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K-State Holds First Spring Football Press Conference


April 8, 2014

K-State Athletics

Head Coach Bill Snyder
On momentum carrying over from the bowl win...
"It is not as good as I would like; that is to be suspected to a certain degree, but I really addressed our players on numerous occasions about not starting over again even though it is a different mix of young people. As you indicated, it is different every season, but I really wanted to start right where we finished and build off on that. I don't think we did that. It does not mean that we went dramatically downhill. It just means that we did not have the progress that I would have liked for us to. The out-of-season program, if you grade it on a percentage, from what I saw, maybe 85-percent, meaning that we had probably 85-percent of our players performed very well, had tremendous effort, appropriate attitude, genially cared, conditioned themselves well and gained in the strength department; 10 percent did not and probably five percent were extremely poor. That may be a passing grade, but it is not to the level that you would like it to be."

On what he sees in terms of leadership...
"I think, potentially, we have a number of guys that have the capacity to be quality leaders in our program, and a certain number of them are moving rapidly and readily into that arena - I think the more the merrier as far as I am concerned. If I have 100 youngsters, I would rather have 100 leaders, but everybody does not necessarily see it that way and I can understand. We have some guys that take it very seriously and really have stepped up and tried to provide a quality of leadership from within. The hard part for most young people is the demanding aspect. They can all applaud each other and try to give positive guidance, but sometimes it has to be more demanding and that is a difficult task for a lot of young guys. We do have some guys that are learning to do that and have done that during the course of the out-of-season in particular. We are growing in that aspect I think."

On the running back position...
"First of all, we have had four practices, and to me that is an awful lot. We practice tomorrow and have a full scrimmage. We had a little bit of a scrimmage, not very long - about 20 minutes - on Monday. We will have a full scale, all-day scrimmage on Wednesday and have a little bit better understanding. At that particular position, it is going to be very competitive. There are three young guys right now, (Charles) Jones, (Jarvis) Leverett, and (DeMarcus Robinson). I would not pick one right now. DeMarcus is at the top of the chart because he came out of that position from the fall, but I think we see some promise in the two younger guys. They have gradually demonstrated that. We have not collectively offensively, but they have gotten a little bit better day in and day out. It really will be a genuine competition between the three."

On what has held Robinson back in the past...
"He is a good young guy. He will give you the best effort. Part of it may just not being in the mix yet. This is his first time truly being in the mix above No. 3. So his opportunities have not been there as much, and that is why I say that I am a little hesitant right now to go beyond saying that all three of them will be in the mix. Running backs are kind of like quarterbacks in that they have to make some very sudden decisions. `Do I go here, do I go here,' and you do not have a heartbeat to make that decision. That takes some experience. It is like a quarterback has to make a decision - `Do I throw it here, do I throw it here,' and that has to come in a heartbeat. The more you experience it, the more readily you can make the right decision. I think that is true with DeMarcus just as it is with those younger guys. The other two were on the scout squad most of the time last year. So they have to grow in that aspect as well."

On the plan for Daniel Sams...
"Well right now I told Daniel that if he wants to try his hand at wide receiver, then I would certainly give him the opportunity. He is working at the wide receiver position, and he is growing. From a learning standpoint, he understood all the schemes, so he knew assignments for wide receivers. What he did not understand was the execution and how to go about doing it. That is what he is learning right now, and it is a work in progress, but we are giving him the opportunity. He made some head way. I think he feels, Coach (Andre) Coleman feels, and I feel that he can be competitive in that arena."

On guys at offensive tackle...
"The two new guys, the community college guy, (Luke) Hayes and (Aaron) Bennett, are feeling their way around. It is not an easy task for them. They have had their ups and downs. I was pleased in the short scrimmage time that we had on Monday that they probably performed better than any time in the previous three and a half practices. I think it is just a repetition, repetition, repetition. Watching Luke, in particular, during the out-of-season program, I do not have any doubt about him being able to come along. I think both of them will come around. It is how quickly it can happen. I do not have any doubts. He is an awfully hard worker, runs well and physical as well. It is just a matter of learning the nuances of the position, the footwork and the assignments. If you throw a lot at them, after four days of practice, our total offense is in and that is a lot - their heads our swimming right now. Now we start to repeat things that they have done. Things should settle down for them. They should feel a little bit more comfortable with what they are doing and react to situations a little bit better than what they are doing."

Junior Place Kicker Jack Cantele
On his kicking distance and range...
"We have not been able to hit any long field goals yet. The opportunity has not presented itself. I have been hitting the ball well. I am obviously hitting it better than I was during the season because I was not at full strength then."

On spring practices thus far...
"It is always nice when the workouts are over and practice gets started - everyone is excited to be able to get started on what we are here to do. Everyone is in a good mood and excited to practice and it has showed in the results of practice."

On going into spring practices off of a bowl win...
"There is definitely a lot more incentive to pick up where we have left off. In my experience, this is everyone on the team's first bowl win, so there is a little more incentive to have to pick up where we left off because coming off of a bowl loss, you cannot really say that you want to pick up where you left off. But this year, there is more of an emphasis on picking up where we left off and that has really been Coach Snyder's main focus since we came back after the bowl game."

Senior Defensive End Ryan Mueller
On how he improves and builds off of last season...
"I have to turn the page, realize that last year was last year, and I am looking forward to improving through Coach Dawson's strength and conditioning program and also listening to my coach, Blake Seiler. He is coaching me up on my technique and watching last year's film on some of the things I did wrong, and how I can improve is definitely one of my goals for the season and during the off season especially."

On carrying the momentum from the bowl game until now...
"That was definitely a long time ago, but there were a lot of great lessons learned that season for me as a player, just as far as how to lead a team, how to be bigger, faster, stronger, how to be the best player I possibly can be. There are a lot of players on that team that helped guide me to be a good player for this team and a solid contributor. As far as lessons learned, there are just so many numerous lessons throughout practice and every rep I take - just coaching the younger guys too, remembering things that I learned during that season and because that was just such a special season for this university and for this team and trying to carry those things over to this year's team because that is what led to success."

On the biggest change in the defense this year...
"It is kind of hard to say whether we are faster or stronger or whatever, but I think just the mentality is there and I think that we will be much stronger - stuff that media and fans don't really notice, but stuff that you would notice on film with guys' footwork and having a better sense of what is going on in the game, which leads to guys playing faster, guys feeling stronger out there. I think that is where we are really going to improve for this fall."

Sophomore Wide Receiver Deante Burton
On his progress so far...
"I am making some strides and good progress. I think that the overall goal is to get better every day, take it one practice at a time and create consistency throughout spring ball."

On the competition at wide receiver with Daniel Sams in the mix...
"You have seen him. He is a great playmaker, especially with the ball in his hands and in space. It is definitely competitive. I think that Coach (Andre) Coleman creates a really competitive atmosphere. He pushes us to get better. The amount of guys that we have is definitely bringing the best out of everyone."

On playing for Coach Coleman...
"I love it. He is a perfectionist. You have guys like (Tyler) Lockett and Curry (Sexton) and those guys who have mastered this craft at this level, he stills pushes them and finds little things to tweak their game and make them better. It is definitely good to play for him because he brings the best out of every one of us."

On how he would rate Daniel Sams as a wide receiver so far...
"He has a few tips and tricks to learn, but he is a tremendous playmaker. His athleticism is some of the best in the country. It is not as natural, I think, as quarterback, but it is something that is coming along for him pretty easily."

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