Kansas State coach Bill Snyder acknowledged that the ability for the Wildcats to come back twice in a 24-23 win against Iowa State last weekend enhanced the spirit of his team, but during the Big 12 coaches' teleconference admitted, "I'm more concerned about the spirit of your football team when things are not going well." As for whether Grant Gregory might start again against Texas Tech, Snyder replied, "That remains to be seen."
I was wondering if you could talk about Tysyn Hartman and his transition from quarterback to safety in a year's span.
SNYDER: "Well, he had moved from quarterback to safety a year ago, so I really can't speak to that. I know as he has transitioned into this year he has had to take on a schematic difference and terminology difference this year, so it was a learning process for him and it has been but he's really a neat, neat young guy and very conscientious and he works extremely hard and he's intelligent. He really pays attention to detail and consequently his learning curve has been pretty good and certainly in his favor. He's made the transition well and still has improvement to make and he's very diligent about trying to improve himself. I appreciate what he's doing."
What kind of impact has he made on your defense this year?
SNYDER: "Well, I think he has some leadership capabilities that players on defense and in other areas of our team respond to. He's a young guy who tries to get people where they're supposed to be and helps to get people lined up, so he has that kind of leadership consistency that he provides."
Last week you talked about trying to create a positive atmosphere with your football team. You were able to come back against Iowa State twice. What kind of positive atmosphere and spirit does that create going forward?
SNYDER: "In those situations, I'm very proud of our football team. I've said so many times we're a work in progress. They've experienced so much in this early part of the schedule, this first five games, so everything has been a learning process for them. They have responded reasonably well. With the situations that arose the other night, I know there was a good side and a not-so good side. I remember back when we were back in Louisiana, they went ahead and got ahead in the ball game and came back and we lost it at the end of the ball game. Then you go back to the UCLA game as well, as we came back after being down and made it an awfully tight ball game with about six minutes to go in the ball game and couldn't put it away.
"On Saturday, it was somewhat identical circumstances that presented themselves. Our offense scored twice in the fourth quarter but it was just a result of awfully good play from our defense. We gave the offense the ball in good field position with the turnovers and had significant plays on defense to set up the scores for our offense. Then defensively to have them go down the field right there at the very end was a little disheartening after we had come back and forged ahead. It was a great play by Emmanual Lamur on the extra point.
"That's too long of an answer to a short question. Yes, it enhances the spirit of the football team. I'm more concerned about the spirit of your football team when things are not going well. That's where it's more difficult and where we have to generate tremendous spirit within our team. We're learning about those things."
Is there any kind of a policy on Facebook and Twitter or do you address those kinds of things at all?
SNYDER: "Well, we share with them the significance of making sure there are appropriate interactions on the electronic cyber space world. It's one of those things, that's what young people do. I certainly don't want to have a cat and mouse game created and don't want to restrict their capabilities to interact the same as all young teenagers do. But they have to certainly be wise about their choices. We have some counseling for all of our student-athletes to give them some direction and some of the pitfalls that can present themselves if they're not very careful with them."
What value do you place on time of possession?
SNYDER: "Pretty simply, it helps us defensively. If the ball is in our possession, then the defense is off the field and that's a good position for them to be. The other side of the coin is, you can possess the ball for 35 or 36 minutes of the ball game but if you don't put it into the end zone you obviously create some issues for yourself. It's a double-edged sword. Possession time is good, now what really becomes significant is can we eliminate the penalties and can we eliminate the turnovers that get us stopped when the offense has the ball going in on the scoring end of the field. We haven't successfully done that yet."
Can you talk about the play of Grant Gregory last week and can you envision starting him again this week?
SNYDER: "Well, that remains to be seen regarding who starts in the ballgame. I thought Grant did really some very positive things in the ball game and created some plays for us, which was important for us to have. There were certainly some of his performance that needs vast improvement, some mistakes that were critical in the ballgame, throwing an interception and a few other things that are just going to come with focus on improvement and experience on the field. He's a hard-working young guy, he's very focused and conscientious. They'll go on the practice field and continue to compete as they have all season."
With conference games getting fully underway this week, what are some elements that are going to be crucial in determining the Big 12 North?
SNYDER: "Well, I tell you, that's a question I'm not so sure I can answer. I have really been just focused on a step at a time. I really couldn't tell you too much about other teams other than the ones we've played and the one we're getting ready to play. The major element is wins. That's the bottom line and what affects the outcome in the north division or the south division. I really couldn't tell you of those teams that we've played against or are getting ready to go against, I really couldn't tell you very much about them at all other than what I've known through the spring and the summer."