Low expectations don’t discourage Kansas State’s Snyder: Big 12 co-champs are picked sixth in preseason
Kansas State Bill Snyder doesn’t mind facing low expectations from pundits at the start of the college football season.
In 2011, K-State was picked eighth and finished second in the Big 12. Last season, the Wildcats were picked to be sixth and won a co-championship with Oklahoma (whom they beat).
This year, Kansas State is picked to finish sixth – again.
“I think I said last year that, if I were given the opportunity, I would have picked us 99th,” Snyder said. “As I look at it this year right now where we stand, I’d probably echo the same thought.
“It’s precarious trying to make those kinds of decisions as the season gets started.
“Our program is no different than any other in that the dynamics of the program change year in and year out regardless of how many you do or do not have returning. It’s just a different environment, and I would suggest that it’s just a difficult task.
“I know it has to be done, but it’s an awful difficult task to make those kinds of decisions. I certainly couldn’t do it. I’ve declined so many times to be on the coaches polls in regards to selecting the top 25 in the country, et cetera, because I just — it is so difficult to do.
“Even during the course of the season, it becomes difficult to pick winners and losers. That’s why people make so much money in Las Vegas, I guess.”
Last year, K-State used a ball-control offense to eat up time and keep possession away from their Big 12 opponents with high-powered offenses.
“No matter what we do on offense, it’s not going to slow the opponent’s offenses down,” Snyder said. “Our defenses will have a tremendous challenge because of the speed or the tempo of so many football teams in the Big 12 Conference. Everybody moves so rapidly.
“You hear the numbers, and everybody keeps track of the amount of time it takes from one snap to the next, and a lot of teams have averaged 18, 19 seconds between snaps, and I’m watching The University of Texas in their spring game, and they’re going every nine or ten seconds in some of the series that they ran.
So the game’s just getting faster and faster and faster, and defensively, it takes more than just conditioning. So many people say — and I would be one of them — that you have to be a well-conditioned defensive football team in order to stay up or maintain the pace of the game, but there are so many other things that come into play as well, and part of it is just the ability to have the discipline to stay focused on what your assignment and alignment and recognizing tendencies, etc., happen to be in that short period of time that you have to get lined up.
“What we do offensively, we’ve been a slow football team offensively by comparison for a variety of different reasons. Some of them just not having the capacity to get plays called as quickly as we would like to sometimes.”
Years ago, Kansas State was one of the worst teams in college football. That changed when Snyder came and now a successful season is no big surprise.
“We went through a period of time in my first go around at Kansas State University, and we won 11 games last year, we won 10 this year,” Snyder said.
“We went through a period of time where we won 11 six out of seven years or something like that. So it’s not abnormal. I thought it was a very, very fine year, and I was pleased with it.”
K-State returns its entire offensive line.
“Well, if I’m the quarterback, I’m awful happy about it for sure,” said Snyder. “It’s a double-edged sword, I think.
“Number one, given the options, you’d rather have all of them coming back, but you’d want to have them all coming back in an environment in which they are going to improve and continue to become better.
“Now, whether or not they take some things for granted because of that, that would put us in dire jeopardy, I believe.
“If they don’t take anything for granted and they commit themselves to becoming better, then it’s a very, very positive thing.
“So it can work both ways for you. I’d rather have it the way it is than the other, though. And especially with the young people that we have, because I think we’ve got good young people in those positions who are very team oriented, very unselfish, and that means an awful lot at that position, or those positions.”
Six teams in the Big 12 got votes for the top spot in the preseason poll.
“I think our conference has maintained a good balance over the years,” Snyder said. “I think maybe there are some years where there might be a little bit more balance or more teams that are prominent than other years, but, by and large, I think year in and year out it’s a very consistent conference.
“Will this year be more so? I don’t know that I could say that. It may prove to be – again…”
Collin Klein has graduated and Snyder must find a new quarterback.
“Dynamics of each year are truly different,” he said. “I think, as far as personnel is concerned, we still don’t have a starting quarterback yet.
“We did lose, depending on whose count, probably nine returning defensive starters. In addition to Collin, even though we returned a substantial number of starters on offense, we still lost some extremely talented young guys, Chris Harper, a big-play wide receiver, and Braden Wilson, we miss his toughness tremendously.”