football Edit

Video & Transcript: Messingham post-practice

Kansas State offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham updated the media on K-State's offense after practice Thursday.

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TRANSCRIPT PROVIDED BY KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY

COURTNEY MESSINGHAM, OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

On how fall camp has been going…

“We are well ahead of where we were when practice started, but we’re a long ways away from being ready for gameday. But, I feel good about the direction we’re going, there’s no doubt about that.

On senior offensive lineman Tyler Mitchell…

“One, he’s a workaholic; two, he’s a fun-loving guy. Nothing really bothers him. He’s a guy that’s going to compete every day, but he likes to have fun doing that, and I love him. In the short time, he’s really embraced me. I feel great about him as a person and as a player.”

On fullback Adam Harter…

“Mentally, he’s done a really nice job. Anytime you get nicked up and you have things happen to you, you can have your dauber go down. But right away, he was started to talk to guys who were maybe behind him on the depth chart and trying to get them better, which I appreciate that.”


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On the running back competition…

“I don’t think I would name anybody that would be a 1, 2 and 3, but I definitely think we have three or four guys that I feel good with.”

On the performance of the offensive line as a unit…

“They’re doing pretty well. The biggest problem, though, that we have to get to where we truly have six or seven or eight that could all go in there and play as five and play as one group of five. I don’t think we can make it through a Big 12 season with only playing five O-Linemen. So we have to keep finding that two or three extra guys to help us.”

On the leadership of senior offensive linemen Scott Frantz, Adam Holtorf and Tyler Mitchell…

“They don’t reach out a lot and maybe say stuff to the running backs or say stuff to the receivers, but they hold all of their O-Line guys accountable. That’s probably the biggest thing – those guys are holding the O-Line accountable and talking to the O-Line to teach those guys that maybe haven’t had as many live reps.”

On the depth of the fullback position…

“It hasn’t been as bad as someone would think because, for that position, we’re going to try to all the tight ends/fullbacks in. So, as an example, Nick Lenners or Blaise (Gammon), they have to understand how to play fullback as well as tight end. Now, obviously, you probably doing have a 6-foot-7 Blaise playing a whole bunch of fullback, but he understands what they’re doing. So it’s not as maybe an earth-shattering issue as some would think.”

On what the double-rep system in practice means...

“Basically it means that even that brand-new true freshman, he’s got to be able to get in and learn the system and get in and play because we’re going to have one group of offense in on one end of the field and another group down on the other end. So all four fullbacks, as an example, they’re all going to get reps, even on day one. So it forces a guy like Jax Dineen to learn the playbook and to get ready to go because he’s got 10 other guys who are counting on him doing his part of the puzzle.”

On the development freshman fullback Jax Dineen…

“(He’s coming along) really good. I’ve been impressed with him. He’s got quick-twitch and he likes contact. He’s still got a learning curve and he has to keep going, but I’ve been really happy with him. The biggest thing is he loves the game. He flies around. We ask him to do some things sometimes that, at his height, he’s probably not going to do, but learning-wise we make him do it.”

On bringing in an offense and trying to get the players to fit his system…

“I try to get them to understand that it’s not my system. It’s our system, us as coaches. Being with them for the first time, we’re trying to teach them what our system is going to be. If you would go and ask Skylar (Thompson), he would tell you, ‘I have input. I’m a part of what we are trying to do.’ That’s what we’re trying to get the O-Line to understand, the tight ends to understand, it doesn’t matter the position. But it’s going to be our offense. It happened to be that we ‘brought’ it here from North Dakota State, but by the time we kick off, it needs to be ‘ours.’ They need to have answers and take ownership in it.”

On what the biggest questions right now are…

“The biggest questions right now are just how are we going to handle it when the big lights are on and we’re in the middle of the heat and the game is going. There are a lot of days where I feel really, really good and there’s days where we walk off the practice field and say, ‘Ok, we’re not ready yet, but that’s ok because it’s not August 31 yet.’”

On if Jax Dineen has shown any leadership…

“Not so much his ability to lead anyone else, but his ability to have a desire to learn has been phenomenal. That part is really trying to show leadership to some of those younger guys that, ‘Guys, we don’t have the answers right now. At some point we will, but right now we have to be a sponge.’ That part to me is a leadership quality because he’s smart enough to understand that, ‘I don’t have the answers, but I’m going to learn the answers.’”

On seeing any separation at the backup quarterback position…

“It’s odd that you ask that because there’s days where we walk off the field and say, ‘Boy, I think one is starting to separate.’ Then a day later, you say, ‘It’s still a horserace between three guys.’ As an example, Jeron Lewis started getting a few more reps on one of our ends of double rep, and he saw major improvement as that happened. I think the biggest thing they all have to understand is it’s out of their control who the second-string guy is, but it is in their control how well they perform. That’s going to make us say, ‘Yep, that’s the guy that I think can lead us if we need him to.’”

On splitting carries between the running backs…

“It’s twofold. Part of it is keeping people happy, maybe not so much happy, but keeping them engaged and making sure they know they have a role, they have a part of it. The second thing that goes to it, at North Dakota State, the ability to keep people healthy, the ability to understand the bodies that we were dealing with. How many carries can one guy get and still be able to come out and play the next week just as explosively and efficiently. That’s the thing we’ll need to figure out here is a James Gilbert, a Jordon Brown, a Harry Trotter, all those guys that are in there, where are we at with the number of reps they can take, and then next week still open up when the bell rings and be ready to go. Some guys can take a whole bunch of carries. I’ve coached backs before that would carry it 30 times a game and still be able to come back and play the next week. I’ve also coached a bunch of backs that, if you get 15 carries, you’re feeling pretty good about yourself and you still should be able to play the next week just as well.”

On the running backs...

“It kind of goes with the (backup) quarterback situation. I know it sounds odd, but there’s been days when you said, ‘Man, Harry (Trotter) had three rip plays where he probably went 35-40 yards on one.’ Today as an example, Jordon Brown had one where the first cut he made was just phenomenal, and you said, ‘Wow, that guy has played before.’ Obviously, some of the other guys have had the same thing. I think James Gilbert, from spring ball to now, he can basically coach it already, which is phenomenal. You wouldn’t think it, except that he’s been through a lot of football already. He’s an older guy that’s played a ton. His knowledge has really been impressive. So, I feel good with a group of backs.”

On where Skylar Thompson has improved the most in fall camp…

“Probably, just as much as anything, is just his continued understanding of the offense. As an example, when we go to a 2-minute drive, my ability to basically tell him, ‘Hey, it’s yours, pull the trigger.’ ‘Well, coach, we’re in no huddle, I know that.’ ‘That’s alright. You understand it. What do you feel best with?’ He pulls that trigger and we go operate. That’s where I start feeling really good about him understanding what we’re trying to do in not ‘my’ offense but ‘our’ offense.”