On Monday the Fiesta Bowl held Media Day with members of the Oregon Ducks and K-State Wildcats. Here are the transcripts of some of those interviews with the Wildcats.
An interview with:
COACH BILL SNYDER
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Coach Snyder.
Q. Your 16 goals, where did they come from, when did you draw those up, what was the inspiration for those?
COACH SNYDER: It's been a process over a long period of time. Really, if you were to look at them, you would see they're intrinsic values that you would teach your children and everybody in this room would teach their children.
It's common sense more than anything else. I think a long time ago, the number wasn't always 16. I think it started with 12, then went to 14, then 16.
You know, to me, it represents those things that you would want, as I said, your children, you'd want young people to be responsive to which we believe helps provide opportunities for success in all facets of their life. Certainly, if that's true, it would help create success on the football field, as well.
Probably my mother, as much as anything, was responsible for whatever intrinsic values I believe in.
Q. Coach, 72 hours in front of the game. What are the final details that you concern yourself with when you get this close to it?
COACH SNYDER: Well, we've been involved in details for quite some time now. We try to approach it just like we would during the course of a season. So every day has a significant meaning in regards to how we meet and how we practice. We try to keep it consistent with what we've done throughout the course of the year or throughout several decades.
We're on really what we would identify as a Wednesday routine. So we have a certain practice routine, certain meeting routine. Tomorrow will be a normal Thursday of the week, so on down the road.
We'll practice. We'll have a reasonably heavy practice this afternoon. A little lighter tomorrow. Not at all on Friday probably.
Q. I think it's fair to call you an old?school coach. You changed uniforms quite a long time ago when you came to Kansas State. What do you think of Oregon's uniforms, so many different types that they have?
COACH SNYDER: Well, I see quite a few of them now that we watch videotape of all their ballgames.
I think they do a nice job with them. We're a Nike school, as well. I know Phil very well, I know his relationship with Oregon. I know they want to promote Nike as well as they can, and certainly have done so.
I think one of our players kind of said it the best. Oregon is Oregon and they do what Oregon does, and that's a credit to them. We're Kansas State, and we do what Kansas State does. I think it's a credit to our young guys and our program, as well, so...
Q. How important is it for your team to not get caught up in the speed of Oregon's offense and to kind of play their game? What have you told the team about playing your game, sticking to what you just said, which is play like Kansas State?
COACH SNYDER: Well, I think we've tried to be consistent throughout the course of the year, throughout our tenure as Kansas State. We're like any team in the country, I think. We have our system that is designed to enhance the capabilities of every player we have in the program, utilize the capabilities of every player we have in the program. We try to stick to that particular system and not change it.
In our conference, we play against teams that have the same type of tempo as the University of Oregon does, a few that are reasonably fast in regards to how quickly they snap the ball. I don't know if any of them are quite as fast as Oregon, but very close to that. We have a way that we practice against that, so, you know, we have some familiarity with it.
Now, as I said so many times, the tempo of a team's offense is one thing; it's the players that execute it that is something else. So that has to be a major concern, as well. The University of Oregon has tremendously talented young guys that execute their offense. It certainly is always going to create an issue for any defense anywhere.
But, again, we have to be us and hope that that's sufficient.
Q. You talked about Oregon's speed. How important will it be for your guys to be able to tackle in space on Thursday?
COACH SNYDER: Well, that goes without saying, I think. That is true in any ballgame that you play. If you can't pursue and you can't tackle, then you probably can't win.
Q. Is it even more so in this game because of their speed and the way they play?
COACH SNYDER: I think it's significantly important in every game that you play. Yes, speed is certainly a factor. If you miss against a slow guy, you might get another shot at him, you know. If you miss against a fast guy, you probably don't.
Q. When you came back, did you expect to be here? Did you expect to win the Big 12 again?
COACH SNYDER: Well, you know me as well as anybody. I don't think that far ahead. My concerns always have been a day at a time, kind of win the day.
Our whole approach is centered around consistent improvement day in and day out. That's what we've always tried to do. As I've shared with our players, if you follow that process and get committed to that process, then the positive results will be there. What they are remains to be seen.
