Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, left, and Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder meet on the field after the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football game Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, in Glendale, Ariz. Oregon defeated Kansas State 35-17.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Following the Wildcats 35-17 loss at the hands of Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl, Coach Bill Snyder and team captains met with the media.
An interview with:
COACH BILL SNYDER
THE MODERATOR: Coach, could we please ask you for some opening comments.
COACH SNYDER: Well, I'll be awfully quick.
Obviously we lost to an extremely fine football team. We made mistakes early in the ballgame that, you know, were very costly. As I said to our football team, no one gave up. I appreciated their effort. We didn't play as well as we're capable of playing.
But that takes absolutely nothing away from the University of Oregon. They're a very, very talented team. We were beaten by a better team. We just didn't play that way tonight, just made too many mistakes.
We got three seniors up here. I appreciate all three of them. They're young guys that have given so much to Kansas State University, to the family of Kansas State, and to our football program. I appreciate all they've done, so...
THE MODERATOR: We'll go to questions for the student?athletes.
Q. With the initial kickoff return, coming out the first time, you are already trailing, how tough was that in a game where kind of keeping pace was the key thing?
ARTHUR BROWN: You know, as a team coming into the game, we knew it would be a fight. We knew the game wouldn't be won in the first, second, or third quarter. We would have to finish.
Oregon, give them credit where credit is due. We weren't able to finish the way we would have liked to.
Like I said, it's a four?quarter game and we had to respond in the proper manner.
Q. Collin, can you talk about the Oregon defensive line, why it was so difficult for you to get on track?
COLLIN KLEIN: Well, I mean, they just made a lot of great plays, moved around, really flew to the football, executed better than we did.
You know, it's hard. But like everyone said, they're a good football team. We just didn't execute.
Q. Collin, your emotions right now. Your college career has come to an end.
COLLIN KLEIN: I mean, I'm just so blessed that God's given me the opportunity to be here at K State, be part of this family, play with all of our guys, play for coach.
I mean, it's hard. It's not the way any of us wanted to go out. You know, that's the way it goes.
Q. Chris, how would you characterize your game plays tonight? You led all players in receiving yards and catches.
CHRIS HARPER: We took an L. That's the only thing that matters. The stats don't matter. I could care less if I had a catch or not. We took an L. It's the last game of our careers at K State, so I could care less what my numbers was.
Q. Collin, on the fourth?and?one where you were called for the false start, that led to the field goal that was missed, were you going to run a play on that particular play or were you going for a hard count? Can you comment on how the game changed.
COLLIN KLEIN: Well, I mean, we were going to try to go hard count. That was one of two drives that we're down there and we said at the very beginning we're going to be able to win the line of scrimmage, score touchdowns, not stall, whether it was kicking field goals or whatever. That's exactly what happened and we weren't able to do it.
Again, we just didn't get it done.
Q. Arthur, how long till you're able to look at this season, the big picture, and remember 11 wins and a Big 12 championship?
ARTHUR BROWN: You know, like Collin said, us as seniors, we had the great opportunity to be a part of this team. This is not the end. This is the beginning of a new season.
We're building for the future. Like Coach Snyder said, he would like for us all to stay attached to the program, to focus on the young guys, just continue to lead. Our leadership as seniors is not over with. We need to continue to invest ourselves leading on in the future.
Q. Collin, I was wondering if you could recount that touchdown run that you had. If your two teammates could share a thought on Collin's toughness, him being able to score, what he's meant to this team.
COLLIN KLEIN: Well, again, I think it was a third down, if I remember right. We had a scheme called, had a good look. Went through my first two or three, didn't see too much. Just kind of saw a little window. Knew the backside was emptied out. Tried to get myself in the end zone.
But, again, like Chris said, and Arthur, it's about our family, it's about giving it all we had. Obviously, we didn't want it to end this way. At the end of the day, we just collectively didn't get it done.
Q. How many of you have heard of the one?point safety rule? What was your reaction when it was called?
ARTHUR BROWN: I can't really say too much about that 'cause I never heard of the one?point safety rule. I have to pass that on to Chris.
CHRIS HARPER: Never heard of it.
COLLIN KLEIN: No, it's one of those weird things that happens, I guess.
Q. Collin, with the loss tonight, Kansas State has gone a decade without a bowl win. What is it that makes bowl games so hard to finish? Is it something for Kansas State specifically or just the opponents?
COLLIN KLEIN: I mean, you'd be making a lot of money if you could find...
It's a combination of a lot of things. Like Arthur said, we had a great opportunity and we just came up short.
Q. Collin, can you at this point put into perspective this incredible ride that you have taken this season? Nobody really expected this from you.
COLLIN KLEIN: Well, I mean, that's one of our team goals. That's what coach tells us all the time. It's what he said at the first meeting to all of us when he first got in, just trying to be the best we can be, improve from where we were the day before.
Again, I'm just so proud to be a part of a team that did that and didn't allow anyone to tell us how good or bad we were going to be, not to let ourselves tell ourselves how good or bad we could be.
It's overshadowed right now, but that is something to hang our hat on. I'm proud to have been a part of it.
Q. Chris, a lot has been talked about the time you spent at Oregon. Did you get to catch up with any of your former teammates?
CHRIS HARPER: Not really. Different schedule. We really weren't doing much throughout the week. No, I didn't really get to talk to them a lot. I seen like one or two of them. It wasn't like sit down and have lunch. I'm trying to beat these dudes. It's not like trying to be friendly. I didn't get to talk to them.
