Florida St. Football: Jimbo Fisher’s Press Conference Transcript

Head coach Jimbo Fisher and his Florida St. team is dealing with a lot of changes this off-season, including the loss of star quarterback Jameis Winston. He talks about the upcoming season at his pre-camp press conference yesterday.

Q. With Everett transferring in, you were talking about your experience transferring in as a quarterback. Can you discuss what that was like for you and some of the challenges you had while trying to earn a starting spot?

COACH FISHER: In a short period of time, what you have to do is understand how to get these people to trust you. That you’re not here to be an individual, you’re not here to disrupt thinking. You want to be part of their family and have success and we all do this thing together. You get that by one thing: You put your nose down and go to work, treat people very fairly. They see your work ethic, demeanor, personality is to be one of them, not be above them. You get acclimated. Once they realize you’re there with them, you’re walking side-by-side with them, you’re there to help in their success, they usually accept and then go to play.

Q. You brought over Roberto Aguayo. Can you talk about the leadership he’s shown from being the kicker.

COACH FISHER: It’s odd until you meet him. You say ‘a kicker’. To me, he’s probably going to be one of the greatest in college football history. This guy is a special guy. The respect he has on our team, he’s so athletic and he plays. But when you watch him work and practice, the grind, I mean, he’s good because he’s talented, but he’s great because he has a tremendous work ethic. He’s a perfectionist. Our kids say that. The confidence, when he walks on the field, our kids jump up, How far is he kicking this one? They know what’s coming. We had Dustin Hopkins, Graham, but this guy is a special guy. He’s a great leader on our team, has a huge influence and impact on our players.

Q. To look at this team on the field with all the success you’ve had, off the field you’ve been able to corral the team. What can you say about this family and the environment you created that even when things are happening off the field, you can still get it done?

COACH FISHER: I think life is like that. Think about your life individually. Nothing’s ever smooth. There’s always an issue. There’s always a problem. You talk about learning to perform and getting what athletics teaches you for life. Like the scenarios I go through with my son. I revert to when I was a player, how to compartmentalize and take care of the things you can take care of. I got one problem here. I don’t need two problems by letting this go away. When you’re a husband, you’re a father, you’re a mentor, whatever it may be, there’s issues at work. There’s always going to be something in life. Life never goes smoothly and it’s not fair. What it teaches these kids, you got to control the things you can control with the time can you control them in, deal with the others later. We’ve put a lot of time in our mental conditioning, mental preparation, in our sports psychology and all those programs to help these kids deal with that. It’s not just helping them win football games, it will help them down the road in life. It’s exactly what I’m dealing with, with the personal circumstances I go through now in all the different things.

Q. How frustrating has it been for you with the recent activities off the field and the fact that your president had to step in and say, Let’s get this in order?

COACH FISHER: I think it’s disappointing. But our president is over there when we’re doing well. We communicate quite often, once or twice a week. He’s in our locker room. He also knows we’re the window of this university. I think bringing him over, along with ourself, our AD, it’s another voice to these kids. It takes a village to raise kids. When you hear it, it’s like teachers. You’re the principal of an organization. You have so many different teachers that affect the kids differently. When they hear it from a different voice, it catches their attention. One of the ultimate challenges of coaching, it’s something I love the most, and it’s also the most frustrating. Just like today, I’m speaking and there’s 75 people in here maybe. Whatever I say today can be interpreted and written 75 different ways and will be. That’s human nature. We all process information on our own level totally differently. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just like players. You’re talking to 120 players. You’re saying that. They’re hearing that 120 different ways. How they process it and how they filter it. I think the more voices you get there, they emphasize the importance of it, the role in which they play. That’s one of the challenges as a coach, he interprets it this way, he interprets it this way. Making sure you have the individual relationship with those guys to be able to get them to hear that message consistently. When you have great people like President Thrasher, our AD Stan Wilcox, it only enhances it. That’s the challenge when you’re dealing with such a large variety of players.

