|Kansas State - Team Notes|
|Posted 5/15/2009 1:27 PM ET|
The name is Snyder ... Bill Snyder. He's the old/new coach of the Kansas State Wildcats. A coach, by the way, who is the only coach who will play his home games this season at a location that carries his name - Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
And fans? Some will travel the eight miles off I-70 on Bill Snyder Highway that is aimed into the Manhattan city limits.
Snyder authored the "Miracle In Manhattan" from 1989 through 2005, when Wildcat teams won 136 games, attended 11 bowl games, won four Big 12 North titles and the 2003 Big 12 championship.
"I didn't know Coach Snyder, but I knew his history," senior wide receiver Brandon Banks said. "The guy knows what he's talking about. As the weeks progressed, after we had some meetings, after I saw him at practice ... I think he's a good man. His record speaks for itself."
There's a good chance that the Wildcats of today do not know of the K-State past. They don't know that Snyder inherited a team in 1989 that had gone just 2-30-1 in the three previous years to his arrival. They don't know that the team was just five Big 8 wins in the six previous seasons to his arrival, and they don't know that K-State attended just one bowl game in the school's history prior to his arrival.
As when he arrived the first time, the 69-year-old Snyder again is focusing on the "intrinsics" of the game, and like before with a theme of being a little bit better today than yesterday, and better tomorrow than today.
A better coach today than when he retired in 2005?
Snyder gives a candid "... probably not, but I'm working toward that. I'm working toward that on a regular basis. I've never asked anyone in the program to do more than what I'm committed to doing myself.
"In this profession, there are 100 experiences that take place every single day," Snyder said. "I tell my coaches that if you haven't dealt with a program today, then you haven't been here long enough, or you're not paying attention.
"Do I have everything in place like a number of years ago?" Snyder asked. "No, but I hope to."
--Four players remain from the Snyder's last team in 2005. That list includes offensive linemen Nick Stringer and Brock Unruh, defensive back Courtney Herndon and defensive end Eric Childs.
--Two members of this 2009 staff of Snyder's were also on the 1989 staff. That's when Del Miller was offensive coordinator and Dana Dimel was an assistant offensive line coach.
--Hired and gone: Three of Snyder's 2009 staff hires didn't last 60 days. Dave Brock left for Boston College, Jeff Rodgers for the NFL and Andy Ludwig for California.
Snyder's staff: Joe Bob Clements, defensive ends (coming from Kansas); Chris Cosh, co-defensive coordinator (Maryland); Charlie Dickey, O-line (Utah); Dana Dimel, running backs (Arizona); Vic Koenning, co-defensive coordinator (Clemson); Mo Latimore, defensive line (Kansas State); Del Miller, quarterbacks (San Diego State); Ricky Rahne, tight ends (Kansas State); Michael Smith, receivers (Arizona).
--Coffman? With his best buddy gone to the NFL, it will be junior Carson Coffman who gets the first opportunity to replace Josh Freeman at quarterback. In a half-dozen mop-up appearances, Coffman completed 25-of-41 passes for 282 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions last year. As a prep at Raymore-Peculiar High School, he went undefeated as a junior and senior, passing for 3,196 yards and 42 touchdowns. While Coffman is working No. 1 this spring, Snyder said, "That is certainly not written in stone."
--Some things never change: Nope, Snyder has not changed his philosophy on scheduling. While the Wildcats will play a home-and-home with UCLA in 2009 and 2010, they are trying to get out of contracts signed by previous coach Ron Prince with Miami, Oregon and Virginia Tech in games slated into the mid-teens.
"We're trying to get ourselves to a point where we can develop our own schedule," Snyder said. "My philosophy, at this stage, hasn't changed at all. We need to understand that we're in the Big 12 Conference ... a dynamic conference, and that's strong enough. We want to make sure we do everything in our power to make sure we are alive and kicking when we get into conference play."
In 2009, KSU will host Massachusetts and Tennessee Tech, plus make trips to Louisiana-Lafayette and UCLA.
In 2010, K-State will host UCLA and Missouri State, and travel to North Texas.
In 2011, the Wildcats will host Oregon and Louisiana-Lafayette before going to Miami.
In 2012, K-State goes to Oregon, plus hosts Miami and North Texas.
In each of those seasons, one more game needs to be scheduled.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
2009 OUTLOOK: Coach Snyder did not enter the spring with a perceived depth chart, nor did he announce one during spring camp, nor will he likely publicize one until the first game ... if even then. Entering spring drills, he said, "We've always opened our spring practice the way we came out of the previous season, but every youngster, regardless of position, will have a chance to define a position on the depth chart, which I'm sure will be very fluid." Snyder does inherit 17 starters, which includes seven on offense, eight on defense and two on special teams.
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Replacing QB Josh Freeman will be the No. 1 priority with Carson Coffman challenged by a pair of redshirt freshmen in Joseph Kassanavoid and Collin Klein. All three QBs are more of the drop-back nature, while Snyder, eventually, would prefer a version of the quarterback-run game. They could be challenged in the fall with the expected arrival of junior-college transfer Daniel Thomas. K-State also has concerns at running back, as Keithen Valentine (34 carries for 129 yards) and Logan Dold (82 for 333) are the top two returnees. "God's given me a second chance," Valentine said in reference to starting the first three games last year, but then disappearing on the bench. "I know I can play in the Big 12." The Wildcats' primary receiving weapon will be the 5-foot-6, 150-pound Brandon Banks, who caught 67 balls for 1,049 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior. "Brandon is the smallest young guy I have ever seen in my life, and one of the fastest," Snyder said. "You can do a number of things with someone that has the kind of quickness and speed that he has." Banks is expected to be used as a runner this year as well as a pass catcher, much like Missouri did with Jeremy Maclin last year. Deon Murphy, KSU's third leading receiver, has left the team.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: It has to be better ... doesn't it? K-State's "D" ranked No. 117 out of 119 D-I programs last year, allowing 35.8 points and 479 yards per game. The Wildcats are expected to play a version of a 4-2-5 defense with returning headliners being Daniel Calvin (DT), Courtney Herndon (DB), Brandon Harold (DE), Joshua Moore (DB), Ulla Pomele (LB) and Tysyn Hartman (DB). Snyder pointed to linebacker, with Alex Hrebec, John Houlik and Ulla Pomele, as the best position out of spring camp.
SCOUTING THE SPECIAL TEAMS: The headliner is long-snapper Corey Adams, who has been 100 percent on his long-distant hikes in his first two seasons. Josh Cherry will be the top candidate to replace kicker Brooks Rossman, while Ryan Doerr, a transfer from South Carolina a year ago, could emerge as the No. 1 punter. With Deon Murphy leaving the team, K-State loses its primary return man, but it has ample candidates to fill the void with Brandon Banks and Aubrey Quarles topping that list.
--As with any coaching change, there has been attrition. On the list of "no longer Wildcats" are projected starters Deon Murphy (receiver), Blair Irvin (defensive back), Olu Hall (linebacker), plus reserves Tony Purvis (running back), Jayson Cuba (tight end), Edward Prince (O-line), Justin Woods (running back) and Kendrick Matthews (defensive back).
--At his request, Lamark Brown will return to the wide receiver position. Last year, Brown was moved to running back where he rushed for a team-high 412 yards.
--Contending to be a starting linebacker is Josh Beard (El Camino Community College), who sat out last year after tearing his ACL, MCL and left hamstring.
--Expected to be a defensive factor is lineman Jeffrey Fitzgerald. He started 25 games at Virginia in 2006 and 2007 before transferring to K-State to play for Ron Prince in 2008.
|Posted 5/15/2009 1:27 PM ET|