July 23, 2012
DALLAS, Texas – Kansas State head football coach Bill Snyder, along with student-athletes Arthur Brown, Collin Klein, Tre Walker and Ty Zimmerman met with national and regional print, radio and broadcast media on Monday as part of the Big 12 Media Days. The following is a transcript of Snyder's press conference from early Monday afternoon.
THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by coach Bill Snyder from Kansas State. We're going to go straight to questions.
Q. Coach, can you talk about with what happened with Penn State, how hard would it be to run a program with so many fewer scholarships and things like that, what kind of challenge would that be?
COACH SNYDER: I haven't thought about it. I really don't know. That was probably going to be my opening statement, if I were to give one, and that is there's a lot of things going on in our society today, whether it happens to be what you're addressing or things that have taken place in Colorado, et cetera. That's not why we're here.
We're here about for me it's about Kansas State University, about the young people that play the game for us, and it's about the Big 12 Conference. The rest of it I'm not interested in.
Q. During the summer you spoke a time or two about expectations, and after being picked eighth in the Big 12 last season, K State finishes second. Now coming off ten wins, K State enters picked to finish sixth in the league. Just your thoughts on that spot and do you feel like your program does its best when it's considered somewhat of an underdog?
COACH SNYDER: I'm not altogether certain. And I think you look back at last season and we moved up maybe six slots. I just hope that we can do something similar to that.
But for us that's, I don't think, really significant. How do I deal with it? Probably not the same way that young people in the program do. Do we perform better as, quote/unquote, underdogs? That I don't know. I haven't seen any statistics in that regard. Last year obviously we played reasonably well in those circumstances.
I have a greater concern about game by game when we are perhaps selected as favorites in a ballgame. I think that as any coach probably would say, that's where your greatest concern lies, just not making sure that young people don't take things for granted or we as coaches don't take anything for granted.
You go back to the last season and what was our mindset going into the very first ballgame of the season. We played Eastern Kentucky and did not score a touchdown until 58 plus minutes of the ballgame and then we're very fortunate to walk away with a victory.
So one of the things that we have to be concerned about this coming season is that very simple concept of not taking anything for granted. And I think sometimes underdog or favorite, the favorite role is one that's more complex because it's easier to kind of take it for granted.
I think our youngsters have responded well in regards to maybe not so much dealing with the fact that they are an underdog or they're ranked lower, that it may be more so in the day to day improvement just trying to compete every single day to get themselves a little bit better and realizing the rest of it takes care of itself.
However you want to be ranked, you gotta be willing to pay the price today in order to make that happen six months down the road.
Q. You've been in this league a long time. The last two years we've been in this room talking about where this league was going, what was going to happen in this league. Can you talk about the difference in perception today as opposed to the last couple of years, and maybe even to years past on where this league's perceived and where you see the stability of it?
COACH SNYDER: Well, I think it's the state of the conference right now, if there is such a thing in college football. I think it's quite obvious that the universities that make up the Big 12 Conference today are heavily committed to the conference. I think we lost two very fine universities and programs, but we gained two extremely talented football programs and quality universities as well.
I think as evidence as it relates to football, when you look at the preseason rankings and the two incoming universities, they're ranked right up in the top 10 or top 12 in the country. So it would indicate that there's a national perception that they are quality programs as well.
And I think we're an extremely solid conference, and I appreciate the leadership. I have an awfully strong feeling, appreciate Chuck Neinas stepping in and taking some time out of his life to help with our conference. Bob Bowlsby added as our new commissioner I think has been a very, very positive step, a very quality person and strong leader as well.
So, again, I think we're a very stable conference.
Q. Coach, if you could, just kind of discuss the maturation of Collin Klein last year how he came along and did it surprise you how quickly he seemed to take to the offense?
COACH SNYDER: First, I'm too old to be surprised. At my age you've seen an awful lot of things take place over a period of time. And I really don't. Believe it or not, it's not my modus operandi to place expectations on young guys in regards to their performance level.
Collin is a wonderful young person. He has made tremendous improvement during his time in the program. And it's happened because of the quality of person that Collin is. Collin is one of those young guys as we were talking about a moment ago, he's one of those young guys truly committed not just lip service to it, he's truly committed to becoming better every single day of his life in all facets of his life, very faith based young guy and works diligently to improve his plight with the state every day.