Q. You’ve won 29 out of 30 games, suddenly you’re the underdog in the pre-season poll. How does that feel?

COACH FISHER: When we were the favorite, they didn’t give me the trophy. When you’re the underdog, they’re not giving Clemson the trophy. It’s all about how you perceive yourself in going at it. It’s great to have the expectations. Clemson deserves it. They’re a great program. Dabo has done a great job. We have our work cut out. There’s other great teams, Louisville, Miami, Georgia Tech. We have to have those pre-season polls. If it would, I would have more free time on the weekends, if we just had to live out the pre-season polls. It would be more fun. I don’t know if it would or not. It is what it is. That shows you to me the depth of the conference, that we’ve had three conference championships in a row, but they’re thinking another team is going to win it. To me, that’s only great for the ACC because I think they’re such a great brand of football out there.

Q. Florida State finished dead last in sacks. Is that acceptable?

COACH FISHER: I’m just worried about winning games. Whether there are sacks or whatever. If that helps us win games, it does. I think we will. I think we have more fast twitch guys. Style of defense, the way things go. Those are all things that you have to consider when you do that. In an offense you do what your players can do. On defense you do what your players can do. You have to pressure the quarterback. That’s something we must get better at.

Q. With the offensive line this year replacing a bunch of guys, how important is it that these guys have had a chance to work behind the guys who have left?

COACH FISHER: I think, again, it goes back to your culture. I think that’s the most important thing of any organization, how the kids eat, think, believe, the way they act. I think the standard that’s been set by the previous groups for these young guys to watch, learn and experience I think are very critical. We are a very talented football team. Hopefully they can take the work ethic and demeanor of the previous teams, how they prepared and got ready to play, be able to take that to the field. I like our offensive line. That’s one of the areas you always worry because up front, the guys that put their hand in the dirt are very critical. I was very pleased coming out of spring, we have a lot of work to do, but I can see where we can have a very good football team up there.

Q. You have developed a pretty strong intra-divisional rivalry with Clemson. Do you have a particular preference as far as playing that game earlier or later in the season?

COACH FISHER: No, I don’t necessarily. I think it’s fun. It’s become such a great rivalry. I think one of the things about rivalries, you set a time for them, you play ’em the same every year. I think that’s a very good thing to do because, like I say, inter-divisional rivals, whether it’s early, late or in the middle. Like every rivalry out there in college football, you know the date, the time, the network. They’re always on the same date, time, same network, whatever it may be. I think this game is evolving into that. That’s something we need to think about. I think it not only builds the brand of those two teams, but your conference.

Q. You lose half of your starters this year. There are a lot of question marks on the board. Have you seen younger guys step up and fill those roles?

COACH FISHER: That’s one of the things I’m most excited about. Whether they fill those roles, they have to to do it on Saturday when the scoreboard counts, when those numbers really matter on that scoreboard. But I like the demeanor of this team. I think the chemistry is very good. I like the work ethic. I like the hunger. They’re fighting to be the next guy up, the competition within practice. Again, talent, we are very talented. But what we have to do right now, I think what’s happening in sports today, we’re pushing this up so much, guy plays as a freshman, as a sophomore, goes to the league as a junior. I think what you’re starting to see in the NFL, they’re having a spring developmental league. I think there’s better athletes playing football than ever. We have to make sure they’re great football players playing football. I think there’s a difference learning to be a great football player than being a great athlete. That’s why all you see that in the NFL. These guys are all coming out so early. Back in the old days you never played as a red-shirt junior. Now these kids are playing as a freshman and leaving as a junior. My point is, getting them developed. I think it’s the same way, we’re having to play younger players because of that consistently every year. I think our challenge this year is this: We’re a very talented football team. We have to do a great job as coaches of educating and teaching what a football player is and our players have to do a great job of learning and accepting that coaching and developing. I think that’s going to be the key to our success, because we have talent, we have a great staff, we got to get them into being good football players and not good athletes.

Q. You came into Louisville on a Thursday night last year, an electric atmosphere.


Q. They’re going to travel to Tallahassee in October. What’s different about a game day in Tallahassee? What are they going to experience?

