By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher
Below is the transcript from Paul Rhoads’ Monday Big 12 teleconference.
I’ve watched Daniel Thomas run for 14 games now and he gets a lot of yards. I can’t always figure out how he gets them. Does he remind you of anyone as a running back?
PR: I don’t know if anybody jumps out at me who he reminds me of. He is an outstanding back. I believe that he is third in the country right now with 185 yards a game. He combines both power and good elusiveness. That is a heck of a combination. Usually when you have a big and physical back, he is more of a north to south, drop the shoulder type of guy. You have a guy like ours in Alexander Robinson, he would rather make you miss and get the extra yards that way. He can do both. To do that with his size and speed combination is scary.
What have you seen from Kansas State’s pass defense through their first two games?
PR: They are very well disciplined and they are very well coached. There are some differences from a year ago with Coach Cosh took over. They maybe aren’t as aggressive as they have been in the past but they are very sound with their pass defense. They do a great job of finding receivers in their zones and they match up and present small windows to throw to. What you want offensively and what your quarterback wants is a big window to throw to and they don’t allow many of them.
You guys held Daniel Thomas to a pretty ordinary game last year by his standards. How were you able to do that?
PR: I think that we tackled well in that game. You go into every game, and this will be no exception, with a plan to stop the run and have enough people close to the line of scrimmage to be near the ball to be able to do that. I don’t think that we had any type of magic formula. I think that we are going to have to play better this year than we did a year ago. He has a year more in the system and when you do that, you have a better idea of where your running lanes are and where you need to push things. He clearly does.
What have you seen out of Carson Coffman that has impressed you so far?
PR: He is an operator. He understands the quarterback position. He understands that it is his job to run the football team. He is very efficient with the football. He has got plenty of velocity. He can throw from one hash to the far sideline. His family has great genetics when it comes to this sport. I have a lot of respect for him, his ability and the family.
Was it a surprise to you at all last year when it was Gregory who played instead of Coffman?
PR: Yes, it was. I don’t know if that had anything to do with him coming from South Florida and his understanding of what Wally likes to do. There obviously was a history there. I doubt that. I think it was just a decision by Coach Snyder and his staff to go with a guy who they thought would give them the best opportunity to win. On game day, when the guy comes out there, that is who you try to defend.
After Thomas, they have another pretty good back in Powell. Is job one for you guys stopping the run? Are you going to try to make them beat you through the air?
PR: I think that is true. You’re right. The backup does have a large number of yards as well. We haven’t stopped the run game in two games this season. We are 100 and something in the country at stopping the run. You’re not going to win more games than you lose when you play that kind of run defense. We have to shore it up. I don’t know if it is completely accurate saying that we need to make them throw to beat us because they can throw the ball very effectively too. They have balance in their run-pass. By overloading too much, you can make yourself vulnerable the other way.