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December 28, 2013

Dante Barnett

Tyler Lockett

Ryan Mueller

Bill Snyder

Jake Waters

Ty Zimmerman


Kansas State – 31
Michigan – 14

THE MODERATOR:  We'll start with an opening comment from Coach Snyder.
COACH SNYDER:  Well, very quickly, I'm extremely proud of all the young people in our program.  I thought they played very well against a very, very fine football team, the University of Michigan.
We're honored to have had the opportunity to be here and have a great appreciation for the yellow coats and all the people that surround this bowl.  They worked extremely hard to make our stay a comfortable stay, and they've accomplished that.
We had some great fans, too.  The young people up here with me have a great appreciation for those people that follow our program.  We love being in the area.  It's our sixth time, as I've indicated, one of the two bowls, and we've always been treated extremely well.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Coach, can you sum up the final minutes when you knew victory was at hand, the memories and everything that went through your mind at that point.
COACH SNYDER:  I come from a different planet and it's never over till it's over.  I'm soaking wet with 2:44 on the clock, and I'm still a little upset about that.  He's here with me and he's going to get his, I assure you of that.  It's not going to be a water bucket (laughter).
Again, I mean, it isn't over till it's over.  When it was over, it says zero on the scoreboard, then I was extremely pleased and happy for the young guys that are here with me and the other 125 that are in the locker room and their families, all those people in the stands that follow us all over the world to support their team.
As so many of you are well aware, it's a tremendous family that we are a part of.  My happiness is for them.

Q.  How important was it to get off to that good start and gain the momentum you did?
COACH SNYDER:  It goes without saying.  That's one of the things, and each of these young guys will tell you, when we started our preparation three weeks ago, the very first thing we got into was about how we started.  You looked at the last two bowl games and we started off down 17‑0 in one of them, down 20‑0 in another one of them.  That was the emphasis, being able to start better.
I'm on the sideline watching.  These are the guys that were out there getting it done, and they started well on both sides of the ball.

Q.  You used the two‑quarterback system most of the year.  You went with Jake Waters for the most part tonight.  Was it something you planned on doing or something you saw Michigan doing defensively?
COACH SNYDER:  No.  As I've said so many times, we have two very, very capable young guys who have just continually improved throughout the course of the season.
We feel comfortable with both of them.  We like to play both of them, get both of them in the ballgames.  When somebody is doing extremely well ‑ and Jake was tonight ‑ it was appropriate to stay with him.
I had no reservations whatsoever having Daniel in the ballgame.  You might notice the second time Daniel was in the ballgame he threw a perfect strike.  A lot of people say he runs and Jake throws.  Jake ran tonight, ran well.  Daniel throws the ball and threw it well, too.

Q.  How gratifying was it to have the preparation that you went through over the last three weeks come together in such a dominating fashion?
COACH SNYDER:  I think it's a great tribute to the young people in our program, how they engage themselves in that preparation.  Once again, it would have been so easy to have finished off the season as well as they did, then had that kind of a letdown.
But they remember what happened at the outset of the season.  They didn't want it to happen again.
They took a very individualized approach to this.  When I say 'individualized,' the meaning of that is that each one of them possessed those values of preparation and wanting to improve themselves and wanting to be a part of a victory, having success.
I mean, they got into it.  I guess that would be the easiest way to say it.

Q.  I remember in 1997 being here, listening to you postgame.  You said with a smile and a wink, There's more to come.
COACH SNYDER:  What year was that?

Q.  1997.
COACH SNYDER:  What makes you think I can remember back to 1997 (smiling)?

Q.  Do you feel similar sentiments knowing what is in place, the momentum you gained off of that win, that there's more to come for 2014?
COACH SNYDER:  I'm a little older and wiser, so it depends on how we practice when we get back.
I hope it sets a foundation for the younger players in our program, some of which are up here with me right now.  It will be up to them.
I would liked to have thought that the 2012 season had laid the foundation for the 2013 season.  We didn't get off to a great start.  We took some things for granted.  I think some of our young people realized that and turned the whole thing around.
That's the biggest lesson probably for the young people that are in our program returning, you know, realizing how we started this season and why it took place.  The 'why' is the most significant thing.