He's a tremendous family man and he works diligently every day to become a little bit better family man to try to be a better person, et cetera, et cetera, and certainly to become a better football student athlete. And he works diligently at trying to improve his skills and consequently does.
And I think that's and it was evidenced as you watched him through the course of the season. And, of course, you haven't but seeing him for the past three years and seeing his involvement is really it's the way you'd like for all young people in your program to be. And we have a lot of young guys that have that same kind of commitment to that daily improvement that Collin does.
But he's a shining example of that.
Q. The Big 12 obviously is a league full of good quarterbacks. There are five guys on the O'Brien watch list. How tough is it to play in a league that has so many weapons at that position?
COACH SNYDER: It's been my experience, particularly since coming back, that the league has evolved to a certain degree to be able to, what we say, spread the field and throw the ball around. And you've got quality people doing it. Extremely talented quarterbacks in this conference, and talented offenses collectively. Some great wide receivers have come through the league here of late.
And I can't put it on a scale of how complex it is and how difficult it is other than to say it is extremely difficult. Statistically you look at the passing staffs in the conference, and they're extremely significant.
You look at defensive staffs in the Big 12 Conference, and they're significant in the other way as it relates to defending against the pass. We certainly had our issues with that as well.
So quality players and good systems really make it a very complex preparation week in and week out. Good football teams, awfully good players.
Q. Tyler Lockett, your sophomore receiver, coming back from an injury. He's also on the Preseason All Big 12. How has his recovery been going and how do you expect him to make an impact coming off an injury that debilitated him the last part of the season?
COACH SNYDER: I think what is overlooked perhaps, we have 15 days of practice in the spring, and on the 15th day it was our spring game and Tyler didn't play.
And the perception probably I can't speak for you but the perception was probably that he was still recovering from an injury that occurred during the course of the season, which indeed was not the case.
Tyler participated in the first 14 days of practice, didn't participate in the spring game because of a hamstring, not seriously injured, but we didn't want to take any chances in that ballgame.
So the answer, I guess, is that he's recovered fully, and I think is having a productive summer as well and should be well prepared to play.
Q. You've been in this league since the very beginning and have seen it evolve. Have you changed your philosophy about recruiting Texas, and is it any easier to get into the state to recruit players now than it might have been when you guys first started off in the mid '90s?
COACH SNYDER: Right now my feeling is probably a little bit more difficult. And I say that with this in mind. There's probably some other reasons for that.
But the calendar, the recruiting calendar is kind of upside down. If you look at it today. You think you're printing in your newspapers and, et cetera, radio, broadcast, TV broadcast, et cetera, commitments from young people.
And you look at most programs throughout the country and they've got 20 commitments and 18 commitments, et cetera, et cetera. And you go back a decade ago and that wasn't the case. You didn't have any commitments and you were still waiting for young people to play their senior year in high school and be able to, I don't know, make those kind of decisions a little bit later in their career.
Plus, the other thing that's taking place is that because of the kind of the way it's been approached, the opportunity to really get to know young people and for them to get to know you and you to get to know their families and their families to really get to know you has become more and more difficult, and those decisions are made before all those things can take place.
And, yes, young people can come to your campus, but you can't go into their homes, et cetera, until whenever the date comes up during their senior season. So you don't have the time to or the format really to get as close to young people and their families as you used to be able to before the decisions were made. I haven't got it all figured out yet. That falls on my shoulders, but it's really it's complex, I think, very difficult.
So I think it’s harder now to answer the question. It's harder now than it was some time ago.
Q. This time last year on the same stage I asked you what kind of signs you had seen as far as continuity, as far as building from one season to the next, and you mentioned about maybe a lack of participation during some of the voluntary workouts. At this stage of the game, coming off ten wins, can you address the continuity you've witnessed or heard about among this team heading into this fall?
COACH SNYDER: I think one of the things that and you might also recall, I'm sure that part of that answer was the need for the development of quality internal leadership within the confines of our players themselves. And I think in each of the last three years I have seen that grow.
I think we were dangerously limited the very first year back in regards to that type of leadership. I think it's grown every year since then, and I would suggest right now that we probably have a strong leadership, player leadership within, demanding leadership, vocal leadership, quality, caring leadership than we have had at any point in time. And I caution myself about taking that for granted, that it will carry itself into the season.
But I think I see a great deal of growth in that respect.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Coach, thank you very much for your comments.