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TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL MEDIA CONFERENCE
December 2, 2012
THE MODERATOR:¬† Good evening, everyone.¬† Thank you for joining us.¬† We understand we have a nice audience for the conference call with coaches Snyder and Kelly.¬† We congratulate them.¬† We have both coaches on the line.¬† We're going to start with Coach Snyder.¬† I've asked him to make a few opening remarks and then we'll go to questions.
COACH SNYDER:¬† Thank you very much.¬† As would be expected, we're quite honored to have the opportunity to participate again in the Fiesta Bowl.¬† It will be our third time there.¬† The previous times were tremendous experiences.¬† A lot of wonderful people, people that treated us very graciously, not only our team and our travel parties, but our fans as well.
I offer my congratulations to Coach Kelly.¬† What a wonderful job all the people in his program have done, not just this year, but in previous years.
THE MODERATOR:¬† Let's have questions for Coach Snyder first, please.
Q.¬† A lot of talk has been going on about the fact that Oregon didn't get a chance to play Kansas State earlier in the year.¬† It hurt their schedule.¬† Can you talk a little bit about why that game was canceled, how you feel about going against this team now, kind of ironic.
COACH SNYDER:¬† Perhaps it is ironic.¬† Oregon is an amazing football program, wonderful team.¬† From my standpoint, maybe not everybody else's, didn't fit our scheduling philosophy.
Q.¬† Coach, a lot has been talked about your 16 tenets of success in your program.¬† In your second tenure at Kansas State, have you essentially repeated what you did the first time?
COACH SNYDER:¬† If I understand the question correctly, I'm not any different I don't think than I was.¬† I understand the changes in our society.¬† But I think as I approach young people in our program, if indeed those values that you just mentioned that we make important to us here have meaning to young people, then we would not have any type of issues whatsoever.
If they were opposed to hard work and discipline and responsibility and things like that, there probably would be a significant difference between myself and any young people that felt that way.
But we've been very, very fortunate to have good young guys that believe in those values, and they're no different values than what you would want to teach your son, and I'm quite certain you do if you have children.
I don't think that I've changed dramatically.¬† Probably not smart enough to do that.
Q.¬† Oregon will become the sixth team you will have faced this season which will be ranked in the top 11 as far as total offense and scoring offense.¬† You faced some high‑potent offenses in the Big 12.¬† Can you talk about the challenge of facing the Ducks.
COACH SNYDER:¬† It's an amazing challenge.¬† They're extremely talented and well coached collectively.¬† Offensively they go faster than the speed of light, so to speak, and they do it with a great deal of expertise and talent.
It's a challenge for us just as it would be for anybody that they play.¬† Pretty good football team.
Q.¬† If I'm not mistaken, this will be the only BCS bowl which will put two of the top‑10 scoring offenses in the country against each other.¬† Can you talk about the two teams offensively and what you can expect from your offense as well.
COACH SNYDER:¬† Well, who knows what to expect in the course of time.¬† There's a lot of preparation time.¬† We try to be as productive as we possibly can, understanding that two different styles of play in regards to offensive football.
We just try to do our thing and I'm sure Oregon will try to do their thing, and their thing has been extremely successful.¬† It will be an amazing challenge.
Q.¬† You've been in so many bowl games over the years, but can you talk about the significance of being in a BCS game.
COACH SNYDER:¬† I think it's extremely important for the program.¬† It's very important for the wonderful people that support our program.¬† Our program is really about people that have been Kansas State people for extended periods of time, have supported us when we went to the Fiesta Bowl, the very first Fiesta Bowl we went to.¬† We had right in the vicinity of 50,000 people there.¬† That's a tremendous number of people for a bowl event.
It's important to those people.¬† I think they feel rewarded because of it and because of what the young people in our program have done.¬† Of course, our young guys are excited about it and very enthused, appreciate the opportunity.
It means a lot to them, it means a lot to the people of Kansas State.¬† Pleased about that.
Q.¬† I wanted to know if what you guys deal with in the Big 12 with some of those fast‑break offenses gives you a little bit of a leg up on someone who runs it like Oregon does?
COACH SNYDER:¬† Well, it's a positive thing in that respect.¬† But Oregon, I believe, I'm not that well‑versed on their program right now, I think they're probably a little faster.¬† The operation time in our conference with the fast offensive football teams is somewhere in the vicinity of 17 and 18 seconds between snaps.¬† I think Oregon operates faster than that.
It will be an additional challenge beyond what we've faced so far, I think.
Q.¬† You made the comment after the Texas game that you don't know of anyone who means more to their program than Collin Klein.¬† That means he means a lot more than what he provides on the field.¬† Can you talk about what he does mean to your program.
