Kansas State Wildcats Offensive News Conference

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Kansas State Offense_5603396324597649342
What do you see in the Arkansas defense?
“I see guys that are athletic and I see the defensive end being very explosive off the edge. He missed five games and still had all those sacks this year, when you look at this numbers, he’s definitely going to be a hard guy for us to handle. Their two inside defensive tackles are over 300 pounds and the both bend and move very well. Then they have LB Jerry Franklin who creates some issues coming from different angles and being a good, solid football player. They have a lot of experience on that defense. There are a lot of seniors on that defense, they’ve played together, they’ve played in big games and that’s going to be the test for us, to try and neutralize them as much as possible.”

How much is WR Chris Harper still learning about the position?
“He’s still learning and especially in the middle of the season you start to see him take some steps, become more polished as a receiver and start showcase his skills, he has tremendous skills. He’s getting better all the time and he just needs to have a really good offseason and really step up and have a great senior year for us.”

Has the month of preparation been good for your team?
“This month has been good for all of us. I’ve seen it with our quarterback, I’ve seen it with all of our receivers. We’ve had a lot of practices and spent a lot of time, not only preparing for this ball game, but getting our guys to play at a higher level as we go into next season, as well.”

At what point did you know QB Collin Klein would be the starter?
“I think publically it wasn’t acknowledge that he was the starter, but all through January of 2011 until now I think we as an offensive group has understood that Collin was going to be the guy. Publically, it wasn’t understood that way. We saw the characteristics that he has and we knew he was going to be the type of guy that would lead us to where we need to be. Even last year as a backup, he had some great ball games but he just ran it all the time. There was a stereotype that he was a converted wide receiver and he’s not a converted wide receiver. He was a quarterback who is a great athlete that we moved to wide receiver because we didn’t want to have him sitting on the bench his red shirt freshman year. That’s where the misunderstanding is. Collin was a quarterback all along, we just used his athleticism as a receiver.”

Did Klein exceed your expectations?
Yes, he exceeded them in some of the things he did. His toughness he displayed and his ability to run the ball and be physical like he’s done. As far as running the offense, we thought he had good skills to do that. He’s improving all the time as a passer, getting a lot more velocity on the football, getting good timing with the receivers, understanding where they’re going to be—all that’s improving all the time.”

Klein’s mechanics
“Del Miller has really worked on his mechanics with him and done a great job. They spent a lot of time filming his mechanics and doing mirror throws. He’s the kind of player that every time he warms up he’s trying to work on all his mechanics. That’s just the kind of player he is.”

K-State depth at running back
“RB Angelo Pease has not had the repetitions that he is capable of getting. I have a lot of confidence in RB John Hubert, everybody is skeptical of that. John had a good season. Angelo Pease is the same type of running back. I’m not concerned. We’d like to have four running backs that we feel good about in our group, we’re probably down to three and we have a young one that’s coming along that we think will give us a fourth guy by next year. We don’t lose anybody at that position which is a good thing…In putting game plans together I started to find we were putting in a ton of quarterback run game and at times I had to catch myself and say ‘Hold on a second, John Hubert has a chance to be a 1,000-yard rusher.’ You’ve got to make sure you give him some touches, too. That’s what I would find ourselves doing, getting engulfed
into what Collin could do and start forgetting that we have some tailback run game, as well.”

How has John Hubert responded to that?
“He has responded well to that. He reminds me, ‘Hey Coach, don’t forget about us.’ That’s the
think you have to be careful of, you got to stay equally balanced and get him his chances. Miami
was a big ballgame for him where he stepped up and showed everybody he can do some good
things for us. We have to make sure to keep him involved in the game plan, as well.”

QB Collin Klein
“He’s obviously a fantastic player. When you start looking at all the intangibles that go into being a winner, Collin possesses all of those. He’s a tremendous competitor, a great leader for us, obviously a very physical quarterback and we’re pretty pleased he has another year left after this year. He’s a special youngster.”

Arkansas defense
“I think they have a great deal of speed on their defensive unit very similar to the University of Miami when we played them earlier in the season. Certainly they have a defensive end, 91 [Jake Bequette],that we’re going to have to put a great deal of emphasis on handling. We think they’re a pretty good defensive unit.”

