Media Days Provide New Opportunity for Wildcat Captains

July 22, 2015

By Kelly McHugh

DALLAS, Texas – The excitement of another college football season filled the air on Monday as media from around the nation gathered for this year’s Big 12 Football Media Days.

Taking place at the Dallas Omni Hotel, head coaches and select players from each team in the Big 12 spent their time addressing any and all questions thrown their way about the upcoming college football season.

“It’s just a fun environment,” said senior defensive back Morgan Burns after chatting about his team on the air with WIBW Sports radio. “It’s been fun coming in here with my teammates; very few people get the opportunity to do something like this in their lives, so I’m just enjoying it and enjoying the questions that are being asked.”

Along with Burns, one of five captains for on this year’s team, fellow captains in senior offensive lineman Cody Whitehair, senior safety Dante Barnett and senior wide receiver Stanton Weber were also in Dallas for the conference-wide event. 

The group, in addition to Wildcat head coach Bill Snyder, answered questions, posed for photos, smiled for cameras and got to know many of the reporters who spread the word about K-State football to the nation through their words and reports.  

“This has been really neat,” said Weber during a break between interviews. “Seeing all these people from all across Big 12 country, coming in here and getting introduced to a lot of famous people, it’s been great. It’s cool seeing all the other players too, and its great to introduce yourself to them and get to meet them before the season begins.”

After a long spring and summer of training, media day is the final stop for these Wildcat football players before they report for fall camp. Media day makes the season feel close – really close. 

“It’s been good getting away from Manhattan for a little while and talking to a lot of neat people,” said Barnett. “It’s been an interesting experience, but it gets you excited because you know that once this happens, the season is coming soon.”

Just around the corner, K-State kicks off its 2015 campaign against South Dakota on Saturday, September 5, at 6:10 p.m., in Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

The upcoming season was on everyone’s minds during the Big 12 Football Media Days, and, when it came to the K-State Wildcats, there were a few key questions the team captains were asked again and again about this year’s team. 

Offensively, it seemed as though there was one burning question reporters just couldn’t wait to ask.

“I get a lot of questions about the quarterbacks,” said Whitehair. “It’s probably the question I’ve been asked the most today.”

And it wasn’t just Whitehair who was asked about the quarterback situation, Snyder addressed it as well.

“Right now they’re all on equal footing,” said Snyder during his press conference on Monday morning. “Three of them went through spring practice, and Jonathan Banks just recently joined us. (He’s) a very athletic young guy; we haven't seen him in a practice environment yet, so that remains to be seen, but he will be one of the four probably that will be certainly in competition for the position.”

The four “young guys” in the running for this year’s starting quarterback position are junior Joe Hubener, sophomore Jesse Ertz, freshman Alex Delton and, as Snyder mentioned, Jonathan Banks, a sophomore transfer from Contra Costa College in San Pablo, California.

“I think they’re all good young guys,” said Snyder to a room filled with cameras, recorders, notebooks and pens. “They all care, they’re all good teammates and they all do things the right way. So I think it will be very competitive. We just want to sort it out as quickly as we can.”

Defensively, the questions were more focused on the young group as a whole.  

“What are the expectations for our defense this year? That is the question I’ve been asked the most,” said Barnett. “We’ve been playing well for the past three years, so I knew that would be a common question.”

And his answer?

“We have some speed,” Barnett continued. “I feel like we’ve can move around, fly to the ball. I’m just ready for August to start so that we can see if our defense really will fly around and see if it’s for real.”

Yet, amidst the serious questions, the players had a little fun, too. 

All the K-State players were, of course, dressed in suits and ties, but Barnett was looking especially sharp as he sported a purple bow tie – one he tied himself. 

“What was harder to learn, the playbook or how to tie that bow tie?” one reporter said to Barnett with a laugh.

Barnett smiled and responded, “Now that’s a good question!” 

ESPN got in on the bow tie action as well as they had Barnett take it off and re-tie it on-camera for them.

The players were asked a range of questions from which Big 12 coach they would choose as a body guard (Texas’ Charlie Strong was the unanimous choice) and which Big 12 coach they would want to read them a bedtime story (Burns said TCU’s Gary Patterson).

One TV station even had the captains recite Coach Snyder’s 16 Goals of Success – a challenge the four Cats pulled off flawlessly. 

After the busy yet exciting day was said and done, the players traveled back to Manhattan with the upcoming season on their minds.

“What a special opportunity to be given,” said Weber. “It was great of Coach Snyder to let us captains come here to media days. It’s been exciting; I’ve had a lot of fun.”

We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact Kelly McHugh or K-State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.