K-State Holds Weekly Football Press Conference

Head Coach Bill Snyder

Oct. 4, 2011

Head Coach Bill Snyder
On the progress of the defensive line…
“I thought we were a better defensive football team. I thought in the spring that we were a better football team than we were in the previous fall. Again, I go back to last fall so many times, I know what the numbers say. There were a number of ballgames in there that we played well defensively against quality offensive football teams and just did not hold up our end of the bargain on the other side of the ball. It is still a team game, and one end makes the other better. They have to complement each other. Just from putting 11 guys on the field and saying, ‘Are you better collectively than at some other point in time,’ I thought we were better in the spring. When we started here in the fall, I thought we were making progress. Up to this point in time, we have. Gradually, we have become better in different areas.”

On the progress of the passing game…
“I think there are a lot of things that are into it, but I do think we are a little bit better up front. That has helped. They do not always get the sacks, etcetera, but sometimes you have to force the pocket and bounce quarterback out there. You have to be careful about who you bounce outside because some of them are pretty good. I think it is a collection of things. Sometimes those pass-rushes, the result of some type of blitzes, it is just good, aggressive hard pass-rushing, good movement by either our ends or our interior people. It is a variety of different things. I think it is too early to judge how much better we are. I understand that our numbers are better than where we were a year ago at this time, but we still have a ways to go and find out.”

On the past two games and poll ranking…
“You have to prove yourself every day. Whatever the media says, whatever the polls say, if you start letting that change the way you prepare yourself, how you live your life, how you do different things, you probably can get yourself in some serious trouble, particularly in athletics. I just want our young guys to understand how they got where they are and not forget how we got to where we are, continue to improve upon where we are, and not get sidetracked or distracted or deviate from that path because whatever is said externally.”

On if poll ranking is a teaching point…
“I think it could be if you handled it the appropriate way. To me, the appropriate way is, ‘Okay, let us move on, it is their business.’ If we are thinking about that today, then we are taking time away from things that are really significant that affect the way we play this weekend. That is not going to help us play better this weekend.”

On Collin Klein’s rushing totals…
“We can look at it in a couple different ways, probably. I do not know if I am comfortable about anything, really. He is running back to the same thing. He is kind of a running back. It fits the mold, I guess. I am proud of him and appreciate his toughness and ability to play an aggressive style football at the position he plays. It is part of what we do, well at least when we do it is.”

On Missouri…
“Obviously, Missouri is a very diverse and talented offensive football team. (James) Franklin is a very poised young guy. They offer him tremendous protection up front. (Henry) Josey, who averages 12-yards-plus per carry after four ball games, who knows how that happens. Those are numbers that you cannot really fathom. A tight end that has not caught as many balls as he has in the past and has tremendous talent. Those wide receivers have four guys who are 6-foot-4 or taller at that wide receiver position where our tallest guy is 3-foot-3 or something like that. Those are not only just tall guys, but guys who can run, jump up and catch the ball. They can block you. They are very diverse and complete players at those positions. On the other side of the ball, up front, they are probably as good as you can find across the board. They are physical. The back end, they play a lot of man-to-man coverage, and you do not do that unless you have a good staff. Gary (Pinkel) is an awfully smart football coach and his staff. They will put guys out on an island if they are not covering well. They have the leading punter in the conference that averages 48 yards a kick. They have all of it. They are a complete football team.”

On special teams…
“The return game is probably not the biggest concern that I have. We are getting close on kickoff returns. We almost got one out of the gate last week, and we had a couple of decent returns. One of them was almost gone. We are getting a little closer there. On the punt return, that is probably where we need more improvement. You do not see a lot of punt returns. Punters can get the ball up in the air. It is difficult to get the opportunity on the ball to return. You see an awful lot of fair catches. Same thing with us, our punter hits the ball 39 yards, and it is a fair catch. We had a 17-yard return last week, which I did not like. When I saw it, it was strictly a missed tackle. If that does not take place, then there is no return yardage against it. We are still a work in progress. Our kickoff returns, we are a step away.”

Defensive End Jordan Voelker
On the recent drought against Missouri…
“We are 0-5 against them the last couple of years. I think that is a lot of drive for us to get a win here. They have had our card the last couple of years, so we are trying to change that a little bit.”

On how James Franklin is like Robert Griffin III…
“He still has that speed, and he is a great quarterback. He likes to run the ball a little bit more, and they have a bit more quarterback-designed runs. They like to run the quarterback power and even zone reads with him. He is just a little bit different type where Robert Griffin likes to get out and throw the ball. He likes to get out and scramble.”

On the excitement of playing Missouri…
“We still are the underdogs because they have beaten us the last five years. We cannot let our guard down any. They are a good team and have had some tough losses. Their two losses were to ranked teams. I think there is a lot of motivation since they are a great team.”

Defensive Back Tysyn Hartman
On if he’s surprised about how the defense has played…
“We had a feeling during camp when we were running to the ball and playing a lot harder than we did. We watch the Baylor game last year and some of the other games last year, and we saw the way that we were moving and the progress that we have made. It is just a good feeling.”

On what the last six minutes were like against Baylor…
“Stressful. A lot of people have came and told me, ‘Good game, but let’s not make it so close this week.’ The blood pressure was getting higher and higher, but it was a fun experience in the way that it ended. It could have gone both ways, especially with the players that they have for Baylor. We were just fortunate to get stops when we needed to.”

On any players being better then Kendall Wright…
“That is tough. There are a lot of good receivers like Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin, and he is right up the list with them. He is really quick and has great hands on the field.”

Wide Receiver Chris Harper
On last week’s game…
“It was real fun. It was a big game, probably the biggest game that I have played in since I have been here. It was really big and it felt good to come out on top.”

On the role that he played in the game…
“It felt good. I think that is the most catches that I have had in a game. It felt good to get involved like that. A lot of those catches at the end, they started going towards me and that felt good too.”

On sustaining long drives…
“I would not say that it is not tough because it is since we play in the Big 12. We have pretty good opponents, but that is something that Coach Snyder’s teams have always done. They have had pretty good time of possession, so it is not something that we are not accustomed to. Against Kent State, we had the ball for two 90-plus yard drives, and we scored touchdowns on both of them. It is something that we are capable of doing throughout the season.”

Offensive Lineman Tomasi Mariner
On the last two weeks…
“It has been pretty crazy, beating a good team like Baylor. They have a quarterback in (Robert) Griffin, he is a good leader. Just coming out with a win, especially in that game it has been pretty crazy. Just this whole thing has been a good ride.”

On the mindset of being the underdog…
“In a way, we have always been that way, and it is how we prepare for the game. They are going to come into here and want to play their best game, and we want to play are best game. Missouri is a great team, so we just have to work hard and prepare though out the week for the game on Saturday.”