TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL: KANSAS STATE v OREGON
January 3, 2013Richmond High School
THE MODERATOR: Coach Snyder, if you would offer some general comments, then we'll go to questions.
COACH SNYDER: They'd be very brief and very general.
We certainly, I believe anyway, enjoyed the opportunity to be here. That we have enjoyed, I think our youngsters have enjoyed the time in the valley, in the Scottsdale area.
People here have been very, very gracious. Yellow jackets, as always, have been splendid. Kelly, the gentleman that manages me, keeps me pointed in the right direction. Has been a super host. I appreciate him a great deal.
Workouts have gone reasonably well.
That's about it.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Your players talk all the time about everything that they've learned from you. What have you maybe learned about this team in 2012? What have you learned about yourself?
COACH SNYDER: I don't know anything that I've learned about myself, but I have learned an awful lot about the young people in our program, which is my intent year in and year out.
Not that I didn't know before, but every year is different. The dynamics are different year in and year out. Even though you may have had a lot of the same youngsters you had the previous year in your program, I've learned they're good young guys. I've learned they're a caring group of young guys. I've learned they really are invested heavily in a family environment that feeds off of truly caring about each other, being willing to make sacrifices for each other.
They're a group of young guys that for the most part work diligently. Hard?working young guys. Disciplined young guys for the most part. Good people who will be good citizens in our world.
Q. Everyone looks at the differences in these two teams, your philosophies. What are the similarities between these two squads and how you approach the game?
COACH SNYDER: Well, I think in generalities we both try to be who we are. Again, it can only be speculation on my part as it relates to the University of Oregon, but I think Chip has tried to do exactly that. He has tried to build his program based on the capabilities of the young people in his people. We have tried to do exactly the same thing.
I think both programs warrant discipline on and off the field. I think both programs have, as I understand it, well?spoken, good young people.
I think philosophically in terms of offense perhaps there is the obvious difference. I would concur with that. I think we both see, both programs, all three elements of the game, or the three that most people talk about, as equal and highly significant.
I think Chip believes the same way I do: you have to be sound and functional defensively. They certainly are at Oregon. I think he has a strong belief in special teams. We do, as well. That becomes significant in our program, as well.
Q. When you were saying about 'family atmosphere,' is there a story or an example, something that maybe sticks out to you that we may not know about that really embodies that family atmosphere that you have?
COACH SNYDER: Well, coming from Wichita, you probably are invested in some of those thoughts and stories.
Yes, one in particular does stand out in mind. We have kind of a ritual. We have some four?by?four boards that are about three feet long. We have five or six of them. After each practice on Thursday, this was a ritual we started in Kansas City I think when we played at Arrowhead, I can't remember who we played a few years ago, and Holthus came and spoke to our team, brought one of those boards. It symbolized something at that time. He gave it to the players in our program.
Since that time, we added some more to it. We started out by identifying young people in our program who represented any one or more of our 16 goals that you hear about so frequently.
That individual the following Thursday would present that to a player in our program who represented one of those goals.
The players would write on the board whatever that particular goal might be. One youngster wrote 'family.' When I say goals, those are for us. That's a group of 16 intrinsic values that kind of embody our program. The young man wrote 'family' on that.
Then prior to the next ballgame, when we came out of the locker room, that youngster, Tre Walker by name, held that up to the fans and led our team onto the field.
Since that time, all those values, if you come to our stadium, you'll see it here tomorrow, we'll have a lot of fans and students that will have those 16 goals written on cards, and they'll hold them up. 'Family' is the one that is most prevalent. You'll see it week in and week out through our fan base.
So that's a long?winded story.
Q. A lot is made about Oregon with four straight BCS bowl games. This is three straight bowls for Kansas State. What are the benefits that go with your players having been through this and understanding the process leading up to a bowl game?
COACH SNYDER: Well, as I said a moment ago, I think each year your team, the makeup, is unique and different from previous years, even though you have the same players. Yes, there are some benefits that we have players that have been to bowls the last couple of years that will participate tomorrow night.
But still the dynamics of putting different guys into the mix, different young people into the mix, changes the dynamics of it. So you never really know until it's over.