But, no, I didn't sit around thinking, Okay, where will we go, other than we need to get better. That's kind of always been the approach.
Q. Bill, is it only fitting these two teams meet now? Early in the season, a lot was made of Kansas State not playing Oregon. Then you were ranked 1 and 2 in November, thought you might go to the national championship and play each other, now you end up here in the Fiesta Bowl. Fitting to finally settle it on the field?
COACH SNYDER: Well, I don't know how to answer the question. I don't know what 'fitting' really means in this respect.
I think it's a tremendous matchup, yes. As I've said before, I think Oregon is an amazing football team. Like us, not that we're an amazing football team, but like us, they slipped up one time, as we did, and that's what brought the game together, I guess.
So, you know, we go where we're told to go, play who we're told to play.
Q. This being Collin's last game for Kansas State, what would be the fitting end for him and what do you predict for him at the next level?
COACH SNYDER: That remains to be seen. I just know that Collin is a wonderful young man, talented young man. I would like to think that he'll have some opportunities after this ballgame. I think he will.
But what would be a fitting end? For him to be Collin, and Collin knows that. That's the way Collin is. Collin wouldn't attempt to be anybody that he's not.
When you talk to Collin, for Collin it's not about Collin. For Collin, it's about his teammates, being the best teammate that he can be, be a quality leader in our program, care about each and every person in our program. Those are the things that he'll probably share with you.
Q. Coach, this program has thrived so much on routine. You do the same thing every week. How hard is it to get into a routine with the insanity of a bowl game and how do you adjust to that?
COACH SNYDER: Well, it is difficult. You try to move your community to another community. You try as hard as you can to replicate a schedule that you might be acclimated to in our own community.
But time changes. We don't have Wednesday press conferences. This is Wednesday of a normal game week for us. So that's a little different. There's a variety of different things that pop in that are different. It's just a matter of doing it, don't make a big deal about it, try to get back onto what your routine is, if the time schedule allows you to.
Q. Sometimes that routine can get a little bit of a curve ball with all of the events. Has there been anything resembling a party for this team whatsoever throughout the whole week?
COACH SNYDER: I think the young guys in our program have had the opportunity to enjoy the Scottsdale area. I wouldn't say it was a festive party that they were involved in, but they've gotten around to see the community. They had a dinner last night.
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How did you handle the hype of the Heisman this year? Was it distracting? Motivational?
COLLIN KLEIN: Well, I mean, there was definitely more exposure, a lot more just stuff going around that was there. You just had to try to stay focused. What we can control, what we're about, that kind of let everything else disappear.
Q. How much steak did you eat last night?
COLLIN KLEIN: I pretty much had all my fillet. It was really good.
Q. I saw some pictures that looked pretty awesome on Twitter.
COLLIN KLEIN: They did it really cool. The plates that came out just had your meat on it. It was sizzling hot. All the sides they put family style and came out and served all the sides. The plate was so warm, it was like it was really warm. It was really sweet. Never seen it done like that before. Pretty cool.
Q. Doing a story about the quick starts. It seems a little definitive. What is the importance of getting off to a quick start?
COLLIN KLEIN: Well, I think when you start well or fast, it makes it easier to finish. It doesn't make it a done deal, but it definitely makes it easier. There's no doubt. Rather play ahead than behind.
But as players, especially, even as a coach, you can't mentally put yourself and lock yourself in that box because all of a sudden, if we're down at halftime, to me that doesn't mean a darn thing because we still center to compete and we're going to find a way to win this game.
I think it's a stat that carries some weight because it's very true. It's much easier to finish when you start well. But we're going to finish one way or another. As a player and coach, we can't think about that too much, but it definitely carries some weight.
Q. Has any of this set in for you or is it still a whirlwind?
COLLIN KLEIN: It's set in. It's been great to spend time with teammates and family, just enjoying the journey.
Q. What has been your focus overall in preparation? What are you looking at?
COLLIN KLEIN: I mean, I think a little bit of everything. There's different parts in each, even individual plays that I need to be attuned to. It's going to take a good effort across the board.
We're focused on winning the line of scrimmage, playing tough, not turning the ball over, not having penalties. We can't stall or kick field goals all day. We have to score touchdowns.
