TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL: KANSAS STATE v OREGON
December 31, 2012Richmond High School
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What has this year been like for you? Outside the season, people maybe didn't know about you. Cover of Sports Illustrated. What has it been like for you?
COLLIN KLEIN: I mean, it's definitely been a journey, no doubt about it. Like you said, it's pretty contrasting and it's changed in a hurry.
Again, you just got to focus on what we're doing, what we're about. That's what we've tried to do. It's paid off.
Q. Have you enjoyed it? Has it been tiresome? Both?
COLLIN KLEIN: Both is probably very accurate. Again, it's a time in life. It's been a great experience. Learned a lot through both, both sides. Wouldn't trade it for the world.
Just so blessed, again, that God has given me the opportunity in this place, on this team.
Q. What did you learn?
COLLIN KLEIN: How much time we got (laughter)?
Oh, man, again, my time at K State has been a journey, like you said. A lot of different things early to what it has become now. Again, I think as far as on an individual level, there's perseverance, there's toughness. We could keep going. Just, again, so blessed.
Q. You're a pretty grounded guy. Has that helped you deal with all the hoopla?
COLLIN KLEIN: No doubt about it. I mean, regardless of what's going on outside or what the landscape looks like, I know I have stayed the same and become stronger, because it makes even the busyness, all that, makes you reflect about what's most important.
Without my faith and my family, I mean, two major components in that order, no doubt about it.
Q. Still had to be a rush to see yourself on the cover of SI.
COLLIN KLEIN: It was a little bit surreal. Again, at the same time, it was an honor. I greatly appreciated it. Again, all the, like you say, hoopla, hype, whatever you want to call it, that's not why I play the game.
It just puts it in perspective.
Q. Parents pick up a bunch of copies?
COLLIN KLEIN: Yeah, no, I mean, it's definitely around. My folks did pick up some. It will be something to look back at and remember. My kids will look at someday and be, Wow!
Q. What is it like to have a soul mate to go home to after games, talk with, unload, with your wife?
COLLIN KLEIN: It's been amazing. She's been an unbelievable support to me. Like you say, just being able to share in this, also be able to share my heart and talk through things that are going on, it's invaluable. Wouldn't trade it for the world.
Q. Did it change the way you played the game or approached the game?
COLLIN KLEIN: I don't think so. I mean, life just looks a little different. But the priorities are the same for both of us. That's what makes it perfect, is that we both want to do, and our priorities are exactly the same in that.
It makes it pretty amazing.
Q. Is it difficult to balance that sometimes?
COLLIN KLEIN: Balance, in any area of life, it's going to be always a challenge to find. Again, it goes back to your priorities. You have two things laying on the table, and what is more important to you. I definitely was confronted with that.
But we were able to work through it together. I think there was a level of selflessness on both of our parts to be like, Hey, I really need to do this right now. She would either support me in that, or I would be like, You know what, maybe I'm going to get this assignment done later because it's family time.
There's a contrasting balance of working together, being on the same team that is a part of that. But it's been very good.
Q. You're compared to Tebow a lot. Does that bother you or flatter you?
COLLIN KLEIN: I mean, it's an honor to be compared to him. I know what he's done on and off the field is impressive. Like I say all the time, I know, to me what's most important to both of us is the most important thing, and that's our faith.
Again, it's an honor.
Q. Can you tell me a little bit what it's like to work with Coach Miller, how he's helped you through the years.
COLLIN KLEIN: No doubt, first of all he cares so much. He really does have a heart for each one of his players. He's very demanding, as well. Very much like Coach Snyder. I think he's helped me so much in my knowledge of the game, understanding the game of football from top to bottom. There's no doubt I wouldn't be the player I would be today if it wasn't for his investment.
I know early on he believed and supported me from the beginning. Obviously when it was uncertain exactly what my career was going to look like...
I owe a lot to him and appreciate the heck out of him.
Q. What sort of stuff does he emphasize?
COLLIN KLEIN: I don't know if it was one thing. I know one of his phrases he use a lot is, Play fast, play with confidence. Maybe that's one phase. There's a lot of phases and a lot of drills we do that are important.
If I picked one, he'd probably remind me of another one.
Q. He said he encouraged you when you were splitting time between wide receiver and quarterback behind Carson as a sophomore. How did he encourage you?
