MANHATTAN — K-State football head coach Bill Snyder talked with the media Thursday as the Wildcats held their annual Media Day at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Snyder mentioned that he is happy with how his team has worked this summer.
“During the course of the summer, I thought we had a reasonably good response from our players. A lot of what they do is not mandatory, so they do a lot of things on their own. I appreciate how the leaders have been responsible and have gotten all of our players committed to getting invested in some of the summer work that they did. Practices have gone well. We do a lot of individual work, fundamentals, etc, and then a good deal of group work, and team work periods. Some of the team work has been the best offense against the best defense. It becomes very competitive, and I think our youngsters have responded to that,” Snyder said.
Snyder noted that he feels that his team is not taking last season’s strong finish for granted.
“We have a decent number of returning starters and returning players. There are a lot of great expectations. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the key element is you have to do something about it. You just can’t take it for granted when you have a lot of returning players. Every season presents new dynamics. Each season is different. The NFL is a perfect example of that. It’s a struggle no matter which team they are. Some years they do great, and some years they don’t. You have to earn it. That means if we are committed to being the best we can be every single day, then the experience will play to our favor,” Snyder said.
Snyder talked about the returning presence of many of his team’s leaders from last season.
“I’ve been a strong believer, as it relates the the leadership aspect of it, that you don’t have to be a senior to be a leader. You don’t have to be a captain to be one of the leaders. We try to cultivate that. We have some elements of our progam that teach leadership. Because of the experience in the program, it should assist our capacity for good leadership within the program. I have seen players in our program who have stepped up and made the attempt to provide leadership. That has to come over the course of the summer. I think our captains have done a nice job,” Snyder said.
The Big 12 is known for having high powered offenses that can go up and down the field and potentially score at will. K-State has traditionally stuck to a very methodical offensive approach that is different from the rest of the conference. Snyder talked about how his offense is unique in the Big 12.
“(Our offense) is different from the vast majority of the teams in our conference. Everybody has a reason for it. We can do those other things, but it’s not a bad thing to do things differently than other people do. One advantage of it is that other teams don’t have a lot of time to prepare for you. It’s a one-week venture because nobody else does what we do, at least on the offensive side of things,” Snyder said.
K-State has a lot of key returning players on that offense heading into the 2017 season. The Wildcats return senior quarterback Jesse Ertz, junior wide receiver Byron Pringle, and junior tight end Dayton Valentine, among others. Snyder noted that his offense in 2017 could be fairly potent.
“It has the potential to (be explosive). Whether we will or not remains to be seen. That goes back to not taking anything for granted and continuing to work. We have returning guys with speed. The experience is beneficial to them because if they take advantage of the experience that they have, then they can probably react quicker. They can probably get in and out of assignments a lot faster, and it probably makes them quicker on the field,” Snyder said.
The Wildcats were ranked No. 19 in the preseason Amway Coaches Poll, which was released Thursday. It is the first time that the Wildcats were ranked in the poll since checking in at No. 21 in 2014. It also marked the highest that K-State has been ranked in the poll since the Wildcats were ranked No. 12 in 2004. Snyder noted that he doesn’t take much stock in preseason polls.
“I serve with our coaches association and I’ve voted on the polls. I’m wrong more than I am right. I understand we have to have it, I just think it’s silly to take it with any degree of seriousness. (The rankings) are more important at the end of the season. I think our players have done a decent job of not paying attention to that. I don’t hear them talking about being ranked. Hopefully that’s not at the top of the list of things that motivate them,” Snyder said.