It's not so much the experience of playing the game as it is the experience of spending five or six days leading up to a bowl game that are different from how you handle it when you're in Manhattan, Kansas. We try to make it as much the same as it is in Manhattan as we possibly can, but it's quite obvious that's a virtual impossibility.
Q. Is it more likely you'd win this game holding Oregon down like Stanford did or winning a shootout?
COACH SNYDER: I have no idea. I can't project how the ballgame will go. I can't project that we could hold their point total down. I couldn't project that we could get in a scoring match and out?score them.
The obvious that most all of you write about would indicate that it would be very significant for us to be able to hold Oregon's point total somewhat lower than what they've averaged over the course of the season.
Obviously, it would be significant for us to be able to score. We've scored reasonably well from time to time, but not as consistently throughout the course of the year. It is going to be significant for us to be able to score, play defense, the whole bit.
You know, there really isn't an answer to the question. I don't know. The obvious says, I think what everybody would say, hold onto the ball, keep the ball out of Oregon's hands as much as you can. That's all fine and dandy as long as you can get the ball in the end zone, score, too, I think.
Q. You've endorsed Sean as a potential successor as head coach. When did you broach this matter with him? When did you see maybe he might be ready for this?
COACH SNYDER: That's not something I'm going to get into right here. Nobody knows Kansas State's football program better than Sean does. He has been in it longer than I have. He knows it from top to bottom better than I do, so...
Q. Considering what this senior class has done, have you thought about how hard it will be to say good?bye to them after this game?
COACH SNYDER: I mean, that's always a difficult thing year in and year out in the X number of years I've been coaching. It's always a bittersweet, so to speak, thing. You hate to see young people go. But you want to see them go. It's their time to take that next step in life. There's so much in front of them, so many more things that they have to accomplish in life.
If they've gone about it the right way, if they've developed a commitment to the goals we've talked about, those intrinsic values, life will be good to them, and they will do quite well.
They're excited to get on with it and I'm excited to see them have success in other areas of their life.
Q. Final time you're going to be able to talk about Collin Klein before a game here at Kansas State. If you could tell the world one thing about Collin, what would it be? Do you have any memory or any conversation maybe that you've had with him that particularly sticks out that you're particularly fond of?
COACH SNYDER: Well, you have a lot of conversations with players in your program. Had a lot of conversations with Collin. I think maybe the most significant thing that I was able to share with Collin when he started to receive so much attention, the media has a vested in dialogue with Collin as frequently as they can get it. He's a very visible young person in our community, wherever he would go. Dealing with all of that is not an easy task. So Collin and I had a conversation.
I simply told Collin, I said, Collin, normally I might have someone in, we'd have a long dissertation about how to deal with this, what it means, what it means to you, what it means to your program, your teammates, what's the best way to deal with it.
I said, I have so much confidence in you that all I can tell you is the best thing you can do is just continue to be Collin. If you do that, everything will work out fine.
There was nothing in my mind that would have made me believe that he would have attempted to be anything other than what he was. You said, What one thing would you say about Collin. I would say he's genuine.
Q. Chip Kelly is dealing with a ton of speculation. Have you ever wondered how you might have fared in the NFL? Can you talk about the unique challenges that face a college coach moving to that level.
COACH SNYDER: Well, opportunities in my first tenure here, there were a number of those that came about. I responded to none of them other than to say, No, thank you.
My feeling is that it's such a different environment, you really don't have the capacity to have the kind of impact that you would like to have on young people. I always said, I'm not sure I want to work someplace where the people you're supposed to have control over make more money than you do. That's kind of the way the NFL is.
We've had a large number, whether I was at Iowa or here, a large number of guys go to the NFL. You get stories back from players in the NFL. Sometimes you wonder who really is in control.
I don't think it's a comfortable position ? at least it wouldn't be for me, because I would like to make sure and feel comfortable, A, that I have an impact on the lives of young people and, B, that you have a fair degree of control over the program yourself.
Q. You've used the first quarters to feel the game out a lot, especially this season. With a good team like Oregon, how important is it for your offense to get going and move the chains in the first few possessions?
