MANHATTAN — With Bill Snyder watching, celebrations are rarely a good idea.
Kansas State football players learned that lesson the hard way last season.
Whether it was an early fall practice, a 20-6 win over Colorado or a closer-than-expected loss at heavily favored Oklahoma, the Wildcats often got an earful from their coach for whooping it up on the sideline.
"We learned how demanding he can be," junior safety Tysyn Hartman said. "He's not going to lower the bar for anybody."
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His perfectionist attitude initially caught K-State players off guard. After spending three years under former coach Ron Prince, many didn't understand why they were being criticized for playing well. After all, things appeared to be going fine.
But fine has never been good enough for Snyder.
After a while, they understood he was pushing them to improve. They realized it wasn't enough to make a strong block or complete a pass. For plays to translate perfectly from practice to games, blocks needed to be made with consistent technique. Passes needed to be thrown carefully to a receiver's correct shoulder.
In games, it wasn't enough to play three strong quarters. Regardless of the opponent or outcome, with Snyder a complete game is always required.
Heading into Year 2 of Snyder's return to the sideline, that philosophy hasn't changed.
"We still have so much to accomplish," Snyder said. "I would hate to take anything for granted. You would like to think that with a year of experience in a different environment that you would improve, and I would like to think that has taken place.
"(But) I certainly would not take it for granted that it will continue to do that.... To be able to say that we are going to be a better football team or a more successful football team, that is a little hard to put a handle on right now."
K-State players wouldn't have it any other way. While they were surprised by Snyder's coaching style a year ago, this year they know what to expect.
That has resulted in sharper preseason practices, and returning players policing newcomers the way Snyder did this time last year.
"It's been a lot easier to get things going," Hartman said. "Most everyone in the program now has had a year under Snyder. We had a lot of freshmen last year. A lot of those guys redshirted and got used to him. There's not as much of a learning curve this year. The guys who don't know everything now have people helping them."
K-State's veterans also seem to have changed their opinions on last season (6-6). Even though there were positives to take away from it, and they feel good about the year ahead, they know Snyder expects more of them this time around. They expect more out of themselves.
Last season was nothing to celebrate.
"None of us are satisfied with that," senior offensive lineman Clyde Aufner said. "We have a lot of guys with talent. I think as far as that goes, we can get better. Nobody wants to be 6-6, because I think we have the capabilities to do better. We are a better team than we were last year so we need to keep on improving."