November 20, 2006

Prince doesn't believe Cats let down

For the second time in three days, first-year coach Ron Prince lauded quarterback Josh Freeman for his contributions as a true freshman and placed the difficulties faced by the seven-time starter - six turnovers that led to 30 Kansas points - squarely upon his own shoulders. Prince also denied that a "letdown" was to blame for the Wildcats' regular season-ending 39-20 loss at Kansas in front of a record crowd at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

I'm curious if you could talk a little bit about what happened with Josh the other day. Was it just a freshman going through some growing pains?

First of all, Josh has done a terrific job for us this season and really anything he's given us is a bonus. He's been able to make some plays that no one else can make. I feel like the things that happened Saturday were my fault, not his, as far as the turnovers and maybe just having that off day. That's a reflection of the job I did preparing him for the game, not so much his performance. A couple of things that were of the unusual variety, tipped balls, that type of thing happened, and protection wasn't what it could have been and I think everybody around him has to play better and take equal credit in what happened on Saturday.

Is there something where maybe you guys were so high after the victory against Texas that maybe a comedown would be understandable, particularly for a young team?

No, these young people have given us everything they have all year. We faced a team that was a very good team and physical on both sides of the ball. We just did not have enough to finish it. That's really the effort we were going to need to make it a physical ball game. We didn't have that, we didn't bring it. We felt we were prepared for the game and had a good week of practice. The bottom line has been too many turnovers. I think we may have even had a slight edge in total offense, but when it came to four sacks and six turnovers, that's the name of the game and that's the story. I don't think there was any kind of letdown in that way. The kids gave us everything they had, we just made too many mistakes. When we do that on the road against a good team it's very difficult to win. We made it to that play in the kicking game for a touchdown and turned the ball over on defense, but we faced an excellent running back that ended up having an outstanding day, well above his average and we weren't able to put that kind of performance together. Our kids gave it everything they had for that game. Our focus was clearly on the game. It wasn't like it was anywhere else. We didn't perform.

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