UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 6, 2018
DAVID BEATY: Couple things getting started. Obviously we've got a big week this week. K State, great rivalry game, really excited about that. Our guys, I'm proud of them. They simply will not let anything become distractions for them. The focus at hand is what it is, which is to go out to Manhattan and bring back a win and take back that cup. And that's something you gotta go earn, though. You can't talk about it. You gotta go do it, and I know our guys are ready to do that.
I've already spoke a lot about my situation. I've already said what I really want to say about that. But I do want to take a minute to call attention to some of the things that our guys have accomplished here, just because I want to make sure that it's said and I want to make sure that they are given the credit for it.
In 2018 we've had five Big 12 Players of the Week. That's the most in a single season since our inception into the Big 12. We've had ten Big 12 Players of the Week over four seasons. That's second most behind Coach Mangino's era. We've had one unanimous All Big 12 selection, Dorance Armstrong; several First Team All Big 12 selections. 23 players have earned All Big 12 honors. We have had one second team All American. Joe has led the NCAA in solo tackles the entire way from 2017 through 2018. Joe's become the new all-time leader in TFLs here. I know him and Daniel are continuing to compete for that, and Daniel is approaching that as well. Steven Sims is approaching potentially being the all-time leader in receptions here. Through 2017, some of the things I'm most proud of our guys because it really is based on how we wanted to build our program, which was building one good man at a time, is basically putting the right things first. And I'm so proud of our guys because they have done that. They know that education comes first. Who you are as a man is who you're going to be on the field. So we put a lot of time and effort into that. And our guys have been first class from day one. I've just been very honored to be a part of them. We've had 62 players -- leading up through 2017, we've had 62 players graduate from here. 20 have pursued post-graduate degrees. 95 percent of our seniors who have exhausted their eligibility have graduated. 240 players have been named to the Athletic Director Honor Roll. We posted the highest graduation rate on record at 81 percent, and we posted the highest graduation rate in a three-year period in school history.
After taking over what was a dangerously low, 936, APR that we walked into the first day with a note on my desk from the NCAA talking about the things that come along with that, I'm extremely proud of the work that our academic people did and our players did to yearly increase that. We went from that in 2015. We improved it to 946. 2016, it went up to 959. 2017, 968. And we're projected to get to 972 this year in our single-year numbers, which that's a credit to these players, and it's a credit to the people that work over there in the most important area for us, which is academics.
I just want to say thanks to so many people, but not the least of which is Dr. Zenger for giving me an opportunity, and I want to wish him and his team luck as they continue to move on in the playoffs this week, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention what Troy Kema has done for our players. Paul Buskirk, leading the academic area over there, is an absolute superstar. We could not have done it without him. Any of the things we've done he's just done a great job here, long-time veteran at KU. Shanda Hayden, just a superstar. She's been so helpful from the time I met her.
Stephanie Mahal, Ryan King, Michelle Robinson, just to name a few, and the whole group over there, they are the best in the business. And that's why our guys are here, to graduate first, and then your play will reflect you being a good man, and we gotta grow into that each day. So I'm really proud of those guys. I truly believe that our guys have grown into being great servants of the Lawrence community. I think they've represented Lawrence well. I really believe they've become great assets to this university and absolutely not liabilities, which is something that was absolutely a goal of ours. So I'm very proud of them, and that credit goes to our administration, our coaches, the support staff.
Kate Lonergan, who is just sitting right over here to my right who does not speak a whole lot in public, is an absolute superstar. Couldn't have done any of this without her. Those players love her. They trust her. She's pretty good.
All right. Moving on. Talking about last week just a little bit, you know, obviously disappointed because after watching that tape, it turned from disappointment to understanding that, man, listen, we've got a chance to be pretty good if we just make plays when we get those opportunities. Our guys saw that. I think our defense has continued to play well enough for us to win in this league. We've gotta continue to do that. Defensively, we've got get more turnovers, obviously, than what we got last week, but we gotta keep taking care of the ball on offense because that's going to be a key this week as we go into this game against a really good football program led by one of the best to ever do it to ever walk the sidelines.