COACH FISHER: I think it will be great. I think Louisville is great, Bobby is a great coach, great tradition. They had a tremendous football game. We had 11 guys drafted, they had 10. The division with the most draft picks in all of college football was the ACC Atlantic Division. We had the most draft picks in all divisions of college football. They talk about the quality of ball in the ACC. Louisville is one heck of a football team. It will be a great environment because we’re going to have to bring our A game like we do every week to play them. They’re very talented, very well-coached. I’m sure it will be as electric down there as it was in Louisville. I know we won the game, but I’m talking about the atmosphere for college football. That was a great night.

“All Lives Matter”, Says ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, a man who has made his name saying controversial things about race, has waded into the dangerous waters again. Smith made a series of tweets regarding the boos and catcalls reigned down upon Democratic Presidential candidate Martin O’Malley after he told an audience that ““Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.”

Many of Smith’s followers were not happy with his statement.



ESPN has not reacted to Smith’s tweets. Given the recent history of ESPN imitating MSNBC on social issues, however, expect a groveling apology from Smith in the near future. Fortunately for Smith, he has an example to follow. O’Malley apologized on Sunday for his “All Lives Matter” comments.

“That was a mistake on my part and I meant no disrespect. I did not mean to be insensitive in any way or communicate that I did not understand the tremendous passion, commitment and feeling and depth of feeling that all of us should be attaching to this issue.”

TCU Football: Gary Patterson Press Conference Transcript

TCU, the new kid on the block in Big 12 football, is now one of the conference’s powerhouses. TCU’s head coach Gary Patterson talks about expectations and what is in store for TCU this season.

COACH PATTERSON: For us at TCU, it’s been a long- I kind of put it into, now going into our fourth season in the Big 12, just the difference in the two-year turnaround, walking up here last year 4-8, changed offenses, 12-1.
For me, many of you that know me, it’s about standing in between the lines, not getting too high or too low, either way. So a year ago you had to prove people wrong. This year you have to prove people right. As a football team, that’s really, from my approach on down, how we’ve tried to handle it.

It’s been a great summer. Going into our fourth season, last year having an opportunity to be in a situation where you won more than you lost and getting a chance to play in a great Bowl game.

So for us, we’re just moving forward recruiting-wise, football-wise, all of the above. Facility-wise. Things have not stopped at TCU.

Q. A year ago at this time, I’m not sure everybody thought Trevone was your starting quarterback. Now a year later, he’s obviously the guy, had a great year. Can you just talk about his evolution and how he got to such a fantastic point with your offense last year.

COACH PATTERSON: If you were listening, somewhere listening, really he was the toughest quarterback that I’ve played against, just it had not come to fruition on the field. Really, I wasn’t surprised by his success. I think we were all surprised that offensively- because last spring, the spring before, going into last season, it wasn’t one of those situations- we just weren’t very good when we ended spring. Some guys were hurt. So you really couldn’t tell.

Then our kids really came along during the summertime on their own, really bonded and started doing it, and things just happened.

Trevone’s case, I think one of the things is, and I’ve tried to do and I’ve talked to the whole offense about it, I think going into year two, having not been known for offense, is just handling success. I think our frustration is understanding that winning is the most important thing and all the rest will come. They don’t have to score more points, have more yards. It’s going to be we play on the road six tough road games. It’s hard to- if you’re going to win those ball games, it’s going to be hard to win by a couple of margins that we did last year.

That’s the thing that I’ve tried to instill in Trevone is to make sure- I’ve been very proud of him in the fact of everything that- the circuit he’s been on, some of the awards, everything he’s been a part of, that he’s handled it in the right way, at least to my knowledge. Head coach sometimes is the last guy to know everything.

Q. Staying on Trevone and how he’s handled himself sort of during this circuit, how about his growth as a leader? We know he’s grown on the field as a quarterback, but how about him sort of taking over, not just this offense, but this team?