How would you describe the Kansas State offense?
“We’re pretty multiple. Obviously we utilize the quarterback run-game a great deal. We’re a multiple-formation team. We’re going to create a lot of different looks people are going to have to react to. We’ll try to create a lot of situations where we might have an advantage in terms of numbers through motions, through shifts, etc. It’s an all-encompassing offense and it will change and vary from year to year because of the personnel we have.”

Representing the Big XII in the only Big 12/SEC bowl matchup
“They are excited, no question about that. We think it’s a great matchup between the Big 12 and the SEC. Obviously, we have a great deal of respect for the SEC. The players are looking forward to that and certainly with the rankings, of them being No. 6 and us being No. 8, it gives us opportunity to move up with a successful outing and that’s what we’re looking for.”

Being at the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic
“I tell you what, this is a fantastic bowl game. The AT&T Cotton Bowl treats you very well, their hospitality is unparalleled.”
When did you realize this offense was going to be what it was?
“We felt going into the season we had an opportunity to be special. It was a time after that opener, that opener was a little bit scary, we were about one-foot away from a loss in that particular game. I think our offense has gotten better as the year progressed and certainly Collin has been a major, major force in that production. He’s a tremendous leader and I think is a special player, certainly right now and theirs better yet to come.”

Klein’s statistics and the Big 12 All-Purpose award vs. Heisman consideration
“Things change and there are different offenses. Right now people are into the no-huddle, hurryup offensive schemes and the full-game has become paramount and we have been balancing our attack, certainly.”

Is Klein one of the toughest players you’ve been around?
“No question. I’m glad you asked, toughest player, not just quarterback. He’s just a tough kid.”
What has LT Zach Hanson done best for you this season?
“Early with our injury to LT Manase Foketi it was his time to step up. He started some games in the past and I feel like he took that step. He was ready. He didn’t know he was going to be in a full-time starting role at the beginning of the season, an injury happened and I feel he took that in stride. He made the best of it. I feel like he’s a great player and when he was needed on the team he came through for us. He’s a tough guy; he’s a good run-blocker and a good passblocker. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and that’s been the key for us on the offensive line, just to limit mistakes. If you beat yourself that just makes it easier for the other team. Limit mistakes and limit penalties and that’s what he does best. He’s a disciplined guy like the rest of us and he fits into our style of offense.”

Getting the 11th win for Kansas State
“I’ve thought about it a little bit. I know no team in Kansas State history has won more than 11 games and we’re going for our 11th win. We want to win every game, there’s not any more added pressure for this one, but we want to win, we want to get to number 11 because it’s our next one. I feel like we might be up there with some of the best teams in Kansas State history. There are five or six teams that won 11 games in the history in Kansas State football so that would be very special to cement our legacy, but that’s something to think about after the game.”

When did you realize Collin Klein could give you an x-factor at quarterback?
“The [2010] Texas game was the first showing of Collin Klein and he really impressed a lot of people, and us, in that game. The way he worked through the summer for the starting job and his overall work ethic, we knew we had something special. Not a lot of guys are as tough as him or work as hard as him. He took control of the offense and that’s why he got the starting job. Everybody plays better when he’s out there. We’ve known for some time now that he was going to be a special player and he’s showing that.”

Are you anxious to get to Friday night?
“We haven’t had any real game speed in over a month. You can practice all you want, and we’ve had a lot of practice, but there’s nothing like a game day atmosphere. The stadium is packed… it’s just a different energy than what comes in practice. We’re extremely excited to get the opportunity to play in Cowboys Stadium, an excellent stadium, the best out there. We’re grateful for our opportunity and we want to make the most of it.”
Kansas State passing attack maturation through the season
“The passing attack has always been there, we’re just a run-first team. When you get the run set up you can go off of play-actions and boots and it makes it a lot harder for the defense to defend everything. The passing attack is dependent on how much time Collin has to throw. We have to do our job protecting him. As far as maturing over the season, I feel it’s always been there, we’ve had some key plays early in the season through the air. We’re just going to have to do it one snap at a time and make sure Collin has enough time to throw in order for it to work.”

