Snyder has Admiration for Michigan

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder reacts to his team's selection for the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. The veteran headman reflected upon the growth of his team and discussed his respect for Bo Schembechler and Michigan's football tradition.

Teleconference transcript courtesy of the ASAP Sports

Coach Snyder opening statement: Well, I don't have an awful lot to say other than to say we're honored and proud to be selected for the bowl game. We've had so many opportunities to be in Phoenix, the surrounding area, for this bowl game, the Fiesta Bowl as well, on numerous occasions. We just have a great appreciation there for all the people who have always treated us in a very first-class manner. We appreciate the opportunity to be back and honored to be chosen.

Question: Bill, Tyler Lockett has had a great year. Can you talk about him.

Coach Snyder: First of all, he's a good young guy. He's a third of the family members that have played and excelled for us. He's got good speed, quickness. He's a very dedicated young player, works diligently at trying to improve himself. Just a good young guy.

Question: Going in the time machine, you played Michigan eight times as offensive coordinator under Hayden Fry. What was the mystique about that program and the tradition you witnessed firsthand?

Coach Snyder: Well, I mean, I had the greatest of respect for Bo Schembechler. I think he was a building block for all the success that Michigan has had. Had great admiration for him. It was always a very challenging time to compete against them. They were always a tremendous football team, always have been. Record is comparable to ours. I think we've become a better football team. I think that's probably the case with Michigan, as well. I just admire what they've meant to college football, the kind of program that they have. It's a very class program. Those things I appreciate a great deal, as well.

Question: Can you talk about the retooling of the offense. Collin Klein was such a terrific player last year. What do you do differently now?

Coach Snyder: We don't do anything differently. In some cases we don't do it as well, and other cases maybe we're doing things equally as well. Collin was a tremendous young guy. He meant an awful lot to our program. It wasn't just his ability on the football field. He could throw the ball better than most people thought he could, and he could run the ball well. What was more significant was the fact that he was a quality leader and really provided great inspiration for the other young people in our program. The transition away from Collin, it's just simply that, a transition. I think we have good young guys playing at that position. They're still developing. They've got a ways to go, but they've made a good deal of progress, as well. But as far as what we do, nothing has changed.

Question: How have you liked the two-headed quarterback situation?

Coach Snyder: Well, I've never been a fan of having two guys at that position that play equally. But both of them work diligently at it. Both of them are very deserving of having the opportunity to play. They get along extremely well. They help each other. They're very positive with each other. Even though that's not my preference, that's the way it's played out. So consequently that's the way we'll do it. Both of them will play. Both of them will play in the bowl game. Hopefully both of them will do well.

Question: How important is the bowl game for not only recruiting purposes but progressing what you have and taking it into the off-season and into the spring game? 

Coach Snyder: Well, as I've said so many times, the major significance of playing in a bowl game is twofold. I think, number one, it gives the wonderful fan base we have to 'vacation' in a warm weather climate. Our fans appreciate those opportunities. We travel so very, very well. For many, that is their vacation. I take that to heart. That means a great deal to me, as well. I think the opportunity for our young guys to continue to make the kind of progress that's important for our program, have the opportunity to compete in a bowl game year in and year out, it's really significant to them, means a lot to them. If that's important to them, it's important to me.

Question: The Copper Bowl was your first bowl. It's now become this one.

Coach Snyder: The first one is such a memorable moment for Kansas State. A tremendous ballgame. Our youngsters played well. The most significant thing was the fact that we took 22,000 people to the Copper Bowl. That was a period in time when you couldn't get 22,000 people in the stands at the stadium for ballgames. That was really significant. We had a pep rally down there in a hotel that couldn't house as many people as we had. We had over 5,000 people at the pep rally the night before the ballgame. That was just an exciting period of time for me and certainly for our players. It meant a great deal. The next one we played down there, we didn't play very well, we lost the ballgame. We had a lot of wonderful people there to follow us, but it wasn't one of my favorite periods in time.

Question: There's always so much talk about the 15 practices, how important those are. What are the logistics behind fitting 15 practices in 20 days? Have you already started bowl prep since the last game? Do you have to squeeze those in where you can get them in?

Coach Snyder: You know, it's a hard period of time. We have practiced, but we haven't practiced for the bowl game because we didn't know who we were going to play until just a few hours ago. It's hard to work it in because we'll be going through finals before long. You can't interfere. I don't want to interfere. All of the young people are preparing for finals. We kind of have to pick and choose, practice at odd hours. Can't practice every day we would like. Because the season goes so much longer now, there's just less time to prepare for a ballgame. We won't get in all the practices that I'd like for us to be able to. As you indicated, I've always said, the real significant value of it is the opportunity to have the additional practices for young people that are going to be with you next year and the year after that. But with less and less time to do it, you can't get too far away from your bowl preparation, and consequently you can't spend quite as much time preparing the younger players as you'd like.

Question: The last week has been a hectic one as far as where you might end up. All signs were pointing towards the Holiday Bowl. What has that process been like not knowing where you're going to land?

Coach Snyder: For me, we've been through it numerous times. Everybody wants to get everything done before you know what's going to take place. Everybody is trying to do a lot of different things as far as the organization is concerned. I can appreciate that, but by the same token you have to hold your rudder and wait till it happens. Coaches are wanting to prepare for this team and this team and this team. I don't want us to waste time. We try to focus our time on things that are significant, that we knew about. That's what we've done. This evening when we learned where we're going to go and who the opponent is, now we start the preparation for that. But you got to be careful you don't get ahead of yourself.

Question: Whatever made Ryan Mueller such a disruptive force on defense?

Coach Snyder: Well, you can use 'disruptive' in a lot of different ways. He's a good player because he practices that way. Whatever you see on Saturday, whatever the game day is, that's exactly the way he practices. That's what all coaches love to have, is somebody that will practice as hard as they're going to play, as you want him to play. He does exactly that. That's exactly what has made him a quality player for us.

Question: He must have some physical tools that help him to get to the quarterback.

Coach Snyder: Well, 'physical tools' are in the mind of the beholder. He's just a good young guy who works extremely hard. When you work hard, pay attention to coaches, do what they ask, you do it as hard as you can do it, then you can become successful. That's what he's done.

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