December 27, 2016
Q. I know you've been asked this question a lot, but the return of Donte to the defense this year, just really kind of advanced from where you guys were last year and made you a much better defense. How important was him coming back from that injury and really leading the defense this year?
COACH SNYDER: Well, it's been particularly significant for not only our defense but the entirety of our football team. And Donte's leadership has been tremendous. Players respond to him quite well.
You know, from a technical aspect, it was significant in regards to, you know, his understanding of our defense schemes, understanding of offenses; the ability and capacity to give directional guidance to young people in our program when they are on the field; in regards to getting in and out to schemes that we put on the field defensively; making adjustments, I guess, and being able to handle that quite well. Everybody trusts him immensely for that.
Q. For Trevor Knight what do you see from him and how well do you think he would fit in your offense if he were playing for you?
COACH SNYDER: Well, he's the kind of quarterback that we've been blessed to have throughout my tenure here: Someone that can bring a balance to your offense. Someone that can run it, execute all of the option-type stuff that exist in college football today and throw the ball around quite well.
And I think, also, it's kind of like Jesse in that he's a young guy that seems to have command of their offense and schematically how they do it, getting into the right thing and out of the wrong thing. And that tells me that he has quality leadership, as well.
Q. I distinctly remember before the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, you mentioned the week leading up to that was maybe the best set of practices that you had been around since you were a head coach. Has this squad maybe come close to that measurement in the past week?
COACH SNYDER: Well, I truly think so, and probably a little more elongated. And by that, I mean, the consistency of the performance level in our practices over a period of time, not just on one given day, which you're addressing right now.
But I think consistently, they have been -- they have practiced well.
Q. Do you have an update on Alex Barnes? Do you think he'll be available?
COACH SNYDER: He'd better be available.
Q. Thank you.
COACH SNYDER: You're welcome.
Q. Jesse Ertz has fought through this injuries this year and we saw that all come together at the TCU game. What does his leadership mean on the field and in the locker room, beyond his skill set as a runner and thrower?
COACH SNYDER: I think like Donte, he brings that quality level of leadership into his group and to his side of the ball. And you know, the significant aspect of it, you've heard me talk all the time about improvement and day-to-day you get all that.
But Jesse kind of epitomizes that, I believe, in terms of his leadership and just he's kind of a quiet, mild-mannered young guy. And yet, he still exudes some leadership that allows our players to respond to him, you know, what he says, what he does, and what he does has been significant. And I think it's because, you know, again, so many of the young guys invest themselves in that daily improvement, so to speak, and Jesse has done that. You've just seen his performance level grow and grow and grow.
And so many people, I've said this a thousand times, so many people think of Jesse as a returning starting quarterback. And those of you from our area that cover us realize he played one snap last year.
So he really was a fresh young pup when it came to beginning of this year, and he really stepped up, and like I said, just got better and better. That goes along with the experience, the number of reps that you take, opportunities on the field, as well as practice opportunities.
Q. Watching Myles Garrett from afar, and reading and watching clips about him off the field, things of that nature, what are your thoughts on him and who he is?
COACH SNYDER: Well, I think he's all that everyone attempts to write about and speak about. You know, he's a very talented football player. He's got size, strength, quickness to go along with athletic ability.
I don't know Myles, but I would suggest based on what I see that he probably brings leadership to the defensive side of the ball, as well.
You know, and I think his height and the ability to get his hands up and bat passes down, things like that, are significant. You know, it's important for our players to truly understand that, and they do. They understand the kind of player that he is and he's -- anyway, just a very, very fine, talented, All-American player.
Q. You mentioned Jesse only making one snap, but did you have a little more favorable view of him coming in and playing the position, experience-wise, just from him being in film study and that sort of thing, than a tip call first-time, first-year starter?
COACH SNYDER: Well, but I mean, a lot went into it before his first game last year. By that, I mean he had earned the opportunity and the right to become our starter.
So everything that has taken place since then just builds on that. I don't think there was ever any question in our mind. We always make it competitive. We try not to make any gifts whatsoever, and every young guy that steps out there, is out there because they have earned the right to be there. But I don't think we ever had any doubt about that.
Q. Trevor Knight, how much different does his game look than maybe the first time you were seeing him when he played for Oklahoma in the Big 12?
COACH SNYDER: Well, you know, that's really a hard question to answer, and I would say probably no distinct difference at all, other than the fact that the two offensive systems are different.
