K-State Holds 2016 Football Media Day

Head Coach Bill Snyder
On kids changing over the 25 years he’s been at K-State…
“They have but that’s a generalized statement. We have some young guys in our program that I would say aren’t any different than they were 25 years ago. It’s an assortment and, as I think about it now, I probably could have said that five or 10 years ago, but that’s not collective or the entirety of the program. We have some really good guys and some have a little different perception of what life’s really all about.”

On how he has changed since 1989 as a coach…
“I don’t think about it very much. I don’t see a great deal of change; I am a little softer, but that comes with old age. I evolve, but I’m pretty certain I’m 95-percent the same as I was 25 years ago.”

On what he has seen so far in practice…
“We had our third (practice) this morning, and we were in our shorts and upper shoulder pads. I think our young guys have collectively worked hard, but I’m reaching for the 100-percent mark. We are probably at 92- or 93-percent that are heavily invested in what we’re doing. Our guys understand the nature and the competiveness of so many positions. I’m proud of the guys who are competing in every single snap to try and win a spot. There are a number of spots that are very competitive, and the first day was extremely hot and the conditions were not good. I appreciated the young guys who fought through that quite well. I haven’t seen them let up or hit that wall yet, and we have a long way to go. We have had more execution issues on the offensive side of the ball. It’s a 16-hour day, but we are focused on the mental toughness and most of them handle it pretty well.”

On what this team’s personality may be…
“I haven’t thought along those lines and I haven’t in any faucet of it. I want them to be guys who are extremely competitive, disciplined and hard-working and who are overachievers. I haven’t seen anything that just sticks out at this point in time. I just think we still have a way to go.”

On what things this year’s team has that last year’s team lacked…
“That remains to be seen; last year we took some things for granted and I hope that doesn’t take place with this group. I sense that it’s moving in the right direction. Last year we were not a good finishing football team for the most part and I sense this team wants to be a team focused on finishing. I think that’s on their mind to be a team that will finish ball games.”

On Joe Huebner now compared to the end of last season…
“I don’t know – he is a great deal different, but I know he’s still improving. He started off well in the spring and started off well in the last couple of practices. He’s got awareness but Joe’s a pretty bright young guy – he gets it. There are a few bad habits that he is still trying to break but probably fewer of them now than last season.”

On how offseason team-building events brought the team closer together…
“It does always help and we’ve always tried to do a variety of different things together that give them time to be together. They enjoy those things a great deal and there is a bonding that takes place.”

On what he looks at when evaluating a quarterback…
“First, make sure they can line up at the ball on the next down. Secondly, being able to make plays, don’t turn the ball over via interceptions or any other facet. There are a number of things, being able to operate our offense and keeping us out of the wrong plays. Also, being an individual that can understand the process, and, in the passing game, have the discipline and proper progression and not get hung up on one receiver or one route. Virtually putting the ball in the right spot and obviously being proficient in the running game. I would like to have guys that are really competitive in that position.”

On what he hopes to accomplish by the season opener…
“We want to go out and play as well as we possibly can, play to win. I want us to be a good team when we come off the field. I want us to be the best we can be. I hope that we see the competitive nature come out of the team, and I hope we accept that challenge and want to get invested. Unfortunately, we can’t take everybody, which you would like to be able to do or get a chance to get everybody on the field. Hopefully we can make a great game out of it.”

On how he looks at his progression as a head coach…
“It’s ongoing and the dynamics are different every year. If there was reason to change, I would change. I’m probably more like I was when we began. There are some things that we have altered from year to year. To be specific, in all reality, I’ve softened a little bit and there have been some things that I don’t impose upon our players in the program that I may have in the past. More like I was but there’s been some changes.”

Associate Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Sean Snyder
On how recruiting has changed…
“The amount of stuff you can put together and send out with texting and direct messaging, graphics are being used more when it comes to recruiting. It’s kind of a new wave, recruits can see a picture or something mocked up and a lot of young men like seeing that. Also we’re getting a thousand emails a week. There are over 200,000 high school football players, and whether a guy is capable of playing at K-State or not, we’re getting all of that stuff and we have to sort through it all. People used to send out DVD’s and video tapes to players that they thought they had a good shot at because it cost money. Now you can just put a clip together and send it to somebody; it doesn’t cost anything and it’s free and easy.”  

On how Coach Snyder and Kansas State has adjusted to the change in recruiting…
“During spring recruiting we are evaluating our 2017 and 2018 recruits where as some schools are even looking into their 2019 and 2020 recruits. You know it is part of the game you have to know your areas and whom you’re recruiting.”    

On recruits…
“One of the things we will always be is we’ll always be a team that makes sure we’re recruiting a solid player that has great character, and those are sometimes the things that take a little bit longer to find out.”

Defensive Coordinator Tom Hayes
On sophomore defensive back Duke Shelley…
“He started against TCU – if you don’t remember Morgan Burns was out with a concussion. He had proven he was the next man up in preseason and the first four games, so we said, ‘Let’s go with him.’ He did a nice job, he didn’t back down and I liked the fact that his attitude was, ‘I just want to go play.’ So that’s encouraging. He is young and he is improving on a daily basis.”

On redshirt freshman defensive back Johnathan Durham…

“Jonathan has a lot of speed, and he has football instinct; he has a good football IQ. While he’s a young player and has talent, all he is going to do is get better.”

On his defensive players…
“They are a little more similar as a whole than different as a whole. Most of them are very similar in body types when it comes to size.”

