Bill Snyder

Photo Credit: Ethan Oblak | Daily Texan Staff

Like Steve Spurrier’s visor, Bill Snyder’s pullover, or Bear Bryant’s fedora, Texas head coach Charlie Strong’s game-day attire is most recognizable by one thing: the mock turtleneck.

Against North Texas, Strong debuted the garment, a turtleneck in which the neckpiece is not in fact folded down, in 95-degree heat. No matter the temperature or circumstance, Strong sports the ’90s fashion item with pride.

Recently, however, the Longhorns’ new coach added some variety to his sideline wardrobe, going with a burnt orange top against Iowa State instead of the white one he had worn through the team’s first six games.

Despite beating the Cyclones in his first game wearing the new color, Strong made the curious decision to go back to white in the team’s next game and sure enough, the Longhorns were shut out by Kansas State. But, after another burnt orange victory in Lubbock last weekend, Strong is now a perfect 2-0 in the school’s color.

“My daughter, Hailee, she told me I can only wear orange from here on out,” Strong said.

Some of his players have noticed the trend, too, and if senior defensive back Quandre Diggs had his way, the whole team would be wearing the lucky shirt.

“I told him before the game that’s the one he needs to wear,” Diggs said. “I think everybody needs to wear a little mock turtleneck this week. And I think if we play as well as we did, we all need to continue to wear it.”

While superstition doesn’t appear to play into Strong’s reliance on game-day turtlenecks, a few Longhorns have found a link between certain wardrobe decisions and on-field success and seem convinced it’s a case of causation, not just correlation.

“I’m very superstitious,” Diggs said. “I have to have two thin wristbands on my legs. I’ve got to have high socks that I can pull down and scrunch up, and my main thing is having the long shirt under my jersey. That’s something I’ve been wearing for the last two or so years. I feel like it’s been working for me.”

They may not be quite as obvious, but sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes has a few quirks of his own.

“Every time I put my pads and shoes on, I’ve got to do it a certain way every time or I won’t feel right,” Swoopes said. “I always put my left side on before I put the right side on.”

Superstition, the idea that one event causes another without any natural process linking the two, has long been a polarizing topic in sports. Some players rely on a whole slew of odd rituals, while others believe it to be total nonsense, taking credit away from the time and effort spent working on their craft.

Senior wide receiver John Harris is an example of an athlete who doesn’t care much for the notion.

“I say when we throw the ball, everything’s going right,” Harris said, when asked if he was superstitious. “Whenever we have that ball in our hands, it’s going to be a good day.”

Strong seems to have a similar perspective, preferring to keep it simple and denounce any suggestion that he might be the least bit superstitious.

But Saturday, superstitious or not, he’ll be wearing orange.

Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters has gone from being an unheralded junior college pivot in Iowa to one of the top players in the Big 12. The senior enters Saturday’s contest with the Longhorns as the team leader in passing and rushing.

Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

It seems that everyone — opponents, teammates, coaches and scouts — sees Jake Waters, Kansas State’s senior quarterback, a little differently. 

Some say he’s tough, others say he’s persistent; some note his running game, others look at his passing game; some note what he’s already accomplished, others tout his potential.

But head coach Bill Snyder sees it all.

“I see a young guy that is committed to becoming a better player and works diligently at it,” Snyder said at a Tuesday press conference. “He studies the game, has made that improvement [and] has gained more confidence about his abilities in all the facets of the game.”

Waters’ confidence wasn’t an immediate development. Like many Wildcats, the senior signal caller’s collegiate career didn’t start in Manhattan, Kansas, but rather in Council Bluffs, Iowa, at Iowa Western Community College. Waters earned the 2012 NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year honor after leading the Reivers to a 12-0 record and a national championship. His junior college performance earned him a spot on the Wildcats’ team, where he started every game in his rookie season at the FBS level last season. Snyder says Waters’ experiences show he’s “committed to continued improvement.” He reiterated Waters’ versatility after Kansas State beat Oklahoma 31-30 last Saturday.

“When I asked Jake, ‘Can you do this,’ he said, ‘I can do it coach,’” Snyder said. “I asked if there was anything we need to be restrictive of and he said, ‘I can do it all. If you want me to run it, tell me. If you want me to throw it, I’ll throw it.’”