And so we saw him and played against him, anyway, in one arena, and now we're viewing film on him in a totally different -- well, not totally, but somewhat, considerably different, put it that way, yeah.
Q. Talk about Byron Pringle's production for your time and how the rest of the junior college transfers have also helped.
COACH SNYDER: Well, Byron has really done a nice job for us. Another, just like I was talking about Jesse and so many of the other players in our program, has just evolved into a quality player within our system. You know, he was a very fine athlete before he came and is a fine athlete right now.
But it's learning the system and getting invested in the system, and gaining the experience, the practice experience, the game experience and he's done that, and that's helped elevate his performance throughout the course of the year, as well.
Q. When you've had players in the past, like a Myles Garrett, who could potentially be a top draft pick in the first round after their junior season, what kind of advice have you given them leading into their decision?
COACH SNYDER: Their decision for what?
Q. For choosing to stay or to go pro.
COACH SNYDER: Well, you know, that's left up to families and them. When we sit down and talk, it's really about understanding what the process is and that they have to do what they and their families feel comfortable with, and all of that takes place after the season. Nothing's going to change during the course of the season.
I think our players are pretty good about it. The families are pretty good about it because you have a lot of people that inundate themselves upon young people and their families, and I appreciate our young guys because they know how to handle that.
And then when our season is over after the ballgame Wednesday night, then that process begins to take place. You know, it's sometimes -- not always, but sometimes it's a very difficult choice to make. So much of it depends upon things that you cannot be aware of until draft day, and, you know what will happen; where will you go. I've seen young guys that have the anticipation to go extremely high and that doesn't happen.
I think the evaluation process has gotten better and better and better over the years, and the projection has gotten better over the years. But there are still a lot of misses out there, and have been, in both directions.
We put together -- we have a group of people on our campus, that have an investment in young people and have an understanding about draft procedures and NFL, as well as some other facets of a young person's life. And we open it up to all our seniors to meet with their parents and that counsel if, indeed, they choose to do so.
You know, the agent deal is always significant and I don't discourage agents. I think in this day and age, you almost have to have one. So we provide opportunities for young people to, oh, evaluate the agents that have an interest in them, and we do so through the NFL and through the Players Association, and they provide a great deal of significant information that we can share with the players.
And we also invite the players, if they have interest in certain agents, to bring them in and meet with the counsel that we have; a variety of different things like that I think, try to make the process as good as possible for the young people in our program.
Q. What scout team players caught your eye during these Bowl practices?
COACH SNYDER: Well, that's a pretty good question. I think a lot -- Logan O'Dea is probably the one guy that stands out more than anyone else. Logan works on our scout squad. He's a senior in our program. He's been with us a long time and he takes immense pride -- all of us, all of the coaches talk to young players that are invested in that scout squad environment.
And normally, they are probably a little younger players than that who have the opportunity, really, to compete in that environment and catch the eye of other players and coaches. And it's a way to make your way, so to speak, in your program.
And here, Logan has been in that environment, virtually all of his career. But he cares so much, and here he is a senior and really at the end of the day, in all honesty, what's he have to gain from it. And you know, what he gained from is really significant in life and that is his values.
So he has a great grasp on hard work and dedication and commitment and being a great teammate and all those things that we address all the time. He's really invested in that. So I'm very, very proud of him.
Q. As your career has progressed, the Bowl games, do you put more emphasis on winning and losing, or is it more about the rewards? The value of a Bowl game, how has it changed as your career has progressed?
COACH SNYDER: Well, it really hasn't changed at all, and I think I've been too -- where's Sean, he can tell you -- I think 27 Bowls. And the process has never changed, and the process is the same as it would be from game to game to game.
All I can ask of the young people in our program is to invest themselves as diligently as they possibly can in their preparation, to prepare as hard as they can to take good care of themselves and to play as hard and as well as they can and if they do that, we feel like we've reached our -- that's what's important to me; let me put it that way.
Now I'm not naГЇve to the fact that it's significant to be able to be victorious in ballgames and I get that, and our players, certainly they are invested in that, very dramatically.
But again, life is about day-to-day process and how well you do what you have to do on that given day and a value system and those sort of things that we put emphasis on; and, with the feeling that if you can comply with that kind of value system, that you will have success in life. And part of that is on the football field.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports