November 29, 2007

Prince speaks with media about season

Kansas State coach Ron Prince wrapped up his 2007 season with a media teleconference on Thursday. Prince, like the rest of his coaches, is out on the road recruiting as they try to find the correct personnel to correct the problems that led to this season's 5-7 record. Here is a complete transcript of Prince's 20-minute session.

On the final stretch of the season ...

In each of those games, we were able to mount a pretty good gameplan, a pretty good beginning of the game, and tried to put some things together that made sense. But in each one of those games, and even earlier in the season, at some point in the game, we just didn't have enough to finish. Part of it is that we have to do a better job on signing day. Part of it is we have to do a better job in our training. Perhaps we could have made a better call. When you're a coach, you're always going to feel like you could have done something to make an impact. Whether it be a different call, or different coverage, or something of that nature. Other than going back and taking some time, as we will do here when this first recurring period is over, those are my observations. In each one of the games, you could see that we had a good plan for what they were going to do. At some point, once some things started to go against us, we were unable to adjust, and we were unable to make the adjustments to completely shut off what the other team was getting. With that said, there were a couple games where the thing got away from us, and we made multiple adjustments. The other team did as well, and we just couldn't stop them. That's the flat bottom line.

On the benefits that come from being able to focus on recruiting without having bowl preparation ...

I think being a very positive person, I always try to find that. I talked pretty extensively to Coach (Al) Groh, back at Virginia, this week. I would obviously trade his situation for mine, but he reminded me that a year ago, they were in a similar situation. They knew that they were going to have a tough time. They were hoping they could come out with a pretty serious charge. They came up short, and they didn't make a bowl. They were able to go out and get on the road to try and fix some of those things.

On the biggest issue facing the team ...

I think there are clearly two things. I was pretty certain that this would be one of the most challenging years that we would have here, coming into the year, for a number of reasons. We have a lot of sophomores - a lot of nice players that are playing well for us. They've played two years now, but to mount a serious charge, you have to have a lot of third, forth and fifth-year players, who are playing at their very best and doing a good job. That's basically how you fight through tough times. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough of that. We had some very veteran players that did a remarkable job. We just didn't have enough of them playing at their best level, and I knew that. I knew that before I took the job. I knew before the season, that this would be one of our toughest years. All that said, I thought we had a good plan. I thought we could do some thing in the kicking game, causing turnovers and being able to be explosive on offense to be able to overcome it. The reality is, that we were not able to. I think, on the defensive front, we have to be able to address our issues there. We knew we were a little light there. That was one of the things that we tried to address from a scheme standpoint. For a big part of the year, we were one of the top defenses in our conference, and at the end of the year, we got worn down and did not play as well. In the secondary, particularly at the safety position, in the absence of some of the big plays, when we were getting interceptions and some of those things, it turned the other way on us, and we had some miscues and some mental breakdowns. Those cost us touchdowns. You could say the same thing in the kicking game. We did a lot of nice things. We scored a bunch of touchdowns in the kicking game, but in three games that we lost, we gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown. In some of these games, all of the advantages we had at one point in the season went against us. We knew it would be difficult times. I still maintain that this was one of our most challenging years, but I expected us to win more games than we did a year ago.

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