K-State Holds Pre-Bowl Press Conference


Head Coach Bill Snyder
On enjoying the experience in New York…
“Well, yes. There were several events – one Sunday night as soon as we got there, a wonderful dinner and then there was one Monday and Tuesday night. I immensely enjoyed it. It took on kind of a new perspective once I was there, and we got through the ball game and all that goes along with it. Then, you had a chance to really kind of reflect and let it all sink in. The neat thing was having all of my family there. Everybody was there – grandchildren, a great grandchild and all of the children. So, that was fun. They enjoyed it. They had a great time and that was a plus.”

On team’s schedule and where they are at in preparation…
“Well, we started our meetings and our practices on Sunday of this past week. We have really only had Sunday and Monday, and today will be our third practice. We will be off tomorrow, and then we will practice again Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We will have practices and meetings, which are regularly the same agenda – same type of scheduling that we have throughout the course of the season. As far as the coaches, the coaches are hard at work. We had a recruiting weekend. We had seven or eight young guys in with their families over the weekend. Friday, as soon as I got back from Memphis, we then had the recruiting weekend. Then, they left on Sunday morning and we started our practices Sunday afternoon.”

On if he is pleased or displeased with the outset of bowl preparation…
“I was really pleased. I told our players this, and I am not saying anything to you that I have not said to them, I was really pleased with the first practice we had considering the fact that they had not been invested in a practice or workouts to a great degree. I thought they were very competitive. The spirit and the determination were there. The effort was there. Really, I thought to myself at the end of practice that they seemed to be no less conditioned than they were at the end of the season. Now, part of it is fresh legs, but obviously, that has an impact on it. But, nevertheless, it was a little shorter workout – only two hours – that is long for a lot of people I guess, but I thought they handled it quite well. Yesterday was good, but was not as good as the first day though.”

On looking at Joe Hubener or Kody Cook in starting position for bowl game…
“Well, we practice both of them there every single day. They have taken equal amount of reps, which has been reasonably consistent throughout the latter stages of the season. Nothing changes there.”

On the biggest challenges facing Arkansas…
“Well, there are multiple. When I say multiple, I mean multiple challenges on both sides of the ball and special teams as well. Looking at their offense, I probably see the same things that you see frequently, which they have a very big, physical and experienced offensive line, an excellent tight end, a 3,000-yard passer and a 1,400-yard rusher. Most people would say they are a team that really wants to run the ball and yet, you look at their statistics, and they are pretty balanced between the run and the pass. I think that is a positive thing for any offensive football team. We always desire to be that way if we can. I think from a defensive standpoint, again, a physical football team, sizable football team, ability to run and great deal of experience just like they have on offense. There are a lot of returning lettermen on both sides of the ball.”

On his relationship with Bret Bielema…
“We really started at the University of Iowa when Bret was a player at that particular point of time. I always really appreciated Bret because he was always one of those guys that came up to Iowa as a walk-on and just worked diligently and very hard to try to be the best that he could become. I always appreciated that and admired that. When he decided to go on to coaching, then, I felt comfortable giving him an opportunity to do so. Then, when he left and went to Wisconsin with Barry Alvarez – who I also worked with – it was a good move for him. I was not enamored by it when that happened, but by the same token, it turned out to be a good move. That was part of the package, so to speak, that there was that opportunity for him when Barry stepped down for him to step into that role, and that was communicated. So, that made it a little bit easier. We have had a decent amount of dialogue. Bret calls when he has issues, and we talk about what those are – not that I have the answers, but, I appreciate the fact that he asks. I like the way – of what I know – the way he conducts his program. I think it is a very similar philosophy of what we have here.”

Senior Offensive Lineman Cody Whitehair
On the first pre-bowl practice…
“We did a lot of one-on-one work. It was good to get back into it after having a week off. I am looking forward to a great matchup.”

On what the team has been able to accomplish year…
“From where we were in the middle of the season and how hard we have worked to get back to being bowl eligible, it is so great as a senior to go out like that. I have really appreciated how the other guys have worked, but we are not done yet. We have one more game to go.”

On what it would mean to go out with a win as a senior…
“It would mean a lot. Since I have been here we have only won one bowl game. I am a competitor and I want to win. As a senior, going out with a winning record and a big bowl victory would mean a lot to me.”

Senior Wide Receiver Kody Cook
On the first pre-bowl practice…
“The first practice back felt good. We got a little break during dead week where we could just study for finals and get back. It kind of had a competitive nature to it – popping the pads a little bit just some good on good. It felt good to get back.”

On the spirit of the team…
“It’s just like the last three when we have been winning. It just keeps rolling and keep going in the positive direction that we want. You can tell when we went good on good on Sunday.”

On what made the first practice good…
“I think it was just being fresh and knowing the opportunity that we have in front of us; just the chance for the young guys to compete again. Just the competitive nature of practice has picked up.”

Senior Defensive Back Morgan Burns
On his postseason awards…
“It has been fun. I did not expect to get a lot of these awards. It has been a fun way to end out my senior year getting some of these All-American awards and Big 12 awards. It is going to be fun to look back and cherish some of these moments, and we are going to a bowl game as a senior. It has been fun.”

On what he thinks about K-State’s special teams…
“Just looking at K-State tradition as a whole and at the return game, David Allen, Brandon Banks, Terence Newman, Andre Coleman and Tramaine Thompson, I could name guy after guy. I think it is just cool to throw my name in that mix and just continue that tradition at K-State. Special teams we take very seriously, specifically the return game. I am just glad we have taken that serious and that we have been able to have a big impact on our season through the return game.”

Junior Defensive End Jordan Willis
On getting time off…
“We normally do not get a lot of time off, so to get some time off it was pretty good to get your legs back and get fresh again. But we are back into working again.”

On recent practices…
“There has been some competition. I have seen a lot more competition now than I have in a long time. Since we are going up against each other, we have to create a good atmosphere, a good, healthy atmosphere and compete. A lot of guys have been showing a lot of enthusiasm and competition.”