Co-Offensive Coordinator Dana Dimel
On the quarterback situation…
“They’re all three getting the same amount of reps right now, and I think we’re going to keep it that way for a while. Most places say that would be hard to do, but because we get a lot of reps in practice, it’s functional for us to be able to do that. We’ll probably start making decisions when we get down to that two-week mark when classes start and we really start prepping for Stanford.”

On Jesse Ertz’s injury and Joe Huebner…
“There are positives and negatives from his injury. The negative is how it affected him last season and how it affected him not having experience. The positive is Joe (Hubener) did get that experience. Like a first-year starter, he struggled at times but then also did very good at times.”

On Jesse Ertz…
“Jesse has a huge upside because of his speed, his accuracy throwing, he obviously knows the offense extremely well at this time. As you remember the first game last year he was a starter, so you have a returning starter as far as knowledge goes, but you don’t have a returning starter as far as experience goes. His biggest attributes are his knowledge of the offense and his overall speed as a runner.”

On learning from last year’s experience…
“Well you know you’re always learning and trying to get the most out of your personnel and try to see what you can do to help win games and not lose games. An epic memory for me is going into the Oklahoma State game and only having Joe Huebner warming up. Playing in a hostile environment against a perennial top-15 team in the country with only one quarterback in warmups is not a great feeling. Then I remember he goes down on the third play of the game. That really is a strong example of the issues we had last year with injuries.”

Senior Wide Receiver Deante Burton
On the biggest challenge this season…
“I think we have to execute and we have to finish. We had a lot of games that we were up but we didn’t finish, and that could have changed the whole season around.”

On what he is doing to step up his leadership as a senior…
“The guys I work with make it really easy. They really know right from wrong. Ever since Byron (Pringle) got here, he has been willing to learn the playbook. One thing that got away from us last year is that we just have to have fun. We are very lucky to be playing college football. There is only a select few who get to this. You only get the certain amount of years in college, so you have to have fun.”

On how is Byron Pringle has done since he joined the program…
“He is a very good football player and he is an even better person. Ever since day one, he has been really willing to learn and ask questions. Since Byron has been here, he has fit right into the group. Since he is funny, he keeps us laughing and working and he pushes us.”

Sophomore Wide Receiver Byron Pringle
On how he got to this point in his playing career…
“By putting God first, kept praying and counting my blessings and keeping in contact with the coaches, including Coach (Andre) Coleman. I kept in contact with them, they kept in contact with me. The little things I had to do to get done I did and just stayed focused. I put everything behind me, that’s is the number one thing just to stay focused.”

On what he wants to show in the season opener...
“I want to show them that I am very competitive; I am ready to bring it. They (Stanford) have a good team. I am going to show all the hard work I put in to this. It is a blessing to play college football and to be on TV. This has been my dream for a long time. I am ready to come out with energy and physicality.”

On the chemistry between him and the quarterbacks, specifically Jesse Ertz…
“We are working hard between the receiving group and Jesse. We are all working together to get the timing down. Everybody is working hard.”

On what he admires about Jesse Ertz…
“I like Jesse, he works really hard and he is competitive. Even in conditioning, he pushes everyone really hard. He will run it and take the responsibility. If you are right, he will tell you that you are right, and if you throw it on time he will tell you congratulations.”

Junior Linebacker Elijah Lee
On the depth of linebackers…
“I feel like all of us are mature now. Everybody knows the game, and we are just trying to bring in the younger guys and teach them the way that older guys taught us when we first came in.”

On what he tried to add to his game in the offseason…
“Just being a more confident player; whenever I make a decision, go with it, don’t hesitate it and don’t stutter about it. If you hesitate or stutter, then you are going be late to the play.”

On the goals for the linebackers this year…
“The sky is the limit. We just want to do everything we’re capable of doing and able to do. There is really no expectations. If you set expectations, then you will just put more pressure on yourself. So we just go out there, have fun and play. You never know what could happen.”

On Charmeachealle Moore’s strong finish last season…
“He makes me work harder, he pushes me to work harder. I want to have games just like that so we can both laugh and talk about it after the game. Instead of one of us congratulating the other, we can both congratulate each other at the same time because we are both playing at that level.”

Senior Linebacker Will Davis
On the younger linebackers on the team…
“The young guys have had the opportunity to learn and to grow. They know the defense so much better now than they did a year ago. From the depth perspective, we are also so deep, we have a lot of talent. Those young guys are super talented and I am excited to see what we can do this year.”

On the competitiveness at practice…
“It is hard. We love competition. We’re the linebackers; we pride ourselves on being the mentally toughest and physically toughest. It is going to make us better as a team when we know that.”

On the biggest thing he took away from last season and what he wants to fix…
“The older guys, we need to provide better leadership than we did last year. When the tough times came last year, none of us had really experienced it. Now that we have done it and been there, been through it, we know how to handle situations and can bounce back quicker.”

Sophomore Defensive Back Duke Shelley
On Byron Pringle as a receiver…
“He is a great receiver. We go at it, but we make each other better. He is fast, strong and physical. I expect great things out of him this year.”

On his biggest highlight from the last season…
“The Texas Tech game. I saw them make a check to the receiver, and I came down as he came and hit him. That was a good moment for me.”

Junior Punter Nick Walsh
On last year’s performance…
“I practice better than how I play sometimes. I can see my potential, but I feel I didn’t do my best the last two years. Having experience under my belt will help me do better this year or at least be more comfortable on the field.”

On his focus for this season…
“I focus a lot on my flexibility. This summer I did a lot of yoga. I have been focusing on my pooch play to keep them out of end zone. Those touchbacks can really hurt your net. Also forcing fair catches.”