COACH PATTERSON: Probably the best example of that, he had a lot of- he’s had a couple of the NFL guys, quarterbacks, the gurus that wanted him to come work out with them this summer, and he told them all no. I think his biggest thing was staying with the offensive group this summer, making sure they were doing seven-on-seven, winning ball games. He knows all that.

Whether he believes or doesn’t believe it, at least he’s doing the right things, and I think that’s half the battle. Sometimes you can get lulled into everything, especially if you went from where we were to where he is now. So for us, from everything I’ve seen up to this point, he’s handled it very well.

For us, we have a lot of older guys on offense. So the leadership aspect is not just him, it’s been Joey Hunt that’s here today, Josh Doctson. You have many that have played in a lot of football games.

Q. You walked in here, the first thing you said was you’re walking in here this year not 4-8. You’re 12-1. What do you think of the distance you’ve come in just one year in this league to walk into this room today as really the lead favorite in this league?

COACH PATTERSON: I don’t- it’s a nice feeling, but the bottom line is I’ve been in this business too long to get caught up in it. I know that last year we didn’t have any linebackers, we didn’t have a quarterback. This year I’ve got to replace six starters on defense. We came a long way in the spring.

But the thing I found is just, for me, if I stay even keel with how we need to do things, then my team will because it just kind of all reverberates down. So for me, I’m just going to- what I think when I go to bed at night and not just in the Big 12, but everything that we’ve been able to accomplish at TCU in the last 18 years, it’s all great and fine, but it’s kind of like winning any awards. You can put them all in the closet because it doesn’t mean anything to anybody anymore when we play Minnesota.

Right now we’ve been moving forward. I really like the attitude of our football team. This summer has been a very business-like manner, how they’ve gone about it. To be honest with you, it hasn’t been as hot in Texas. So we’ve had to turn off the air conditioner in the indoor to create the humidity to make sure that we play like TCU teams are supposed to play.

So if there’s any actions from me that would indicate that I didn’t go back to the beginning, I’ve tried not to make sure I gave any of those away. We’ve just been trying to do what we need to do.

Q. Questions about two of your positions. It looked like in the spring you had an abundance of wide receivers, enough to move some of them around. And the second question is about your linebackers because it looked like you didn’t have a lot of depth there.

COACH PATTERSON: I don’t know if you ever have enough of anything. You try not to have. But we have the same guys coming back, and we have some freshmen coming in. We lost Josh Porter, but everybody else is back.
I think, like any football team, the key was in the last half of the season, until we got in the Bowl game, we were beat up in that position, and it showed in our numbers. Like anybody else, we have to stay healthy.

Linebacker-wise, we had two guys, both Mike Freeze and Alec Dunham, that came in the spring. Ty Summers redshirted. To be honest, it’s back to the numbers we had. Our starting linebackers last year ran 5 flat, 4.8. It was the slowest group we’ve ever had at TCU. The five top linebackers this year average a 4.5-something when we ran at the end of spring.

Defensively, not just linebacker-wise, we have a chance to be more athletic than we were a year ago. You’ve got to replace a Kevin White and then a Sam Carter and a Chris Hackett. So you have a group of guys that in the last three years in the Big 12 that picked 65 footballs. So there’s a lot of production that we have to be able to replace. How do you do that?

So we started in the spring because I treat spring like two-a-days, where it’s really about being physical and learning. And then we’ll get into two-a-days just in addition, and hopefully it carries through. We’ve got a lot of practices before we get to Minnesota, which it’s going to be a very tough ball game. It’s like Custer. The only difference between Custer and us is we know what’s on the other side of the hill.
For us going into it, then you have Stephen F. Austin and SMU, and you have a very tough four-game swing with going to Lubbock and Texas at home and then going to Manhattan and going to Ames. So three out of four. So you play a lot of road games on the road and get ready to go.

But that’s the Big 12. We’re excited about it. You’ve got to embrace it and go forward.

Q. Bob Bowlsby was in here a little bit ago talking about the limiting days of contact for teams to two, including a game day. What’s been your situation in the past? How much hitting have you guys done? How is that going to affect you?

