K-State prepares for Saturday’s spring game

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Head Coach Bill Snyder

On what he is hoping to see from his team on Saturday…
“Collectively, to be disciplined enough not to make the foolish mistakes, whether it is assignment errors, turning the ball over, getting penalized – those types of things. It takes discipline and a conscious effort to do those things right. I think that would be No. 1. The rest of it is to stay healthy and play really hard.”

On Jake Waters’ improvement from last year at this time to now…
“He just understands things a lot better. He has a greater awareness of the youngsters that he plays with – his offensive line, his wide receivers, etc. He has gained more confidence and probably just because of going through the process of going through some growing pains. Also, his leadership has improved because of the aforementioned skills.”

On the safety position…
“I think two players have engrained themselves into the starting role as we speak right now. That is who will be with the No. 1s on Saturday. They have earned that right. I think that they are playing well. They are playing with some consistency, and they’re gaining greater and greater confidence in their ability because of the experience that they are having. Biggest concerns, obviously, would be how the youngsters – the twos and threes spot – develop because we need the depth back there. Probably the next two in line would come from Travis Green and Sean Newlan, maybe Weston Hiebert.”

On Jonathan Truman’s potential…
“Jon is like Will Davis, they both have a great deal of experience and understanding of what our defense it about. He does a nice job, not just tying the second-level guys with the front four but tying the entire defense together and tying the secondary into it as well. He provides good leadership, which is growing. He has become a more vocal, more demanding leader because he recognizes the need for that. He is a bright young guy who seldom makes a mistake. He is, by and large, where you want him to be when you want him to be there.”

On the progress of the backup quarterbacks…
“It is going to be very competitive with Joe Hubener and Jesse Ertz. We scrimmaged a little bit yesterday and I think Hubener had a pretty nice (scrimmage) managing the offense and throwing the football. They are still both in the learning stages and have a ways to go.”

On the difference between having a spring game or an ordinary 15th spring practice…
“It is for our fan base. I prefer to have another practice, but our fans enjoy seeing our players and seeing the environment and coming for the auction and all those types of things. So we will always do it in that respect for our fan base.”

On the development of the tight end position…
“Zach Trujillo just of recent has really stepped up his performance in spring practice. Zach Nemechek can fit into that role. Cody Small is a young guy that has some capabilities; he is feeling his way around right now. Dayton Valentine is a young, new player, who we are decently impressed with right now. It is difficult because everything is so new for him right now, but he is a good young player.”

On how Dalvin Warmack can make an impact on the running back competition in the fall…
“I don’t know how it will affect the competition, but I am anxious to see. The summer program for him will be one of those learning environments, and we know there is going to be a time lapse in terms of just understanding what is going on. But when we get started in the fall, in August, hopefully he has an awareness of responsibilities, assignments, etc. If he picks it all up, then he has a possibility of making it interesting.”

On the formant of the spring game…
“I haven’t totally made up my mind yet. Odds would be in favor of it being ones against twos – the No. 1 offense and the No. 1 defense on the same unit. It will be game-like, just like we always have done. There is a possibility that we could put our No. 1 offense on the same side as our No. 2 defense and vice versa.”

On having the spring game in late April…
“The value of it is that we have an extended period of time as far as our out-of-season program is concerned for guys to get stronger, faster, quicker, change or direction – all the physical aspects of it. I think each year is different; it depends on what the needs are.”

On what is going through his mind when he walks out of the locker room for a spring game…
“I really do think about the fan base when I go onto the field. How could you not – as a player and as a coach – want to do the very best that you could possibly do for the people that care so much? You think about the little children that line the walkway going out of the locker room and you see those youngsters and you see how emphatic they are and their appreciation for the players when they come out. To me that has to be inspiring for a young guy. I think about those things, but I also think about if we are ready to play or not, that is part of it.”

