K-State Holds Weekly Football Press Conference

Head Coach Bill Snyder
On addressing the quarterback situation…
“Jesse (Ertz) evolved to the top of the race. Like I said, I have a great deal of faith in all four of them. They really have done a nice job. Johnathan (Banks), as well as all of the true freshmen that we have in our program, they all have the option to whether they redshirt or not, and through much deliberation, he chose to do that. The other two, Alex (Delton) and Joe (Hubener) are still competing for that second spot. That is the essence of it. It probably has been that way for a week and a half or so.”

On what separated Jesse Ertz from the rest during camp…
“I think it was a consistency factor across the board. From A to Z, name the position, we have had inconsistency throughout our preparation. I think Jesse, from that group of players, performed with greater consistency throughout that time than any of the others did.”

On what it says about Jesse Ertz starting as a redshirt sophomore…
“Well, I would speak certainty on behalf of Jesse, but certainly for the others as well. What I admire in each and every one of them – in Jesse, certainly – is that they are so committed in what they are doing. These are all good young guys. Jesse is a wonderful young person. He is an excellent student. They study the game, they invest themselves in anything and everything that will help them prepare to be the best that they can be. Jesse has all of those traits and all of those qualities. He’s a good young guy.”

On what Dalton Risner has done to separate himself…
“I think, first and foremost, he performed better. That was the case from early in our two-a-day time. He has range to him. He has an intense desire to learn and be as good a player as he can possibly be. He is a great teammate, and he gets along with everybody – he is well received. He has proven his ability to be an effective blocker, both in the running game and in the passing game. He has really, going in and having a new center, labored under the possibility that we would have to have the veteran offensive linemen to take on that responsibilities on making the decisions upfront and a lot of the calls, but he evolved into that quite nicely. He was able to do so without having to redistribute those responsibilities.”

On common challenges with first-time starters…
“Well, I think it is what anybody else would say – being able to maintain the poise, be able to process the information and become significant. I think for any player that goes out and plays – I had this conversation with our staff this morning with regards to first-time starters – making sure that there is enough pressure imposed upon them that game day becomes a little bit easier. That has always been our agenda, so to speak, or part of the process. Quarterbacks get a lot of that through the course of their preparation. It is just being able to have the poise to be able to make those kind of choices and decisions and be able to process information rapidly. That’s true for every position, but maybe it is heightened with quarterbacks.”

On Dominique Heath’s ability to climb the depth chart…
“He is just another one of those young guys – a good young guy. He works diligently at it. He made it important to him. He is one of those guys that stayed after workouts to just work on certain things to get better. He runs well. He catches well. He has learned the system well. He is good in and out of cuts. Still, an amount of room to improve, but by the same token, he has adapted to the wide receiver position and has the capability to line up in a lot of spots.”

Sophomore Quarterback Jesse Ertz
On when he knew he would start as quarterback…
“I had a decent idea about a week ago, but nothing is official until Coach says. I just tried to keep competing and focus on what is important to me and let everything else take place.”

On his confidence level…
“I think for the most part I have been pretty confident. I know that I cannot be perfect every day, but you just get to the point where you understand that. When I have a bad practice, I go back and watch it on film and look over it. It is not like I am never going to throw an interception. I just have to be ready.”

On what helped him win the starting position…
“There is nothing in particular that I did to win the job. It was just over the summer and in camp in the spring, and I was just trying to be consistent and get better. I cannot point to one thing that I really improved. I think it was overall just my body work.”

Junior Quarterback Joe Hubener
On his mentality heading into the game…
“I am trying to prepare every game like I am starting. Last year, I do not think I had that mentality, but this year I am always going to prepare as if I am starting.”

On getting playing time during the first game…
“The main thing is that we get the win, but I want to get out and get on the field and show what I can do as well.”

On the spring starting quarterback competition…
“It was more heated in the spring. The closer you get to game time, the more pressure there is to see who is going to be the guy. It was tough in the spring because every day you are getting graded and can see how you did compared to the other guy. If you have a rough day, then you look at that paper and see that you did not do as well as you had hoped.”

Sophomore Linebacker Elijah Lee
On playing for Bill Snyder…
“It is a good thing. We are not flashy. We are treated like young men. He tells us every day that we are like everybody else, and we can be as good as everybody else.”

On what skills he had to develop over time…
“Being more physical at the line whenever you are pass rushing. As a linebacker going in the box, you want to make sure you are in position to make the play and knock them back.”

On transition from being a high school defensive end to a college linebacker…
“At first it was more difficult just because I did not know what I was doing, like how to line up. After getting a year under my belt and now with the first string, I feel better about it.”

Redshirt Freshman Wide Receiver Dominique Heath
On expectations on returns…
“There is going to be a lot of big returns. Like I said, we take special teams very seriously. It is not just me, but the other 10 guys on the field that are out their blocking for me. We have a very good return team on both kickoffs and punt returns.”

On quarterback Jesse Ertz…
“He is very consistent in his preparation. He is always trying to get better. This summer, he and I would be out there. He would always want to throw extra, and it paid off for him.”

On his chemistry with Jesse Ertz…
“We hang with each other off the field. I think we have a very strong bond and a very strong connection, and I think we are going to do well with him at the quarterback position.”

Sophomore Defensive Tackle Will Geary
On being a starter and how it affected off-season workouts…
“It made it harder. It was easier to show up and give it your all, but it made it harder to do better. All of the focus is on you.”

On competition on the defensive line…
“There is a lot, a lot of talent and competition. It has been so much fun watching people compete for spots all over the board.”

On his goal for the year…

“Win games. Take on South Dakota first. That is all we know.”

Junior Wide Receiver Deante Burton
On fall camp…
“I had the best camp I have had since I have been here. I am a lot more confident than I was when I first walked in, and over time it has just built up a lot of expectations for me heading into the season.”

On what separates Jesse Ertz from the other quarterbacks…
“We have a lot of great quarterbacks, and they all do things well. I think one thing that separates Jesse is his consistency and that he is balanced in what he does. He can run, he can throw, and his overall knowledge of the playbook is what separated him from the other quarterbacks.”