Kansas State arrived on Friday in Arizona for the Fiesta Bowl. Wildcat Coach Bill Snyder addressed the media and answered questions upon their arrival.
Coach Snyder Opening Statement:
"Thank you very much and thanks to all the yellow jackets here. We've experienced this a few times before and I'm sure that this time will be no different than it has been before in the past. We've had a wonderful reception and people have been so very, very gracious to each and every one of us. Our entire travel party appreciates that. I know that that is a high priority on their list and they do it very well. We do appreciate it immensely. We are honored to be here. We will take a forfeit, but that wouldn't draw very many fans so I guess we will have to play the game."
"The University of Oregon is a tremendously talented, very exceptional football team. They are a very quality football team. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to compete against them. I think our young people are certainly looking forward to that opportunity and I know they are looking forward to a wonderful stay here in this great, great community."
How is your team as they face the end of the season?
"With a 2:15 flight and you have 130 18, 19 and 20 year olds and you have them up in the air, everything is going to be fine. Now that they are on the ground, the problems may begin. I have a great deal of confidence in these young guys. They've been really a special group of young people. They are very caring people, they are good teammates, they take good care of themselves and I certainly would hope and reflect that that would be the case while they are here. They're going to enjoy the time.
Anything you can take away from the last four bowl experiences?
"I think every ball game is a unique experience in its own right, throughout the few hundred that we've had. I can't tell you that I have an answer why we've been unsuccessful the last few years in terms of winning and losing. Will we try and do anything different? i can't tell you I'm smart enough to try and figure that out. Probably not. We like the way we try to prepare and we certainly will try to do it that way."
Can you prepare for Oregon's speed in practice?
"I don't know that anybody really can. Not in the way that you're thinking. There's certainly some things that you do that would attempt to replicate the kind of speed and the tempo of the game that you see. They are going to snap the ball every 16 or 17 seconds, sometimes faster than that. Just to be able to get lined back up on defense is not an easy task. You have your routine in practice and you'll run two offenses at your defense. You can replicate that time to a certain degree, but not with the same people."
Describe your bowl prep and will it change now that you are in Arizona.
"Our practice routine here will replicate what we would do during the course of a regular season week. We have a Monday routine, a Tuesday routine, etc. The practices up to this point in time have been varied in texture and tenure. For the most part, there's just an awful lot of variety that lends itself to trying to help develop younger players in the program and at the same time put in an appropriate amount of preparation time for the likes of the University of Oregon. It's been a mixture of things. They had to have some Christmas time off, which they did. They came back, we went four days without workouts, then two days in shorts so we could transport (equipment). We can't afford two sets of uniforms, so they had to go in shorts for two days. Today we will be in pads. We got them all transported."
What would a Fiesta Bowl victory mean to the program?
"I think it would be very special, particularly for the seniors in our program. The 27 young guys who have invested a great deal in the program, invested in the improvement of the program. Their tenure here has gradually gotten a little bit better year in and year out and this would be very special. It's a very special opportunity for them. A reward of a victory would certainly be very special to them as well."
Did you learn anything from the Baylor game that can help you against Oregon?
"You can't stand around against a team that moves awful fast. We did that. That was a ball game that we learned a lot. I think we learned a lot about how we reacted or responded to the preparation during the course of the week. We learned a lot about who was willing to make the immense sacrifices that it takes to compete against a team like that. As you saw last night (in the Holiday Bowl), (Baylor) is a for-real team. There is a great deal of similarity between the two teams. They are two offensive football teams and not to be denied is the fact that they are very good on defense. Baylor was against us, they were against UCLA and Oregon has been good on defense on all year round. Their defense goes somewhat unnoticed because of the tremendous scoring power of their offense."
Do some of the Big 12 offenses help you in your preparation?
"Well it does help to a certain degree. However, it's not all about the X's and O's on the chalkboard, it's who happens to represent those X's and O's on the field. You're probably looking at a greater amount of collective speed in addition to the fast tempo that (Oregon) uses. Not that the other team's we've played didn't have quickness and speed, but it seems to permeate the Oregon program."