Senior Defensive End Ryan Mueller
On having any pressure on him based on his junior year…
“No, no pressure. I am definitely confident, and the coaching staff here, especially Coach (Chris) Dawson, have got me mentally and physically prepared for the season and the grind that goes on. I am definitely confident. Every summer I just try to improve and get bigger, faster and stronger. So far I have done that. I am just ready for the season.”

On what the next step is…
“Definitely turning the page and realizing that nobody cares about what you did last year. It is all about now, playing the best you can now and proving that you can do it again.”

On what he is looking forward to with the spring game…
“The true spring game was last Saturday with the real scrimmage of guys. This Saturday is definitely for the fans. It is a fan event. I am excited to see all the fans and some of my friends coming to the game. Coach Snyder is not going to show anything. We are not going to reveal our whole playbook. It is just a show thing, something to play with. It is just another opportunity to work on fundamental footwork, have a feel of what it is like out there with people in the stands cheering for you with a little bit more added pressure.”

Senior Offensive Lineman B.J. Finney
On being excited for the spring game…
“I would say I get excited for it because it is a game atmosphere, which we do not get. It is something that we are working towards. It is going to be a full live scrimmage. It is going to be game tempo, so it is going to show us which areas we are going to need to improve, which areas we thought we were okay but really are not. It is going to show what our strengths are too. It is going to show us where we need to be.”

On the game being a vacation…
“Coach does not want to show anything, so it is going to be basic offense and basic defense. As far as this week, no it is not a vacation because everything is still open. Saturday is just to get the new guys into the game atmosphere, game tempo, run the basic plays because we do not want to show anybody anything.”

On what the offense needs to improve…
“There is a whole lot that we need to improve. We have to prove that we can run the ball. We have to prove that we can pass protect. We have to prove that we can make big plays both blocking, running the ball, catching the ball, putting the ball where it needs to be and passing. Everything we need to improve.”

Senior Defensive End Laton Dowling
On the depth of the defensive line…
“I have been here for a long time, so it is kind of hard to think back to the depth previously, but we are as deep as we have ever been. We have a lot of younger guys.”

On the closeness of the football family…
“The family is always tight. It is hard not to be when you are with 130 guys every day, so we are as tight as we have ever been.”

On pressure to get the opposing quarterback…
“There is always pressure on us to get to the quarterback. It is part of the game. I feel that the guys on the outside will always do their job. It is our job to get pressure on the quarterback and their job to cover. I think that everyone will do their part and we will get some wins.”

Junior Linebacker Charmeachealle Moore
On his progression as a linebacker after playing rush end last year…
“I am just happy wherever coach wants to put me in. I have had more energy and been able to produce on the field and help my team out wherever they need it.”

On playing a position that is more natural for him…
“I played defensive end in high school, so I like both of them. I like linebacker because I can see a lot more.”

On Jonathan Truman’s leadership…
“He is a great leader. We can joke around in the locker room, but when we are on the field he is all business. We get it done. We occasionally joke around on the field to keep it fun, but he is a great leader.”

Sophomore Running Back Jarvis Leverett
On what they are working on…
“Just working on small things I guess. We have been doing spring practice all the way up to this point. So we are just trying to polish up on small things and work on fundamentals.”

On what he thinks each running back can do…
“Like I said last week, we all pretty much have the same running style, but it is just a matter of moving the chains and just having a good rushing game to set up the passing game.”

On what he is most excited about for Saturday…
“Just getting out on the field and doing what I know I can do and help the team out. Make sure the fans are good to go for us next season.”

Sophomore Running Back Charles Jones
On where he is finding himself getting better…
“Pass protection, I think. I still need to work on a lot but that is my main focus right now so that I can be a three-down back so that you do not have to take me out on long down distance.”

On what differentiates the three running backs…
“I see us as similar – same rush styles, downhill, hard rushing. Just really get tough yards.”

On how the offense as a whole is coming along…
“I see it coming along a lot. We have been moving people around a lot, especially on offensive line and then receivers to see who can do what. We have a lot of new faces, so I think we will come along well.”

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