COACH SNYDER: Well, I think it's probably obvious. It would appear that would be a very significant thing for us in the course of the ballgame. Does it play out that way? We'll have to wait and see. I don't really know.
The statement is accurate. It's not that we haven't attempted to do that. It's not our intent to go to the field and say, Okay, we're going to take 15 minutes and see what's out there. That's not really our approach.
The approach is that we're going to do the best we can. We want to move the ball. If we can move it and score in the initial phases of the ballgame, we want to do that. Does it happen that way? Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.
Q. Kansas State and Oregon both put up a lot of points, but both have had impacts on the scoreboard with their special teams. Do you see that as a possibility to continue in the Fiesta Bowl and how important is special teams, not necessarily scoring, but field position as well for your team?
COACH SNYDER: Well, first of all, University of Oregon has some very talented specialists. They've got some tremendous return people which embodies the other element of their team: speed, and they run well, good return guys. They're certainly a threat to us.
How significant it is? You know, we have always put a great deal of emphasis on special teams, believing that it is the proverbial one?third of the ballgame, if not more, try to deal with it and treat it that way.
I've been proud of our special teams units collectively. When you take all six units, special teams units, we're ranked No.1 in the country. I think that's a great tribute to the young people, Sean, the coaches that coach special teams have done an excellent job with it.
Every game is a different game. Because you've done something well in the past doesn't mean it's going to happen that way without a great deal of effort and a variety of other things that allow you to execute well.
Bottom line is, it will be extremely significant for us in the course of this ballgame.
Q. You have one loss. Oregon has one loss. In a more inclusive playoff system you both would be in contention for a national championship. Would you favor a more inclusive playoff system?
COACH SNYDER: Well, I've always been a tremendous proponent of the bowl system itself, for a variety of different reasons. Those from around our area, we talk about it on numerous occasions. But that has been the most significant thing for me and for Kansas State, is the bowl system itself.
My feeling, I was never necessarily fond of a playoff system. But they're trying to piece it together so that it doesn't impact the bowl system itself. As long as that takes place, then I'm comfortable with it.
Q. You've developed a lot of fine young quarterbacks. They have a redshirt freshman that has put up some amazing numbers and many times showed a poise and maturity beyond the fact that he's been on campus two years. What impresses you about Marcus as you look at his game on tape?
COACH SNYDER: He does so many things from the skill standpoint, his quickness, his speed, ability to throw the ball accurately twooutofthree times. He's gifted from a physical standpoint. I think as much as anything the fact that for a very young person on the field playing in some very highly competitive environments, he seems to be a very, very poised young guy. Doesn't seem to get ruffled. Makes good decisions.
I think his game management is beyond his years.
Q. By all accounts, your program has stayed fairly traditional in a lot of ways, for one the uniforms. What do you think of Oregon's vast array of uniforms, sometimes wild looks?
COACH SNYDER: What I think is I hope it's not distracting to our players. We played against some teams that have some change in uniforms. That's what they do. I applaud them for that.
It's not what we do. We do things a little bit differently in that respect.
But, yeah, as I've said so many times, it's not the uniform you have, it's who's got it on. They've got a lot of good guys who have those uniforms on. Doesn't make any difference what color they're in, they're good.
Q. Your team has done such a good job with ball security this year and Oregon is known for their take?away ability. Is it too simplistic to say that that could be a deciding factor, especially when both teams have had such a long layoff?
COACH SNYDER: No, it's not. I think it's very significant. For us, it's very significant in any and every ballgame that we play. When we've turned it over, we've struggled. When we haven't, we've played reasonably well.
It does for us, it just goes back, and for Chip, too. I think he feels the same way. There are certain things that give you a greater opportunity to be successful. It starts we eliminating mistakes.
You talk about turnovers, you talk about missed assignments, you talk about creating turnovers, you talk about not getting penalized. Those very simplistic things, simplistic in our dialogue, not simplistic in being able to successfully do those things. But they become highly significant in this or any other ballgame.
Q. You talked about seniors leaving, intrinsic values, Collin Klein, Arthur Brown. How do you see their influence influencing the players and the younger generation next year in key positions? Do you see that as a type of a legacy going into the future, the next season and onward?