Waters was effective through the air and on the ground against Oklahoma, using his arm and legs to register each of the Wildcats’ three touchdowns. With 225 passing yards and another 51 yards rushing, Waters moved his way up the Kansas State record books. He now sits 10th all time in total yards — 4,583 — and completions — 267 — despite this being only his second season with the program.

After the Oklahoma game, multiple Sooners commented on the powerhouse that Waters has become. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Trevor Knight said Waters makes a victory over Kansas State “extremely challenging” as he “conducts the offense very well.” Oklahoma sophomore cornerback Zack Sanchez also echoed those sentiments.

“[Facing Waters is] extremely tough — especially the way they use him,” Sanchez said. “There’s just so many things he can do, from the run to throwing the ball while he’s on the run. He’s just a really tough quarterback to scheme against.”

As the Longhorns get ready to travel north, they, too, anticipate Waters’ dual-threat abilities. Senior tight end Geoff Swaim dubbed Waters as “a hell of a quarterback” and a model of the discipline for which this Wildcat group has become known. Texas head coach Charlie Strong said the Longhorns’ defensive struggles against Iowa State serve as a great reminder of the challenges that lie ahead.

“It’s good that that happened because now we have to slow down Waters,” Strong said. “For our defense, sometimes you need to be brought down to earth. Now they have a chance that they’ve really got a challenge in front of them, and they have to step up.”

Longhorn defenders know they’ll need to be better this weekend. Allowing 45 points and 524 yards of total offense to an Iowa State team that has yet to win a Big 12 game was a major step back after holding Baylor and Oklahoma to just 28 points on 389 yards and 31 points on 232 yards, respectively. 

Senior cornerback Quandre Diggs is looking forward to leaving Austin for the Land of Oz this weekend. His defense will look to improve across the board, but stopping Waters remains the focal point.

“Right now, he’s playing like he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the Big 12,” Diggs said. “We have a number of great quarterbacks in this conference, and he’s doing great things.”

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

DALLAS ‒ Big 12 media days concluded Tuesday at the Omni Dallas Hotel, and while new Texas coach Charlie Strong was the main event, his counterparts left their mark on the second day of the event as well.

The day started with the Big 12’s coordinator of officials, Walt Anderson, who outlined new rules for the 2014 football season. Anderson announced there would be changes to the instant replay process, helmet-to-helmet contact and roughing the passer.

After Anderson, College Football Playoff director Bill Hancock discussed how the playoff system and committee will work.

“The playoff provides universal access,” Hancock said.  “There's no more automatic qualification.  And, yes, everyone benefits financially.  The conference has managed this event just like they manage the BCS.”

Following Hancock were Big 12 coaches: Bob Stoops, Paul Rhodes, Dana Holgorsen, Bill Snyder and Strong.

Oklahoma: Stoops, Sooners primed for championship run

2013 was deemed a rebuilding year for Oklahoma and it was a pretty successful one as the Sooners finished the season at 11-2 and upset SEC powerhouse Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

With the surprise victory over Alabama, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops and Oklahoma are prepared to make a run for a Big 12 title and a berth in the first ever College Football Playoff.

“I think, as much as anything, [the Orange Bowl win] inspired our players to really to build on it in the winter in the way we trained,” Stoops said.  “The way we went into spring and we had a fabulous summer … just the chemistry and their willingness to work when they see the benefits of it like that.”

Iowa State: New offensive coordinator to boost Cyclones

Iowa State struggled in 2013, finishing the season with an abysmal 3-9 record.

But Cyclones head coach Paul Rhodes added Mark Mangino as the team’s offensive coordinator, a move that should help the Iowa State offense improve significantly.

“I reached out to [Mangino] and certainly had great respect for what he's done in our profession,” Rhodes said. “We're going to deploy a lot of three wide receiver sets and one back offense. We're not going to huddle. Those are things that are familiar to the Iowa State fan base.”

West Virginia: Holgorsen, Mountaineers still trying to find footing in Big 12

The West Virginia Mountaineers were among the top teams in nation when they were a member of the Big East, but the transition to the Big 12 has been difficult.

The Mountaineers have struggled to adapt to the Big 12’s style of play and head coach Dana Holgorsen knows speeding up the adaptation process will be key to their success.

