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July 29, 2009

Bill Snyder


PETER IRWIN: We're now joined by Coach Bill Snyder from Kansas State. Coach, welcome back. Your thoughts and perhaps some comments about the upcoming season.
COACH SNYDER: Thank you very much. Opening comments will be very brief, as always. It's nice to see a lot of people that I haven't seen for a while. Most you have thinned out, like I have, hair-wise, that is. I see some gray guys that didn't used to be gray as well. I'm just pleased that you and I still have jobs.
We've got three of our four captains here today, and I want to mention one that lost the toss. My son Sean is here with us. He directs our football program. I think they did scissors, rock, and paper to determine which of the three of the four were coming.
But Nick Stringer, who is an offensive tackle for us, was there in my first live at Kansas State University, didn't make the trip. But certainly he is equally deserving.
A lot of good young guys, and I think you'll enjoy them a great deal.
With that being said, whatever you would like, we'll get right to it.
PETER IRWIN: We'll take questions.

Q. I asked you this question, I think, before the Big 12 championship game outside of Arrowhead. I'd like to know if you've reconsidered that welcome back, but have you considered there's a danger you're going to kill yourself trying to get back to where you were when you left.
COACH SNYDER: I hope you said that in jest.
That's a good question. I don't think there's a great deal of danger. My doctor says things are on go, says I'm doing okay.
You know, it's a demanding thing no matter how you look at it. I think it is for every coach regardless of what their age happens to be. I've got a lot of good people around me that help a great deal. Sean is here. I couldn't do it without Sean. We've got the coaching staff. I think 10 out of the top 13 people in our organization either played for me or worked for me at Kansas State University or did both. We get a lot of people that understand the system and are a great asset to me. So it makes life a little bit easier, I think.

Q. I noticed an media guide Daniel Thomas is listed. I was wondering if you could talk about if he's enrolled and if he's joined the team at this time.
COACH SNYDER: Daniel is finishing up summer school classes. In fact, I think he has completed them. So he's not enrolled yet, but he should be. That would be my anticipation that that will take place very, very quickly, and he will be in our program.

Q. Bill, a lot of guys -- not a lot, but several people have tried this, gone back to a school where they were very successful, really hasn't worked all that well most of the time. Why do you think it's going to be different this time for you?
COACH SNYDER: Well, I don't know whether it will be different or not, Barry. By the way, I don't know if I ever told you face to face: You wrote one of my most famous articles ever that I really appreciate. It's the only one I've ever given to my children. I appreciate that a great deal. A long time ago.
You know, I don't know if it will be any different than maybe what some others have experienced. And that wasn't the -- that wasn't the purpose behind re-entering Kansas State University's football program. You know, it had something to do with things, I think, above and beyond that. Primarily, it had to do with the people of Kansas State, tremendous support people that we have, K-State Nation, so to speak, our football family.
You know, what the outcome will be, I have absolutely no idea. But, you know, if we can -- I've said so many times, if we can settle the waters, it will have been worth the effort.

Q. I wonder if you can compare how the building process is this time around compared to how you inherited Kansas State back when you first took the job in 1989.
COACH SNYDER: Well, I think there's some differences. I see a lot of similarities, and I see there's certainly a lot of differences. The program has come a long way since that period of time.
You might remember, those of you that were around at that particular point in time, not all of you, but when we went in 1988/'89, when we went to Kansas State University, we had 47 -- at this time you could have 95 on scholarship. They'd just gone from 105 to 95. We had 47 on scholarship. We're a little above that today. That was an amazing transition.
And at that particular time -- again, we've talked about that time and time again -- but we've never -- in my 17-year tenure, we never did get the program back to the full complement of scholarships. It finally ended up being 85, and we had never gotten to 85.
So being able to come back off of that, for whatever reasons that it got to that number, was really very, very difficult to do. And so we're in much better shape. We get to 85 in a heartbeat today. We could, and we're not there, but it's not difficult to get there. So there's a difference in that respect.
And certainly things have changed dramatically, but there's a lot of similarities, I think, as well. It's just being able to implement a system, understand that there's -- you have issues, whether you're a new coach on the block or whether you've been in the program for a long time.
There are always issues that are ongoing, issues that you have to deal with. They were different then, but certainly there are as many today as there were 20 years ago.

Q. Could you talk about the qualities of Carson Coffman and where the quarterback battle is right now.
COACH SNYDER: Well, Carson went into spring practice -- came out of the out of season program as the number one quarterback, went into spring practice to make it a competitive environment, came out as the number one.
Went into the summer, barring any unforeseen incidents -- he's taken care of himself quite well and will go into the fall as the number one quarterback. I expect it to be very competitive at that time. You know, we've got those 29 practices that they'll have to compete.
There's probably four young guys that will be, hopefully, very competitive for this position. Carson most certainly would be the first one on the field today, as we speak.
Good young guy, understands the game. He's making the transition like everyone, going in from one system, a little different terminology, et cetera. So there's a learning curve, but he handles that. Sharp young guy, handles it quite well. Good person. Enjoy him.

