October 24, 2006

Prince reflects on loss at Missouri

Less than two days removed from Kansas State's first loss to Missouri since 1992, first-year head coach Ron Prince on Monday recounted the contribution of running back James Johnson, discussed Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel, and revisited the crucial momentum shift in the first half that initiated the Wildcats' demise in a 20-point defeat on Saturday.

Can you talk a little bit about the contribution James Johnson made to your team on Saturday?

James did a very nice job for us. We've seen steady improvement from him. Obviously, as a junior college player he completed his academic work very late in the summer so he was a little bit behind when he came into camp. Just having time to transition to this level and get himself in playing shape took a little bit of time and just transitioning in general. We started seeing some of those signs here coming out of the first several games and particularly in practice and he's had a couple opportunities in games to do some things. I guess Saturday was really his first extensive action. He made the most of it. Obviously, he had an opportunity to score on the goal line and wasn't able to get that done but there were a lot of very positive things from his contribution.

How much of a momentum switch was it when you guys got the fumble recovery and touchdown to start off and then were stopped at the one-yard line and how that played a part in the momentum of the game?

It was a very big part in the momentum and that's one of the things you're faced with as a coach and you understand the ramifications of each wave. You go up 14-3 on the road there in that situation and you feel very good about the momentum now that you've been able to strike quite a blow both on defense and on offense and the first quarter seemed like it went on for 45 minutes or an hour. It was a very long first quarter. Our ability to capture momentum in those cases will really go a long way toward us being able to go on the road and win these Big 12 games.

Do you feel like for a young team that was a good situation to be in, in just living through that kind of stuff?

Well, we've had a number of these kinds of situations and you have to learn from these situations when they don't go your way. To repeat them is just not smart. But I'd like to be able to learn from these situations when we have a positive outcome as well. You don't always have to have something that's not as positive occur so we can learn. To learn and improve while you're winning is a big part of it and that's our expectation.

Having just seen Chase Daniel on Saturday I was wondering if I could get your impressions of him.

Well, he's a very confident player as well he should be. He's had tremendous success as a prep player and now as a collegiate player. He's lost maybe one or two games in his playing career as a starter. He has that kind of confidence and it shows. He is very much in command of the offense that he's running. It's a system he's very familiar with from his high school days. You can really just see the maturity and his poise back there. It's really terrific. We were able to get quite a shot on him on the first play of the game and get the ball out and return it for a touchdown. He was basically unfazed by it the rest of the way.

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