Not one aspect of that is less important than the other.
Q. I'm getting pictures on Twitter of these fans traveling through snow to get here for tomorrow. What do you have to say about the K State fans.
COLLIN KLEIN: Wow, it's truly amazing. I'm not surprised. I'm so happy to hear that. I'm not surprised at all just 'cause I know and I felt the quality of people and the quality of fans that we have here. They're so unique. In my five years here, it's been truly special. I wish I could thank every one of them.
Q. What has been the weirdest Media Day question so far?
COLLIN KLEIN: It's been pretty generic. You haven't put me too much on my toes, unless you've got one coming.
Q. The usual, Coke or Pepsi, boxers or briefs.
COLLIN KLEIN: No (laughter).
Q. Oregon is a team that likes to run. How do you avoid getting into a track meet with those guys?
COLLIN KLEIN: It's just, again, doing our thing, making sure we're doing it well. Obviously that's the game of football, trying to take the other one out of what they like to do. We both have obviously put a plan in place and it's going to come down to whoever executes that plan the best.
Q. Their quarterback plays a similar style. Can you talk about their quarterback on the other side.
COLLIN KLEIN: I haven't been able to see too much of him. We spent so much time looking at the defense, I get to see highlights. Very talented player with an amazing system. It's going to be a challenge.
Q. You talked about that defense. What kind of problems do they pose for you guys?
COLLIN KLEIN: I mean, across the board, they force a lot of turnovers, fly around, give you a lot of different looks up front and stuff. It's just a matter of being able to recognize and execute what we call, go from there.
Q. What would it mean for you to go out with a bowl win for a program that hasn't won a bowl game in a decade?
COLLIN KLEIN: It would be huge. We talk about finishing all the time. We haven't been able to finish the last two years.
To be able to do that is very important to us.
Q. Has it gotten to you this is your last game?
COLLIN KLEIN: It has. It's not an easy thing. It's one of those things you can't really control. Just got to make the most of it, make sure that we've prepared, I've prepared, lay it all out there.
Q. Oregon's defense is pretty good, too.
COLLIN KLEIN: They play extremely hard, they find the football, create a lot of turnovers. It's going to come down to whoever executes their plan the best.
Sometimes if there's things you don't know, generally there's things you know. You go with what you know, generally you'll be all right. It's just going to take a good, collective effort from all of us.
Q. Did you dream you'd be here in the Fiesta Bowl?
COLLIN KLEIN: I learned and understood the value growing up of putting limitations on yourself or what you could accomplish. Coach Snyder, that's one of our team goals, the exact same thing.
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. The way this game seems to tilt on speed versus discipline, does it seem as though takeaways and penalties play an elevated factor in this game as far as you being on point in both those areas?
ARTHUR BROWN: Definitely. That's definitely going to be a great asset to our game, just being disciplined, maintaining our focus, keeping our focus within our scheme, our team.
Q. You aren't that slow. Do you look at that as a challenge? Everybody talks about their speed versus your discipline. Do you take that as a challenge a little bit?
ARTHUR BROWN: Obviously they're known for their speed, Oregon. But I think our team, our guys, we possess speed ourselves.
It's just about, like I said, playing within our role, not getting ourselves out of our function within the team.
Q. How special a season has this been for the Brown family for you and your brother?
ARTHUR BROWN: It's been great. Having an opportunity to come back from Kansas, where I'm from. My mom, my parents have been able to enjoy my time in college.
Q. Bryce has done fairly well?
ARTHUR BROWN: Yes.
Q. Does that add to it?
ARTHUR BROWN: How busy we are, how busy he is, haven't gotten too much of a chance to see him play. He's been doing a great job. I'm proud of what he's been able to do.
Q. We hear a lot about the experience from Oregon because they've been to this bowl before. Do you think they can really benefit that much from it? This can't be too much different from the Cotton Bowl last year.
ARTHUR BROWN: No, like I say, the two bowl games are very comparable. Cotton Bowl, Jerry Jones stadium, top of the line. They say this stadium is top as well.
I don't know how big a factor that will be for them.
