B.J. Finney, Curry Sexton and Jake Waters know the end is near for them and 18 of their fellow senior teammates. Friday’s Valero Alamo Bowl will be the final time they step on the field in a K-State jersey.
As much as that sounds like leading motivation to go out and capture a second bowl victory in as many years, Finney and company would rather focus on what’s at stake for the entire team.
“We’re not really focusing on it being our last time,” Finney said Wednesday. “We’re working towards a 10-win season, something truly special to have. Just one more win is what this group is really after, and against a great opponent. UCLA is a great team and we’re going to have our hands full, but for this senior class, it’s about leaving a legacy and we know that if we want to leave a truly special legacy, then we can’t get lost in all our emotions and everything quite yet.”
Perhaps that’s what makes the K-State senior class so special to so many people, including head coach Bill Snyder.
Of course, there are the 38 wins (and only 13 losses). There’s the 2012 Big 12 Championship, the 2013 Buffalo Wild Wings title and numerous individual awards.
But at the end of the day, the conversation always goes back to daily improvement that builds up the team and its vision.
Co-Offensive Coordinator Dana Dimel spoke briefly about that mentality as it relates to the senior class and their accomplishments. Leadership and mentoring underclassmen, he said, were two of the major factors that have been the senior class’ staple of success.
“They had the challenge of coming in and rebuilding the program,” Dimel said. “They came back, and we got involved in it. We obviously had to take some big steps in rebuilding, and so they started from the ground up, just taking the principles that are part of our program and growing with them each and every day.”
As focused as the seniors are, they are not oblivious. Sexton explained that it’s just “not fair” to the other guys to put attention on themselves.
However, when the final whistle blows at the Alamodome Friday, regardless of the final score, reality will finally set in that this historic chapter of their lives is over. And for some of the seniors, that reality is already starting to present itself.
“Today when we have our last practice ever, it’s going to hit us,” senior quarterback Jake Waters said. “Tyler (Lockett) and I have been talking about it in the room, ‘Wow, yesterday was our last hard practice. Today is our last practice.’ Stuff like that. Tears may be shed for some guys but we want them to be happy tears. We’re working hard. “
Before taking another question about UCLA’s defense, Waters smiled and stated the obvious.
“We know it’s coming to the end.”
K-State hopes the end comes with an Alamo Bowl championship.