COACH PATTERSON: It’s easy for us. Just on Tuesday. That’s the only day we’re in full pads besides the game. Everybody always looks surprised at me because we’re physical. Sunday we’re in shorts. Tuesday we’re in full. Wednesday we’re in shells. Thursday we’re in shorts. We’ve been that way really since we’ve been at TCU.
Our whole thing is about being physical in the spring, being physical in two-a-days, and then when you get in the season- in this league, you’ve got to be able to pull up because of the bodies, and you’ve got to be able to get guys through to the end of the season.

I think what you’ll find is you’ll find that there’s a majority of coaches- there’s a false sense of we just try to bang our kids around, but I think all of us, we like keeping our jobs, and we want to keep our kids healthy. We’ve all been like that.

Fresh shoulders, fresh legs means more physical players. So once we get to that point, but that’s what we’ve always felt like we needed to do. I’ve even- when you go every other day, we’re probably only down two-a-days where we go maybe two days we’re in full pads both practices, that’s it. We don’t even do it in two-a-days.
I think it’s not so much part of the climate of everything that’s going on with it, I just think the body types, I’ve just felt like the body types are getting so big, so strong, so fast, I think it’s just important that you make sure that you get all your guys to game day and keep them healthy. That’s been our mindset for a long time. Best teams play at the end of the year.

Q. You had worked with Dick Bumpas for a good percentage of your career. With his retirement, how are things different not having him around? How much are things going to be different on the field with Coaches Cross and Glasgow?

before. I think it’s probably the most experienced staff we’ve had in a couple of years because, obviously, Chad, Coach Glasgow, has been with us a long time. He’s been the guy that’s probably- he’s been with me longer than what Coach Bumpas, in some situations. Obviously, losing a guy that’s been in the profession as long as Coach Bumpas has, it’s hard to replace that. But Coach Sharp has been in our program for a long time. He’ll be our D-line coach. Coach Cross, now being his third year, just the spring and then fall, it’s way different than what it was starting when young coaches in our scheme come in.

And Paul Gonzales, that is our corner coach, really is a guy that has been behind the scenes, was a graduate assistant. He’s probably one of the more articulate guys we’ve ever had, done a great job recruiting so far.
So I feel really good about where we’re at as a staff. Obviously, when you lose a coach- and that’s where our seniors coming back, our older group is our senior guys up front- you worry about it all, but I thought they did very well in the spring. I think the farther they get along, fall will even be better because you just have a different guy coaching them.

Q. Gary, this time last year, how much of your offense had you all installed from the new offense? And then how much more have you added to the playbook?

COACH PATTERSON: I don’t think- I think one of the secrets to that offense is that they don’t. They try to outexecute you. I think what we try to do is just do it better in the spring.
Everybody has always told me there’s always another level second year. Kind of like last year, I’m going to wait and see what the difference is.

When you’ve been around other kinds of offenses, you kind of know the progression. This will only be my second year of being the head coach with this offense, so I don’t know what the progression is besides playing against it. But everyone I’ve talked to has talked about taking it to another level.

One of the things is you now have your older guys can teach your younger guys where it was kind of a brand-new thing in the summertime before, where now you’re getting a lot more reps, you’re able to run more of your offense in the summer, you’re able to do all of those things, which we didn’t get a chance to do as much a year ago because they didn’t know all of it.

This offense is a little bit more like our defense. It’s all about execution, look like you’re doing a lot of things. Throw in a few bells and whistles, but it’s about being better at what they do than other people are and plugging in good players.

Q. How confident do you feel that your team would be in the playoffs without having a conference championship game in the Big 12?

COACH PATTERSON: After last year, I don’t feel confident about anything. But the key to the whole story is- and I’m going to always be a team player. The bottom line, I handle it the way I handle it because that was what was best for college football, best for the Big 12, best for TCU, best for my team. And I knew if I handled it differently, then they wouldn’t have played like they did in a Bowl game.

For me, I think every year is different. I’m not a big believer that you have to have a conference championship. I thought the whole thing about going to a playoff was that they picked the four best teams. You didn’t even have to have a championship game. That’s what I was led to believe. In 33 years, I’ve seen different forms of how we got to a national championship in every shape and manner.

