K-State Holds Annual Media Day

Head Coach Bill Snyder

Opening Statement…
“I know our players truly enjoy the new facility. They like the areas that they are in immensely. They have a great appreciation, as I do, for the people that have made it all possible; certainly the donors that have invested so many millions of dollars to make this happen. So many of them are greatly appreciated, obviously the Vanier family and the Ice family with substantial gifts. Our players are aware of that and have great appreciation for all of those people.

“Our players are also very appreciative, as I am, of the people of the past here at Kansas State. Past players, past coaches and staff and administration; people who built the foundation for what this program is all about and really made this possible. It does not happen if those people did not make some very positive things take place; certainly the present administration to really embrace this thought and this idea and make it happen – Kirk Schulz, John Currie and some other young people who went out and raised a lot of money.

“You could not do it without saying something about the Vanier family for their lead gift. They have always been there. When you talk about a foundation, the name of the building was the Vanier Complex long before today, and the entirety of that family is truly special and very caring.”

On fall camp…
“We have been here for four days now. The first day was meetings and conditioning with our players. The one thing that I was extremely positive about or feel awfully good about is the conditioning test, which we have done for 25 years or so; the same one every single year. Since we have been here, we had a higher rate of young guys pass a very complex and difficult conditioning test, more so than any other time that I have been here. We had 91-percent of the players pass that on the very first opportunity on Wednesday.

“We have had three practices the past three days. I thought we got off to a great start on the first day. Our youngsters are invested in meetings all day and practices and running the conditioning test. There is a lot of stuff. It is a long, long day. I was really pleased in the meetings at night, when they are tired and they have been on their legs and running, they have been in another bunch of meetings as well, their focus is great, their eyes are on the speakers, they are paying attention and absorbing an awful lot of information from an awful lot of people. I appreciated that great start that we had.

“That first day of practice was similar. The effort was awfully good. We made some mistakes, but it was a positive practice in my eyes. On the second day, it was not what I would have liked for it to have been. We took a step back, but I thought today the youngsters responded and came back and we had a very fine practice. Still a work in progress and we have a long ways to go, but the effort of our players, the focus of our players and the commitment of our players is making progress.”

On the offensive linemen stepping up into a leadership role…
“We want everyone to step up in a leadership role. They have all been back, they have all played and all have the experience. Cody is a captain. Luke Hayes provided wonderful leadership for not being a captain. He stepped up during the course of the summer and provided great leadership and has continued to do so and I am pleased with him about that.”

On the tight end competition…
“Zach Heiman, Dayton Valentine and Cody Small are competitive for the position. I think we are making headway and making progress there. I like what we saw in the spring. Zach is a little bit behind because of newness to the program. He is a young guy who brings a lot to the table. We have to get him a little bit bigger but he runs around pretty well. I think he has a chance.”

On the quarterback position…
“We are trying to give some balance in the repetition that each one of them takes and define it in such a way that we get to see them all in a certain environment. All of them with the number ones, all of them with the number twos. All of them are doing some of the same things so we can assess who is good at what and who is getting some growth in certain areas. Nothing has changed right now. Once we get in pads, we will have an idea of who we want to give more reps to and who less to and try to narrow it down. We are going to narrow it from the bottom up. We are a few days away from that yet.”

On Dante Barnett’s growth…
“It is experience, doing the right things with the right attitude and having that kind of value system that is significant in our program. When he got on the field, he accepted the responsibility for all of that that we expect from a young guy. Some young guys that are not going to get on the field, it is awfully easy not to accept the responsibility of our value system, our 16 goals and handling yourself the appropriate way in everything that you do. But if you are seeing the daylight, it is a little bit easier to understand that and be better committed to this stuff, or I have got a problem with the coaches. He has made consistent, confident growth throughout his time. He has developed a confidence, which l like as well. With that confidence comes the leadership that he has been able to provide. I like the fact that he responds on the field.”

On the receivers’ progression…
“I was so impressed with Kyle Klein. He had a very fine spring and really came around quite well. Nothing has slowed him down yet so far. I have seen the carry over. Everybody was here during the summer, but after when everybody had that little summer break, I would look out there and his brother would be throwing to him. He has invested in it and is doing well. Deante Burton has made headway. He is a quality player and a good young guy. He wants to do things the right way. When he does, we want him to have the confidence that he can without any doubts in his mind. He is gaining more and more of that and is beginning to feel pretty good about his performance level. I like what they are doing.”

Co-Offensive Coordinator Dana Dimel
On splitting reps four ways for the quarterbacks…
“It is really hard and difficult to split reps four ways. If there is any place that can do it, it is probably K-State because we get so many reps in practice. The other thing that we do that some other programs do not do is when our ones and twos are going on one side of the field, our threes and fours are going on the other side of the field. What that allows is that all of our quarterbacks are getting the same amount of reps right now. Most programs just go one team every day, we are doing two sets. So the guys that are working on one side of the field are getting just as many reps as the guys on the other.”

On the offense being the same type as last season…
“We’ve talked about it before. At this time of year, we are looking around saying what is going to be the personality of our football team? Each year the personality of our offense changes, and we have an expansive enough of an offense to adjust to whatever the personnel need. This year I am still evaluating it every day. What is our offense going to be like? What is going to be our strengths and weaknesses? Right now it probably will not be the same as last year’s offense because we lost Jake (Waters), Tyler (Lockett), and we lost Curry (Sexton). Obviously, we wanted to throw the ball with those guys.”

