better than that dude or not? Most of the time he was better than that guy.
So it's been fun. I don't think I finished answering your question. But watching him evolve and be able to talk and communicate to the other guys over there, him and Bryce communicating, Bryce is playing that weak safety where Fish is. Just watching those guys communicate, watching the light come on with Mike and him talking.
He didn't talk much last year because he didn't know. I mean, he just knew find Tevin. As long as I'm by Tevin, I'm in pretty good shape. I'm going to find Tevin. Then he had to learn a little bit more from there because we didn't want to overload him and get him to start playing slow.
Now he knows the defense well, which is helping him.
Q. What kind of things did you learn from last year that you want to take into this season?
DAVID BEATY: I always think about that, trying to reflect and see what I can do better.
You know, I think the thing that I learned the most is to let them talk, is to be patient enough to let them respond. It doesn't matter what you know, it matters what they know. So we are working really hard as a staff to make sure that they can tell us. That way we know they know, all right?
Instead of getting up there and me falling in love with what I'm putting on the board, we getting through this presentation that you think is just a great presentation. Then they walk out there and they don't remember it all.
We're trying to make it interactive to where we'll throw them a pen, you know, once those guys are done, they'll throw it to who they want to throw it to. It's pretty cool because they're trying to bust a guy, right? They're like, I'm going to throw it to this dude because I don't think he knows what he's doing.
To watch those guys challenge each other, that's what you're looking for, right? We're trying to do a better job of being more patient with them and really letting them regurgitate the information to us so we know they know what they're doing.
I think patience has been the big thing for me, our coaches. We're going into year three. I can assure you, no one puts more pressure on themselves than us. However, what we say is we don't focus on that. We focus on the here and now, who we have, and the byproduct will be what it will be. We're either going to earn it or we're not.
I think we're to this point in a position where we can. It depends on whether we do now, so... I'm excited. I think our pieces are better. But we got to keep 'em healthy. This is a great time, but it's always a scary time because you could lose a guy pretty easy.
Q. How does the team decide on captains? Is that a coach decision or player?
DAVID BEATY: No, it's definitely a players' vote. I just believe in that peer leadership. I believe in that peer selection. They know now. I mean, those guys know who the real leaders are.
The way we ballot is a little bit different. We're not going to let them just sit next to each other and be pressured into putting a guy's name down. I mean, our ballot system is a little bit different, where it's unique. Only you know who you vote for.
We talk to them all the time about what this means, what this represents for you. Be careful who you're choosing. It's not a popularity contest. Make sure you understand the representation there is so important for us.
So the kids, they choose it.
Q. David, receiver position. In the spring, Daylon and Chase, Booker, Chandler all looked like they're going to give you a big infusion of talent there. How is it looking so far?
DAVID BEATY: Probably one of the deeper spots on our football team right now. A lot of competition. I've said his name a couple times. I guy that stood out to me the most consistently besides Steven Sims, who has had a great fall camp, is Kerr Johnson, the kid from California. He just continues to impress me. He makes tough, contested plays. He can run. He'll get behind you. He's a little bit bigger than you think he is. He doesn't talk. He just plays.
He's a guy that I'm excited about. Chandler, another one that can take it to the house any time he touches it, which is good. You love to see a guy that can turn something into something big.
Chase has turned into a monster outside. He is a big, big guy. I think about the kid from Iowa State, Lazard, and he reminds me a little bit of Lazard. He's got to work a long way to get as good as Lazard. Lazard, I think he's one of the best players in the country. But he does have very similar characteristics. Seeing him do that.
Booker is a guy that works harder than anybody on our football team. Respect the crap out of Booker because of who he is, what he represents.
So we're talented there. Quan Hampton, another young kid that every time he touches it, I mean, he's not scared. That boy is intense now. I mean, he is intense. He plays.
Bobby Hartzog, I haven't spoken about him. He's playing really well. I think his level of play has really improved. I mean, there's so many of them.
Ben Johnson is playing great. Moses Marshall, the new tight end that came in here. I like this guy a lot. I want to see him more in live settings to see what he can do blocking. But I think he's a tough guy, which is good.
The new tight end that we just got here, James Sosinski from Arizona, big old dude. Reminds me a lot of those K State, Oklahoma State type guys. Big, 6'7" dude. Played basketball at UMass. Was an old quarterback that could be a 270-pound tight end. So having him out there the last few days, seeing the light come on for him, has been good.
We moved Hudson Hall over to a fullback that plays the H and the Y. He's actually done a good job. That dude hands out concussions on a scout team. He's just got the heaviest hit I've ever been around. We'll use him as a fullback and see if we can put that to use.
We're pretty deep out there at that wideout spot.
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