For me, all I can do is control what I can control, and that’s to try to put the best TCU team on the field that I can and make sure that they act right on and off the field and let all those other people decide all the other things they need to.

There was eight really good football teams last year, I thought. And I thinkI would have told you before we even went into the season every year there’s always about eight. There’s very few times that I ever look up and say, well, this team here when I watch- and I don’t get a chance to watch a lot- I say this team is so much better than everybody else, they’re the favorite.

I think once you get into one of those tournaments and do all of it- our key is to control our own destiny, and the best way to do that is to try to win them all. That’s what we’re going to try to get done. Then we’ll see how everything else falls.

I think you have to- for me, I have to believe and trust in the operation of what goes on, that everybody’s going to deal above board, everybody’s going to do the right thing. Because that’s what- we don’t do it for the coaches. We do it for the kids. The kids are the ones that are practicing all the way 365 days a year and doing the things they’re supposed to do.

That’s how we’re supposed to find the top four teams- not about money, not about leverage, not about anything else. Just supposed to be about who are the four best teams.

I’ve been in this long enough that I have to believe that
the people who are in charge of it, that’s what they’re going to do. We’ve only done it one year. Just like coming into this conference, I said we have to do it a couple years until we understood the landscape, how did we have to recruit differently, how did we have to play differently. We changed offenses, and I think we also have to look and wait and see how was last year an anomaly. A couple games could have been different. Maybe both Baylor and ourselves could have been in the playoffs.

So I can’t judge a group yet until I kind of see it go out a few more- a couple more years and see how that all extends. So we’ll see.

Expansion and Title Game is on Bill Snyder’s Wishlist: Press Conference Transcript

Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder had this to say at the Big 12 Media Days:

COACH SNYDER: Not a whole lot to share with you. We can go ahead and get started. I’m pleased to have the opportunity to be here. Been here longer than most of you, I think. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it is what it is.

My respect to our conference and those of you that cover our conference. We greatly appreciate that. I didn’t get to hear Commissioner Bowlsby, but I have a great appreciation for him and what he has meant to our conference. He has stepped into the commissioner’s role.

I would ask that each and every one of you keep in mind and keep in your prayers and your thoughts a member of the Big 12 Conference who has meant a great deal to the conference and a great deal to me personally, Donnie Duncan. I think all of you recognize the name. He’s going through some very difficult times in his life right now. As a stout supporter and member of the Big 12 Conference, he has been very special to our conference.
We’ve got four young guys here. You’re supposed to?? I think you’ll have an opportunity to hear from them. All of them are tremendous young people, good teammates, good students, care about each other, care about doing things right, and I think you’ll find that. I hope that each and every one of you get an opportunity to be in front of them, and I think you’ll be impressed by the quality of character of those young guys. Good football players as well.

Q. I saw where you have seven quarterbacks listed on your roster, and I don’t recall seeing seven quarterbacks on a Bill Snyder roster before. Upon going through the entirety of spring, I was wondering if you could assess the quarterback spot right now. Then, also, the summer transfer, Jonathan Banks, what he possesses and how he might fit into the mix.

COACH SNYDER: Yes, we do have seven quarterbacks. I think probably four of them at this particular point in time?? in my eyes, anyway?? should be competitive for the position. We will go into our proverbial two?a?day practices with that in mind.

It’s hard to get all the repetitions you would like with four guys sharing the opportunities, so it will be significant for us to be able to pare that down as quickly as we possibly can. I don’t know how fast that will be. Right now they’re all on equal footing.

Three of them went through spring practice. The young guy that you mentioned, Jonathan Banks, just recently joined us, a very athletic young guy. We haven’t seen him in a practice environment yet. So that remains to be seen. But he will be one of the four probably that will be certainly in competition for the position.
I think they’re all good young guys. They all care. They’re all good teammates. They all do things the right way. They all want us to see. So I think that will be very competitive. We just want to sort it out as quickly as we can.

