K-State Holds Weekly Football Press Conference

Head Coach Bill Snyder
On rivalry with Oklahoma…
“I think it is the most important game that we will play this year coming up. Last week, not the bye week, but the previous game before that was just as important. It is extremely significant. You only have 12 or maybe 13 opportunities to play our best out of 365 days. You cannot go through and pick and choose what is important and what is not. They all count – every single one of them counts. I think the idea of having a number of players from the state of Oklahoma in your program and that it is a border state come into play to a certain degree.”

On OU’s balanced offense…
“Well they are very balanced. Their numbers would tell you exactly the same thing. Most of the situation work that they do is balanced. By that I mean down in distance there are some tendencies there that are balanced, but not enough tendency to hang your head on. You better be able to cover the pass and defend the run. When you do have the capabilities of Trevor Knight to run the ball like he rushed 87 yards against us last year - if you put that with the running game, they had a significant running game and we did not defend the run well at all last year. He completed I think 60 percent of his passes against us last year. That was a great deal of balance in the offense. They have that capacity as well. They could have two or three guys at running back who can be effective in that regard. Trevor Knight poses that question as a running quarterback and that creates more diversity in what they do. The more diversity that you have, the more effective you are in your offense.” 

On defense capabilities similar to Auburn…
“I think they are athletically and physically similar. Auburn was a very physical group up front. Oklahoma is a very physical group up front as well. I think both of them run extremely well.”

On lessons taken away by Knight’s success last year…

“Well you have to be prepared for the quarterback draw, the zone read aspect of it and just his ability to pull it down and scramble with it. If you are successful enough to cover receivers, he has good feet and can pull it out. Part of his 87 yards that he had against us last year came off of scrambles and intended passes. We not only have to defend him, but also the other players. His 87 yards were included in the 300 yards rushing that they had against us last year. There are big plays in the ball game that maybe define the outcome of the ball game. We were lucky enough to get a bunch of them ourselves. However, we gave up a 65-yard run which ran itself to that 300-plus total of rushing yards. We gave up an interception with a 70-yard return and then we shanked a punt that got run up to the three-yard line. That right there is 21 points and was a significant difference in the ball game. Hopefully we have learned a little in those areas – offense, defense and kicking game.”

On the running game at this point of the season…
“I would say it is probably really inconsistent as much as anything. I think we have had good and bad plays. I do not think I would look at it any differently, but aside from consistency, it is the big-play element. We have not achieved that yet. We have had a few of the 20-yard plays or gains, but we do not have that break away that we would like to have.”

Quarterback Jake Waters
On playing ranked-OU in Norman…
“We are excited for the opportunity. It is going to be a tough game obviously. To play a team like Oklahoma with all of their tradition, their great coaching, their great players that they have; it is going to be tough. I have never been there, but you have only heard great things about how hard it is to play there. It is definitely a challenge and we are excited for it.”

On the message they want to send with this Oklahoma game…
“We can play with anyone, and we know that. It takes great practice today, great preparation today and tomorrow, Thursday, and going in and executing during the game. We know that anyone can beat anyone, it all depends on how you execute and if you see things and eliminate the mistakes. We are going to have to play a great game to beat Oklahoma.”

On Oklahoma’s front seven…
“Yes obviously they have a great front, they have a great line. They are big, fast, and what you want in a defensive front. They play a little bit different than what we are used to, we are preparing and getting used to it so that should help us.”

Linebacker Jonathan Truman
On importance of big plays…
“Any given play can be an important one for the ball game. We just hope that we can create some great opportunities for ourselves on Saturday.”

On emotions after winning in Oklahoma two years ago…
“It was pretty exciting. It was a pretty early game in the season and that set the tone for the rest of the season. We had a lot of energy and enthusiasm after that win.”

On comparing two years ago to now…
“It is a new year and a new team on both sides of the ball. We have had success in the past but it is about how we prepare now and what we do this week.”

Running Back Charles Jones
On playing Oklahoma…
“We just take it like every other team. Just prepare like we do every game. Every game is important. We are in Big 12 games now and so like I said we are going to have to bring our ‘A’ game.”

On similarities between Oklahoma’s and Auburn’s defenses…
“Yeah, there are similarities. They are really big just like the Auburn front. I feel like the offensive line can handle it.”

On running game…
“I think it is progressing a lot. We are getting Jake (Waters) involved in the running game. DeMarcus (Robinson) and I are really hitting our stride and we are getting better every game.”

Linebacker Will Davis
On Trevor Knight…
“He is fast. He is probably one of the fastest quarterbacks, probably, in the nation. I am not for sure on his exact 40 time or anything but you watch him on film and he can run. That is always dangerous when you have a dual-threat quarterback like that.”

On comparing Knight and Nick Marshall…
“Neither one of them are scared to run it. They are both fast as can be and they are elusive too. They are both difficult and they are both good players.”

On keeping Knight in the pocket…
“That would be a big thing. Just to keep him contained as a whole is probably our biggest goal.”

Fullback Glenn Gronkowski
On what the team wants to prove in this game against Oklahoma…
“Obviously we want to prove a lot, obviously we want to go out there and get a win. I think it is just to show that we are a legitimate team in the Big 12. Every team in the Big 12 is good, it does not matter who you are playing. Beating anyone on the road is tough, so we just want to go out there and prove ourselves.”

On what he thinks about Oklahoma this year…
“They are physical and they are tough, and the tradition they have of winning at home all of the time. It is definitely going to be a tough game, we know that and we are preparing for that. To go out there and play a team like that and get a win would be awesome.”

On how valuable it is to have experience playing big games…
“Obviously when it comes to that (big games) there is a lot of pressure sometimes. Having the experience definitely helps, I think most of our players have been in that position before. So when it comes down to close games, we just have to rely on what we have done before and put it to work.”

Punter Nick Walsh
On Oklahoma…
“Great tradition, they always have great talent, great coaches. We have had two weeks to prepare for them, and I think our biggest thing is that we need to go out there and play as hard as we can. We need to do the fundamentals and the little things and play four quarters.”

On the benefit of the off week…
“For me it is getting my legs under me a little bit. Kick a lot of balls throughout the week especially bouncing back from last Saturday’s game going into Monday. We did not kick as much last week and that helped a little bit. This week we are going to get back after it and get our legs back where they need to be. I would say the biggest thing is getting our legs back under us and work on some flexibility during that week prior.”

On getting ready to play in an atmosphere like Oklahoma…
“That is a good question, because I have never been there in person and quite honestly I do not know what it looks like. Iowa State was also grass and that was the first time I punted on grass really, or that kind of turf in a game-type situation. Going into the Oklahoma game I am going to think about it like the Iowa State game as far as the grass goes and the atmosphere goes. Iowa State did have a good atmosphere as well. I am just going to try to keep everything inside the white lines and keep my focus on the field.”

Kicker Matthew McCrane
On his college career so far and the upcoming game…
“I never really had the plan of being in purple, so it is funny how things worked out. Hopefully I end up playing against Oklahoma. Jack (Cantele) and I are competing this week, and seeing what happens.”

On how the competition is going between him and Jack Cantele…
“It is very strong competition between Jack and me. We are really good friends. As long as we are pushing each other to be better in the end that is the best thing.”

On Cantele’s influence…
“Last year after the TCU game, I saw how Jack handled himself, both when he is up and high and when he is lower than low. Jack has been a good mentor for me, I am able to watch how he kicks and how he handles the atmosphere and situations. I think that has helped me a lot."