MANHATTAN — K-State football head coach Bill Snyder gave a preview of his team’s opening matchup against Central Arkansas, which will kick off Saturday at 6:10 p.m. at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon in the Vanier Family Football Complex.
Snyder opened his press conference by talking about the wealth of experience on K-State’s 2017 depth chart, which was also released on Tuesday afternoon.
“I don’t think it has been tremendously different (from previous years). I think there’s a confidence level that’s consistent year in and year out. My caution is to not take anything for granted. There is a lot of experience on the field, a lot of returning minutes on the field. Every day is a new day, and what we do yesterday and what we did today doesn’t count much. They’ve got their hands full going about their business and doing what they’re doing,” Snyder said. “I’m pleased with how we’re practicing. They’re into it and they give me the impression that they’re not taking anything for granted and they’re still working toward the daily improvement that we talk about all the time.”
On the defensive side of the ball, a notable development on the depth chart is the appearance of sophomore Denzel Goolsby as K-State’s starting strong safety. Goolsby, who was recruited as an offensive player, will be making the transition to defense. Snyder talked about what has impressed him about Goolsby making the move to safety.
“He’s very conscientious about what he does. He’s into every snap every single day. He doesn’t wander. He doesn’t get overconfident about things that he’s doing. He tries to win each snap as it comes about. He’s not afraid to ask when he’s got questions about anything. Those are starting to get fewer and further between. That’s a good thing,” Snyder said.
Snyder talked about what he has seen from his defensive backfield as a whole this offseason.
“I think they’ve got an understanding of what we’re trying to do defensively. We’ve done a nice job in terms of covering, in terms of getting into tighter coverage and man-to-man type stuff. That goes back to last spring as well. I think we’ve had some vast improvement in those areas. That continued over the course of fall camp. They’re also playing together well. That’s awfully important. They have to play together and understand what each person is doing. They’ve done a nice job with that,” Snyder said.
Junior defensive back D.J. Reed, who was made avaiable to the media on Tuesday afternoon, noted that K-State’s defense has a lot of potential.
“We can be really good. We have a lot of talent and depth. We just have to have fun, run to the ball, make plays, and do everything within the defense scheme,” Reed said.
The running back depth chart is also interesting for the Wildcats, as both sophomore Alex Barnes and junior Justin Silmon are listed as starters. Snyder talked about how close the gap is between the two.
“(Barnes) will be the starter. I think, hopefully, all of (our running backs) will play. There’s a role for each and every one of them, for the most part. That is probably the deepest position that we have at this particular point in time. I think (Silmon) has proven that he can play. We’ve seen some flashes with (junior) Dalvin Warmack. He’s done a nice job. I think all those youngsters will help us and will have an opportunity to get on the field, hopefully,” Snyder said.
Snyder gave some of his thoughts on Central Arkansas, the Wildcats’ first opponent this season.
“They really are an impressive football team. If you were to watch tape (on them), you’d see that they’re a very physical defensive football team. They run well. One of our coaches made the comment that he thought that they ran as well as any team we’ll play against all year, including in our conference. That’s a mouthful. That’s saying an awful lot, because we’ve got some teams that run around pretty good. They were a physical defensive front last year. They knock you back off the line-of-scrimmage. They play north and south quite well. Their linebackers are good downhill people. Their safeties get out of the secondary and defend the run quite well. They’re a pretty talented football team,” Snyder said.
Snyder noted that he doesn’t want to focus on making a statement against Central Arkansas on Saturday.
“That’s not what I necessarily look at. We always want to do that. We always want to play as well as we possibly can. Everybody talks about finishing, finishing, finishing. I believe in that, but it’s equally as important to me that we start well. I think that getting off to a good start is important. We want to stay consistent all the way through. I always stress to our players that the first five minutes in the first half and the first five minutes after halftime are as important as any period of time over the course of a ballgame. We really want to start well,” Snyder said.
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