Q. Regarding the Big 12’s new rule restricting live contact, what do you think of the rule? Has the amount of contact in your practices changed over the years? How much do players need to have contact to get acclimated to games?

COACH SNYDER: I would think that you have to have some. It will not affect us because the rule defined as it is in place right now, and we’ve had discussions of it in our conference meetings, is identical to what our needs are. So it doesn’t alter anything that we have done. We don’t have to make any changes in that respect.
I like the way we do our practices. We’ve been doing them the same way for a long time. So it plays out to favor what we do, I think.

Q. A lot of talk about expansion the last few weeks has risen up again. You have long advocated for a championship game, no matter what the conference format is. How do you stand on expansion? Do you feel like the league needs to get back to 12, or is 10 okay as long as you have a championship game?

COACH SNYDER: Let me try to answer it this way. I’ve long been an advocate of a certain way, and only because of its value to Kansas State. I mean, everybody has different opinions about it, and I understand that. We all have to think about collectively the conference and certainly our own programs and our own universities.

I have always favored the way it was at one time. I favor a 12?team conference, I favor two divisions, and I favor a championship game. You might remember that, when we had that format, we were one of only two teams that played a game in December, and that was one of only two conferences. That was the Big 12 Conference and the SEC. Now we’re the only conference that does not do that and have that particular format.

I know it’s hard to come by with being a ten?team conference. And as I said, I understand everybody doesn’t want to do it that way. They all have very adequate reasons why they would not want to do it that way because of what it means to their particular program. That’s just my opinion.

Q. Clearly, you are very passionate about your fan base, and your fan base is extremely passionate about Kansas State football. In light of all these awesome new renovations that you all have going on right now, can you talk about how important that fan base is to make Kansas State special.

COACH SNYDER: It goes back to the history, I think as much as anything. When we went to Kansas State University in ’89, Kansas State University was a step away from being eliminated from what we define as Division I football at the time. And we had an attendance, average attendance of 13,000, give or take. There was an NCAA rule in place at the time that indicated that to be a Division I team, you had to have an average attendance of 19,000.
So there was discussion on the board of regents what to do, move to a lower level or drop football altogether. Both were on the table. And our fans stepped up, and we went above the necessary numbers for the first season. And every year there on out, we’ve grown. And we’ve learned to play in front of sellout crowds for quite some time now.

The fans have been?? they’re wonderful. They care about the young people in our program. I have a great appreciation for that. They care about them as young people, not just win or lose guys. They’re not nameless. They’re young guys that I believe they’re good young guys. Our fans believe they’re good young guys. And they appreciate very much the kind of young people that we have in our program.

That’s what’s important to me. We haven’t always been?? we’ve had some years that have been what some would consider to be down years, and the fans have been there for all of these young guys. In this day and age, that’s somewhat rare, and I appreciate it a great deal.

You might remember several years ago when Pete Carroll was at USC and Kansas State played?? we played out in the Coliseum one year and then the following year they came back and played us in Manhattan. Pete Carroll went on one of the national TV shows after the ball game and said “The most intimidating crowd we have ever played in front of” in his history at USC. I thought that was saying something.

So I’m just so proud of them. They are?? it says Family on that stadium. My personal family, certainly, that’s for them, but it’s also for the Kansas State family because I consider them family as well. Wonderful people.

Q. Dante Barnett has been getting a lot of preseason attention. He’s on a number of awards watch lists. How has he been handling that? What is it about him that you think will allow him to handle the top billing as the leader on your defense?

COACH SNYDER: I appreciate you saying it that way because that’s exactly the way it has to take place. As I said, each one of those young guys I’ve alluded to, it’s wonderful. Congratulations on being selected on this watch list, that watch list, et cetera, et cetera, but that’s not the significant thing. The important thing is will you work hard enough, will you make it important enough to you to earn it in the light that is expected of you, which is to be a great teammate and make it about the team and not about yourself.