Q.  How gratifying is it for the seniors, for you to see the seniors snap this winless streak and carry a trophy back to Manhattan?
COACH SNYDER:  That's what the dialogue has been all about over the past several weeks because our seniors, we've got a bunch of bowl trophies, but our seniors had never participated, which means that nobody in our program had participated.  When I say 'nobody,' I'm talking about players had not participated in a bowl victory.
So it was extremely significant to them.  It allowed the seniors to do what is the obvious, and that is finish off their career in a very, very positive way, which will be very meaningful to them I think for the rest of their lives.
Again, the University of Michigan is the winningest football program in the history of college football, right?  They're never going to be a bad team.  These young guys were victorious over a very fine football team.

Q.  Do you take a little bit of satisfaction or solace that you won't be answering any questions about winless bowl droughts in the future now?
COACH SNYDER:  Well, I don't answer them anyway.

Q.  I know you're not prone to individual platitudes, but I'm curious about Tyler's performance.  Each and every week we tend to up the bar on what we see.  Could you give us a sense for your view in his continued development and pushing the envelope as a leader on this football team?
COACH SNYDER:  What is really significant to me is how he's managed to do that.  The numbers are obvious, et cetera, et cetera.  But I've said this so many times, you've heard me say it, those of you that come to our press conferences back home.  I come in off the practice field and I look out on the field out of my office window, and a half hour after everybody else is off the field, Tyler Lockett is out there catching balls off the JUGS Machine.  Sometimes Jake stays out there and throws the ball to him, et cetera.
When we came here to begin our workouts at Coronado High School, you know, the time schedule is mind‑boggling because you're going from one thing to the next, you don't have time to do very much.  It's practice, shower, get on the bus, go someplace, et cetera, et cetera.
After the first day, Tyler came up to me and said, Coach, I want to stay after practice.  How can we work this out?  So we worked it out.  That's the nature of Tyler Lockett.  We have other young guys like that.  I wish we had 130 young guys like that.  If we had those kind of young people, we wouldn't have been talking about losing those first three or four ballgames.

Q.  You talked early about the importance of the strong start in the first quarter.  Finishing out the half with the lead, first bowl game in 13 years to be able to do that, how crucial was that?
COACH SNYDER:  Well, every snap, every play, I mean, they're all significant.  We've been behind and won, we've been behind and lost, we've been ahead and won, we've been ahead and lost.  Not very many of them that way.
But we always talk about a great start, as I was saying a while ago.  It does have some significance in regards to the outcome of the ballgame.
Now, as the players who attest to, we all understand it's never over till it's over.  The idea that we had a lead, however we got there, somebody else can get there the same way.  I mean, you just have to continue to play well.  That's what pleased me.  We made a few mistakes.  But when they got their feet back on the ground, they continued to play well.  I was proud of them.

Q.  Tyler, talk about your performance and what is running through your head right now.
TYLER LOCKETT:  Well, I mean, right now I'm just excited that we finally won a bowl game.  I was talking to Ty Zimmerman yesterday before the pep rally.  There's been about 4,018 days since we last won a bowl game.  Crazy when you think about it.
One thing that Coach Snyder always used to say is we had to start out strong.  When you look at the previous bowl games, we had a punt return, ran back early.  It was a kickoff return at the beginning of the game.  It's one of the things he emphasized day in and day out throughout this whole bowl preparation.
We had everybody buy into the system.  Coach Snyder always said it's a pleasure trip, but it's also a business trip.  I think each and every one of us understood that.
Looking at everybody's faces from 12:00 in the afternoon to just getting ready to play this game, everybody was on the same page, everybody was ready to play.  You could see it when we was out there.

Q.  Ty, can you give me one word for what this win means to you and the rest of the senior class.
TY ZIMMERMAN:  Just special.  That's how I could sum it up.  We've been to four straight now.  When you lose bowl games, it kind of leaves you with an empty feeling for the next six or seven months till you start playing again.  So that was a huge motivational factor for us going into this week.
I felt we were very focused.  Defensively I thought we had our best week of practice that we had all year.  Like Tyler said, guys were able to not mix business and pleasure.  Glad we came out with the win and glad to get this for the underclassmen.  Hopefully give them confidence for next year.

Q.  Ryan, four straight punts and an interception to start the second half defensively.  Talk about imposing your will on a Michigan offense that moved the ball pretty nicely, how gratifying that had to have been.
RYAN MUELLER:  First off, just my hat's off to Shane Morris, the quarterback from Michigan.  He played really well tonight for being a freshman, not having many snaps.
But as far as defense, it's just a credit to our coaches that do a tremendous job in making the right calls, putting us in position, particularly Coach Hayes.  He just does a great job with us.