Q. Arthur, after you guys missed the field goal at the end of the first half, Oregon got the ball with a minute to go and went down the field. Can you explain what happened defensively on that drive.
ARTHUR BROWN: Well, at that moment in time, you know, we felt as a team we had the momentum. That was a factor in the outcome of the game.
There's a combination of so many things that could have took place that could have changed the outcome of this game.
We had the opportunity. We let it slip away. Like coach said, we need to make the most of every opportunity we have and not take advantage [sic] of anything. In some cases we failed to do so.
Q. Could you guys speak briefly about Collin, his toughness, what he's meant to this team.
CHRIS HARPER: He mean everything. He sums up what we about as a team. We hang our hat on toughness. Everybody might not see us as the most talented team in America. But we hang our hat on toughness, giving the greatest effort we can do and this dude sums it up to a T. One of the hardest workers and probably one of the toughest dudes I ever met. He sums it up perfectly.
Q. It seemed maybe more in the second half that the secondary keyed on you a bit more, tried to double?team you more. Did it come across that way?
CHRIS HARPER: Yeah, a little bit. I think they planned for it a little bit. The way the players was out there talking in the second half, I mean, it opened it up for other guys.
But, yeah, I think they shaded a little bit more to me, but you still got to go out there and make plays. We got 11 men on the field, they have 11 men on the field. We just didn't come up with the plays we needed to.
Q. Arthur, about their quarterback, as you prepared for him, can you talk about their quarterback and some of the things that you saw him do tonight.
ARTHUR BROWN: He's a great young player. He has a bright future. Just with the team we played tonight, they have a lot of guys around that complement who he is, what he's about. He was able to make some great plays for Oregon tonight. They came up with the win.
Q. How tough is it to realize that you just played your final game?
ARTHUR BROWN: With each step moving forward, I think it will really sink in, at no particular point in time.
It's on us to reflect back on all that we've experienced with one another, the opportunity that we had. Just really embracing the moment now.
Like Collin said, it's been a tremendous opportunity to play with this team and be a part of this team. Moving forward, we just have to remember what we experienced here.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen. We'll dismiss the student?athletes and go to questions for Coach Snyder.
Q. The period on the hard count. You seem to have taken the momentum. You have a fourth?and?one. The false start and ensuing field goal. Is it oversimplistic to say the game swung on that?
COACH SNYDER: I would concur that it had a significant impact on the outcome of the ballgame.
But, you know, by the same token, going in down 10, even though that took the momentum away, nevertheless there was some that preceded that. I think we still felt that we had the appropriate opportunity to finish the ballgame the right way.
But it was a big swing. You're absolutely correct. There's no guarantee that we would have scored. But the intent there, being fourth down, we'd end up kicking a field goal. No guarantee we would have made that one if we hadn't gotten a penalty.
It was mistakes like that during the course of the first half that were instrumental in probably where we were in the first half. We had our opportunities.
Q. What was the hardest thing tonight trying to run the ball with Collin?
COACH SNYDER: I think the hardest thing is we had difficulty throwing the football, which they put you in a position where you had to do that for the most part with the number of people, as most of you say, they bring down in the box.
We had some difficulty throwing it because they got the big rangy guys who got their hands up. All sorts of tipped passes in the ballgame. My recollection is five tipped passes which would have concluded in pass completions, given us a little bit more flexibility in being able to mix the throw and the run.
The second half, when we fell behind, you get to a point after a while where you become one?sided, which we were.
Q. On a night where you've already mentioned it was a subpar night for your team, how would you characterize Chris Harper's play?
COACH SNYDER: I think Chris played well, virtually has throughout the course of the season. I think he's a very gifted young guy. Has excellent hands. Obviously very physical wide receiver. Can advance the ball once he catches it. He did.
I don't think tonight was by any stretch of the imagination out of the ordinary for Chris. He's played well virtually all year.
Q. What has Collin Klein meant to this program? As he moves on, what will you remember about him most?
COACH SNYDER: Well, I think what I've shared so often, so many times. We have a lot of young people like that.
Collin is a wonderful young person. He is genuine. I appreciate that. If I had to say in one word, there's a lot of things that describe Collin, but he wears it on his sleeve. He wears his faith on his sleeve. He wears his enthusiasm for the game on his sleeve. He wears his leadership on his sleeve. He wears the quality of person that he is on his sleeve. He's not embarrassed by it by any stretch of the imagination.
To me, that just makes him so real and so genuine, and I appreciate that about him. There's a lot of things you appreciate. He's a wonderful family man. He's a great teammate with his players. He's a quality student. Obviously a quality athlete, as well.
But he makes the best out of everything that he has. He believes in those things that all of us ? I've overdone this I know ? but he strongly believes in all those things, those values that we talk about so often, that you and I want to teach our children.
Q. The kickoff return for the touchdown, what kind of pickle that put you in to start things off.
COACH SNYDER: As you look throughout the course of the half, yes, it obviously put you in a compromising situation to a certain degree. It's one of those things. We always talk about keep rowing the boat, keep sawing wood, whatever the case may be. That's what our guys did up to the very end of the half.
We had a chance to come away from it even though it was seven points we gave up in a heartbeat. We still had a chance to enter at halftime and feel not comfortable, but feel good about where we were.
But it was a major play in the ballgame surely.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.