Q. The uniform question here. Would you like to have Oregon's different combinations?
ARTHUR BROWN: I think that would add a little bit more excitement to the game. But, no, I'm just fine with what we've got.
Q. Is that a recruiting tool for young guys?
ARTHUR BROWN: Yeah, it could be. Can be used as that.
Q. Do you look at somebody's uniform?
ARTHUR BROWN: Me coming out of high school, it did play a factor, I don't know how big of a factor. A lot of guys do look at that. How they treat their players, that's important to some guys.
Q. That uniform budget is going toward a $400,000 expansion of the stadium.
ARTHUR BROWN: True.
Q. To be going back to the program, you said you'd like to stick around Kansas State. The future of this program with the stadium, with the direction, can you talk about the future of K State?
ARTHUR BROWN: I think it's bright. That's one thing that we focus on, is to raise the bar and build for the future, I think where we are now, where we hope to finish by the time the season is over with.
Q. I was talking with your linebacker coach about some of the speed drills, creative things you did to work on speed. What did you think of the big circle drill?
ARTHUR BROWN: I think that drill definitely helps because it gives a sense of the runningback being in open space, you have to make an open?field tackle. That's very applicable to the game.
We played against runningbacks that are shifty also.
Q. How well did you do at that drill?
ARTHUR BROWN: The first time in that drill, let's say I didn't make a tackle. It was kind of stuff. Coach got to telling us to stay square, stay low. That helped me out. Really not trying to be so aggressive, but maintain and contain him.
Q. What is your 40 speed?
ARTHUR BROWN: Probably like a 4.6.
Q. Every player we talk to on the Oregon offense says you're the guy on defense that scared them the most. What is your reaction to that?
ARTHUR BROWN: Like I say, we're a defense. We're a team. We complement one another. That's how we've been so successful throughout this year.
Q. Do you have an extra burst or step that allows you to get in that backfield?
ARTHUR BROWN: No. I definitely possess a sense of speed myself, use it when it's necessary.
I'm more of a sideline?to?sideline guy. I know in this game I'm going to have to play more assignment?style football. I'm prepared for that. I'm prepared both mentally and physically. They have a fast tempo. We played against some fast teams.
Q. You've had a month to get ready for Oregon. Did you have to do more work in conditioning to go four quarters?
ARTHUR BROWN: Not more so than what we've done throughout the year. That's one thing that we focused on because we know we're going to have to be able to finish in the fourth quarter.
Q. Relief not to go through a Snyder practice again?
ARTHUR BROWN: It's all going to be a relief, to reflect, embrace the experience. It's a once?in?a?lifetime experience.
Q. Are you sad?
ARTHUR BROWN: About leaving?
ARTHUR BROWN: Like I said, I'm looking forward to the next step. I'm in no rush to get there.
Q. What would it mean for Kansas State to win this game?
ARTHUR BROWN: It would mean just as much to me as it would to the community of Manhattan, go on this stage and represent this team.
Q. What do you think about Oregon?
ARTHUR BROWN: They're a great team, possess a lot of great athletes, have a lot of ability. As a defensive unit, we're looking forward to that challenge.
Q. What is the scariest thing about their offense.
ARTHUR BROWN: Really just seeing how many different weapons they have. Everyone complements each other's game. The offense as a whole, how dynamic they are. That's what poses a great threat to us.
Q. People make the comparison to West Virginia, Baylor. After seeing them on film, do they really do things pretty similar or is it a lot different?
ARTHUR BROWN: I would say the difference was more so the personnel. We've played against great offenses, get into three?wide, zone. Not much of a difference in scheme. Personnel is a little different, the way they like to use their guys.
Q. Has it set in for you that this is your last game?
ARTHUR BROWN: Not really. I think it will once that time comes. Like I said, I'm going to take time to definitely look back and reflect.
Q. How much would it mean to go out with a win?
ARTHUR BROWN: It would mean a great deal. We want to raise the bar for guys coming up.
Q. Obviously this is the end of an amazing journey for you. If you had a time machine, could go back and talk to Arthur Brown, stepping foot on that campus for the first time, what would you tell him?