COACH SNYDER:¬† First of all, let me preface this by saying we have a lot of young people in our program, as I'm sure Chip does as well, that are quality young people and have a major impact on others in a very, very positive way.¬† Collin is certainly one of those.¬† Collin is a very talented young person in so many ways.
He's a very caring person.¬† He's a tremendous teammate.¬† He's been an excellent leader for us.¬† Collin is a very humble young man and has had a lot thrust on his plate and has handled it extremely well with a great deal of poise.
He's always the first one to distribute the accolades that come his way on his teammates.¬† His teammates feel very strongly about him, as well.¬† He's very strong with his faith.¬† He's a good individual in our community as far as doing community service work, excellent student, great family man, recently married.
It's very hard, well, it's impossible not to find something positive about Collin.
Q.¬† I was wondering what this game would mean to Chris Harper having played at Oregon?
COACH SNYDER:¬† It would have some additional meaning to him.¬† We're awful pleased to have him.¬† I appreciate Chip for allowing that to happen.¬† He's a fine young man, fine athlete, and has been very significant in our program.¬† He's grown immensely in the short period of time he's been here.¬† I'm awful proud of him.
The answer to the question is I think it will have significant meaning to him.
THE MODERATOR:¬† Coach Snyder, thank you for your time.¬† We'll let you go.
COACH SNYDER:¬† Thank you very much.
THE MODERATOR:¬† Coach Kelly, a few opening remarks for our group and then we'll go to questions.
COACH KELLY:¬† We're really excited about the matchup with Kansas State.¬† Obviously, the job that Bill Snyder has done in Kansas State, his first tour there, now his second tour, he'll go down in history as one of the greatest college football coaches this game has ever seen.
He is a model for how to run your program, does an outstanding job.¬† Got a chance to watch their game last night.¬† Really for the first time I got a chance to see them all season long.¬† Impressed with him in all three phases, offense, defense, special teams.¬† I think they lead the nation in turnover margin.¬† Top in punt returns, kickoff returns.¬† They have one of the best players in college football in Collin Klein at quarterback.
It's a big challenge and we're excited about it.
THE MODERATOR:¬† Questions for Coach Kelly.
Q.¬† Why do you like to play so fast?¬† Why do you like the speed component of your teams?
COACH KELLY:¬† We just think it's a weapon that we can use.¬† We don't play fast all the time.¬† But when the situation dictates it, we can change the tempo of the game.¬† We're always looking for a schematic advantage if we can get one.¬† It's something I think our players have really bought into.
Q.¬† Coach Snyder was saying some of the Big 12 teams play at 17 to 18 seconds per snap.¬† You probably do it a little quicker than that.
COACH KELLY:¬† We don't put a clock on it.¬† We just try to play.
Q.¬† You keep your heads down and like to think about little goals day‑to‑day.¬† Maybe the irony when you do that, big goals come.¬† Do you reflect on that achievement?
COACH KELLY:¬† We don't think it's irony; it's part of our plan.¬† Take care of the little things, the big things will take care of themselves.¬† That's something we've tried to make sure our players understand whether it's on the football field, practice field or in the classroom.
It's about the process on a daily basis.¬† If you can take care of things on a daily basis, then hopefully you'll get an opportunity in games like this.
I think the results for us, we're very proud of them.¬† But they do nothing more for us than validate that we're doing things the right way.
Q.¬† Coach Kelly, you and K State each have one loss.¬† There's a one‑loss team in the BCS title game.¬† Talk about the system and whether it worked this year.
COACH KELLY:¬† We have no say in the system as coaches.¬† We know the rules of engagement before the season starts.¬† If you lose a game, you leave it up to chance.¬† The only thing you can do is not lose a game.¬† Two years ago we did not lose a game, we got an opportunity to play in the game.¬† This year we did and we have nobody to blame but ourselves.
Q.¬† Do you feel like the PAC‑12 is playing by different rules than the SEC?
COACH KELLY:¬† No, I don't.¬† I just think it's a strange process to begin with, when you lose, how you lose, all that other stuff.¬† The longer you're in it, the more you probably think a playoff is the right way to go because it takes out at least some part of it because they're only taking two now, and eventually they're going to take four.¬† When they take four, they're going to complain about who is five.¬† When they take eight, they'll complain about who is nine.
I don't have an answer.¬† We know right now our situation.¬† We're very excited about playing against a really good Kansas State team and really look forward to the challenge of playing them.
Q.¬† Speaking of the 2014 four‑team playoff, would you like to see the BCS stick around to seed the teams 1 through 4?¬† Would you be in favor of something like that?
COACH KELLY:¬† I don't know.¬† I'm real good at knowing what my job is.¬† No one asked me.¬† I just take care of my job on a daily basis.¬† I don't know what the right answer is.¬† I haven't had enough time to study it or look at it.
