Bill Snyder sat in front of the media Tuesday with a K-State team ranked No. 1 in the Bowl Championship Series for the first time to talk about the Wildcats’ upcoming game against Baylor.
However, Snyder ended up answering more questions about jinxes, the past and individual awards than about the Bears’ potent offense.
This year’s Snyder-led team is his second team to reach a 10-0 record; K-State’s 1998 team famously lost its national title hopes to Texas A&M; in the Big 12 Championship game.
Michael Bishop played quarterback during that 1998 run and finished runner-up in Heisman Trophy voting to Texas running back Ricky Williams. Snyder said that while Bishop and Collin Klein both had tremendous leadership abilities, Klein’s leadership is a more complete package.
“People responded to him because he made plays and because he was extremely athletic,” Snyder said of Bishop’s leadership. “There’s that same feeling about Collin, I think, but Collin’s leadership goes beyond that.”
Snyder further differentiated Klein’s leadership as occurring both on and off the field.
“He just has more — I don’t even have the right words for it, I guess, but they respond to him not only by what he does but what he addresses them about and in areas other than just football,” Snyder said. “And Michael’s thing was just kind of on the football field.”
Klein, who was recently listed as one of 15 “Players to Watch” for the 2012 Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, also earned the honor of being featured on the cover of the latest issue of Sports Illustrated — an honor that comes attached with the superstitious baggage of a jinx.
Snyder said he had not heard Klein was on the cover of SI and that he doesn’t know if his team is superstitious.
“Collectively? Probably not,” Snyder said. “Individually? Perhaps so. I don’t know.”
Joining the long list of Wildcats with awards, senior defensive end Meshak Williams extended the team’s now four-week streak of earning Big 12 Player of the Week.
Williams earned the defensive honor after recording two sacks in last Saturday’s game against TCU while racking up career highs in tackles and tackles-for-loss with seven and three, respectively.
Snyder said he especially appreciates when positions that commonly go unnoticed, like the defensive or offensive line, receive accolades.
“I appreciate it when some of the unsung youngsters get recognized, and again, it’s all about how you respond to it,” Snyder said. “I like to think that Meshak, like the other youngsters that we have in our program who have won some type of recognition, will handle it well.”
The buzz created by the Wildcats’ current season has undoubtedly increased their fan base’s appreciation, something that Snyder said he stresses to his players.
“I want our players to understand that they do have the capacity to have a positive impact on the lives of others, just like the veterans that they didn’t know anything about,” Snyder said, referring to the message he addressed to his team on Veterans Day. “I’m not trying to equate the sacrifices of someone that lays their life down for their nation to someone playing a silly game, but by the same token, I want them to understand it’s important for them to be appreciative of the people that generally care about what they do.”