Q. Bill, can you talk about maybe how you're different this time around, if at all.
COACH SNYDER: How I am different?

Q. Yes.
COACH SNYDER: Well, less hair. There's no dark tint to it whatsoever.
You know, I don't know that I'm -- it's kind of that old adage: If you're around it every single day, you don't see the changes; when you're away from it and come back, you see the changes.
Well, I see myself every day. Not that I enjoy it, but I see myself every day. If I'm a little different, I'm not sure I know exactly where the difference lies.
You know, I feel like I'm basically the same individual. I feel like I'm not approaching this endeavor any differently than I have before. But when you see a difference, let me know so I'll know as well.

Q. Bill, how important was it for you to align yourself with guys on your staff that knew you and knew the K-State program?
COACH SNYDER: Well, I think it was extremely significant. It was late. As you know, it was -- I didn't decide to do this until third week of November, somewhere in that vicinity -- I'm not sure exactly when -- or fourth week.
And just, you know, the time frame, a brief period of time to kind of get things in place the best you possibly could, to implement a system that, you know, is a change for the young people in your program to be able to do it without having to make -- to have to go through the process, the teaching process with everybody in your system, but to be able to have a staff that has a good understanding of what the expectations are, what the program is all about really has been very beneficial to me.
You know, there's a lot of things that -- you know, I have those aha moments virtually every day, something that reminds me of the way we've done it in the past and what might be the right way.
But our coaches are able to also be able to project, you know, certain things that will happen, should happen, and how we deal with them in a manner that, you know, is very helpful to me. So I think it's the familiarity as much as anything is significant.

Q. Bill, do you think the game itself has changed much in the few years you've been away?
COACH SNYDER: Well, I think emphasis has certainly changed. You know, it kind of depends on where you look. We're sitting in the capital of change in regards to offensive football in the Big 12 Conference, and there have been some changes in that respect.
You know, I think, as you look at football on a national scope, you know, there's only so many ways that you can -- as it relates to on the field football, there's only so many ways you can line up 11 guys on either side of the ball, and there's only so many -- it creates only so many variables.
The game of football has been around for an awful long time, kind of what goes around comes around, works in cycles. And I think that's very, very accurate.
So, you know, from that standpoint, I think it just depends on the emphasis changes. I think everything else by and large is pretty much in place.
I think outside of on-the-field activities, certainly cyberspace has kind of taken command of a lot of different things, particularly recruiting. The speed of the recruiting process has changed rather dramatically over the last four years.
You know, the idea of having as many -- I was telling somebody the other day, we have maybe 100 -- I don't know what the number is -- 130 offers extended at this point in time. We've got 15 to 17 commitments at this particular point in time. I've never been in that position in my life. It's a little frightening in that respect.
Here are young guys that haven't played as a senior yet, and they're in your program already, and you've extended all those offers. And that's pretty consistent with what's going on all over the nation.
You know, I get up every morning early in the morning, and you get this BlackBerry thing out, and it's got all the recruiting services, and they each have a long story on every youngster that is above the age of four in the nation. Tells you what he had for breakfast and what position he plays and who's recruiting him and so on.
So, I mean, it's so much -- it's so very, very visible and so national right now, which is a little -- it's a change for me, but it's -- you know, over the past two or three years it's been a change for everybody, I think.

Q. Bill, some of your former assistants have regaled us with legendary stories of the hours that they put in in those early days. Do you sense that you will be as demanding as perhaps you were 20 years ago.
COACH SNYDER: Well, if I can stay up with the pace, the answer is yes. I wouldn't ask anybody in our program to do anything that I wouldn't be able to do, and I didn't do it then.
You know, I have great appreciation for all those people that were in our program over the years. I was blessed with some absolutely wonderful coaches on our staff, and many of them are back with me again. So many of them have gone out and had great successes running their own programs. Many of them still do.
But they -- the effort and those demanding hours that they provided our program certainly were kind of the core and the foundation for what happened to the Kansas State University throughout the '90s and early 2000. So I have great appreciation for them.
Again, I'm a little slower than most. I don't quite -- it takes me a little longer to get things done. So therein lies the need for extra hours, I guess, so to speak.
Not that I'm not cognizant of family -- you know, like I said, I've got a son here who's got three of our grandchildren, and I'm going to make sure he has ample opportunity to spend time with his family. I missed out on mine to a certain degree. I want to make sure that I still have time to spend with our eight grandchildren and five children, and I want to make sure our coaches do as well.
So we'll try to find the right blend in that respect. But it's a demanding job. When I say that, I'm not talking about just the head football coach; I'm talking about everybody in the program. I mean, it just -- I don't know the position where -- you've got to work hard and work some long hours. But when you're talking about 16, 18 hours a day, seven days a week for extended periods of time, that's a pretty heavy load.
And it's focused time. Now, that's not just Kansas State. I mean, that's anywhere in the country.
Those legendary stories are probably true in most places, not just Kansas State.
PETER IRWIN: Coach, thank you very much for your comments.

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