K-State Holds Pre-Bowl Press Conference

Head Coach Bill Snyder

On how the last couple of weeks have gone...
"They have been evolving on a daily basis. Same as normal, I would guess. We have had some good practices and we have had some not so well. Our youngsters have worked hard. I appreciate that a great deal. Their focus has been pretty good most of the time, but I think we are making headway."

On players and coaches dealing with the move out of Vanier...
"Well it has not been easy, but they have adjusted quite well. They are going and doing things in a different way and in different places. They have handled it quite well."

On how the team has improved since the Baylor game...
"They have that behind them, and they are excited to have the opportunity to get home, most of them, for Christmas. That is what is on their mind right now. When they come back, I think they will have a mindset that is focused on the final preparations for the bowl game."

On who will fill in at free safety...
"It is either going to be (Tom) Hayes or I (laughing). I am not sure yet. There are a number of guys that we have worked with back there. (Nate) Jackson is a possibility. Kaleb Prewett is a possibility. Both of them have taken repetitions back there and done pretty well, but no decision has been made on how it is going to play out by game time."

On the immediate schedule before the team leaves for San Antonio...
"The players are off right now. They will be gone this evening, and they will come back in the late afternoon on the 26th."

On if UCLA reminds him of a team in the Big 12...
"They are probably a mixture of a lot of teams within the conference. I think, defensively, they might be a little bit like us, but there are a lot of teams that have somewhat the same makeup schematically. Now when they do things, or the nuances, they have some that are unique to their environment, to their program. They are a little bit different from game to game, but when you put a collective package together, certainly there are things that we have seen before. From an offensive standpoint, we see an awful lot of option type, zone read type, zone plays, and the quick attachments that people just raise up and throw the ball outside. (Brett) Hundley does that a lot and quite well, but they are kind of a big-play type of offense. They have made a living off of big plays in a variety of ways. Some of it in the running game, a lot of it in the passing game by getting the ball down field with pretty adept wide receivers. In the past histories, they have played with four wide outs in a ballgame. Hundley is throwing 70-percent, so that is pretty good, but we have seen players like that, not that we have done well against them."

On the comparisons between Hundley and Trevone Boykin...
"One of the things is in the passing game they will bring the ball out. When someone says that they had 500 yards, you go back and look at it, he has 700-plus yards gained rushing. He has some lost yardage plays and those come out of sacks. They have had 38 sacks throughout the course of the year. You look at someone who running the ball has somewhere in the vicinity of 700 yards, and an awful lot of that has come out of scrambles. He will bring the ball down in a heartbeat and bring it out. He does a nice job of that. He can keep the ball on the zone read type stuff, and they have a little bit of a quarterback run game to go along with it. I do not think it is any different than what we have seen with the others. They all had the same capabilities, and their schemes were similar in regards to how the quarterback ended up with the ball."

On looking at younger talent during the bowl practices...
"It is hard to identify particular guys. We invested time with our younger players, and the vast majority of them took advantage of that opportunity. A few of them probably should have but did not. Most of them truly did. On the offensive side of the ball, I like what Jeb Drost is doing. He is a walk-on from my hometown, St. Joseph (Missouri). His dad played for me, and he is an offensive tackle that has done a nice job. Dana Dimel's son, Winston Dimel, has had good practices as well."

Wide Receiver Tyler Lockett
On the possibility of winning back-to-back bowl games...
"The first two years we experienced a loss in a bowl game. You are then left with a not so good felling, kind of an icky feeling that stays with you till the very first game of the next season. Last year, we beat Michigan and we had a great feeling. When you went home all you could really do was smile. We beat a top-notch program and we have that same opportunity this year. Everyone wants to go out with a win and no one wants to know how it feels to lose."

On UCLA...
"They are a real physical team. We have watched film on them and watched them play against Stanford. They probably have some of the best athletes in the Pac-12 and it is easy for us to see that. We will have to do our best to go in there with a winning philosophy."

On UCLA's defense...
"Their defense is very good - the safeties and the corners. They are physical and they are really good at high pointing the ball as well. We have to work on high pointing the ball and not waiting for the ball to come to us. We just have to be able to beat them in and out of our routes."

Offensive Lineman Cody Whitehair
On younger offensive linemen standouts...
"Our guards have really stepped up. Boston (Stiverson) and Luke (Hayes) both returning next season is going to be very helpful, but our younger guys like Will Ash, they are doing some nice things for us. Our young tackles - I guess not so young - have really been crucial to the mix. Aaron Bennett and Ajahne Brager are both stepping up and contributing to the mix. We are looking forward to seeing what they can do in the upcoming spring season."

On comparison of preseason expectations to the actual offense play this season...
"One thing that we were disappointed in was our running game. Through the past years we have been pretty successful on our running game. We have not been as successful as we would like to be. Jake (Waters) and even our pass protection as an offensive line has progressed over the course of the season. Jake has done a great job as well as our receivers by getting open when teams have held us to a one-dimension offense."

Offensive Lineman B.J. Finney
On practice leading up to the bowl game...
"Well the last couple weeks have been long. With finals week and dead week and practicing all in one time period, it has been pretty long. The guys are excited to get down to San Antonio and finish UCLA prep and get on to the game. All the awards and the accolades that people have blessed me with has just been a blessing. That will not take away from my focus and stop me from doing what I can."

On getting to the 10-win mark...
"That would mean a lot to me. With three 10-win seasons, that is something to be truly proud of, especially in a Big 12 Conference. It is a standard that we are trying to set and a legacy that we are trying to leave as a senior class. Right now, that is the best thing we can leave; that is what we are shooting for."

Defensive End Ryan Mueller
On his accomplishments throughout the season...
"Just from a statistical standpoint, I was not really there compared to the other guys and I knew that. This year was obviously a lot more challenging. Every game I felt like the opposing team really knew who I was rather than last year where I was really more questioned marked. At the end of the games this year, I would always have coaches come up to me and congratulate me and tell me I was a heck of a ballplayer. They would pay me with compliments and that was really nice. Even though I may have not had any tackles or statistics during the game, it was a huge compliment for those coaches to come find me in the crowd after the game. It is really very kind and first class."

On if he was frustrated by being double-teamed during the season...
"It was certainly frustrating since I did have expectations to outdo last year's performance. Obviously, it did not happen. I am on a much better defense than I was on last year, and overall a much better team - that wins out."

On the opportunity to win the Alamo Bowl...
"It presents a great opportunity to capitalize on a 10-win season instead of a nine-win season. There is a big difference between ending the season with a 9-4 record rather than a 10-3 season. That is certainly on our mind."

Defensive Back Dante Barnett
On how Tyler Lockett helps K-State's secondary...
"We get better every day. Most teams do not get to go up against a receiver every day like Tyler (Lockett). Every time we go up against him we know we have our hands full, and we just want to compete and go against him."

On how he thinks Tyler Lockett wants to end his career...
"He probably just wants a win. He is a team player. No one wants to end their career with a loss. All great ballplayers want to end on a win and end the season with a bang."

On adjusting to a new safety...
"It is football. Whenever you go through a season you might have injuries and you never know when that is going to happen, but it is all part of the game."

Defensive Back Randall Evans
On how big it would be to get a win over a top-25 team...
"It would be amazing for us. It would be cool to see what we accomplish together and get another 10-win season under our belt. That would be great for our program and for entering the season next year. Just ending on the right note."

On facing a similar quarterback to Trevone Boykin...
"As we have studied, we have seen that they have similar techniques as TCU and Baylor. We need to work on not giving up big plays. They have a quarterback and they have good running backs, so we just have to make sure we do not give up the big plays to them."