K-State Holds Spring Football Press Conference - KOAM TV 7

K-State Holds Spring Football Press Conference

Press Release K-State:

Head Coach Bill Snyder
On how this year’s team is progressing compared to this time last year…
“My experience over the years is that spring practices seem to replicate themselves – it is a short period of time and days come and go very quickly. Seemingly what you try to implement in your spring practices seem to get somewhat similar results year-in and year-out. Currently, we are more than half way through spring practice and I have some of the same concerns as last year. We have had two significant scrimmages, brief, but nevertheless significant. In one of them we were more consistent offensively than we were on the defensive side of the football, and in yesterday’s scrimmage we were far better defensively than we were offensively. My concerns there center around being consistent week-in and week-out, day-in and day-out and just repetition after repetition. My No. 2 concern is that we do not take ourselves for granted. We always talk about not taking an opponent for granted, or anything else in life, and certainly not taking our own performance for granted. I think sometimes that happens. You have a good practice and then you turn around and you don’t have a good practice. So that makes it up and down and you cannot be successful that way.”

On having the same coaching staff as last year for the first time in almost a decade…
“I think that it is something that you have to be cautious about not taking that for granted. Just the fact that you have the same people in place, it will be very easy to think it will just be done how it has always been done. Then you get yourself into some dire straits if you accept it that way. It is a plus to have all of your staff returning but it is a plus only if that staff continues to grow and continue to provide the foundation for our players to improve on a regular basis. When you have been in a position – yours, mine, anyone else’s – the longer that you are in it the more susceptible you take certain aspects for granted. We need to be awfully careful about that.”

On the progression of quarterback Jesse Ertz…
“I think if you put him out there and put some receivers out there and let him throw the ball around, you like what he does. He just needs to get involved when the bullets are flying. He is on the floor working his way up. I think he will because he is a bright young guy, but he has got a lot on his plate right now. It is all new to him and things happen very quickly. He hasn’t had enough repetition at making quick decisions over and over, but in time he will get through it because he is a bright young man.”

On the progression of the offensive line…
“All of our offensive linemen work at multiple positions. You would like to have the five best linemen on the field. Sometimes that means if you have a No. 2 that comes in for injury, or whatever the case may be, you have to put him at the place that he can best play. If that is where somebody else is, they must have the flexibility to move into where the injury may have taken place. So they all workout at multiple positions. I think Cody (Whitehair) can play inside or outside, Boston (Stiverson) can play inside or outside. Right now I think Luke Hayes has really come along quite well. I think that he is doing really well right now. He still is in the learning process, but is making headway.”

On which player or players have stood out in the two spring scrimmages to date…
“I think there are several that made progression, maybe not as consistently as I would like. I think Jake (Waters) is playing well, but I still think that he has got room at the top, so to speak, to develop. We expected that. I couldn’t put my finger on anyone that we didn’t expect to progress. Probably more so just on the way that I am, I expect them all to play extremely well and if they did it wouldn’t be a surprise to me. Most of them have their days. It is just the consistency aspect of it that is not where it needs to be.”

On Will Geary and his history as a wrestler helping him in football...
“I love to have wrestlers in the program. I think it is a great sport having watched Dan Gable at the University of Iowa for many years. That coupled with the fact that he (Geary) isn’t as tall as everyone else actually works in his favor because wrestlers understand leverage probably more so than anyone that doesn’t wrestle for certain. Football is a game of leverage, so I like that aspect of it because he understands about maintaining leverage on offensive blockers. His strength is advantageous for him as well. Probably the thing that I like more about Will above and beyond everything is his willingness and desire to compete as well as he possible can, as hard as he possibly can every single instant that he is on the field. If he takes a rep – right, wrong or indifferent – what you do know about it, it is going to be the best effort that he’s got.”

On what names are in the mix at the cornerback position…
“Nate Jackson is one, Corey Jackson is one; the guy that is earning his way is Morgan Burns at one of the corner spots. Danzel (McDaniel) is doing quite well. He is at a No. 2 spot right now but he is right on the cusp of moving up. He is making it very competitive. Burns is settling in as the No. 1 and the ones I mentioned are all competitive for the other spot.”

On the progress of fullback Glenn Gronkowski…
“He is still fighting the consistency element of his progression. He has proven a lot. We are trying to put some weight on him to play that position. He is a very athletic young man. He is gaining a greater understanding of what we do. Playing as a young pup as he did last year, you weren’t always sure if he was on the right side of the formation or knew if we were going left or right. He is gaining more in terms of his understanding of what it is that we do; now it is being able to process that information. I think that he will be diligent about that.”

On Daniel Sams’ progress at wide receiver…
“He is making headway – probably as improved as anybody. His improvement was just trying to understand the nuances of what to do. He knows where to line up and where receivers are supposed to go because of being at the quarterback position. He is learning and embracing that much better. He is doing well.”

On what makes small-town players special…
“The challenges for each one is different. In general, you would say that the environment is different; maybe certain things are a little bit more demanding. I think that we have a lot of wonderful high school coaches here. There is discipline in those smaller programs, not that there aren’t in others. They are just young people that have been in communities where you grow up and learn how to work hard at the same time. That is just the nature of the Midwest I guess. When they come to Kansas State, they don’t shy away from the hard work element and I appreciate that about them. And consequently they do – they work very diligently. They appreciate the state, they appreciate the University, they have the sense that being here is a privilege and they honor that. They possess the values that our program is about.”

