Oct. 3, 2011
Click here to subscribe to K-State Sports Extra
By Mark Janssen
Be honest now.
When Bill Snyder was re-hired following the 2008 season, how many wondered if the now 71-year old, 72 on Friday, was a little too mature for the position of head coach of the Wildcats?
To those with a hand raised, thank you for your honesty; for those still with your arms crossed, you know that 95 percent of you are fibbing yourselves just a little.
The Baylor Bears and coach Art Briles, preceded by Miami and coach Al Golden, are just the latest to be Snyder-ized. They joined a high-profile list of USC’s Pete Carroll (twice), Bob Stoops with his No. 1 Sooners, Mack Brown at Texas (three times), and so-so many others.
All high-profile coaches with on-paper rosters far superior to K-State’s, yet the Saturday afternoon winner these last two weeks was Mr. Snyder.
They almost seem to be intimidated by the possibility to be Snyder-ized.
• Miami, blessed with all that team speed, refused to throw the ball vertically, and then tried to be a power-team on the goal line.
• Baylor, with that hyper up-tempo passing attack, went conservative and rushed 11 times in a 16-play drive that ended with a missed field goal, and the loss of all momentum, early in the fourth stanza.
With absolutely no disrespect to the K-State roster, but here’s guessing if one would put down the Wildcats starting-22 against that of the Hurricanes and/or the Bears, most would take those other guys dressed in orange or green.
What K-Staters have seen throughout Snyder’s 20 years is his own football version of “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.”
It’s the 2002 story of general manager Billy Beane of the Oakland A’s with a payroll of $41 million and his plan to counteract the $125 million payroll of the New York Yankees. It’s a story of the method that Beane used to sign undervalued players that had one specific baseball tool that could help a team win.
It’s so much like Snyder and K-State.
Texas takes its 22 to 25 recruits a year, A&M grabs its 25, Oklahoma signs its 22, and Snyder studies the talents of what’s left and molds a winning team.
It’s a 4-0 team today that is ranked No. 20 in the Associated Press poll and No. 21 in the USA Today Coaches poll as the Wildcats are back among the elite for the first time since 2007.
Of the latest wins, Snyder said, “It all goes back to our values: don’t give up, work hard, discipline, etc. These are things that are hard for an 18- of 19-year-old to buy into in our society, but I think our guys are realizing it can make a dramatic difference.”
It’s the 16 Commandments that have been in place at K-State since Snyder’s first arrival in 1989: commitment, unity, toughness, effort, never give up, refuse to allow failing to become a habit, expect to win, leadership, improve every day, do it right and don’t accept less, eliminate mistakes, no self-limitations, consistency, responsibility, unselfishness, enthusiasm.
Former linebacker Brooks Barta recalls, “Coach could talk for hours on each one of them. It didn’t change through the years. He could talk forever on them.”
Old-fashion concepts in this computer-age?
“Of course! Who doesn’t look at coach Snyder and see old-fashion?” said cornerback David Garrett, adding a wide grin. “You better keep doing what he says to do because he’s not going to change for anyone. And, he keeps getting wins.”
Sophomore linebacker Tre Walker added, “Sure, they’re thought of as old-time ways, but it becomes a nice mix of old and new. You know every word that coach Snyder says has meaning. They are things you commit to memory and you’re amazed on how they help you along the way.”
Like this past Saturday, and the one before that.
Now that you’ve read the 16 Wildcat Commandments, listen to some of the comments after Saturday’s win over Baylor.
“It’s all about team unity,” said fullback Braden Wilson. “Everyone is willing to sacrifice. There is no selfishness on this team. There’s such a willingness to put each other first.”
Walker added, “This team has so much heart and fight to play hard until the end.”
Wide receiver Brodrick Smith said, “This team is so committed to never giving up. This team has heart.”
And Garrett adding, “We have a character to never giving up. This team has a lot of the same players as last year, but we have more experience, speed and depth, plus a unity that is higher than ever.”
Saturday was a Snyder-like victory in what he called a “team win.” He credited the offense for “playing well enough to win,” the defense for “playing well enough to win,” and the special teams played “well enough to win.”
And in conclusion, Snyder showed his 71 years of consistency when talking about moving on to Missouri this week at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
“We’ll keep rowing the boat. What are our options?” said Snyder. “We’ll do tomorrow (Sunday) what we did last Sunday, and we’ll do Monday what we did last Monday, and the Monday before that. Consistency is one of those values that we talk about.”
The result has been wins, never giving up for four victories in a row, which includes three in come-from-behind fashion in the fourth quarter where they refused to fail.
We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen or Kansas State Director of Athletics Communications/SID Kenny Lannou. For those who would like to share Sports Extra with a friend or family member, or change your current email address, click here.