He is a young guy like the rest of them who I think will do exactly that. I think he cares more about the accomplishments of his collective team and his teammates than he does about his own. I have great appreciation for that. There’s a humility there. Dante is a very confident young guy, and I appreciate that a great deal. But by the same token, humility is part of his makeup, and I appreciate that a great deal as well. But I also believe that it’s deserved because he has been?? aside from the other things, he’s been a fine player as well.

Q. I was going to ask about Dante as well. When he showed up at campus, was he a natural leader, or is that something you’ve seen progress in his time there?

COACH SNYDER: I think he’s progressed into it. It’s not something that he?? not that he?? I’m not a big believer that people are natural this and natural that. I think you develop the capacity to lead for the most part. And I think over a period of time he has done that.

We try to promote leadership with young guys as soon as they step foot on our campus. I hear too often we’ve got X number of seniors and that’s where your leadership lies. I think you have to help develop young guys from the very beginning, from the outset, because leadership’s going to be important for them with their family, with their career field, in so many other aspects of their life, as well as it is for football.

So that’s part of our responsibility, to help encourage and help create a foundation for the development of leadership with all the young guys we have.

Q. Coach Snyder, you say that you’re in favor of conference expansion. Which teams do you see as viable options for the conference if they in the future choose to do so?

COACH SNYDER: Well, I haven’t gotten into that. I do the easy part of it. I can identify issues. Solution is another story. I’m not going to?? I’m not going to be part of answering the question or providing solutions. If I could, probably?? if asked, I certainly would try to help. I don’t have enough background information because I don’t venture in that direction. I don’t want to get sidetracked in what we do. So I really couldn’t tell you.
I hear the schools that are mentioned from time to time, and I think all of them are mentioned for a reason. Obviously, they have fine programs, good universities. But I don’t have a favorite or two favorites, and I don’t know where all that would go.

I would say this. I think there is probably some universities out there that haven’t necessarily been mentioned for maybe some obvious reasons that might have an interest in being a part of our conference. But I don’t know that for a fact.

I don’t really have a response or great answer to that.

Q. Bill, I don’t know how much longer you’re going to coach, but do you think in the next 10 or 20 years?? have you thought about a second career in anything?

COACH SNYDER: I get asked some type of question like that quite frequently. When I retired, I missed football probably for about six months, and after that, I didn’t. I truly didn’t. I mean, I was enamored by it, but I didn’t miss it.

I had the opportunity to do a lot of things I really enjoyed doing. We initiated Kansas Mentors, which is a statewide mentoring initiative that was significant for me and what was important to me. We initiated the Kansas Leadership Center, which was significant to our state, which is important to me. And I was heavily invested in the Kansas State University Leadership Studies program, which I helped initiate, and it’s very important to me as well. I was invested in those things as well as more family time, and I enjoyed that.

When I was asked to come back, that was not an easy decision to make. Most people think “You missed it so much, you had to be back,” and that was not the case at all. It took me, as I’ve indicated, probably around six months to make the decision to come back.

And the reason I came back was because of what I perceived, anyway, to be the capacity to help guide and direct young people to become successful in life and to help create a value system or implement a foundation for the rest of their lives. That has always been my highest priority in coaching, and that had more to do with me coming back than anything else.

Q. I’m sure that the Bill Snyder family is really, really interested in what’s going to happen at this quarterback position. You’ve told us as many as four could be involved in the competition. My question to you, Coach, is could you envision a scenario where maybe you platoon quarterbacks or play two?

COACH SNYDER: You know, it’s possible. We’ve done it. When you have two, it’s not my favorite thing to do. I don’t exclude anything, most people wouldn’t, but that’s not our intent at this particular point in time. Our intent is just exactly as I had indicated, is try to sort through what we have and work our way into positions where we have a quarterback.

But if you followed our program, you’ve seen us play two quarterbacks on the field at the same time. So we have a lot of things that we can do in that respect.

But at the end of the day, the bottom line is I concur with what most people would say, you’re better served to have one than two. You can define that a lot of different ways. I’m pleased that we have four, but we do have to have a number one out of those four, and that’s the direction we’re trying to go.