Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said he has decided upon the starting quarterback to face Massachusetts in the Wildcats' season opener on Saturday, but said he wouldn't officially announce the decision until his weekly news conference on Tuesday. Whether the starting signal-caller is Carson Coffman or Grant Gregory, Snyder indicated the player must perform well in his debut in order to retain the position.
"We're not in a position really, and it's never really been our philosophy to say, 'You're it for the year,'" Snyder said during the Big 12 coaches' teleconference on Monday morning. "What you'd like to have happen is that the youngster would accept the responsibility of being the No. 1 and maintain that position of being No. 1 throughout the course of the year. That would be the hope. But by the same token, like at every other position, we want to make sure it remains competitive.
"Whoever the No. 2 quarterback is going into this game, I want him to always understand that if he continues to improve then he always has the opportunity to challenge for the No. 1 spot. Whoever it is that goes on the field on Saturday, certainly will have to perform well enough to retain the position."
"We have a decision. We will announce it at the press conference tomorrow to give everybody a fair shot at it. Yes, we think we know the way we'll go."
Snyder also touched on a variety of other topics with reporters during the teleconference.
Is the game week layout coming too fast or too slow for yourself and your players as well? SNYDER: "Well, way too fast for me. I'm not too sure how the players feel. I think they can't wait until Saturday. I hope they don't skip over some things we're trying to do during the course of the week. As coaches, you always want a little bit more time. At least, I always have."
I know you've talked about it that in the time you've been back things have come back to you. Have things come back in terms of your game-week preparation? SNYDER: "Every single day, I'm prompted about something, just a way of doing things and the process and there are just little reminders that 'OK, we need to move in this direction, that's the way we've always done it,' etc."
Can you talk a little bit about the process you had to go through in terms of deciding to come back after stepping away? SNYDER: "First and foremost, it was something I had to think very seriously about and it took some deep thought on my part. The reasoning for me coming back was the feeling projected to me was that there was a state of flux with the Kansas State family and the feeling was because I had been here for an extended period of time that I might be able to calm the waters a little bit. That was important to me. I have a tremendous sense of loyalty to Kansas State University and the program. I needed to advance that thought to my family, so I sat down with all of our children and my wife. Of course, Sean works with us here and I talked about it at great length. It wasn't a matter of being supportive. It was something they truly wanted for me to do. But they also wanted to make sure I felt good about it and was comfortable with it. As Sean indicated, 'Dad, if you do it, I'll be ecstatic, but also if you don't do it, I'll be ecstatic as well.' He was echoing the sentiments of all of my family. They wanted me to do it but wanted to make sure I felt good about it as well. Then I had to think, 'Do I really have the energy and the passion for this again?' It wouldn't have been fair to the players in the program and to the Kansas State University constituency if I did not. That was a process I went through before making the decision to return."
Did you miss it while you were away? SNYDER: "Well, I think there are certain aspects that you miss and certain ones that you don't. We kept ourselves very busy. I didn't miss any ballgames away or home. Last year I might have missed two and prior to that maybe one collectively. I was around it quite a bit. I've been involved in a lot of other things as well. It's not as though I didn't have a passion for the game, necessarily. I just wasn't thinking along those lines. I didn't have that tremendous anxiety about returning, no."
Coach, I was wondering, I know for the first game on the schedule that coaches obviously want to win the game, but they also kind of look at certain areas where they want to see improvements. Are there any areas this week you're going to focus in on, win or lose? SNYDER: "I think number one, it's going to be general, overall improvement as it relates to each individual and how they perform and then collectively as a team and then on offense, defense and special teams. Not unlike any other coach, you want to make sure you're sound in what you do and that you don't do things that get most football teams beat. Ball security will be extremely important to us and not getting penalized will be extremely important to us and making sure we're assignment correct and assignment sound in the things that we do. Those are the kinds of things that can jump up and bite you in the early season. They can bite you at anytime, but if you've got those problems early in the year, you certainly want to get them straightened out."
When you look at this program in the state where it was when you left and where it's at now, how does it compare? SNYDER: "I don't know. I haven't thought about it that way. I'm looking at what we have right now. I don't try to draw those conclusions. We know what our strengths are. We know what our weaknesses are and it's our attempt right now to try to circumvent our weaknesses until we can make them strengths. That's all we're working with right now. I'm not trying to make comparisons. Comparisons really don't help us one way or the other. It's probably time wasted to give thought to it."
When you have guys like Daniel Thomas and Grant Gregory, when they arrived in August, how difficult was it for them to pick up the offense for the first game? SNYDER: "Obviously, it's much more difficult than it would be for someone who has been in the program since we started and went through spring with us. Grant did have the opportunity to work out with this team during the course of the summer. Daniel had a little bit of that opportunity, not a great deal. The simple answer is that it's far more difficult than had they been here with us in spring practice."