K-State Holds Weekly Press Conference

Head Coach Bill Snyder
On if coaching freshmen is any different than coaching upperclassmen…
“Well, I think probably in the broad scheme of things it is. Patience becomes a virtue in that respect, but I think you understand that younger guys do not have as much experience or repetitions or opportunities to do the things that you are asking them to do. Maybe, for most people, the expectations might be a little lower than they would be for someone who has been around doing it for a long time. I have always kind of viewed that as on the borderline of excuses. I have tried to share with our freshmen and younger players that our expectations are every bit as high for them or anyone else in the program. That is interesting that you ask that because we had some dialogue about that, not necessarily about freshmen, but expectations and being able to succeed expectations – their own expectations, not mine or anybody else’s, but their own. I think with younger players there is probably a built-in patience that you do not quite have with upperclassmen. I try to not be that way, but I am probably, like the other coaches, probably do have more forgiveness for them.”

On where he thinks the offense is…
“For the question of how good or how not so good they are, we are not close to where I think we have the capabilities to be. Again, that remains to be seen. We have had three opportunities to see what is there and it has been against continually confident defensive football teams. The competition was a little bit better in game two, a little bit better in game three and a little bit better in game four and so on down the road; and we should have kept up with that. I’m not all together certain that we have. I think there are some very identifiable things that we know that we need to improve on in order to be what we can be. The disappointing thing is not having made progress in some of those areas. There are a plethora of areas we need to improve upon and get better at. Some of them we have, but not as many as you would like and expect. The obvious ones are the things that you draw attention to: the red zone, so to speak, scoring, goal-line scoring, turning the ball over in critical situations is certainly another, and it goes on and on. There are some that we just have not made the progress that we have should. We were less penalized, but still we had four or five penalties in the ball game and that is too many for us. They came at very critical times in the ball game. So, the short answer is not where we are capable of being.”

On the timing of the bye week…
“I think it is appropriate. We always give the same answer as, ‘Ask me after we play the next ball game, and we will see if it has an impact in that ball game or not.’ But, I think, by in large, it worked out well. In fact, the entire aspect up to this point – from a scheduling standpoint – has worked in our favor. That has been a positive for us. Now, it is being able to take advantage of this two-week period and be sure that we heal a little bit, that we get enough rest and that we spend an ample amount of time with issues that we have. In other words, improving and then obviously, our preparation for future opponents. All those things have to take place and we have to be wise on how we portion our time to do that.”

On the biggest accomplishment out of this week and scheduling…
“Well, I think the biggest thing is the collective package of what I just addressed. But, I think if you had to pin me down and say, okay, of those, we just have to improve and we have to get our issues solved and become a better football team by the end of the week, by the end of today, by the end of tomorrow – we just have to get some issues solved. As far as the schedule is concerned, we met yesterday, did not practice yesterday evening. We will practice this evening and practice will be devoted, virtually 90 percent of it, will be directed toward just trying to improve on areas that we have issues with. We will practice again on Wednesday and Thursday, and be off Friday, and we will practice Saturday morning.”

Junior Quarterback Joe Hubener
On if he agrees that urgency is a big factor for the offense getting faster starts…
“I certainly agree. Throughout the year we always preach to start each half and we haven’t done that yet. We have scored two touchdowns in the first or third quarter all year, and that’s not good enough. We need to capitalize on drives. That’s a big part of the offense is to be able to finish drives and we haven’t been able to do that yet.”

On what he thought of Kody Cook’s one-handed touchdown catch…
“It looked a lot more impressive when I saw it on film. It was a heck of a catch. The guy pushed him and he still managed to get one hand on it and haul it in, and that’s huge. That’s what we need. He is showing that he can be a playmaker.”

On what a game like the one last week can mean later in the season…
“Certainly experience to play in a crunch like that. No one likes to go into three overtimes, but it shows our perseverance and is a testament to the type of young guys that we have here. I know if we get in that situation, they are going to fight through it.”

Senior Wide Receiver Kody Cook
On the game last week…
“I think we improved as a whole as a receiving corps. I think we have to step it up in the bye week and get ready for Oklahoma State. We stepped up and did some good things. We improved and we have to keep improving.”

On the offense coming out of non-conference play…
“We dealt with some adversity. We dealt with it each game and we got better and better. I think we are improving and we still have a lot of goals. Coach gave us a goal sheet with things we need to work on for the bye week. We have to take those goals seriously and see where we are at right now. I think we are improving, but we can still always improve.”

On what the offense needs to improve on…
“The biggest thing would be is that we need to able to finish. We get down in the red zone, but once we get down there what do we do. I think finishing is what the offense needs to work on the most.”

Junior Linebacker Will Davis
On the bye week going into conference play…
“I think after you are 3-0 it changes things a little bit. To have that and to be able to get those three wins out of the way. To have a breather and to regroup will be a big help to us.”

On chemistry between him and Elijah Lee…
“Elijah and I have grown a lot together. At first it was like a big brother/little brother role because he has not had a lot of time at linebacker. He has grown so much and that has helped me play. We kind of feed off each other when one of us plays good the other one feeds off of that. It has been really beneficial for both of us.”

On the Big 12…
“Like usual there is going to be a lot of talent. From a defensive prospective, there is going to be a lot of high-powered offenses out there. I know we have one coming up in two weeks at Oklahoma State. They have been able to put up a bunch of points and they have some talent all around the ball. They have some guys back from last year, and it will be a challenge going forward.”

Sophomore Linebacker Elijah Lee
On how he feels about the defense’s performance over the first three games…
“So far we are 3-0. There are also some things we still need to correct and get better at to help us be a better defense.”

On what being 3-0 means to him…
“It’s an accomplishment. We should be 3-0 and we deserve it because we have worked hard for it. It’s a good thing going into a bye week and before we start Big 12 play.”

On how he has transitioned into being a full-time starter…
“I learn something new every game. There is always something I can do better, improve upon or can attack differently.”

Senior Kicker Jack Cantele
On coming back to the starting kicking spot…
“The story that I just wanted to tell was that I have grown from my time at K-State for the better. I did not bring embarrassment upon my family, or my teammates. It was truly a blessing, and at the end of the day, that is what it is to me.”

On his awards this week…
“Going through what I have gone through and knowing how things can change so quickly, those are just distractions right now. I wish they would give those out at the end of the year and say who was player of the week throughout the season. What my past experiences allow me to do is block out those and worry about this next game we have coming up. If I take my performance for granted and not just get better each and every day, it could all just repeat itself, and I am not going to let that happen.”

On Matthew McCrane…
“He has always instilled confidence in me and vice versa. He has been great these last few weeks. He will come out before practice even though he is not kicking and he will help me out. If I am kicking well, he does not need to say anything. He will just instill that confidence in me. He will always say positive things. It is how a teammate should be even if you are competing for the same spot.”