K-State Holds First Spring Press Conference



Head Coach Bill Snyder

On what has been most impressive in spring so far…
“First and foremost, our players have expressed they are not happy about how last season went, the middle part in particular. We have had a substantial group of young guys step up in some leadership roles. I think they have been very active in regards to promoting leadership, but at the same time, the right kind of leadership and the vocal leadership that we talk about all the time. It has stemmed from distaste for not being as good of a football team as they could have been last year.”

On spring practice…
“We have had four practices, so we are a little over 25 percent through. It goes in a heartbeat. It is like we just got started, but I do not think they have gotten into that mode of just trying to get it over and get to the spring game. They are invested at each and every practice we have, and there have been no issues with effort whatsoever. The very first practice we had last Wednesday was probably as good of a practice as I can ever recall here. We got a lot accomplished in a number of repetitions, which takes some doing on their part and on the coaches as well. Our first-day execution was not what I wanted it to be, but my expectations are normally a little higher than most.”

On the challenge of coming off a losing season…
“Every day is a challenge and that is part of it. I think our players are challenged to do that. It is an internal challenge for them and their own self expectations. I appreciate that and it means a great deal. They have got to have that desire and elevated expectations in order to make it happen. It is a challenge, but life is a challenge every day.”

On having Dante Barnett back…
“He is full-go and he has really done a nice job. In fact, I was with the players a couple days ago after practice and addressed how well and how instinctive he was playing. When you sit out a year, it is not the easiest thing in the world to do. You think back to when the last time he even had pads on and when the last time he even made contact was. That has been a long period of time. But I thought he was being as active mentally as any time I have seen him here. In other words, I think he did a really nice job. In four days, he is playing extremely well and so instinctive, which is so valuable for the position that he plays.”

On the quarterback competition…
“It is a very competitive environment. I like the fact that each of them has a competitive spirit about them and are heavily invested into, first and foremost, what is best for the team. They are all three very team-oriented guys, and at the same time remain competitive at the position. They have each had their moments, up and down. In the last couple of practices in particular, Joe (Hubener) has really elevated what he has done in the passing game. Alex (Delton) has really gotten off to an excellent start and had three pretty good days of practice. He was not quite as productive on Saturday, but I appreciated the way he jumped in and picked up where he left off. He is a very competitive young guy and a little bit better player right now than he was last season before he got hurt. And then Jesse [Ertz] is still kind of working the kinks out, but you have seen the growth in four days and he has moved along quite well. It is hard coming off and not having a great deal of experience behind you to be able to work the kinks out when you have not been on the field for quite some time.

“They have all had their moments both ways and it has been very competitive. It has not moved him ahead on the depth chart, but Joe’s numbers have elevated in the last couple of practices, and that is a plus. We are utilizing them in such a way that all three of them are running with the ones and twos. They are all getting equal reps with the ones and equal reps with the twos. They are making headway and have progressed. There are a lot of other positions I probably have greater concern for right now.”

On Byron Pringle and the wide receivers…
“He really does a nice job. He will be a factor in that wide receiver spot that is very competitive right now. Across the board we have five or six guys that are making it that way and several of them are new guys. Isaiah Zuber has done a nice job. Corey Sutton has shown us that if he works the kinks out, he can play. Deante (Burton) has really elevated his game. Zach Reuter has stepped up and played pretty well. Steven West has enhanced his game as well. Dominique (Heath) runs well and is catching the ball and playing well. Like I said, it is very competitive.”

Quarterback Jesse Ertz
On going down early in the season…
“I could not ask for a more worse start to the season. I learned a lot from it. You get a lot tougher going through stuff like that. It was just a whole season of learning again, even though I could not play. I am still in there and I still knew the game plan. I am still learning things like that.”

On his role on the team…
“I was doing rehab during practices. I was not able to be out there for each practice, but I just talked to receivers and talked to the guys then I am watching film. I was still seeing what was going on. I just tried to help the best I could, working with the receivers with how I would want them to run routes and things like that.”

Quarterback Alex Delton
On the upcoming season…
“I am just trying to be the best player that I can be and just the best teammate I can be. I know if I do my part, the guys next to me will do their part. I am going into this season and this spring with a year of experience now. It may not seem like a lot, but I feel more comfortable. I feel like I can do good things and I feel like the guys around me can make me better.”

On his appreciation of the game after coming off an injury…
“Definitely, it is tough when you play football all the time and not to have that is tough. You do not really know how to deal with that. You feel like sometimes you are not really on the team, but all the coaches made it important to us.”

Offensive Lineman Dalton Risner
On spring practice...
“It is going well. Spring practice is rolling right along. We are only four or five practices in, but then again five practices is like 25 percent of spring ball. We have a lot to work on and spring ball is always kind of humbling. We are not close to being ready, but the work ethic is there and we are working hard and getting ready.”

On playing this year compared to last year…
“It is a whole different story. I told you guys that year how I was always trying to prove myself to those guys every day. Terrale Johnson got to play some last year, and he is going to step in and be a leader as well. Now I am on the other end of the spectrum where I am having to get guys ready to get going. We have a lot of young guys and spots to be filled. It is just the other end of the spectrum and another load I have to carry on my back to get my line ready.”

Running Back Justin Silmon
On the ups and downs of playing last year…
“I would say mostly ups. Being able to play at a Division I level at Kansas State, it was definitely more ups. I still have three more years of eligibility, so I have a lot of time ahead of me to play.”

On the return of quarterback Jesse Ertz…
“It is good to see someone who had to miss so much time to just get out there and be able to play football. It is good to see Jesse out there having fun. He is making some plays out there too, so it is good to see that as well.”