Kansas State University

K-State Q&A: Bill Snyder, Brad Hill, Jeff Mittie and spring football

The Wichita Eagle

It’s time for another K-State Q&A. We’ve got a wider variety of topics than usual this week. So let’s get right to them. Thanks, as always, for asking them. Couldn’t do this without all those great questions.

This is a good question. The K-State women are at a bit of a crossroads. The top remaining players from the Deb Patterson era have departed and it will be up to a crop of young talent to keep the Wildcats trending up.

I suppose the natural expectation is for them to take a bit of a step back next season, given how much Breanna Lewis (13.9 points, 8.2 rebounds) and Kindred Wesemann (13.9 points, 2.5 rebounds) contributed this season. But Kayla Goth, Karyla Middlebrook, Kaylee Page, Lanie Page, Peyton Williams and Eternati Willock are all back. Some promising recruits are coming in.

Jeff Mittie has done a nice job so far with the women’s program. No reason for that to change now. I expect them back in the NCAA Tournament next season.

K-State should be picked third in the preseason Big 12 poll.

Oklahoma is the obvious No. 1. Oklahoma State has enough coming back to earn No. 2. You could argue K-State for second, but I don’t see media across the conference buying that. Still, the Wildcats seem like the easy choice for third. That doesn’t mean they will land there. Texas has lots of talent and a new coach. It’s possible some could look at that and give the Longhorns an edge. West Virginia was really good last year, too.

You never really know how many media members actually vote in the preseason poll and where they are located. Never underestimate the odds of K-State landing two or three spots lower than it should.

So my expected preseason Big 12 rank would be somewhere between 3 and 5 and my expected Big 12 finish would be 2 or 3.

This is a fear for many fans.

I understand there is precedent for it, even beyond Bo Ryan. Within the Big 12, Bob Knight and Eddie Sutton stepped away at times that were beneficial for their sons.

That being said, I don’t think there is much chance Bill Snyder retires before the end of the 2017 season. I think he’s got one more year in him, at the least. He’s done with cancer treatment and he has a promising team coming back, one that should be picked in the top three of the preseason Big 12 poll and might be ranked.

K-State returns pretty much everyone on offense, including quarterback Jesse Ertz with a year of starting experience under his belt. The defense will need to replace Jordan Willis and Elijah Lee, but that’s doable. He’s also re-worked the coaching staff to his liking.

This team will be a contender, and I get the feeling Snyder wants to coach it very badly. I have no idea how much longer he intends to coach, but, at 77, he may not get many more chances with a roster like this, which he has historically won with. I doubt he passes it up.

Yeah, Reggie Walker seems like a slam dunk to lead that statistical category.

He ranked second on the team last year with 6.5 sacks as a freshman. Next in line was Trey Dishon with three. Maybe Tanner Wood could challenge him with increased playing time. I don’t see anyone else doing it.

Walker had a nice nose for sacks last season, and I expect him to take a step forward as a sophomore.

Warm is a good way to put it.

K-State has lost seven straight, including all six of its conference games, to fall to 15-13. Not great, especially after a promising start.

Brad Hill was in a similar situation last season, starting 0-8 in the Big 12. His seat was warming up a bit, but then K-State finished league play 8-8 and the team won some important non-league games and made the conference tournament.

It would behoove him to at least guide the Wildcats back to Oklahoma City.

Building a winning baseball program in the state of Kansas isn’t easy, and Hill has guided the Wildcats to some impressive heights, including a Big 12 championship and Super Regional in 2013 and four NCAA Regionals. Success has been harder to find since 2013, but he’s still won 400-plus game at K-State. He has a long leash, which could be made even longer by a new AD. But it would certainly be in his best interest to go on a winning streak.

This is a question that can’t be answered until after the upcoming season is complete, as players that have been in school for five years don’t request medical hardships until then.

I don’t know what to expect from the NCAA on that front. On one hand, he was knocked out for the year on the first series of the 2015 season. So he certainly has an argument for getting a sixth year of eligibility. On the other hand, he is already a redshirt senior, which complicates things. Had he not redshirted out of high school, getting a medical redshirt now would be a slam dunk (think Alex Delton). But the NCAA treats players who have already used a redshirt a little differently.

I’ve spoken with people at K-State that think he will win a medical hardship request. I’ve spoken with people at K-State that think he will lose a medical hardship request. There’s also a chance he has a great season and decides he would rather try and make it as a pro than spend a sixth season in college. The whole thing feels like a coin flip to me.

K-State fans are so loyal, smart and passionate that it is hard for me to choose a mere 15 questions (the most allowed with our software) to use on this blog. Each week, I feel like I’m leaving out questions that deserve to be answered -- pure gold, really. I assume the selection process would go much easier with a different fan base.

Side note: your question immediately had me thinking about Michael Scott describing his weaknesses at a job interview.

Country Stampede!

5. Oklahoma 41, Kansas State 31 in 2013.

Jake Waters and Tyler Lockett connected for 278 yards and three touchdowns, and it still wasn’t enough for K-State to beat Oklahoma in Manhattan. That’s how well the Sooners played that day.

4. Kansas State 24, Oklahoma 19 in 2012.

At a time when no one seemed able to win in Norman, the Wildcats flexed their muscles against the Sooners and won a game that sparked their run to a conference championship and a No. 1 BCS ranking.

3. Kansas State 53, Texas A&M 50 (4 OTs) in 2011.

The game lasted four overtimes. What more do you need to know?

2. Oklahoma State 52, Kansas State 45 in 2011.

My only regret about this game is it didn’t go to overtime. Brandon Weeden was awesome (502 yards, four TDs) and so was Collin Klein (231 yards passing, 144 yards rushing). Tyler Lockett had the biggest day of his young K-State career. A vintage Big 12 shootout, this was. There was even an earthquake afterward.

The only thing that would have made it better: Klein finding Chris Harper of Tramaine Thompson open in the end zone on the game’s final plays.

1. Kansas State 36, Baylor 35 in 2011.

I remember this more as Arthur Brown vs. Robert Griffin III than I do K-State vs. Baylor. The game was played at a high level the whole way, but Brown reached another level in the fourth quarter. He picked off the Heisman winner on late drive and then sacked him on Baylor’s final possession.

I’m told the job attracted more quality applicants than some at K-State expected. That may explain why the process has moved so slowly. But a hire is within sight. I expect the search committee to finish interviews in the next week or two and an announcement to be made soon after.

He has a good shot at making an impact next season, as good as any newcomer on the team.

There’s a decent chance he lands a starting spot. His prior experience playing alongside D.J. Reed could be beneficial. But it all depends on how he practices and adjusts to the system. I would have thought Cedric Dozier was a sure bet to start last year after transferring in from Cal, and it didn’t happen.

Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett