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K-State weathers the storm The Wildcats adjust their schedules to prepare for the Pinstripe Bowl in snowy New York.

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010, at 12:05 a.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010, at 8 a.m.

Bill Snyder mostly keeps his emotions private.

Win or lose, good day or bad, Kansas State's football coach tries to keep the same, steady tone.

But he has an eccentric side. Throughout his long career, the 71-year old has been caught screaming at his assistant coaches for making substitution errors during games, criticizing quarterbacks for throwing passes to the wrong shoulder of receivers and slamming his fist against the podium during postgame interviews when asked about silly penalties and unforced errors.

A loss, he can handle. No one can control everything that happens on the field. But a false start by his center or an unsportsmanlike penalty against his running back will set him off every time, because they weren't supposed to happen.

Nothing angers Snyder, a self-proclaimed control freak, more than a change of plans.

So the Wildcats' trip to New York for Thursday's Pinstripe Bowl against Syracuse at Yankee Stadium hasn't been the most stress-free outing of his life.

"He's pretty religious with his schedules," senior guard Zach Kendall said. "And we've been at the mercy of bad weather and traffic since we got here. I think it's made him a little antsy."

Since arriving ahead of schedule on Sunday to avoid the worst part of a massive snow storm that has dropped considerable amounts of snow on the Big Apple and canceled flights across the Northeast, the Wildcats have had to adjust their schedule at almost every turn.

Upon arrival, inclement weather forced them to conduct a walkthrough at the team hotel rather than practice at an outdoor field at nearby Columbia University. And instead of taking a short bus trip to Columbia for practices in game-like elements on Monday and Tuesday, K-State moved to indoor facilities farther away.

That may not seem like much of a hassle compared to Syracuse, which has had trouble merely getting all of its players into New York in time for the game, but remember this is the same Snyder that once was profiled in Sports Illustrated as not standing for butter at team meals when margarine was requested.

And it is the same Snyder who once planned a seating chart for a shared flight with Nebraska to Japan for the 1992 Coca-Cola Bowl that he arranged for the Cornhuskers to sit on the sunny side of the plane coming and going while his team sat and slept more comfortably on the darker side.

"We're well aware that a short bus ride can turn into 45 minutes or more in New York City," Snyder said before leaving Manhattan. "We've done our best to schedule our events around the least amount of traffic time. We're sure there will be some travel issues, but we're doing our best to avoid that."

Players estimated the trip to the Giants' practice facility on Monday took nearly one hour. That led to an extended stretching period before scrimmages began.

"It has been nagging at us a little," junior safety Emmanuel Lamur said. "We never really know when or where we're going to do something. But that's just part of this crazy weather. The traffic is unbelievable. It goes so slow. I don't think our bus has gotten above 15 or 20 (mph) yet. Maybe 30 when we're going really fast."

Once K-State took the field, though players reported a good practice.

"Everyone was actually really fired up to play in a NFL practice facility," senior quarterback Carson Coffman said. "It was a neat experience, and everything went well."

Following Tuesday's practice, Wildcats also raved about the Jets' facility on Twitter. Later in the evening, they were scheduled for a World Yacht Cruise around New York Harbor with the Orange before returning to their hotel and resting up for final pre-bowl preparations today.

With weather improving in New York, maybe Snyder will have one day go as planned. If not, Kendall is confident his coach will be carefree come game time.

"All the delays and rescheduling hasn't hurt us as far as preparation goes," Kendall said. "We've gotten some good work done. It's been nice to get out there and sweat a little bit and work on our game plan. We're excited about what we've done so far."

Check Kellis Robinett's K-State blog at blogs.kansas.com/kstated. Reach him at krobinett@wichitaeagle.com.

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