MANHATTAN — Whether he is asked his opinion on Daniel Thomas rushing for huge yardage or Tysyn Hartman making two interceptions in a single game, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder can usually find something that needs to be improved.
No matter how well you play, you can always play better. You can always be more consistent. Those are the mottos he lives by. They help keep himself and his players motivated. Always have.
So when Snyder opened his news conference on Monday by lamenting how the Wildcats' inconsistencies have turned the second half of spring practices into "a vital time for us," it was surprising to hear him immediately segue into how proud he was of sophomore fullback Braden Wilson, a Smith Center product.
"I would like to mention a youngster that really catches my eye day in and day out," Snyder said. "Not that he is without some mistakes. But we always talk about how if you are going to make a mistake, you make them at 100 miles-an-hour. He is making them at 120 miles-an-hour, and I love the way he practices and I would feel remiss if I did not mention Braden Wilson.
"Braden is just one of those guys that is always on 'go' and practices just as hard as one can."
Last year Wilson was a vagabond on the field. He spent some of his time helping Thomas rush for 1,547 yards as his lead blocker, but also lined up as a tight end and practiced as a defensive end. He showed talent in all three places, and ended up playing in all 12 of K-State's games. He even started four of them.
"He can do all of those things," Snyder said.
Wilson has always been a multi-purpose player. In high school, he never lost a game while playing both offense and defense. That experience is starting to help him at the college level.
"He is the consummate throwback football athlete," Snyder said. "He would have been great in the days when they did not play with facemasks."
Snyder tears ACL, MCL — In most circumstances, Snyder refuses to publicly discuss injuries related to his football program. But that rule apparently does not apply when he is the injured party.
Near the end of his news conference Monday, Snyder admitted that two unidentified players — or "600 pounds," as he called them — accidentally crashed into his leg during practice last week, causing him to tear both his ACL and MCL.
Snyder showed no signs of injury and walked around the Vanier Football Complex with ease, but said it was difficult for him to move laterally.
"I lost my ACL and MCL, and unless you have experienced it you never really understand the impact it can have on a young guy," Snyder said. "If you are not supposed to turn right and you turn right, it will let you know in a heartbeat. But the amazing thing is that it did not hurt. I got up and went through practice."
Further examinations revealed the torn ligaments. Snyder said a team doctor told him he would never golf again without surgery, but Snyder joked that he doesn't have the time needed to swing a driver and is still undecided about an operation.
Quarterback separation —Carson Coffman and Collin Klein appear to be the front runners in K-State's ongoing three-man competition for starting quarterback duties.
Snyder said they have each distanced themselves from former scout-team signal caller Sammuel Lamur, because they are showing better command of the offense. But Coffman said all three quarterbacks were receiving equal playing time with the first-team offense. Snyder insisted Lamur still has time to catch up.
"I certainly will not give up on Sammuel just because he does not have the experience of the other two," Snyder said. "But we do think he has a lot of capabilities. I think the inconsistency is a blanket statement, it covers the entire team and that includes the quarterback position. But if one of those three individuals would gain the consistency that we are talking about then I think the depth chart would define itself a little more clearly than it has."