Q.  Jake, that first drive, that was pretty awesome.  How do you feel that defined the path this game was going to go?  The connection of the three touchdowns with Tyler.
JAKE WATERS:  You want to start off fast.  We've had a history of not getting off to the fast start that we want.
Like they say, that was a big emphasis all week.  We wanted to start off fast and not play from behind.  When you play Michigan, any team in a bowl game, they're a quality opponent, they're good.  It's going to be hard.
Once we got going on that first drive, coaches had a great game plan for us.  We didn't see anything that our coaches didn't prepare us for.  They put a great game plan, great play calls.
Then it goes out to the execution of my offensive line.  Gave me all day to throw.  The runningbacks did great.  When you got a guy like Tyler here that can catch anything, get open almost on any route, he makes me look pretty darn good, better than I actually am.  He's a special player, too.

Q.  Jake and Tyler, were you at all surprised at how easy Tyler got open during tonight's game?
JAKE WATERS:  No, not really.  When you have a special player like Tyler, anytime you got a route, he's one‑on‑one, I'm looking for him.  I think he's going to win it.  He knows he's going to win it.
I just have that confidence in him.  He's such a special player.  He can get open for any route because he works at it.  Me and him have a great connection.  I'm just trying to get him the ball.  He did a great job tonight, as he has all season.

Q.  Tyler?
TYLER LOCKETT:  Well, I think it just starts back in spring ball.  I think that once Jake finally committed here, we kind of got a relationship going, I think it just started with staying after practice, running routes before practice.  Even in the summer, we built that chemistry early, then we tried to keep it going in the summer.  We just kept on going through it in camp.
It was like Coach Snyder said, staying after practice, trying to make sure we were all on the same page.  That's one thing Coach Coleman used to always say, Just communicate.  Having someone like Coach Coleman come in and teach us the fundamentals, that's the main thing that helped us out, being able to win at the top of our routes.  He said, You're not always going to beat everybody with speed, you're not going to be able to beat everybody with just the jam.
I think the thing about it is you got to watch film.  That's something that Coach Snyder always emphasizes.  You have to actually know what you are watching.  Sometimes people watch film to watch film.  I kind of learned that you want to watch film against your opponent, look at the person that is going to guard you, see their technique.  Once you're able to see their technique, you say, Okay, this person plays bump‑n‑run, he tries to hit you early.
Next game, you see if he does the same thing.  You just try to find out everything about him so you know.  When you line up against him, you already understand how he's going to play you, especially after you scouted throughout the whole entire week.  It makes things a whole lot more easier, because the game doesn't go as fast when you understand everything that's going on with it.

Q.  Jake, what kind of a springboard can this be for you heading into next year?
JAKE WATERS:  It can be for all of us returning to end the winless bowl streak that we had.  Going into next season with a good taste in our mouth.
The way this season started, it wasn't the way we wanted.  But to finish the way we did, it gives us a lot of momentum and excitement about getting started again.  We're losing some great seniors, but with the work ethic that we have, the type of coaches that we have, we're all excited about it.

Q.  Dante, Ty, defensive dominance, talk a little bit about that.  Four straight punts and then an interception.  Talk about the adjustments that were made in the second half that allowed you to do that and kind of befuddle Michigan?
TY ZIMMERMAN:  Like Mueller says, Coach Hayes does a phenomenal job of getting us ready week in, week out.  Putting a good game plan together.  When you have an offense that goes out there and puts points on the board, it makes a team one‑dimensional.
That's what we talked about week in, week out, stopping the run, trying to create turnovers.  When your offense puts the lead out there, have to start passing the ball.  D‑line pins their ears back and puts pressure on them.  That's huge for us.  It was a double team effort.
DANTE BARNETT:  Coach always say, Who can be the toughest the longest.  That's what he kept preaching throughout the bowl preparation.  We wanted to go out there and play sound football because that makes our jobs a lot easier.

Q.  Dante, getting off the field on third downs has been tough for you this year.  You limited them.  What changed for you in that situation?
DANTE BARNETT:  Really manning up and wanting to get stops so we can get off the field and get our offense out there so they can get out there and score points.