ARTHUR BROWN: What would I tell him? I'm from Kansas. The winter, I knew how terrible it could get. Like I say, coming from Miami, I wasn't prepared for it.
Really, I don't know how to answer that question to be truthful with you.
Q. How do you avoid getting caught up in the hype of such a huge game?
ARTHUR BROWN: Our coaching staff does a great job of keeping and emphasizing what we're here for, and that's to win a ballgame. Keeping that in mind in all we do, I definitely don't lose sight of that.
Q. You play on a defense that has a lot of local veteran leaders. One of those is Tre Walker. Can you describe the impact he's had before and since his injury?
ARTHUR BROWN: His impact has been no different. He's definitely a vocal guy and provides leadership for the defense and our team. He still does that.
His presence alone speaks volumes. Really just having him around, he's always contributing in our success.
Q. What kind of impact has that had on the defense?
ARTHUR BROWN: We're all in need of a leader. When something needs to be said, he's always the guy. Not necessarily always, but he's always providing great leadership.
Q. Heading into next year, how do you think Tre will be to next season?
ARTHUR BROWN: He's going to be one of many seniors on this team coming up this year. He's definitely going to have to play more of a leadership role, take responsibility of knowing the young guys coming up, be a great example to them.
Q. Playing with Collin every day, does that help you prepare for Oregon's quarterback?
ARTHUR BROWN: We usually prepare with the scout team, not against Collin.
When we do go up against Collin, he has great running ability, as well.
Q. How do you deal with this team's speed?
ARTHUR BROWN: I would say by being disciplined and maintaining our poise, not getting outside of ourselves. We need to play assignment?style football.
Q. What is the most impressive thing about this offense watching it on tape?
ARTHUR BROWN: Really the ability to hit the outside edges of the defense. That will be our goal, is to contain them.
Q. Tackling is going to be a pretty big deal for you.
ARTHUR BROWN: That's always key in any ballgame, just securing the tackles. That's what our coaches always emphasize. That's going to be something we focus on as the defense.
Q. Are you getting tired of hearing about Oregon's speed?
ARTHUR BROWN: No, not necessarily. I know that they have speed, and that's something we're going to be faced with as a defense.
Like I say, we're looking forward to having that opportunity to go against such a great offense as Oregon.
Q. Does it feel like a big game yet?
ARTHUR BROWN: It is a big game. It's been a big week. Recognizing day to day what's at stake. We need to really zone in and just keep preparing for what's to come.
Q. What have you enjoyed the most about being out here in Arizona?
ARTHUR BROWN: Really the time we have being with one another as a team. It being my senior year, really just spending time with the guys.
Q. Do you wish you were back home in the snow?
ARTHUR BROWN: Oh, no (laughter). I've enjoyed the weather also. That is definitely something that I wish I could take back home with me.
Q. How excited are you just to be here, to be in a big game like this? When you arrived, a bunch of your teammates went over and took pictures with the trophy.
ARTHUR BROWN: No doubt. We're definitely looking forward to playing such a great team as Oregon, just the opportunity that the Fiesta Bowl has provided hosting this game, truly an honor for us as a team and the community we represent.
Q. What's most important to you of all the things you're playing for? What is the most important thing you're playing for?
ARTHUR BROWN: For one another, really recognizing the opportunity. Really with this group of seniors, we have a chance to be one of the greatest teams to come through Kansas State history. We've always played for one another. We definitely want to continue to do so this week.
Q. Do you ever wish you had alternate uniforms, 10 different helmet colors, stuff like that?
ARTHUR BROWN: That would probably be more appealing.
Q. Do you think that's pretty cool?
ARTHUR BROWN: It is cool. But me personally, I really don't mind our uniforms. I enjoy what we wear. I like what we wear. I don't necessarily compare.
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Do you think the uniforms are a recruiting tool?
CHRIS HARPER: Yes, definitely. I mean, as bad as it sounds, if you're looking at the uniforms where you want to go play football and go to school at, it's a terrible situation. You have to look at way more aspects. When you get there, you're going to have so many more problems than what you're going to wear on game day.
The young guys coming up aren't thinking about that. That's something I would encourage the young guys to look at, look at the coaching situation, the school, the facilities, other than just the jerseys.