Here are some comments made by Paul Rhoads during his Monday Big 12 teleconference.
I like being a part of these because you get a broader scope of the program on a national level. The Tim Griffin’s of the world are the ones asking the questions. Here are the questions I found interesting.
Having won in Lincoln last week, what kind of confidence does that give your team heading into College Station?
PR: I think that our confidence grows and grows every week. Believe it or not, I think that it has grown even in losses this year. Our goals and expectations for this season have been from day one to improve in everything that we have done. I think that we continue to do that as a football team and as football players so even after tough losses to Kansas State and Kansas, I felt that our confidence improved and I feel it improved with this weekend’s victory against Nebraska.
How are you able to build on that with a team that has suffered so many losses in the past year or two?
PR: It’s certainly a hurdle that you have to overcome but we’ve been able to focus on this year’s team. The 2009 football team isn’t responsible for the losses in 2008 or 2007 or as far as you want to go back. The kids have bought into that. We’re taking care of this season one day at a time and one game at a time. We’re living it. We’re not just speaking it.
When you took the program over, did you have any idea that you guys could be at this point, this quickly?
PR: That’s what we set our expectations to be. I don’t know if we felt we could because we didn’t know enough about our football team but we established it right away because you rarely exceed what your expectations are. I didn’t want to go into the season wanting to win just three games or win one Big 12 game or win one road game or so forth. We’ve gone about our business trying to win every football game, regardless of the points spread or regardless of the disparity in talent or regardless of the times we have won or lost versus that opponent. Our preparation because of that has been excellent. Hopefully it will continue to be.
How did you keep from letting that Kansas State loss pull you down?
PR: You always worry about one loss creating a second loss. We were on alert for that as a coaching staff. When Sunday came and we learned from our mistakes via film and practice, there was no need to create any kind of stir or atmosphere to get back to work and get focused on Kansas. Our kids took care of it. The came back in, strapped on the helmets and went right back to work. They suffered through the three losses that we’ve had this season. They suffered through Kansas State and they suffered through Kansas. I think that helped us move forward. If they would have came in on Sunday with a lot of bounce and giggle to them or if they bus would have been like that on the way home, then I would have been more worried than being upset about the fact that we lost.
Have you ever been a part of an as emotional locker room as what you had in Lincoln?
PR: In 21 years I have been blessed to have been a part of a lot of good wins so yeah, I have been but never as a head football coach. That probably makes it a little more special. That was a happy football team with a lot of happy guys who spent every single out and fiber of energy that they had. We enjoyed it for sure.
It’s difficult to have a backup quarterback lead to you to a victory. That’s kind of a rare thing right?
PR: It is a rare thing and very rare to do it in Lincoln, Neb. and Memorial Stadium. Here is a red-shirt freshman who has a handful of snaps and you tell him, you’re going to get your first start against one of the best defenses in the country and you have to do it on their home field where we haven’t beaten them since 1977. Here is the ball. Good luck. I don’t think that you would have written down that we’d come out of this with a win or that he would have helped lead us to that win. But Jerome did. We did not turn the ball over. He showed a lot of maturity in executing the offense and doing it in an absolutely hostile environment.