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Cotton Bowl: Bill Snyder transcript

Kansas State Head Coach Bill Snyder talked to the media day about his team and the Cotton Bowl experience.
Opening remarks

“We’re honored to be here. We appreciate, certainly, AT&T. I’ve fallen in love with the Cotton Bowl Classic a long, long time ago. We have a great appreciation for the people at the hotel where we’re staying, the Gaylord Texan, the transportation people have been absolutely wonderful and it all comes under the guidance and direction of the people of the Cotton Bowl Classic. Our players are having an enjoyable time, probably too enjoyable. The activities have been splendid for not only the players but he families and the travel party, I think there are 5,000 in the travel party, but they’re all enjoying themselves a great deal and it is truly is a first-class organization and it’s always been that way. This is the third one I’ve been to and it’s been special each and every time we’ve been here. We appreciate each and every one of you that have been involved with the AT&T Cotton Bowl and thank you very much for having us.”

Do you think the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic should be in the BCS?

“I only have one answer that I can make here, right? It has to be yes. From the bottom of my heart, I certainly think so. Everybody has opinions about things with the BCS. My concern all along, for a substantial number of years, is that we don’t do anything to destroy the entirety of the bowl system. Kansas State University is a product of the bowl system. We won our first bowl game in 1993, the Copper Bowl, and that was the foundation for what our program has done from that period in time. Without that I don’t think we would have made the strides that we have made. I love the bowl system but in direct response to your question, I think the Cotton Bowl Classic is a bowl deserving to be in the upper echelon of all the bowls throughout the country.”

Given the past seven years, have you ever doubted being able to get Kansas State football back to this level?

“I never thought about that. That wasn’t my thinking. You’ve heard me say this so many times, I’m not very good at making projections or to a guess of what might take place. It truly is the same as it’s always been. My goal in coming back was to find a way to get a little bit better on a regular basis and that’s what we’ve attempted to do.”

How did recruiting two players from San Francisco come about?

“It’s part of the process. We’ve always recruited the California area, southern and northern. We’re somewhat national in that respect and we ran into what we thought were two fine players in the same program and just went through the process. It wasn’t anything special other than they’re wonderful young people and very fine players.

Television announcers put emphasis on teams winning bowl games to give them momentum into next year; do you find that’s something that is real?

“First and foremost, I don’t watch games on TV so I’m not sure exactly what is being said. I understand the statement, though. Yes, I’m sure it can. It depends on how one approaches it. If you’re to finish the season with a victory then you’ll probably play to that as much as you can. If you’re unfortunate and do not finish with a victory I think you can find a way to play to that, as well. It truly is about being able to motivate young people to do the things they’re required to do during the course of an out-of-season program and become a year-round process. It’s how people respond to things that define what kind of successes they’re going to have in life. You have to respond to wins or losses.”

With QB Collin Klein’s homeschool background it is said he relates to adults well. Do you see that maturity level in him and how has it shaped him?

“He is mature and he does interact with people of all ages quite comfortably, the ‘adult population’ and he interacts extremely well with the young people that he calls his teammates. We’ve had young people in our program that have been homeschooled. One of our strength coaches, Rod Cole, had four children who homeschooled all his children. Rod was here at practice the other day. I have great admiration for those who involve themselves in that. It takes amazing parenting to do that. Collin has a wonderful set of parents and he’s a very mature young guy.”

How did the Texas A&M game affect the Kansas State season?

“Every game has had an impact on the outcome of our season and the direction of our season. That was a little later in the season and some of the earlier ballgames were dramatic. I think most people would view the Miami game as perhaps somewhat of a turning point for our season. The A&M ballgame really was an exciting ballgame as it was with Bobby [Petrino]. In fact, watching the tape of the A&M/Arkansas ballgame really gave me a truly dramatic and startling understanding of what Arkansas football was really all about. It was a great comeback. We had a great ballgame with A&M and it really solidified the direction that we were going at that time.”

The importance of special teams in bowls and have you had time to put wrinkles in the special teams for the bowl game?

“I think you carry wrinkle from the day you start coaching. You have them and they’re there. I can’t speak for Bobby but I’m quite certain he probably feels the same way, I think all coaches do, you probably are not going to have the kind of success you hope for if you are not prominent with your special teams. There’s a dramatic feeling by most that it’s an absolute must that you play well on special teams and you prepare yourself for some of the gadgets that exist in special teams. You have to work diligently preparing for that because we don’t know what they are, it’s not as though you’ve seen an offensive play and you can work against it or you see a defensive scheme and you can work against it. Most of those gadgets are not repeated too often so if there’s another one in the wings waiting to come out, we’re not sure what that is. It takes some diligence, time and some effort on the part of special teams.”

Comments on the passing of Bryan Hickman (Kansas State 2001-2003)

“A young man from the local area here in Texas that played for us at Kansas State University a number of years ago, Bryan Hickman—a wonderful young person and performed for us quite well in a number of ways at Kansas State—passed away here yesterday or the night before. A real tragic event and I feel awfully bad for his family who are still here in the Dallas area. Bryan was a defensive end for us and a young guy that was not heavily recruited at all. He came to us with three young guys, he, Josh Buhl and Terry Pierce, all came to us from the Dallas area and were all very effective, talented young players for us, good people. I’ve talked to Josh and I know they’re all in pain right now over the passing of Bryan.”

Would you have tried to recruit RB Arthur Brown?

“I think you’re always going to recruit anybody that’s in the state of Kansas if they fit into your program. Regardless of what we’re interested in and knowing Arthur the way I do now the answer would certainly be yes. He’s not only a talented and fine football player; he’s great human being and a wonderful young man and possesses those values that we talk about all the time.”

How does this team distinguish itself over the course of your career?

“I have a great appreciation for them. I think they’re competitive young guys. They possess the values we talk about and they’re a determined group with a ‘never give up’ type of attitude and approach to each and every ballgame they play. They try to play snap-after-snap as hard and as well as they possibly can and are not prone to taking plays off. I love the determination they possess but I also greatly appreciate their willingness to do things a lot of young people in this day and age don’t like to do and don’t want to do. It’s a year-round function now, intercollegiate football, it takes a lot of time and a lot of effort. You get a chance to step on a field and really do what you love doing 13 times out of the year and yet you’re involved almost 365 days a year trying to prepare yourself for those 13 opportunities. I appreciate the fact that they’re willing to do that without complaining and they understand what they need to do to achieve success over a period of time. They diligently work to do what is the foundation of our program and that is to prepare themselves to get better. I really appreciate them and they are good young guys.”

Where do you think this team ranks compared to your others?

“I’ve been asked that question many times and I’m not prepared to process that until we get through with the season. I think they’re certainly a young group that has exceeded whatever the expectations may have been. I think we’ve had perhaps a number of teams that have been able to do that and I have a great appreciation for each and every one of them. I don’t want to try and go through and rank teams because we’ve had a lot of teams in our program that I have felt extremely confident about have feel very good about. Each one is somewhat different, the competition is different year in and year out, the make-up of college football is different year in and year out so those go back into the 90s. That’s a hard process and I don’t spend very much time trying to make that comparison. I am also proud of this football team and how far they have come. They’ve probably come as far as any football team we’ve had up to this point in time.”
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