K-State Football Coaches

Kansas State offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham speaks with reporters in February.

Kansas State is one-third of the way through its regular season. Four games into the Chris Klieman era, how are various units of the team coming along?

The Mercury asked the Wildcats’ coordinators and some of the position coaches for their thoughts.

SCOTTIE HAZELTON, defensive coordinator

On the play of the defense as a whole ...

“I think we’re coming along with our effort. There are certain guys who, from Game 1, have really embraced it, and that’s really good. I think that the guys are continuing to grow. I think that we’re playing really hard. I think that’s been in them for a long time — the scrappiness of (former head) Coach (Bill) Snyder and his staff instilled in them has stayed around. You want to keep that going. So that’s been fun to see. I think that we’re progressing as a defense.

“I don’t know, as we continue to look at it and we say, ‘Hey, here’s some things that we could really get better at.’ We (just) need to keep growing. It might not be around — when you really get into it, it might be eight or 10 games that you’re really starting to go, ‘OK, now we’re starting to truly understand what (the defense) is,’ because it’s hard to mimic against our offense because our offense is different than the teams we play. It’s hard to mimic against scouts because the speed is different and the tempo of the game is different.

“To be able to see that — and can the guys trust it when it’s live? It’s different when I’m tagging a guy or I’ve just got to wrap him up. But when it’s live and I’ve got to actually take him to the ground, am I going to trust my technique and all those things? I think that we’re coming that way. I think that the progression is good. We’re (just) not there yet. You’d love to mature really quickly, but I don’t think you do. I think it takes a special — a really special — team to mature really quickly. I think that we’re coming along and there are guys who are doing that, because we have some mature guys. But there’s also guys who are normal. They’re ‘normal-maturity guys.’ They’re going to learn as we go and keep getting better every week.”

On the linebackers specifically ...

“I think ‘Deuce’ (Daniel Green) is coming along pretty well and has played a lot of meaningful snaps for us. I think that that’s kept us fresh. I’m excited to get Cody (Fletcher) back and all greased up. It’s going to take a little while to knock off all the rust, though. He’s been standing in a boot for a long time. So it’s a deal that we’d like to get a little more depth, and I’m glad that we’ve stayed healthy through there. I think those guys have played pretty hard. Their fits aren’t always right, but we’re working on those things.”

On whether he expects Fletcher to make his season debut Saturday against Baylor ...

“Yeah, he practiced the last two days, so I’m hoping that he feels good enough to be able to play at some point — hopefully this week is what you’d like.”

COURTNEY MESSINGHAM, off. coordinator

On the play of the offense as a whole ...

“I’m very pleased. Obviously, I wasn’t pleased very much with last week, but very pleased as a whole how we’ve gone about our business and how we’ve operated. We need to keep doing those things.”

On his position group, consisting of the tight ends and fullbacks ...

“I’ve been happy with the tight ends and fullbacks, as much as anything because they’ve shown they’re all-in. And when I say it that way, I mean we’ll play six guys, and all of them have a role and all of them have done a nice job buying into who they are and what they bring to the table.”

JASON RAY, wide receivers coach

On his position group ...

“We’re not where we need to be, I don’t think. As (head) Coach (Chris) Klieman has mentioned, we’re still getting to know them as far as our players go, and they’re getting to know us. But I’m getting a pretty hold on where we need to get better after four games, where some of our deficiencies are — things like that — and where we have some strengths. We just have to keep going forward and moving upward. The physicality has to be there, a lot more than what it showed on Saturday. That’s something the guys have to take pride in, and as a coach, I have to make sure I get it out of them and motivate them to be more physically dominant when it comes to just going out there and getting whatever rep you get.”

{span style=”text-decoration: underline;”}BUDDY WYATT, defensive ends coach{/span}

On his position group ...

“I really think that we’re nowhere close to being a finished product. I do think that we are getting better every game. They’re (still) learning the system. It’s easy running it in spring ball and running it in fall camp, but there are things that come up when you actually go through the season that you haven’t gone over in spring ball and fall camp. So they’re still learning the system, and I think they’re starting to get a grasp of everything. Now they can anticipate what people are going to do to them and how they’re going to block them and those types of things. So we’re not there. But we’ve just got to continue to fight and try to get better each and every day.”

{span style=”text-decoration: underline;”}JOE KLANDERMAN, safeties coach{/span}

On his position group ...

“We’re certainly not behind (where I want to be). I would say we’re improving weekly, daily. We’re improving. Just to see how Denzel (Goolsby) has improved and is grasping things that we’re doing, how Jahron McPherson has improved and is grasping what we’re doing, how Wayne Jones (is doing). To see some of the depth start to develop with Jonathan Alexander and John Durham, it’s great. I’m very pleased with those guys and what they bring every day to the meeting room, to practice and to gameday.”

Recommended for you