COACH SNYDER: Well, first, the impact that our seniors have on the young people in our program, it's been a very positive influence. We have a lot of young people in our program, a large number of them seniors, and others that are underclassmen.
We have captains, player representatives that are underclassmen in our program. We have a freshman, sophomore, junior. We have young people as well that have a very positive influence. We have a lot of young people.
I'm not one of those that believes that just your seniors are your leaders, that you have a small number.
My encouragement is that every individual in our program step up in a leadership role in some capacity. The reason is because that's the one thing they will all have in common 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now. Every single one of them will be in some leadership capacity, whether it's with their family, community, business, whatever the case may be. They need to develop those skills in these formative years that we have.
We have a lot of those types of young guys in our program, and I'm awfully proud of them.
Q. Just a short question, see what you do with it. Is Oregon the best collectively team that you feel this team will face this season?
COACH SNYDER: Well, it would appear to be the case. I think after the ballgame we'll be able to define that a little bit better. I wouldn't say that was inaccurate. They're extremely talented and have been obviously very, very successful.
Again, the major dialogue is about the tempo of the game, how fast they are. They are a fast, offensive football team in two ways. One is the tempo and the other is the speed of the people that execute the offense, whether it's linemen, receivers, backs, quarterback, et cetera. They have dangerous speed, so to speak.
I think sometimes, Chip doesn't overlook it, we don't overlook it, et cetera, but they are very successful with the defense and they have the capacity to run extremely well defensively, have played very well, have some numbers. Somebody mentioned the turnover ratio a bit ago.
As I mentioned earlier, their special teams, some excellent return guys. They're a complete football team, so we'll see.
Q. The coaching fraternity is a small one. You've met I'm sure a lot of head coaches in your coaching career. You told us the other day you met Chip for the first time. What are your impressions of Chip as a head coach, a person? Wondering what that conversation was like.
COACH SNYDER: I did tell Chip, and I meant it, it's easy to get together and everybody is going to say nice things about it, that's just the way the deal works. I told him in private how much I appreciated what he did for college football, what he's done for college football, and the fact that I admired the way he handled his program. I wasn't talking about his offense. I was just talking about how he managed the entirety of his program.
I think it's been very, very positive, been great for the University of Oregon. I think people see the numbers on the board. You have to look a little deeper into a program to really define what I would consider to be the right things. I think he's managed it that way very well.
Q. You get three guys back somewhat more healthy than they were with Ty Zimmerman, Nick Puetz, and Curry Sexton. Can you talk about the boost you've seen, maybe in practice, of just having three guys with their leadership qualities, back and participating on the practice field?
COACH SNYDER: Well, it's interesting that you ask that question.
Young people get banged up a little bit, as we say, get injured during the course of the season. The feeling for our program, any other program, everybody's one play away from being on the field, that type of thought. And that happens, too. You want your youngsters, when somebody does have an unfortunate injury, to feel as though somebody's going to step right in and play just as well.
So consequently, it doesn't become an earth?shattering event. You feel badly for the youngster that is injured, but by the same token, things continue to move on and your players step right in and play. That's what's taken place.
These young guys that have been injured are stepping back in. It's a smooth transition. I don't think there's any major dynamic that takes place on the field that we respond to. Just business as usual, so to speak.
Q. You mentioned about what Chip Kelly has done for college football. What do you think he has done for college football?
COACH SNYDER: Well, I think the idea that he has implemented ? and I say for college football, probably be more accurate to say what he's done for the University of Oregon, but I think that permeates college football because it's one of the high?profile programs in the country now.
I think the fact that he has done it well, he's implemented some things. Most people realize, all of us as coaches, what goes around comes around. And I mean it this way: nothing is really new in college football; it's been here at some point in time. But he's added some things to the program that appear to be unique, and probably in a few instances are, which people have taken note of throughout the course of the country, those that are involved in college football.
You know, the tempo of their offense I think is probably the one thing that stands out as much as anything. You see a lot of teams moving in that direction across the country. We have several teams in our conference that have moved in that direction, as well.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.