K-State football discusses Spring outlook

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COURTESY: K-State Sports Information

Kansas State Spring Football Press Conference
April 11, 2013

Head Coach Bill Snyder
Opening statement…
“We are a third of the way through and have finished five practices. It seems like we just got started. We go on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and three of those days we have been in pads. We had a little bit of a scrimmage on Monday but just a few snaps. Then we had a full scrimmage yesterday in all facets of our down and distance situations and moving the football as well as our special team units, all six of them. Progress is kind of up and down for the most part. The scrimmage yesterday caught a few of them off-guard; they knew the scrimmage was coming but I am not sure how well prepared we were mentally in terms of knowing how much they are really capable of and trying to achieve to that level. Overall I am not disappointed with where we are, just the fact that it is going so rapidly and fast. It is here and gone in a heartbeat and the spring game is on April 27.”

On returning players
“I think the foundation goes back further than last year’s senior class. Even in this second tenure, it started way before last year. I am tremendously appreciative of all of those young guys collectively as a senior group. As I have said many times, the dynamics are different every year no matter who does what. You would like to think that this group has gained a great deal of knowledge about things other than just football with the assistance of the young people who were here a year ago. I think that it has not evolved yet into the quality of leadership that we would like and hope to have; I think that has taken more time than what I had hoped for. I think we will get there and guys want that. I have not been disappointed with their effort, but I think that this group really does not understand what they are capable of. Like so many, we think we are doing the best that we can when indeed there is more there. I think they have kind of placed some limitations on what they are capable of and those limitations should not be there. They have got to learn that they can achieve more, do more, perform better and that they can work harder and all that goes along with it. “

On the quarterback situation
“In five practices we have had some ups and downs. I have been pleased with the progress that they are making, not necessarily with the consistency, but they have given us reason to believe that they are very capable. It is just a matter of doing some of the things that they do on a very regular and consistent basis. Both of them are taking repetitions with the number one unit for the first time in their careers. Jake (Waters) obviously being new and Daniel (Sams) was a back-up quarterback. That is a new experience for them as well. I think that they have been very competitive. I appreciate that and they work very hard in trying to develop their game. They do a nice job of helping each other. I am proud of Daniel, even though Jake is making it very competitive for him, he is doing all that he can to help Jake. Jake is a bright young guy and picks things up very quickly. It is just about the consistency and being able to do it the same way every time. “

On rebuilding the defense
“On the defensive side of the ball, it is right now more competitive, position by position. Any coach in the country would want every position to be competitive year in and year out. We can say that so and so competed for a spot, but in reality is that true? Defensively, we have about seven spots that are genuinely very competitive right now. We have about five guys in our interior defensive line that have made that a competitive position. We have got four guys with our defensive ends that have made that competitive. Our linebacker position is probably competitive with legitimately four guys right now. Our secondary, about six guys have made it competitive. Other guys on our depth chart could, but at this point and time have not entered in to that round of playing on day-by-day. When I say day-by-day, I mean one is little bit better than one on one day and then the other might be better another day. That is what makes it competitive. I am talking about being legitimately competitive. Offensively we might have four positions right now that we have at least two guys that are competitive for the position.“

On the importance of spring football position battles
“I think that it is obviously vital, but so is everything else. The out-of-season program was so valuable for them. Our youngsters actually practiced during the off-season. They organize and run their own practices and they help each other out. You have those new guys coming in and even though an upperclassman or someone who has been here is in competition with them, they still step up and help them out. I was saying I was so proud of Daniel because he steps up, helps and applauds Jake and his attempt. He knows that Jake is on the same page with him in terms of who is competing for the number one spot. That period of time is equally important. When you get into spring ball, that is an accelerated out-of-season program. Now it is a time where the coaches actually get to see you and work with you. It is vital. That is why I tell our players every single day, we are 20-percent of the way through and 30-percent of the way through because it starts and ends in a heartbeat. You can ask every one of them and they will tell you that it seems like we just had our first practice and yet we are a third of the way through. Those 15 days are vital. They come and go extremely fast no matter how you spread them out. We have a day between more of our workouts so that they can view film and assess the previous day’s work and look at what is going to be implemented at the next practice. Even with that, it is a short period of time and as valuable as anything that we do.“

