K-State Holds Weekly Football Press Conference

Head Coach Bill Snyder

On the opportunity to play against Stanford…
“It’s a challenge; I don’t relate that to necessarily what it means to our program. I think it’s a great opportunity in regards to this set of young people. I have great respect for Stanford and we all know where they are in the rankings, certainly well deserved. It’s obviously a challenge but it’s an excellent opportunity for the young people here.”

On how the team is different than it was a year ago…
“Different in a hundred different ways. I think the experience level on the defensive side is enhanced from a year ago, and the offensive side, it’s diminished from a year ago, so those are two major differences. In terms of what they do and how they do it in some positions, even though we have returning people, we might not be as in-depth. We are better as of right now and I hope that will play out over a period of time for all of them. Nothing that is abnormal in regards to going from year to year. We have some experience back as far as our specialists are concerned. We just have to see what gets out on the field and what gets off the field, and we can define some of those areas a little bit better.”

On the benefits of playing Stanford this early in the schedule…
“Stanford is a great challenge and our players are excited about playing the game, that’s a positive thing. I like to have opportunities to play younger players – your backup players – because in our conference schedule, they will be very beneficial."

On the running backs…
“There is no doubt that two or three of them will be on the field. There’s a possibility that four could be on the field, but I think two or three for sure will definitely be on the field. With Charles Jones, it’s probably the consistency of just having a little bit more experience than the others. With Justin (Silmon), he has a decent amount of experience and he certainly will be invested in the ballgame as well.”

On Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey…
“I have not met him personally but I like the way he conducts himself. I would say the hidden ingredient is his leadership on that team in a very humble fashion. I just like that nature of his character. Aside from that on the football field it’s just being able to identify where he is and why he’s there becomes important. He can line up in a lot of different positions and not get baited out of position because of where his linemen are. They have to understand what he can, but also equally important, what he can’t do from certain positions. He can be a deceptive runner, he can be a powerful runner, and obviously he’s got a good deal of speed. We have to be great on our cover units – our punt units and kickoff units – because he offers those things on the return units as he does in their offense.”

On K-State’s freshmen along the offensive line…
“It’s not necessarily the most desirable thing, but I like the way they have come along and progressed. They will probably see the brunt of Stanford’s defense and movements and all that goes along with it. They’re drilling diligently on that right now and they’ve went through spring practice well. They’ve earned the right to be there. They don’t have the experience that you’d like, but they’ve had a significant amount of practice experience. So we’re doing the kind of work that we need to be doing and the practice with the environment and how we organize it. I think there will be some carry over for them into the ballgame.”

On Trey Dishon…
“I think he’s made consistent improvements over the course going back to the spring. I like the way he moves. I think he has become more engrained in what we’re doing. In other words, he has an understanding of the position he plays and how to play it, and that’s allowed us to see some of the physical factors that enter into it. He’s got a good strength to him, he runs well, so those things are somewhat tentative in why he’s still learning. Now that he’s has some experience in the program, those things tend to surface more readily and that’s what we like seeing. We want him to be able to play with strength, and sometimes when you’re tentative, you don’t do that.”

On the comfort level with Jesse Ertz and the receivers…

“It’s part of our process and routine to have ongoing dialogue with every repetition that they take on the field as it relates to the passing game. They have the dialogue and I think they’ve interacted quite well. I was seeing this and they communicate their feelings with each other and then they go in the film room and watch exactly what they have had dialogue about. They get to know each other pretty well in regards to the football aspect of it.”

On the three quarterbacks listed on the depth chart…
“Each individual has to make their own way; it’s up to Jesse to secure the spot. I would anticipate that you would probably see two or three quarterbacks on the field on Saturday, but once again, it remains to be seen. There’s not a given plan that Jesse’s going to play the first quarter and somebody else is going to play the second quarter. We’re going to play as well as we can and the ballgame kind of depends on what takes place during the ballgame.”

Senior Safety Dante Barnett
On going on the road to start the season…
“We are going on the road and playing one of the Heisman finalists from last year. We are also playing one of the top-10 teams in the country, so I cannot wait for the atmosphere.”

On the challenge of facing Christian McCaffrey…
“He is so versatile. He can line up in the backfield and he flexes out at receiver. He can do pretty much anything. His return game is nice. He can do anything on the field, so you just have to be aware and be up for the challenge.”

On being more hyped to face a Heisman Trophy contender…
“He is like every other player that we go against in the Big 12. There is always a player on each and every team that has the similar hype. We just have to be prepared to play.”

Senior Defensive End Jordan Willis
On improvements the defense made during fall camp…
“I think from the defensive standpoint, we did a better job of gelling together. Last year we had a lot of youth, so a lot of the plays that we run, a lot of the guys know the plays better. So being able to execute the plays a lot better than last year was a big thing that we have taken a step forward on the defensive side.”

On young players improving…
“Just take every single day, extract as much as you can out of that situation out of practice, weights, whatever it is. Try to improve every day until the game, and then we can be confidant stepping out onto the field.”

On the intensity level of the season opener…
“Being the first game, we are always going to be intense. As the season goes on, it tends to wear down a little bit, but the good teams keep the intensity up. We have had some good practices this week. What it will lead to, I don’t know. Hopefully it will lead to good things, but we will just have to keep working.”

Junior Linebacker Elijah Lee
On facing a pro-style offense…
“It kind of takes a load off because it is not going to be rapid where we see play after play after play. They kind of resemble our offense. It will give us a little more time to think, but at the same time, we still have to be ready because they can come out and go tempo from the beginning.”

On being ready to face a top-10 team…
“I am just focused and ready to get to the game. We have been practicing so long for this and I think that we are ready to show what we have been doing all camp.”

Senior Linebacker Charmeachealle Moore
On preparing for the game…
“We have not changed the way we have prepared. We just know that we have to bring our best, like every other game, we have to bring our best. We are practicing hard; we have good schemes that we are going against. We have been buying into the coaches, we have gelled a lot over camp and we are just ready to show the world what we have.”

On Christian McCaffrey…
“He is very versatile. He is a great runner, he is quick on his feet and has good jukes. He is just an all-around great running back.”

On Christian McCaffrey’s numbers…
“We have to do what we have to do to stop him. We cannot let him get loose in open space and everybody has to fly to the ball. That is what we talk about, everybody getting to him, all 11 players on defense getting to him.”

Sophomore Running Back Justin Silmon
On his feelings before the game…
“I am feeling pretty good. I am pretty confident in my teammates, and I feel like we really worked hard and that we deserve to play well, so I think we are.”

On his improvement from last year…
“I would say just in my overall awareness of the game, just reacting quicker to things, and knowing the big picture of our plays.”

On the opportunity to play against Stanford…
“It is a big opportunity, it is a really huge game. We have been working so hard ever since the offseason so we just want to go in there and win. That is our only goal, and that is what we are going to try and do on Friday.”