Tuesdays in Vanier | Back on Track

Yesterday afternoon, head coach Bill Snyder and select players met with the media at the Vanier Football Complex to discuss the upcoming game. 
Here are a few of the highlights from yesterday afternoon's press conference:
Coming off of a bye week, K-State is rested and ready to get back on the field. Though two weeks ago the team suffered a 41-20 loss to No. 4 TCU, Snyder explained his team has gone through the necessary process - anger turned to frustration, frustration turned to motivation - since the loss, and is back on its feet, focused and ready for the next game. 
"I hope they have come through it well," said Snyder about the bye week. "As for the mental approach to it, that has evolved into a determination and excitement for the upcoming ballgame. It appears that they're focused on what they are doing and I trust them for that."
After seeing the exciting environment Thursday evening games can provide as evidenced by the Auburn game earlier this season, Snyder knows the already loud environment of Milan Puskar Stadium will only be more intense.
"I think it's going to be a vibrant environment, and I think their fans will get into it, the students will get into it," said Snyder. "I don't have any doubt about that, but at the end of the day, it's about keeping everything between the white lines."
Snyder said that once he puts his headset on and the game begins, all the noise, the entire environment, fades to the background. He said he hopes it will be the same way for his team tomorrow night. 
"I think the important thing is that we try to always be consistent about that 1-0 mindset," he continued. "It is about playing every snap. That's the way we try to practice, that's the way I would like for our players to compete." 
Earlier this week, senior linebacker Jonathan Truman was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Burlsworth Trophy, which honors the most outstanding football player in America that began his career as a walk-on. 
"I'm very honored to be a semifinalist for this award," said Truman who has played in 48 career games and has started his last 21. "I read up on it, and once I saw it, it seems like it's a very good award. I'm happy that they chose me to be in there. It's pretty cool."
Truman is the lone semifinalist for the award from the Big 12 and, so far this season, leads K-State and ranks third in the Big 12 with 85 tackles - just four shy of his season total in 2013, and the Wildcats still have four games to play.
"Jonathan is a great friend of mine and I love him to death, so to see him succeed on the field, off the field, wherever it is, I'm proud of him," said fellow linebacker Will Davis. "So this is good for him. It's good for all of us. It's good for our team."
Becoming a semifinalist for the Burlsworth Trophy makes Truman, a native of Kechi, Kansas, the third Wildcat in three years to be named a semifinalist joining offensive lineman B.J. Finney (2012) and defensive end Ryan Mueller (2013).
Turning walk-ons into stars is no new story to K-State football. The team has produced numerous distinguished walk-ons during Snyder's 23-year career as the Wildcat head coach (notably former Wildcat and current Green Bay Packer, Jordy Nelson), however perhaps this year, with four of the Wildcats' team captains beginning their careers as walk-ons and rising through the ranks, the reality of the matter has never been so clear.
On having his players named semifinalist for the award in three consecutive seasons, Snyder said: "It says something about the young people, it tells you that they have done things the right way. They've worked extremely hard and have that value system in place. They've just gotten better and better and better, and they have just become prominent players. Also, their coaches have done a nice job of teaching them the fundamentals and the execution and all that goes a long with it."
Along with Truman, eight other current or former walk-ons with the Wildcat squad have started games this season. 
"I think it just shows that our work ethic here as walk-ons, we don't take anything for granted coming in," said Truman. "We just get to work and do the absolute best we can and try to be the best players and people that we can be."
The Burlsworth Trophy Selection Committee will announce the three finalists for the award on Nov. 25. Fans can help Truman become a finalist by voting online at www.burlsworthtrophy.com. Voting began yesterday and will conclude midnight on Nov. 20. Finalists will be honored and the winner of the 2014 Burlsworth Trophy will be announced on Dec. 8, at a banquet in Springdale, Arkansas. 
The forecast for tomorrow evening's game shows cloudy skies and cold (about 20 degrees!) temperatures. The coldest game the Wildcats will play this 2014 season, curious K-State fan Bruce Snyder sent this question to K-State Sports Extra earlier this week:
How different does the football team prepare for playing in cold temperatures that they are likely to do against West Virginia?
So, yesterday afternoon Sports Extra asked a few players what preparation is like in these chilly, winter temperatures.
"So far there's not any difference because we've been practicing here and it's pretty cold. It's really probably been good for us since it's so cold here so we can get our bodies acclimated to it," said linebacker Will Davis. "When you get on the field, no matter if it's 100 degrees or 20 degrees, you can't pay attention to it because you're always focused on the game."
Replied defensive back Morgan Burns when asked about the cold temperatures, he responded, "I think we're getting used to the cold since we've been practicing in it these last few weeks. We've kind of got adjusted to it and got our minds ready to play in this weather. I think we'll be ready from practicing and preparing in it.
"But the first couple days of practice (in the cold) I definitely did notice it. I was bundled up and layered up, but after I started thinking in my mind that this is how it's going to be in the (West Virginia) game, so I started not thinking about it. I just played, and if I'm moving and playing hard, I stay pretty warm. If I keep that mindset I should be fine."
If you have any football-related questions for K-State Sports Extra you would like answered in a future edition of Tuesdays in Vanier, please email Kelly McHugh at kmchugh@kstatesports.com
Career Night from Young Leads K-State Women's Basketball to Win
For the second straight game, K-State was diverse in its offensive attack and the defense controlled a majority of the action as the Wildcats defeated UMKC on Tuesday night, 65-36. 
To continue reading about the Wildcats' win in Bramlage Coliseum, click here.

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