COLLIN KLEIN: Just keep working hard, keep doing what I had been doing. It would pay off. It would come eventually. Who knew when or what that would look like. Just kept encouraging me to be persistent and stay with it.
Q. You've had some personal details about your relationship with your wife in articles. How have you handled that and your teammates handled that?
COLLIN KLEIN: I mean, I think there's been some of that. That's been one thing that's been different for me, especially this year, because I'm a pretty reserved person.
Other than my family, I try to keep and understand the benefit of keeping my business my business, your business your business kind of thing, just the value of information.
I think, though, for both of us, it's a big part of our ministry and our testimony with what God has done in our lives. Of course, there's some jokes about it. I hope our hearts have come through in that area, and in all areas, that we're just normal people just like everybody else.
God has done an amazing thing in both of our lives. Just hope that people hear our hearts through the story and don't interpret it the wrong way.
Q. Was there ever a time this season when you wanted to pull the covers over your head and say, I don't want to do another interview?
COLLIN KLEIN: Again, it's part of what God has given us to do right now. Days get long. I would be lying to you if I told you they didn't. Again, it's just part of our ministry, what we're given to doing.
Enjoying it, trying to make the most of it. It's been pretty special.
Q. Can you say a few words about Chris Harper.
COLLIN KLEIN: Chris is an amazing talent. He's very gifted. I mean, he's a great guy, a great teammate. I know he's a very, very smart player. Knows everything that's going on.
I've been so blessed that I've had the opportunity to play with him.
Q. Does his background as a quarterback make him a more effective receiver?
COLLIN KLEIN: Yeah, no doubt. I mean, there are times when, you're right, it's not what we wanted on paper, but we both knew what we were seeing and it worked. At the end of the day, production, that's what we need to get done. It's been good.
I think it took us a while to be on the same page with that. I think both of us, it took us a while to click with each other, understand, get on that same page.
I think once we did, now that we are, it's been fun. Now, because we are, if somehow we miss one here or there, we more laugh at ourselves than get frustrated.
Q. Is he now at this point more than a great athlete playing receiver?
COLLIN KLEIN: No doubt about it. No doubt about it. I mean, again, you look at the film, see what he brings to the table. He's a great receiver, great athlete.
Q. What are the one or two keys offensively that are a must for Thursday night?
COLLIN KLEIN: I mean, we can't turn the ball over. We're going to have to win the line of scrimmage and play tough up front, assert ourselves, and we need to score touchdowns.
We can't stall out or be kicking a lot of field goals. Either one is not a great scenario for our success.
Q. What makes their defense so good at creating turnovers?
COLLIN KLEIN: Well, I mean, they'll give you some different looks. They'll do some different things. Some good players. They'll make plays, make things happen. I mean, I think all around, they have their own identity, all that. Again, they do a very nice job.
Q. Most people know Oregon for its offense. You have to focus on its defense. What stands out to you most about their defense?
COLLIN KLEIN: They play fast, just like their offense does. Like I said, they give you a lot of different looks and do, not so much tricky things, but a lot of diverse things up front with some of the things they do.
Again, it's going to come down to whoever is playing, has worked hard, who executes that play. We'll see what happens.
Q. When you move on, is it wherever the NFL thinks is the best fit for you?
COLLIN KLEIN: I know I can play quarterback. That is what is really on my heart and what I want to do. Again, we'll see what happens.
But that's I think where my heart is. We'll go from there.
Q. So much of these games, people talk about setting the tone for the upcoming season. Where do you see this team going?
COLLIN KLEIN: They're just going to keep working, keep building. That's Coach Snyder's model that we've all contributed to as seniors. I mean, it's a crazy reality. My hands?on part in that building process is coming to a close. We got a lot of young players. The mindset isn't going to change.
I think they'll be just fine.
Q. What is BJ's role in that as a team leader?
COLLIN KLEIN: It's going to be very important. You can never have too much leadership. But I think sometimes one thing about leadership, people forget you have to have people to follow the leader. Obviously a large responsibility of that is on the leader.
But I think a lot ? even myself in that number ? even myself get a lot of credit. We have guys that buy in and are leaders in their own right by being a follower. It's an inner team dynamically that allows you to move forward. We have so many amazing guys that are like that, amazing chemistry within the group.
I think, again, he's growing just like I did. It will change. It will look a little different. Again, we have such an amazing staff, such an amazing team, that really comes together and they'll be just fine.