Q.  Ryan, I have to ask you about the Gatorade, the timing of it, the delivery.  How would you rate all of those?
RYAN MUELLER:  Probably not very good.  I think CoachSnyder is upset about it.  I just wanted to share my happiness with him (laughter).
I got to be careful with what I say because I probably have to run when I get back to Manhattan (smiling).

Q.  Tyler, Dante, you've been playing together for a long time.  How does it feel?
DANTE BARNETT:  I would say great.  God works in mysterious ways.  We never looked at it like that.  But seeing us both up there at the same time really made us happy.
TYLER LOCKETT:  Man, it's an amazing feeling.  I remember playing with Dante since fifth grade.  Just being able to grow up with him and hang out with him, even with football, I got to see him grow up, mature.  He's my roommate now.  I can't get away from him (smiling).  It's okay.
I thank God for this relationship.  I just love this dude.  He's my brother.

Q.  Tyler, what motivates you to stay after practice and even during a bowl preparation?
TYLER LOCKETT:  I would have to say, I mean, God motivates me to keep going.  Everybody feels like times are giving up, times are quitting.  You have to look at what got you here, what motivates you to keep going.  Everybody has those days.
I just think wanting to try to do everything for Him.  Having a family behind me, supporting me in everything that I do, and having a family in football and a great coach like Coach Snyder, everybody.  You don't want to be the person to lose the game.
I told Ty yesterday, that's one of the things that motivates me because I don't want to be that person that loses the game because then you have an icky feeling for seven months, a week, two weeks, whatever it may be.
Just to know that, the position you're in, I think trying to do everything you can in your power to make sure that you don't mess up or anything, I think that's all you can really ask for and just let God do the rest.

Q.  I was looking at Tre Walker out there.  He was shedding tears at the end.  Obviously somebody who is going to remember their time at K State.  What are you going to remember most with this one?
TY ZIMMERMAN:  I'm going to remember these guys.  You go to battle with them each and every day.  People don't really see what goes on in our lives year in and year out.  You kind of look at 12 or 13 games in the season, not the sprints during the winter, the times you're out there in the weight vests during the summer.  Those kind of things just help you grow, help the camaraderie of the team.
You might not remember the score of the second or third game of the season, but I'm always going to remember these guys and going to battle with them each and every day.  I couldn't be happier for them.  I know they all have a bright future ahead of them.

Q.  Ryan, talking to Ty earlier, you guys all week talked about how this game was for the seniors.  How gratifying was it to see them finally lift the trophy and have a bowl victory?
RYAN MUELLER:  No doubt.  I've been to the Pinstripe Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, and now the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.  All those bowl games previous, we weren't successful.  The locker room was total disappoint.  Obviously with a win today, the locker room was totally hyped.  It was definitely a better feeling.
Me having another year, it's definitely something I want to chase for next year, another bowl game, winning it.  It's just a good feeling.  It's the best way to send these guys out.
I'm glad I get another year to do this.  Same here with Lockett and Jake, we're going to be anxious to go to work next year.

Q.  Curious about next year.  Coach loves to talk about bowl games being both the end and the beginning of two different seasons.  What is there in that locker room right now?  You've played on a championship team in the Big 12.  You played in a BCS bowl.  How close is this football team to getting back there?
TYLER LOCKETT:  The thing about it is it sets up a foundation for a new era.  When you look at the past bowl games like we said, losing 11 straight, finally ending it today, actually winning, now we're on a one‑win streak.  I think this really sets the foundation for next year, because you have a lot of guys who are happy right now in the locker room.
We all know how it feels to lose in a bowl game and not know what to do for seven months because you don't get another chance until you play your first game in late August.  So, I mean, being able to win this bowl game, it brings a spark to us even going into next year.  And it just brings a feeling of just accomplishment because this is the thing that we prepared for since day one.  This is the thing that everybody talked about.  Whether we were in camp, Coach Snyder let the players go up there and talk, everybody spoke from their heart.  Everybody was like, I want to win a bowl game.  Some people say, Stand up in this room if you ever won a bowl game.  Nobody stood up.
I think that's the thing that drove everybody.  That's the main thing we wanted to do.  Looking back at the season, seeing how everybody didn't give up.  It's easy to give up at 2‑5.  Being able to keep fighting, fighting, ending the season 6‑1, whatever it may be, it gives us a lot more to look forward to going into next year.
THE MODERATOR:  Gentlemen, congratulations.  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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