EMAWOnline – Watch: Chris Klieman, players react to win over Houston


Opening Statement:

“I’m happy for our guys, it was a dominant performance. We challenged our guys early in the week of having that chip on our shoulder, having that edge, having that mentality every week. We didn’t want to be a roller coaster team. We wanted to continue to improve and get better. Houston’s a good team, I think we caught them today at the right time maybe. But our guys really played focused, physical football. You look at the statistics and if we can keep the ball on third down like we’ve been doing, I think we were 10 of 14 on third down and they were 3 of 14 on third down. That was the story of it last week and it was a story of it this week that enabled us to keep the time of possession, and do some really good things on both sides of the ball. Can’t say enough about our defense, coach [Joe] Klanderman and the staff’s great plan. We’re playing really well at all three levels of defense right now, which I’m excited about. And then as I told the guys and told him, I thought Will Howard, he’s played a lot of really good football here and may have played his best game. So I was really pleased with Will.”

On what having back to back dominant home wins says about the team:

“Maturity would be one thing, we got a lot of sixth year guys that this place means everything to, that they only have three more chances, and now we’re down to two. Our mentality, of not getting ahead of ourselves, not thinking about ‘oh, I’m excited because we play at 11 o’clock, or play homecoming’ or whatever. Our one day at a time mentality of just, winning Monday and getting to Tuesday, then winning Tuesday and getting to Wednesday. Winning college football games is hard, but you can’t win games on Saturday without attacking the week, and I give our older guys credit, man. We had a tough practice on Wednesday on defense and Austin Moore grabbed them all and brought them all together and said we’ve got to be better, and we’re holding each other accountable and that’s player ownership.”

On Will Howard’s performance:

“[He was] just in control [and] in command, [he] saw the field really well. I thought he ran the ball well and got some extra yards a few times when he ran through some arm tackles to get ourselves a first down. I thought he was on point throwing the football. I was pleased with him, and we worked the play where we threw the ball downfield to Phillip [Brooks], and we don’t take that many vertical shots and it was a third and one, and he led Phil pretty well and then Philip made a big time catch, which got us another chance for Phillip on the touchdown pass. I just thought he was in command today, Will was.”

On the performance from the secondary:

“I think collectively, it’s our entire group back there and coach [Vance] Malone and coach [Joe] Klanderman. We felt like we would continue to get better with all the young players, and guys we lost. Ekow’s [Boye Doe] with the Chiefs, Julius [Brents] is with the Colts, Josh Hayes is with the Bucs, we lost some pretty good players back there that we were going to be a work in progress in the secondary. And we’ve continued to attack each day and each week to try to get better. Moving Kobe [Savage] and VJ [Payne] was the right thing to do when we did it, now they’ve settled in for a few games. I was pleased with Will Lee coming back and playing really well after being nicked up and not playing as much, he played well today. Keenan [Garber] is continuing to get better. Jacob [Parrish]’s always been really solid. It’s just a week to week thing because we’ve got to be really good in the secondary in this league..”

On becoming bowl eligible:

“[I] didn’t even mention it there. We’re on to the next one, and I know the next one’s a big one. But we’re gonna enjoy this one. It’s once again, it’s not 2:30 am. So I’m kind of excited to just kind of relax and maybe enjoy an afternoon.”


On defense playing right now:

“We’re playing at an elite level, which is what we’ve been trying to replicate the whole year. It feels really good to be playing at this level and shutting guys out holding the one score. That’s our goal, and that’s our goal for the rest of the season.”

On attributions to success this season:

“Preparation, definitely. In practice, we’ve been practicing how we play, we’ve been practicing really hard, and having good technique. Just our preparation comes down to how we play on Saturdays.”

On inspirational words from Austin Moore this week:

“Austin always does. He is the leader of our team. Deuce [Daniel Green] is still around and he obviously is still a super good leader, but Austin is that guy now. He always has a different mentality that he shares with us. ‘Pissed off focus’ is what he calls it. He shares a good message every single week.”