I would not be speaking the truth if I said I had a really good understanding of how this thing works.
Q.¬† A game had been scheduled between Oregon and Kansas State this year.¬† Can you talk about your understanding of why that game didn't come about and how ironic it is now.
COACH KELLY:¬† We were told we had to find another game.¬† I didn't ask why.
Is it ironic?¬† I don't know.¬† We'll see.
Q.¬† Can you talk about Marcus Mariota?¬† Can you talk about the importance of what Marcus does for you, and what can you say about Collin Klein?
COACH KELLY:¬† Four questions there.¬† I'll start with one.
Marcus was a kid that was on everybody's radar.¬† I don't think he started his junior year of high school in Hawaii.¬† Everybody was aware of him.¬† Played a little bit of receiver and a little bit of quarterback.¬† There were a lot of people that took a look at him in the spring during the evaluation period.
We were fortunate enough that Marcus came to our camp.¬† We had a chance to have him four or five days in June of his junior year.¬† Liked him, everything about him, and offered him.¬† He committed to us over the summertime.¬† Then went on to have an outstanding season at St.Louis.¬† I think he was the player of the year in the state.
He's a smart kid, heady.¬† Has a good understanding of our offense, makes good decisions, is accurate, is extremely fast when called upon to run.¬† He can take off and run.¬† Excited about him.
With Collin, haven't done any game film exchanges.¬† They're probably in the process of doing that now.¬† I did get a chance to watch him last night.¬† Just impressed with him.¬† He's big, very tough to bring down.¬† He's got great patience as a runningback.¬† Really I think a lot of quarterbacks just take off and run, but I think he's got a great feel for the game. ¬†He's really impressive in throwing the ball.¬† He's as tough as they come.
He's obviously had a lot of carries on the season, 194 carries to date.¬† That speaks to his toughness.¬† He's one of those guys that you can see his team rallies around him and he's the real leader of the K State team.
Q.¬† Can you talk about your defense.¬† Sometimes it gets a little overlooked.
COACH KELLY:¬† I've said since I took over here in 2009 that you win because of your defense.¬† I think we do get a lot of notoriety offensively, but our defense has been the cornerstone of our success.¬† You don't go to four straight BCS games if you're not playing well on the defensive side of the ball.
We were tied for leading the nation in turnovers gained.¬† We've got 38 in the course of a 12‑game season.¬† They're very opportunistic.¬† We're led by a bunch of upperclassmen linebackers that really understand what we're doing, make sure we're doing the right things.¬† We run to the ball.¬† We play a lot of guys on the defensive side of the ball.¬† They're very aggressive.¬† They're ball‑hawks.
I don't think they get enough credit.¬† I know our success over the last four years has been a direct result of how well our defense has played.
Q.¬† You do coach to produce turnovers.
COACH KELLY:¬† Yeah.¬† We spend a daily portion of our practice on the turnover game.¬† It's a big emphasis of what we do defensively.¬† Part of one of our things that we preach to our guys.¬† Our defense has been outstanding.¬† Obviously just looking where they are, next place team has five less than us.¬† But to create 38 turnovers on the season so far is outstanding.
Q.¬† Do you know Coach Snyder at all?¬† I know there's been a lot of roster turnover, but would you anticipate having any advantage with knowing the venue?
COACH KELLY:¬† I met coach once.¬† I think everybody in our profession knows him.¬† But I met coach once.
Familiarity with the venue?¬† Yeah, I guess so.¬† We've been there.¬† It was two years ago.¬† I don't know the exact number.¬† I know we got 65 freshmen and sophomores that probably weren't with us then.¬† Maybe one‑third of our team.¬† I don't know the exact numbers.
We never make a big deal out of where we're playing or what the surface or all that other stuff is all about.¬† Our guys have got a pretty good record when we go on the road and have been pretty good in terms of focusing in on what we can control.¬† Hopefully we'll be able to continue to do that as we get down to Phoenix.
Q.¬† You have a few thoughts on Barner?
COACH KELLY:¬† A few thoughts?¬† Outstanding young man.¬† Shared time with LaMichael James, a lot of question marks from outside the program, but not inside the program on what he was going to be like as a full‑time starter.
He did exactly what we thought he would do.¬† He's had some outstanding performances this year.¬† Ran for over 300 yards in the Coliseum against USC, finalist for the Doak Walker Award.¬† For as young a team as we have offensively, real leader for us on the offensive side of the ball.¬† Comes to work every day.¬† Been a real inspirational guy to our young guys.¬† Has really carried the load for us this year.
THE MODERATOR:¬† Coach, thank you very much.¬† We look forward to welcoming you back in a few weeks.
COACH KELLY:¬† Thank you.
THE MODERATOR:¬† Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports