MANHATTAN, Kan. (Kansas State Athletics) – Kansas State assistant head coach/cornerbacks coach Van Malone, defensive tackles coach Mike Tuiasosopo, linebackers coach Steve Stanard and defensive ends coach Buddy Wyatt met with members of the media on Tuesday at the Vanier Family Football Complex. Links to video and audio of Malone’s press conference in addition to a link to the breakout interviews with Tuiasosopo, Stanard and Wyatt are above, while a transcript of Malone’s opening statement is below.
VAN MALONE, ASSISTANT HEAD COACH/CORNERBACKS
“First of all, I’d like to thank you guys for doing what you do. For supporting our team, for sharing our stories. It means a lot to our staff. It means a lot to our players. We’re building something very special here at K-State on our team. As a staff, we kind of talk about it all the time that we’re really excited to get going, to get into the season because our players spend a lot of time away from what they do, away from the games, away from this type of action. So, we’re excited to be back in fall camp, and I know Coach talked about our core values and it’s been cool for me because, since we committed to our core values our strength staff has done a great job of stressing our players, of putting those positions where they are not comfortable. We try to talk to them about getting comfortable in those places, in those spaces of uncomfort. We have to be able to manage that. We continue to have adversity. We have adversity every day. We sometimes give them adversity and we put them in those situations in fall camp that they have to manage through offensively, defensively, and special teams. So, it’s been really cool to watch us be able to grow and develop in those times.
“Our leadership at this moment is the best it’s ever been. I say that because I’ve talked to a lot of our players and our players remark about how, and especially the ones who have been on our team a while, remark about how many more leaders we have on our team. When you bring in 39 new players, your core values of discipline, commitment, toughness and selflessness they have to be at a high level. I think that’s kind of where we are as a team. Our players enjoy being around each other and that’s cool. I don’t know if they always enjoy being around us because we do a lot of pushing them, a lot of yelling, but they definitely enjoy being around each other. They enjoy being around that locker room, and that’s the place that they own. I think that in order to be champions then they have to care about each other. I think that’s where we are. It’s better than it’s been since we’ve been here.
“There’s been a lot of discussion about where this team will finish. There’s been predictions, but the one thing that I will say is that it doesn’t come from our team it doesn’t come from our building because our guys are committed to working every day. They talk to each other the fact that what people say, that what is written, that what people predicted, it has nothing to do with where we end up finishing, with how our season, with how each one of the games end up. That’s cool as a coach to be able to watch the maturity and the leadership as it grows through our team. The guarantee we can make, because the predictions they are what they are, but we can guarantee that we’re going to play hard and our players will care for each, that we’ll stick together, that we’ll be able to handle adversity as it comes, and of course like Coach always says, it’s going to come and we’re going to do that with staying with that process from this moment until we play our final game.
“We’ve had a ton of good competition offensively, defensively and special teams. A lot of young guys who have shown their heads, who have shown that they are going to be able to help us throughout the season and we’re excited about that. We’ve put in a ton of great work, but we still have a long way to go. There are some guys who, personally, who I have seen stand out and I’ll just list those guys. For example, Josh Hayes, Julius Brents, Deuce (Daniel) Green. Those are names, of course, we all know and those are guys as expected they’ve preformed well throughout this fall camp. But Jake Clifton, who’s a younger guy, has stood out to me. Austin Moore seeing him really develop from last year to now. Dee (Robert) Hentz II, Felix (Anudike-Uzomah), Eli Huggins, those guys have continued to get better, of course they’re names that we know. Ekow Boye-Doe and two younger guys defensively Jacob Parrish and VJ Payne, those guys have stood out by the way they’ve played and by the way they’ve carried themselves throughout these practices. Offensively, Christian Duffie, of course a mainstay on the offensive line. Will Swanson has stood out to me. Adrian (Martinez) and his leadership, and his maturity out there on the field. DJ Giddens has done a good job. RJ Garcia II as well has done a good job, and he did a good job in the spring. Then Cooper (Beebe) and then Mr. Electric, Deuce Vaughn, has continually improved. We all know his abilities, but I have just seen him take it to another level in this fall camp. So, we’re excited to get going.”