August 27, 2014
By Kelly McHugh
Local media gathered in the Vanier Football Complex yesterday afternoon for K-State football's first press conference of the 2014 season. Head coach Bill Snyder and select players spoke with media and answered questions regarding the upcoming season.
From the year's first depth chart with the much-anticipated No. 1 running back announced to the excitement surrounding the season opener, there was a lot of football to be discussed.
Each week during the 2014 football season, K-State Sports Extra will highlight a few things from the weekly press conference, including quotes from Snyder and a few players.
Here is K-State Sports Extra's look at the first Tuesday press conference of 2014 before the Wildcats kick off their season against Stephen F. Austin at 6:10 p.m., Saturday in Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Of the Wildcats' 63-man depth chart (three positions - tight end, defensive tackle and kickoff return - have three players listed rather than the normal two) K-State has 20 seniors, 19 juniors, 10 sophomores, 11 redshirt freshmen and 3 true freshmen listed.
Perhaps the chart's biggest news, sophomore running back Charles Jones was in the No. 1 spot for the position while senior DeMarcus Robinson came in at the No. 2 slot. Snyder noted during his press conference that no spot is "written in stone" and that the running back position is "still competitive and will remain competitive throughout the week."
Two of the true freshmen to break into the No. 2 spot in their respective positions are former Blue Springs (Missouri) High School graduates. Kaleb Prewett was listed behind senior Dylan Schellenberg at one of the safety positions, while Elijah Lee was listed as No. 2 behind junior Charmeachealle Moore at one of the linebacker positions.
For a full look at the Wildcat depth chart in this week's game notes, click here.
HEAD COACH BILL SNYDER
Snyder opened the press conference by noting his players are "reasonably on track," and that though the effort is good, the execution of the game is still in its polishing stage.
However, despite the fact there is still work to be done, Snyder is optimistic his team is not overlooking anything going into the first game of 2014.
"Number one is not taking anything for granted; not taking their own performance for granted, not taking their improvement for granted and not taking the opponent for granted," explained Snyder on how to start the 2014 season strong. "The other aspect is just continued improvement. It's not just a week of improvement where you plateau in improvement, it's got to be going throughout the course of the year.
"The players informed me that they feel like they have not taken this opening ballgame or their performance level for granted. That's the feeling of our players right now."
• Snyder said that talented freshman running back Dalvin Warmack, also from Blue Springs High School, will "probably redshirt" this 2014 season.
• Snyder's take on the late-arriving community-college transfers who haven't surfaced on the depth charts: "Obviously if you come in after camp has started, missed all the summer and spring workouts, it's not an easy task to get yourself on the depth chart where you want to be, but we've seen promise and good possibility. When or how quickly that will take place remains to be seen. That's up to them."
• While the excitement of the first week of college football has taken the nation by storm, here's how Snyder looks at it: "I think everybody is anxious to get started, our players certainly are. Every team in the country, all the players will tell you they're anxious to hit somebody other than themselves, and I understand that, so I think the enthusiasm is there. As coaches, we've done this time and time and time again, so yes, we're anxious to get on the field, but not so anxious that you overlook what your preparation really needs to be."
FROM THE PLAYERS
Interview jitters and anxious smiles were both present among the student-athletes attending yesterday's press conference. Young Wildcats with potential to become the next era of K-State football stars flooded the Vanier Football Complex's Big 8 Room along with seasoned veterans like Jake Waters and Jonathan Truman.
I spent some time getting to know sophomore running back Charles Jones and senior defensive tackle Valentino Coleman yesterday. Here are a few things they had to say:
Sophomore Running Back Charles Jones
Charles Jones impressed the K-State coaches enough during fall camp to earn a nod at the No. 1 spot on this week's depth chart. Though the battle has been a close one between Jones, senior DeMarcus Robinson (the depth chart's No. 2 running back) and sophomore Jarvis Leverett, it has pushed each of the three to perform at their best every day.
"It just means we can't be complacent," explained Jones on trying to earn the No. 1 position every day on the field. "Every day in practice we have to come ready to work. We didn't take it lightly. We hit it hard. Just like I said, it was a hard fought battle."
Though it was a battle on the field day-in and day-out, Jones explained the relationship among this year's running backs is something special.
"We're like brothers," he explained. "We critique each other, and if I do something wrong, DeMarcus will let me know, or if he does something wrong, I'll let him know. We're good sports about it. We're really like brothers."
A 2012 graduate from Mandeville High School in Mandeville, Louisiana, Jones redshirted the 2012 season with the Wildcats and didn't see any action on the field during the 2013 season.
It's been a while since he's seen some in-game action, but after a long summer and fall camp full of training, he's ready to go.
"I'm really excited," he said as his smile grew wider. "It's been two years since I've been in a real game situation, so the nerves are coming in and I'm really excited."
Senior Defensive Tackle Valentino Coleman
There is no doubt Coleman is ready to get the season started. Noted at No. 1 in the defensive tackle position alongside junior Travis Britz on the depth chart, Coleman, a 2012 transfer from the College of San Mateo, has been working hard during the offseason to make an impact on the gridiron this year.
"I know the playbook much more, and I feel comfortable with what I'm supposed to do and with coach's expectations," explained Coleman. "Last year, I was out there thinking way too much, worried about the same things, but now I just need to focus, go out there and play ball."
In 2013, Coleman saw action in 10 games and totaled five tackles, including a season-high two tackles at Texas. He also had stops against UMass, Kansas and Michigan and broke up a pass against Iowa State. Excited and ready to go, Coleman said that this week - the first game week of the season - is one he always enjoys.
"We're really anxious," Coleman laughed. "We were just talking about it earlier how we can't wait until Saturday. Actually, we can't wait until Friday when we go to the hotel. The game preparation before the game is more exciting than anything because you know the next game is gameday.
"But this whole week is exciting, practice (on Monday) was fun, it was the first practice of game week. It's been really fun. We've been having a blast and just trying to enjoy it."