Defensive Coordinator Tom Hayes
On scoring defense being the most important thing to him…
“If people cannot score against you, then they cannot beat you. Our job is to hold the team below what our offense has scored. At the end of the day, all good defenses are good in that category of statistics of the NCAA. That is the number one, to me, pertinent defensive statistic. The next one is defense against the rush. Both of those two have a lot to do with how you play on defense.”

On his mindset of managing the rushing yards…
“I look at it this way – at the end of the day, if we can keep them out of the end zone and keep them kicking field goals, then we will be pretty successful on defense. That is number one. That is in the scoring defense category. In the rush defense category, if people are running the ball against us, you tell me what to call on the sideline. I tell the players that all the time. What can I call when we cannot stop the run? The answer is that I cannot call anything that is going to work. So we have to put an emphasis on stopping the run. It is very important statistically, and I think we have proven that over our time here.”

Sophomore Quarterback Jesse Ertz
On competing for quarterback position…
“I think we are all pretty solid. We all might have some qualities that are better than the others. Everyone is pretty good so we are going to have some good days and some not so good days. Whoever can be the most consistent will have the best chance to win.”

On the offensive line…
“I think the offensive line will be fine. There is veteran leadership with Cody Whitehair and Boston Stiverson. Coach (Charlie) Dickey has always had a good offensive line. He is a great coach, so I think everyone believes in that and are not all that worried about it. Those guys, and the guys filling spots, are good players. They are competitive and everyone is going to keep raising their level of playing until it is suitable.”

Junior Fullback Glenn Gronkowski
On running the ball…
“I have been moving around a lot during the first couple practices, so we will have to see what it leads to.”

On the offense…
“So far, I think we are doing well. For all the new people we have, I think we are off to a good start. We got a lot of work between the winter and the spring. As of right now, we are doing pretty well.”

On the team…
“I think we are all pretty close, even though there are a lot of new players. I mean, most people are sophomores or juniors coming in and filling spots. We’ve all been here a while, and I think it’s going to help a lot.”

Senior Wide Receiver Kody Cook
On previous season…
“I expected to play. Throughout the fall I worked my way up in the rotation until I was one of the four guys. I expected to be in.”

On walking on out of high school…
“I was a big baseball player and I wanted to play baseball. Then I messed up my shoulder and football became the direction I wanted to go.”

On losing seniors…
“Anytime you lose someone like Curry (Sexton) and (Tyler) Lockett, who have been here for a long time, it is going to be a learning experience for sure. I think as a group that our receiving core is just as good. Obviously those guys were great players. We just look at this as an opportunity to bring it every day, an opportunity to be great and that is the only way you can really look at it.”

Junior Wide Receiver Deante Burton
On the new Vanier Football Family Complex…
“It is very amazing. With such a top-notch facility and the beautiful things they have given us, we have to thank all the donors and supporters, but it just brings greater expectation. Having something like that is just going to make everyone wonder what can you do with these kind of facilities, and that is something that we plan to strive for.”

On losing the seniors…
“We do have to come together, but at the same time that is just an expectation. That is a goal that we set for ourselves. We are going to push to be the best we can, and we are going to make as many plays as we can. Someone has to step up, and I think you should take it as a challenge for it to be you.”

Senior Defensive Back Danzel McDaniel
On his relationship with Dante Barnett and Morgan Burns…
“It is a big relationship between us. We talk about it all the time. All of us want to be the best and get a ring. If we put all of that into effect, we will be very good as a whole.”

On how good the secondary can be…
“There are a lot of great ones around. I just feel like that I have not been around a secondary this great. I just cannot wait to see the things that we are going to accomplish this year.”

On if they can take chances because of the secondary…
“Yes and no. Once you have that experience, you depend on each other more. When you do not have that experience, you cannot depend on the guy next to you because you do not know if he can make these types of plays. I played with these guys last year so I know what type of plays they can make.”

Junior Defensive Lineman Jordan Willis
On how he has improved from last season…
“I have seen improvement from all angles whether it is on the field, weight room or strength and conditioning. The way it is set up, you have to improve in a lot of areas.”

On if any aspect is more improved than others…
“I feel like it is all pretty even. I try to strive to be the best that I can in all areas. I do not see one area being better over the other. The goal is to play the best you can on Saturdays. That is where it all matters. I want to improve my play out there, and the best way to do that is focus and give it my all in every single way.”

Sophomore Linebacker Elijah Lee
On his freshman year…
“I think I have grown a lot. When I first came into camp, I didn’t know where to line up or what I was doing. Now I am in the playbook and in the film and I know what I am doing.”

On filling the lost leadership roles…
“I am trying to fill the roles that Dakorey Johnson and Jonathan Truman left. That is the biggest thing. I am trying to be that guy that my teammates can trust.”

On the importance of speed in K-State’s defense…
“It will help out a lot, but we are a sound team. So as long as we press our gaps and are in the right position, we can make opportunities for everybody on the defense to make plays.”

Sophomore Defensive Tackle Will Geary
On Travis Britz coming back from injury…
“It has been really great. Brtiz is one of my really good friends. Last year we were roommates in the hotel every game. It has been great being able to follow in his lead. He keeps me in check.”

On his rise to prominence…
“I would say it is due to hard work and the competition below me. It has been me and Demonte Hood going back and forth competing, so I have to attribute it to him. That is his hard work showing.”