On not being challenged at home yet:

“We take pride in playing well in front of our fans. We have some of the best fans in the country, obviously. So, it feels really good to play in front of our fans and play really well. That’s what our staple is for this year.”


On if Houston gave them the defensive looks they anticipated:

“No, actually they did what they did against Texas for the most part, so we had to adjust on the fly, but it worked out because the defense they ran is kind of what our defense runs. So we got a lot of reps against it so it all worked out.”

On how good K-State is playing:

“Oh goodness, this team right now, I feel like our confidence level is really high right now and it’s coming at a good time, I think. You know, we talked about being super strong emotionally and mentally. At this point in the season, when you’re in the grind of it and the team that is going to win are going to be the teams that are the most emotionally and mentally tough. And at the end of the day, the last two weeks we’ve proven to be very, very tough mentally, emotionally, and physically.”

On how it feels seeing other teammates get on the field:

“It was awesome. A lot of that is really cool because a lot of those guys, they work their tails off day in and day out. Guys like Seth Porter who got his first touchdown today, guys like Garrett Oakley got his first touchdown today, getting Jake [Rubley], Sam Shields in there, that just makes me so happy, you know. As a leader of this team just because I know how hard those guys work and how much they put into this. They deserve to see the fruits of those works.”


On the defense:

“I feel like we’re playing at an exceptionally high level just over communicating, and especially like this week, not playing against that tempo. Being able to communicate pre-snap and just getting aligned, everyone assigned and making sure we’re all operating at the right level.”

On Austin Moore:

“Yeah, Austin Moore is like the standard of our defense. I mean, just having Austin Moore right there, just somebody that’s always coming to work. He always inspires me and motivates me every day to go harder and harder and just run to the ball and finish every rip. So yeah, Austin pulled us all together during the Tuesday practice, and we were all just chirping at each other, making sure we were all running through our leverage and playing our keys.”

On the winning streak:

“It’s an amazing home-field advantage of seeing that sea of purple. It just intimidates the opponent and I mean it intimidates me if just having a loud crowd like that in my ear always, and then playing at a high level. The crowd is just feeding off of that and just giving us that momentum that we need.”


On winning:

“Just to be able to put it back to back weeks like that, of a dominant performance is very fulfilling. I got to see a couple of guys get in there and I’ve been working really hard. Offense made some plays as well today. It was a great win for me.”

On Seth Porter’s touchdown:

“It was an emotional moment for me because we came in together, we both walked on together, we both are into scholarship together, and we worked out together. Seth is one of the hardest working dudes I’ve ever seen with my own eyes at least. He doesn’t take no plays off, and he goes hard every day. Like I said in the locker room in front of all the guy’s like, he’s a definition of what it means to be a Wildcat. Seeing somebody work so hard and then get what they desire was just very special..”

On thoughts of today’s game:

“We prove that you know, like I said earlier, we go back to weeks together. We show that defensively, we’re a tough team to score on, and offensively we can score. Just continuing that. We play Texas next week, and that’s what our mindset shifted. We are going to celebrate today of course, but we got to get back to work. Looking forward to Texas. We haven’t beat them since I’ve been here, so definitely looking forward to that.”


On the progression that the secondary has made:

“Starting off slow, we didn’t start how we wanted to. [We’ve been] building that confidence just to know that we can play with anybody, we can dominate anybody. And our preparation through the week, we don’t let the scout team try to catch any balls and we get mad if they do so. That carries over to the game. We don’t want them to have nothing. So I just want to limit the explosives [plays], because we know if we shut them out, [the] game’s over.”

On adjusting to K-State football:

“You know, it’s just the same thing [as ND State]. Just finding the confidence, and just believing in yourself knowing that you belong here. You think like ‘it’s different speed and different this,’ but when you get out there you’ve just got to adjust to yourself, and then fight their thoughts.”

On giving up three points in the last two games:

“You know, in the moment you don’t look at it. We just want to shut everybody out each week. And then after we look at it, like oh yeah, we represent mob mentality, because at the beginning [of the year], we weren’t showing that, like I said. But now we are just building that pride, and the people before us showed it so now we’ve got to show it, and we finally found it ourselves.”

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