August 13, 2013
By Mark Janssen
Bill Snyder is not your flashy look-at-me kind of guy, but even he gazes out his office window from time to time and marvels at the $75-plus million West Stadium Center that will debut on August 30, when the Wildcats play North Dakota State.
While the K-State fans will view the Wildcats in first-class comfort, to Snyder, it's the dining facility that has him excited.
"As it relates to the players, it will ease their time management during the season," said Snyder. "We ask so much of our student-athletes. We ask them to come in for morning weights, we ask them to go to class, we ask them to come to study table, we have our workouts, and we ask them to attend meetings. It's just never ending what we ask of them.
"Having our dining facility here at our facility will eliminate them having to go on campus, find a place to park, eat, and then come back for more meetings," said Snyder. "Having our weight facility, our practice field, our meeting rooms, and now our dining facility all self-contained in one area will make for more efficient time management."
Snyder indicated that all comments about the new facility from incoming recruits have been positive, but he added, "Will it help land a certain recruit? Who knows... Everybody makes a decision for a different reason, but it certainly won't hurt."
The Wildcat coach marveled at watching the seven-story facility mature with each month starting from the beginning.
"To watch those guys walking on a 12-inch beam some 100 feet above the ground and moving around like they're taking a jog in the park is something I admired very much," said Snyder. "We had a lunch for the workers and I went over and told them that whatever they were getting paid, it wasn't near enough. To do what they do takes a lot of courage."
ROUTINE UNDERWAY: One day two-a-days, the next day a single practice in the middle of oodles of team chalkboard meetings. By the August 30 opener against North Dakota State, 29 on-field sessions will have taken place.
While there's reason for optimism following years of 10 and 11 victories, respectively, Snyder said the major concerns of today lie in "...the intrinsic things. I always have a concern about young people, and older people like myself and some of our coaches, not taking anything for granted. We can't take our performance level for granted because of what the program has done up to this point in time."
On losing up to nine starters on defense, Snyder said, "When you lose as many as we did on defense, that can have an impact on your special teams because so many of your defensive players play on special teams."
When one combines all special teams, Kansas State ranked No. 1 in the nation last year, leaving Snyder to say, "An awful lot of the personnel on those six units were defensive players."
A K-STATE FLAVOR TO COACHING STAFF: Snyder continues to be true to his own as his nine-man coaching staff has a huge dose of former Kansas State players, with the vast majority of those being former Snyder players.
On the staff are former punter Sean Snyder as associate head coach/special teams coordinator; former offensive lineman Dana Dimel as co-offensive coordinator; former wide receiver Andre Coleman as wide receivers coach; former lineman Mo Latimore as interior defensive line coach; and former defensive end Blake Seiler as defensive ends coach.
"Here are some guys who are proof of the pudding. They've experienced it here... the good and bad," said Snyder. "It's an opportunity for our young players to understand what it can be, and what it really takes. That's not only the hard work, but how a team can draw together, and as a player, be accountable."
EIGHT AT HOME: Kansas State will play two-thirds of its season at home, which includes the first three games of the season, a trio of mid-season games, plus two of its last three to conclude the 2013 season.
On their home turf, the Cats went 7-0 in 2012 and 6-1 in 2011. In fact, in Snyder's four years since his return, his clubs have a collective 22-4 home record.
After opening the year against North Dakota State, Louisiana and UMass at home, K-State will get a rude introduction to Big 12 play with dates at Texas and at Oklahoma State.
Home games follow with Baylor, West Virginia and Iowa State, followed by a trip to Texas Tech, back-to-back home games with TCU and Oklahoma, and a regular-season concluding 12th game at Kansas on November 30.
The Wildcats will have a pair of off-weeks in the middle of the season with those on September 28 prior to playing Oklahoma, and October 19 before playing West Virginia.