Senior Defensive End Ryan Mueller
On the progress of the young defensive ends…
“I think that there is a lot of improvement over the last couple of weeks, but obviously we are still not there. Jordan Willis and Tanner Wood are kind of just picking up the defense. I am taking them under my wing and trying to teach them things to do with their foot work that will help them with certain plays and it is just up to them to take advantage of the advice or to try to do it their own way, in which they might have success. I think it sometimes helps to have an older guy in the room, such as myself, to show, ‘This is what you can do to have success,’ but it is up to them on how good of a player that they want to be for the team.”

On who helped Ryan out three years ago when he came in…
“There were numerous guys. First one who comes to my mind is Jordan Voelker. He would stay after practice with me. I remember one specific time that he stayed after practice with me for probably about two hours up in our film room, just drawing up plays for me. Meshak Williams and Adam Davis both helped me a lot during practice, like things to do with my hands and foot work, but a lot of credit goes to Jordan Voelker and (coaches) Joe Bob Clements and now Blake Seiler. There have just been so many people who have had a helping hand in my success here. The list is really endless. I am just kind of trying to be another piece to someone else’s success in this program.”

On the defensive tackles…
“Travis Britz, obviously, has done well being a young guy but he has gotten a lot of playing experience, so this will be a big year for him. Tino Coleman – I am really liking how he has progressed since he has been here. Chris Brown has come along nicely. Having the depth there at nose guard of which we have not had in the last couple of years is definitely comforting going into the season.”

Senior Offensive Lineman B.J. Finney
On his excitement for the spring game…
“I am pretty excited for the spring game. I want to see where guys are at. We have some solid guys coming in, playing, and we have a lot of young faces. So just putting them in a game-like scenario is going to show a lot and how they work in kind of a light pressure situation, but it will be a heavy pressure situation for them because they have not experienced anything like it. So it will just tell a lot for where we are at.”

On how well the offensive line has meshed so far this spring…
“We have meshed as a unit and a whole, but when you have new guys alongside guys who have been there, it takes a while to get used to the play and the style of play – just to know that guy next to you. So we are having a lot of growing pains right now but it is stuff that we are playing through.”

On if there is any consistency with shuffling guys in and out…
“It gets pretty tough. You have to make different calls, you have to know different plays. We all know it, but it is just one of those things where it is just in transition mode and you have got to transition quick. The guys have to be on top of it and have just got to get it done.”

Senior Quarterback Jake Waters
On how things have changed for him now since he started the program…
“It is a ton different. Right now, my confidence is so much better than it was when I first came in last year at this point – my head was still spinning a little bit. Right now I am trying to perfect little details and get the offense to where I want them to be and just taking on more of a leadership role as opposed to last year.”

On how it is for him to take on a leadership role…
“Now that I have a year of playing under my belt – coming in last year I kind of let the guys who proved themselves lead more until I proved myself. I think now that I have a full year of playing and experience it is a lot easier to take that leadership role.”

On what it looks like when the offense is performing well and what confidence that gives them…
“When we are rolling, it is a lot of fun. We have a lot of explosive guys and our running game, our passing game, everything is rolling. When the defense starts rolling too, it’s the opposite, they look great too. When we get rolling, I am excited about it. That is where we are trying to get to, that consistency level where we can go out and do it pretty much every day.”

Junior Offensive Lineman Luke Hayes
On the adjustment coming to Kansas State…
“It is definitely what I thought that it would be. I go against Ryan Mueller a lot at practice – definitely the best practice that you can get. He is really making me better.”

On what it looks like when the offense is really clicking…
“I think that the biggest thing is that we do not get down on ourselves if we make a bad play. We get each other back up if someone does mess up. That is a big thing right there.”

On the leadership from the veteran guys such …
“I definitely get a lot of leadership from B.J. Finney as well as Cody Whitehair and Boston Stiverson. Jake (Waters) has always got my back if I mess up on a protection or something. He is always one of the first guys there to encourage me. He makes me feel more comfortable, which helps me to play a little bit better.”

Sophomore Running Back Jarvis Leverett
On how much his injury last year set him back…
“It did not set me back too much because I was still taking reps. I was able to come in this spring and be able to really physically put it out there and work on small things.”

On having the opportunity to compete for the starting spot at running back…
“It is a great opportunity. John started for three years in a row. Obviously we learned a lot from him and now that he is gone, he set the bar and we want to be able to step right in and pick up where he left off.”

On how he would describe himself as a runner and what kind of back he is…
“I am one of those who just tries to move the chains. I am one of those running backs who just tries to stick his foot in the ground and try to get a first down.”

Sophomore Running Back Charles Jones
On what the running backs need to improve on…
“As a whole, we can always improve on pass blocking and running, knowing our assignments and being sound and consistent. I personally have been really trying to get the plays down so that I do not have any assignment busts.”

On what he has learned since he came here from high school…
“I really learned how to be humble. You are in high school and then you go to a D-1 school and redshirt, you really learn how to be humble and you learn a lot more about the game too. It is more plays, faster people, stronger people. I have learned a lot, really.”

On what he has learned from John Hubert…
“I have really learned a lot just from watching him, and he helped me really learn my plays. He sat us down and told us why we had to do this, so he really helped us a lot especially with the plays.”

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