Bill Snyder didn't offer any definitive answers, but in Snyder-speak this is about as good as it gets. The Kansas State head coach during the Big 12 teleconference on Monday twice indicated that he hopes senior quarterback Collin Klein, the Heisman frontrunner, is able to play when the third-ranked Wildcats visit TCU on Saturday.
It was Snyder's usual dry wit that suggested perhaps an optimistic forecast less than 48 hours after Klein remained on the sideline during the third quarter of the Wildcats' 44-30 win over Oklahoma State.
Bill, I've gotta ask, how's Collin? SNYDER: "He seems fine to me."
Is he going to play Saturday? SNYDER: "I hope so."
You know so? SNYDER: "I hope so. I hope they all play."
Can you talk about the history, you've been around so long, as to how concussions were treated back in the day and how just they're evaluated now, in general terms? SNYDER: "Well, I don't know if I have a complete answer to that question. I know in today's environment that there's an awfully lot of attention paid to it, and rightfully so, and they have certain verbal testing that they do, but they also have some pre-condition tests that are taken, and then they make comparisons if an injury like that occurs, or if you have somebody who has an indication that there might be some type of trauma that way, they retest you the same test to define something that they've done some research on regarding the test -- I don't know what the name of the test is -- and it's supposed to tell you what kind of progress you're making and to some degree if you have some type of head trauma."
Collin was walking around without his helmet on Saturday, which would indicate that was the case. That's what you usually do when a guy's got a head injury. Was that the case? Was it something else? Or both? SNYDER: "I'm assuming…in visiting with him…he's had his helmet off before. I'm assuming maybe they're uncomfortable. I don't know."
How well do you know TCU's Gary Patterson? I know you guys have shared time at those Nike retreats, but seeing he was a graduate of K-State and played there, have you guys gotten to know each other very well? SNYDER: "I enjoy Gary's company and his wonderful wife. We haven't gone out and socialized together, but we certainly meet on a variety of different occasions and certainly at the Nike stuff and all that, and we have a chance to visit. I enjoy his company a great deal. He's a real genuine guy."
Real quick on TCU's offense, they have a lot of young players and they've been kind of up and down, how do you assess what makes them good this year? SNYDER: "I think with the young quarterback getting more and more experience, he just gets better as he goes. That's been a tremendous asset for them. He's got the capacity to do so many different things, quite obviously. As you call him a dual-threat quarterback, he's good in both arenas. The complexity of the offense itself, there's a lot of variety. When I say variety, it's a varied offense. There's a lot there schematically, formation wise, motion wise. They certainly present some problems just getting lined up against you."
You were in so many games that were tight last year, what's it been like this year to have that not be the case quite as often? SNYDER: "Well, I'm probably like all coaches. Regardless what the score is, they're all tight games. It's kind of that it's-never-over-until-it's-over and I think we're all that way. I can't tell you in all honesty if there's any great difference in how I am during the course of a ballgame. The answer is, I don't really think it has been any different."
I was told you guys are one of the few teams that runs full-contact, full-speed practices and if that's accurate, do you think that helps you as a team? SNYDER: "It depends on how you define 'full speed.' We don't tackle. We don't take people to the ground. We go full speed with exception of not going to the ground with any players. We like to keep our players on their feet, like to keep their feet moving, but we like for segments of our practice to be physical. Each day, we work good on good, meaning our ones against our ones, in a variety of different segments of our practice, and that, again, is full scale with the exception of we don't go to the ground."
Do you think that could actually help you avoid injuries, or does it toughen the team up at all, or is that just coincidence? SNYDER: "In all honesty, I don't know the answer to that question. I'd like to think that it allows you to become a more physical football team. It probably as much as anything, when we do it good against good, it's so hard to simulate somebody else's offense or defense. The people that you have on your scout-squad group, their time is going to come, but they're not the caliber of player that your ones will be facing on game day. So it gives us the opportunity, good against good, to compete with the physicality that's going to take place on Saturday. That's kind of the way, and I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but I hate to go seven days between any kind of contact that's going to take place. I don't know if that's right or wrong, but I just know that's the way we choose to do it."
You haven't lost any games at home, but every other Big 12 team has lost at least one league home game, and home teams are actually under .500 this year in league play. Is something different in the league? Are teams closer together? Is there an explanation as to why teams in what has been a very good league are under .500 at home right now? SNYDER: "I wasn't aware of the stat so I haven't given it any thought. I don't have an answer to it other than the fact I think this is such a competitive league and it's one of those things where it's just factual. Anybody can beat anybody on any given day. It seems to hold true. I think teams are getting more acclimated as the season goes on to travel and playing on the road and trying to keep things as consistent as you possibly can. If you're good at keeping it between the white lines then it's all about who's prepared the best and who's playing the best on that given day."