I have an enormous amount of respect for him. It will be a tough game, but it's going to be one of the funnest games that we get to play in. I know our guys are really excited about it, and we simply will not allow any distractions to come into our view. Everything that we have and want is still right in front of us, and we expect to get those things accomplished starting with this week. So I will end with that and start taking some questions. Let's kind of keep it, if we can, a little bit more to football mostly.
Q. (No microphone).
DAVID BEATY: You know, they are always a well-coached football team. That has not changed. I mean I have so much respect for him. He does such a terrific job. They played Texas really close. TCU, that game could have went either way. I mean they have battled in every single game, you know, and they just have come up on the other end of it. I mean those things could go the other way in a heartbeat.
I will say this. Man, for a guy to be able to give so much to a university and do what he's done and what his staff has done, I sure hate to see that, that he has to go through that. But we get it when we get into this program, we get into this line of work, we get it. But at the end of the day I understand that it's a production business on all of us. But I'll tell you this. It won't affect Saturday for either one of us. It's not going to affect us in any way. It'll be who executes the best and who gets our team ready to play.
Q. How have the players responded (no microphone)?
DAVID BEATY: Man, they've been very, very professional and they've been really good. Obviously, you know, Sunday was probably a little bit more emotional for them, for us as well. I mean we're a family. So that was tough for a few minutes, but then after a few minutes, we just basically talked about how it's football and it's about toughness, and we simply have a job to do, and all of our goals are still in front of us. And I just expressed how excited I was to still be able to be with them because they're going to accomplish those goals, which I'm excited about, and they're excited about it, too. I know they're excited about playing in this game, and they know that we're getting a little bit better every week. So we gotta continue to do that.
Q. Question about seniors. (No microphone).
DAVID BEATY: Man, I think it would mean the world to them. We've talked about it already at length about these seniors, they deserve to go out with a big win against a rival that they haven't been able to experience. They have experienced some things here that they're awfully proud of as well, but being able to beat this team and walking away with this game with a victory, I don't know that there's any better way we could honor those seniors because those guys have really given. They've sacrificed. They've bled. They've sweat. They've cried, and they really truly care about this place. I think the challenge is going to be for us when we get that done is to make sure that those guys enjoy it, because they're so focused on their fanbase, sometimes I gotta remind them to do that.
Q. (No microphone).
DAVID BEATY: I absolutely do. I see those guys rallying together around our staff, and really just kind of bonding with the task at hand. It just kind of happens to be the week that we're playing K State, which I don't know that many people would think that that would be a positive, but for us it's turned into a mega positive. So we're excited about the opportunity, and like I said, they know me. There's not going to be distractions. We're not going to sit here and money and gripe and complain about things. We're going to continue to work forward and make sure that we get the job done, the task at hand, which is to come away from this game with a win.
Q. (No microphone).
DAVID BEATY: Yeah. I mean it didn't take ten seconds. I mean I looked at them, they looked at me, and we were like, you know what, it happens. It's life. But I'm still here, and I'm excited I'm still here, and you're going to be here, and this is your school. You didn't come here for me. You came here because of KU, Kansas football. And you want all those things that you wanted are still right in front of you. I didn't have to say much else. Our seniors were able to handle it. I mean very few distractions.
Q. (No microphone).
DAVID BEATY: Well, Monday's practice is not as long, but it was great. I mean the bounce in their step was good. Other than this conference and what you're going to ask them, I don't know that they -- I really don't know that there's a whole lot of thought given to anything other than just what the task at hand is. Yesterday's practice was good. I was really proud of them. I got a little emotional last night because these dudes are studs. I mean they are ready to go and locked in. I'll miss them. All right. Thanks a lot, y'all.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports