K-State Hosts 2009 Media Day

MANHATTAN, Kan.  - Media from around the region were on hand to take part in Kansas State's annual Media Day held at the Vanier Complex and Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Below are quotes from head coach Bill Snyder, assistant coaches Del Miller and Vic Koenning, as well as selected players.

Head Coach Bill Snyder
Opening Statement...
"We are doing the same thing we did a year ago with the Kansas mentor program, against Tom Osborne's program in Nebraska. Last year, our Kansas mentors won the competition and we had an excess of 5,000 new mentor relationships developed in the state of Kansas, which is a pretty special thing. We are going to do that again and that will determine the winner.

"We have had two practices. Yesterday and the one the day before, we have had a bunch of meetings about a lot of things other than just football, but they are all things that are very relative to the game of football. The first practice was not all that we wanted it to be, the second one wasn't either but it was better than the first one and that is what we are always trying to do to get better."

On first impression of offensive line...
"Everything and everyone needs work. I think we are a work in progress as we are in a lot of other positions. I have been really pleased with coach Dickey. I think he really does a fantastic job with our young guys and they have responded well. I can't put a good assessment on it because we have only had two practices, but I can tell you we have a lot of work to do. They got better as we went through spring practice in ways other than football. They got better over the course of the summer. We try to embellish some of the terminology in his (Dickey) direction so that he would be comfortable with what we were doing in such a way that it wasn't a totally new learning process for him. So it is kind of a commingling of terminology as much as anything. Football is football you can only block so many ways."

On Alex Hrebec...
"We have a plethora of young guys like Alex who have walked on to our program and become extremely successful. He has a passion for the game, very quiet, if you interview him he probably wouldn't say boo, but he is a good young person. He is a young guy who wants to set the example to bring his football team together. He is one of the guys that gets pretty close to his capabilities and most guys don't do that, athletes or otherwise."

On if coaching approach has changed since coming back...
"No because I don't know any other way. I'm pretty simple, really. To me, I don't know another way to do it. If you have any suggestions, I'm open. The most important thing is about being better tomorrow than you were today. It was a gradual ascent to where K-State football is now. It wasn't someone saying, 'Wow, they came out of nowhere to do this.' It was really a very gradual ascent. The first year we won one and then five, then seven, then nine, then 10, then 11. That is the greatest example that I can provide to our players right now about what the process is."

On if the fans should be expected to be as patient as they were when he first arrived...
"The fans don't present themselves to me that way. Maybe they do to you. In those three years I wasn't coaching, I spent a lot of time around a lot of people and since I have come back, I have heard from a lot of people and I think they understand and do have patience. I can distinctly remember in 1989 being able to say as it related to our fan base, 'This isn't like Field of Dreams.' It wasn't a matter of saying we'll build it and they will come. It was a matter of saying, 'We need you to come so we have a chance to build it.' I don't think it is different today as it was back then. How many we can get in the seats? I have no idea; we will find out in a month."

On quarterback battle...
"We will have a competitive battle at quarterback. We have only had two practices so I have no idea how that will play out. At quarterback, you have to make sure he can do what you want to do. If he can't do those things then we would be foolish to do those things he cannot do. Whoever ends up being the No. 1 at that position, we will try and mold what we do around that individual. We won't know for some time, so we have to give it a chance to evolve, but what we need is positions across the board to be competitive if that happens we will get batter."

On what position Daniel Thomas will play...
"Thomas will be a running back for us."

On difference between Carson Coffman and Grant Gregory...
"I don't know. I haven't seen Grant enough yet and we have only had two practices with him. I know one is taller than the other and one is a little quicker than the other. Carson would be ahead as far as understanding the system because Grant has only had two days of it. So we have to take that into consideration. You talk about those two, but the last two days I have been impressed with Joseph Kassanavoid. He has done some commendable things better than he did in the spring. I think Collin Klein has done exactly the same thing. It won't just be two guys competing against each other."

On defensive line and Jeffery Fitzgerald...
"I think Jeffery is a young guy that is still learning. He has got some athletic ability. I noticed in one of the events that he can jump higher than anybody on our football team. I hate to say a lineman can do that but he can get higher on the backboard, let me put it that way. He does posses some athletic capabilities we just have to use him in the right way."

On how the Big 12 Conference has evolved...
"It is a fantastic conference. I think we all understand that. There are a lot of teams that are putting themselves into a good position to win their division of the conference."

On the running back position...
"It will be very competitive. I was impressed with Keithen Valentine. He practiced well and I like what he did. I know how he performed in the spring and I was impressed by it. I like Jarell Childs. He is a physical young guy. We have some freshmen that I hope don't fit into it but, nevertheless we will probably end up playing freshmen this year."