Senior Wide Receiver Tramaine Thompson
On Jake Waters’ growth…
“He is a smart guy and is picking up things a lot quicker than I expected him to. He has been definitely been putting in the film work and spending a lot of time working. Daniel (Sams) has been helping him out a lot and they have been kind of helping each other out through this whole process. It is not like there is any animosity between the two, they work together. They realize that pushing each other is going to make them better in the long run.”

On being a veteran leader of the wide receivers …
“I feel like the old man now, because when I came in I was the only freshman receiver in camp my true freshman year, and now I’m the old one. A lot of the younger guys look to me because I have been here for a while, and I am trying to take on the role of being a vocal leader which is different for me. We are definitely going to have to fill those spots that Chris (Harper) left out by being a great leader; I have to try to fill that role.”

On wide receivers being a team strength even with a new quarterback…
“I feel like we can be a strength of this offense. We have a lot of speed, especially with me and (Tyler) Lockett, and I think we have some good size. I feel like we are athletic enough to be a strength of the offense.”

On having a veteran offensive line…
“It is huge, that is where it all starts. Having a lot of games played in between all of those guys and having those guys come back is huge, especially with a young quarterback. It can take a lot of pressure off the quarterback because they can figure stuff out amongst themselves. With BJ (Finney) being a veteran, he can almost figure out things before the quarterback sometimes.”

Senior Linebacker Tre Walker

On his injury being tough on his career…

“It definitely has, to be honest with you. It has been an uphill battle. Some days were my toughest; I never had to deal with something like this. I am trying to stay positive, trying to keep myself motivated. My dad told me one time ‘that sometimes the motivator needs to be motivated.’ Every day was an uphill battle; I talked to coach a lot, my teammates kept me up in my spirits, and right now I can honestly say I am ahead of schedule. We are looking good and feeling good.”

On new faces impacting the defense…
“I think guys like Jonathan Truman is going to play for us this year; guys like Blake Slaughter and Marquel Bryant, you are going to hear those guys’ names a lot. We have a lot more coming, but so far those guys have really made their name known; they are going to do a great job for us on the field.”

On what the defense hopes to become…

“We want to be back where we were before, Big 12 Champions, but it’s definitely going to take a lot of work. I think if we get together and get back to the drawing board and not so much worry about where we were last year, but focus on what we want to become, I think we will be fine. It is going to take a lot of workouts and building together; we have a new bond and a new team, but we will be successful.”

Senior Linebacker Blake Slaughter

On redshirting last season…

“What I took away from it and gained from it was just growing in knowledge of the game even more. Understanding concepts and schemes of what offenses can and will do in certain situations and just the thought process behind the scenes, what plays are we calling what works in certain situations. Athletically, I gained more flexibility being able to move better, and I feel my lateral movement has improved a lot. I am definitely looking forward to stepping on the field and playing again.”

On being compared to Arthur Brown…

“The best way to deal with it is to just to be who you are. I am not Arthur Brown. I have some strengths that he might not have, and he has some strengths obviously that I do not have. I need to just continue to improve and play my game. I can’t live in a personal shadow and dwell on that too long.”

On the fact he is playing in his senior year…

It hasn’t hit me yet to be honest. It probably won’t hit me until having played the last game, but this is the last year and the last go around. It is a pleasure to me that I do get another chance; I do get another year and another season. It is just a privilege, almost like a victory lap, and I am definitely excited to finish up that way.”

On pursuing another academic degree…

“I am graduating in May with a mechanical engineering degree, and I am going to go on and get a business management degree.”

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