What’s challenges does the Arkansas defense present?
“They’re a very fast, very physical football team so we’re going to have to take it one snap at a time and make sure all our angles are right and get off our blocks with good timing and get up to the next level. It’s a lot of little things but they are major things we have to get right.”

Does any Arkansas defender that stand out to you?
“The defensive end Jake Bequette is a great player. He’s fast off the ball, he plays physical and he’s everything everybody says he is. Out tackles are going to have their hands full come Friday.”
Comparing the Arkansas defense to Big XII defenses
“I would put Arkansas’s defense up there with Baylor, Missouri and Oklahoma State. They have a very very good defensive team, all the guys are very athletic and we had our hands full with them and I don’t see it being any other way, we’re going to have our hands full with those guys.”

Picking up Collin Klein after the whistle
“I have never had to pick a quarterback up that many times. It’s the way Collin is, he’s not going to be satisfied until the game’s over and he’s going to keep putting himself in there to try and win the game. If I have to go over to pick him up after the play, if that’s the price I have to pay, then I’m going to go do it. I’m always running after him trying to make sure he’s alright because his mom told me if he gets hurt it’s all on me. I’m just trying to keep a happy mom back home.”

How does Collin Klein drive this K-State team?
“Collin is a never-say-never kind of guy. There might be one second left on the clock and we have 90 yards to go, but that one second means we can break it away and still run. Everybody believes that now. Collin’s work ethic and determination to get things done has rubbed off on us all. We’re not going to quit until the game’s over with.”

The Big 12 bowl record so far
“We all take pride in the Big XII bowl record but I wouldn’t say it has any weight going into the AT&T Cotton Bowl. It’s the two teams that have to go in, play, execute their game plan and not make mistakes. We all take pride in how the Big 12 does but it doesn’t matter going into the bowl game. The SEC is a tough conference and we’re going to have our hands full with Arkansas.”

With both of you switching to wide receiver from the quarterback position, does it you’re your
rapport with QB Collin Klein?

“I think it definitely helps. I can see the coverages, if they are in man or zone and sometimes I’ll signal to him what I’m seeing. That’s one of the reasons I sit by him on the sidelines. We can talk about what’s going on [in the game] on the sidelines. Quarterbacks are usually in the film room a lot more and I’m used to being in the film room and I’m used to seeing coverages.”

Does talk of the Arkansas passing game present a challenge to you?
“Not really. Being on the team and being close to the guys on our defense, I take it personally when somebody challenges our defense like that saying they are going to pass the ball.”

Developing into a wide receiver
“I didn’t take me long. I chose to move at Oregon, then I moved back to quarterback, which was the spot we all thought I was going to play [at Kansas State]. Then I talked to Wide Receivers Coach Michael Smith about moving again. It didn’t take me that long. I thought it would be the smoothest transition for me since I had played it before. In high school I played receiver for a little bit and I thought it would be a pretty smooth transition for me to go from quarterback to receiver.”

Do you envy offenses that pass more?
“I would be lying if I said I didn’t. Anybody would love to play in Houston’s offense when they throw the ball 69 times. That’s not what we do and I’m not worried about that, it’s more about winning. As a football player and competitor you want to have the ball but you’re still going to get your opportunities in this offense and you know you’re a balanced offense. Having that balance leads to us being more successful in the long run.”

When did you and Collin develop such a good chemistry?
“I really don’t know. I’ve known Collin for a while, we both played quarterback and we’ve been to some K-State camps together. We honestly really didn’t talk that much; we just threw in the drills together. I think that me playing quarterback is that factor. I actually had played quarterback more than he had up until this year.”

Did Collin’s performance surprise you this year?
“He surprised me because I didn’t think he was going to run the ball the way that he did this year. I didn’t think he was going to have all these rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. He’s had a great season on the ground and through the air.”

Big 12 bowl record
“I think guys take pride in it. The guys are here for the Big 12 and we want to beat those other teams, but when we’re not playing them we want them to do well against any conference, it just bodes well for the conference.”

Offense’s preparation for the sound in Cowboys Stadium
“We are very well prepared. Everyday preparing at Cowboys Stadium, as well as back home, Coach Snyder had the crowd noise on the speakers and we called our plays so we’re prepared and we’ll be ready for them. It’s that static noise. Everybody hated it, it’s annoying, but it helped us out and again I think we’re going to be very prepared for it.”

Success throwing the ball late in the season
“It picked up a lot having WR Chris Harper, WR Brodrick Smith and WR Tramaine Thompson; they are all great guys and they are all great wide receivers that can get open. Collin Klein finds the wide receivers open, finding the lanes, it really helps our offense as a whole and also helped our running game, as well.”

How confident is Collin Klein as a thrower?
“I think he’s confident now. I think at the beginning of the season he was kind of nervous but he grew as a team player and he is more confident in his arm, now.”

Is there any player on the Arkansas defense that stands out to you?
“I’d say FS Tramaine Thomas, LB Ross Rasner and the defensive line. They are physical, they get to the ball.”

How much pride do you take in your toughness and that of Collin Klein?
“We just had a talk about this yesterday. Coach Snyder read that Arkansas said we weren’t tough enough. Coach Snyder said he didn’t like that. He said every team each coached was the toughest team. He wants us to go out and prove to everybody how tough we really are. I think Collin and I are very tough. We take hits, we block, we run hard and we are very tough. We just have to go out a prove it.

Have you surprised yourself this season?
“I knew I had to go out and compete every week. That’s what I did. I got the starting spot and I’m very proud of myself, I have surprised myself. I knew I could get it I just had to work for it, I like working for it, and I don’t like anything handed to me. It was a good competition and I came out with the starting spot.”

What is your own strength on the field?
“I just motivate myself. I’m very strong, I have good balance and I have great heart. I may not be as big I may not be as strong or fast, but I have a lot of heart. In my mind if I want something and I want to do it, I’m going to do it. That’s how I was brought up. If I wanted to be the KState starting running back, I knew it was in my hands and I had to make it happen so I did.”
Comparisons to QB Tim Tebow in faith and on the field
“I don’t want to speak for Tim, but the biggest thing we do have in common is our number one priority and that’s to love and to serve our savior the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything else definitely takes a backseat. I couldn’t have predicted this season and I won’t try to predict anything that might happen in the future, it would be an exercise in futility, but I’m just very fortunate to have been able to contribute and help K-State be successful.”

Relationship with and performance of RB John Hubert
“We’ve both have gotten tripped up inside the five! It’s whatever the team needs, I know that’s how I feel, I know that’s how John feels and at the end of the day everything falls into place.
He’s done a great job, he knows what he’s supposed to do, he’s there when he’s supposed to be there and he just never quits. He keeps his legs moving and has been able to make some big plays for us. I think there’s an internal motor thing. Some people say big guys are easier to tackle because you can lower on them, some guys will say smaller guys are easier to tackle for whatever reason. I think that’s what makes the game of football so unique and so fun. I think there’s an internal component that nobody can measure or quantify.”

Do you worry about being distracted with the actives going on around the AT&T Cotton

“Coach Snyder keeps us pretty focused.”

Is there a lack of respect angle in this game?
“Coach Snyder says, he’s very wise, ‘Rule #12 is no self-limitation.’ I think that classifies that question perfectly. We’re not going to put limitations on how good we think we are, how bad we think we are, internally. Externally, we’re not going to put limitations on how good people think we are or how bad they think we are going to be. That makes the game about us and it makes it about us continually trying to get better. It takes anything external out the window.”

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from Coach Snyder?
“When you have someone who is competitive and wants to win—no one wants to win more than
Coach, no one works harder than Coach—you put that with how he cares about us as players, how much he cares about his coaches, the university, people in the community, everyone around him, you put that together and you’re going to have something special.”

Would it be the same team without Coach Snyder?
“No, I don’t think it’d be the same team without him, or anybody, either. Every person has contributed and has been a piece to the puzzle this year and has made it very unique.”

Do you feel the passing game is getting overlooked?
“We’re just trying to get better. We’ve gotten better. We’re going to continue to get better.
Whatever people think of how good we are or how bad we are, we’re not going to think about that, we’re just going to try to get ourselves better.”

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