“One of the things that has happened in the Big 12 over the last two years, we have not been dominant in the Big 12,” Holgorsen said. “We've been competitive … Hopefully, we can put a season together that everybody will be proud of.”

Kansas State: Wildcats looking to build off strong 2013 finish

The Kansas State Wildcats opened the 2013 season with a shocking loss to the North Dakota State Bison. The opening game loss fueled a 2-4 start for the Wildcats but they were able to finish strong, as they went 6-1 in their final seven games including a victory over the Michigan Wolverines in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder is hoping the team’s strong finish last year will help the Wildcats mature into a better team in 2014.

“The hope would have been, and was, that we had learned lessons along the way,” Snyder said. “The lessons dated back to the outset of the season in which we were not a very good football team … I think that the way that our young people finished the season allowed them to understand the value of not taking anything for granted.”

Bill Snyder celebrates with his Kansas State team after it beat Texas, 42-24, in its regular season finale last year. The Wildcats clinched the Big 12 title with the win. 

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Mack Brown and Bill Snyder are two of the winningest all-time coaches in the FBS – Brown is No. 10, Snyder is No. 35 – but the pair has found their success is opposite fashion.

Brown’s best seasons have been spearheaded by an award-winning quarterback, a la Vince Young or Colt McCoy, and a talented core. His most successful teams (2005 and 2009) were stocked full of four- and five-star recruits, many of which went on to play in the NFL.

Snyder, on the other hand, found his success in a different way. At Kansas State, he’s taken an underwhelming national brand and molded the teams into successful entities. Actually, he’s made this transformation twice. Kansas State hired Snyder in 1989 to change the culture at one of the consistently worst teams incollege football.

His first season the Wildcats won a single game, but 10 years later Snyder had flipped the script and Kansas State turned in an 11-1 season. Snyder retired in 2005, and before his final game the school offered to name the stadium after the coach – now known as Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

But Snyder wasn’t done altering the direction of the Wildcats program. In 2009, following four years of underwhelming results, Kansas State reached out to Snyder to guide the school again. Snyder delivered. He took a five-win team in 2008, and four years later had vaulted the Wildcats to the verge of a national championship appearance.

Perhaps most impressively, in both of these instances, Snyder elevated the program with mid-level and undervalued talent. He didn’t benefit from top-level recruits. 


Instead, he molded the players into a real unit, a hard-nosed, mistake-free group based off his personality. Many of these players came from the junior college route and a lot from the small high school ranks, but Snyder enabled it all to gel.

Both Brown and Snyder are highly successful,
renowned coaches. But it’s easy to admit Snyder’s done more with less, especially of late.

The 62-year-old Brown leads a Longhorns team with the players every other school desires. A Top 5 recruiting class each season is the norm, and there are less than three coaches in America who wouldn’t trade their team’s talent with Brown’s in a heartbeat. This makes Texas’ recent struggles all the more baffling, and Kansas State’s all the more impressive.

It’s hard to argue against Snyder, a 73-year-old head coach with an abundance of passion and energy, not finding success with Texas’ current roster. After all, these are the same players he likely
targeted at one point, until the looming giant that is Texas strolled into the equation.

Kansas State, under Snyder and others, has owned Texas the past decade. The Wildcats are 5-0 against Texas since 2003, an Oklahoma-like, borderline shocking, statistic. Texas shouldn’t feature that record against anyone, especially a school considered a moderate power in the FBS.

Texas has an opportunity to knock off Kanas State this weekend, steadying a collapsing ship.  But it won’t be easy; Snyder has loomed above Brown the past decade, despite the pair’s resources. Now, it could be the influence of one all-time-great that seals the fate of another.   

Kansas State's Daniel Sams has proven to be the type of player that has given Texas so many problems this year: a quarterback that can run. The Wildcats also have junior college transfer Jake Waters, a NJCAA champion last year, at their disposal.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

As if one quarterback wouldn’t confuse Texas enough already, the Wildcats plan on using two
this weekend.

Junior Jake Waters and sophomore Daniel Sams will share the duties at quarterback this week at Texas, just as they have done all season. And they both like to run.

Last week, they combined to rush 20 times for 151 yards while throwing just 12 times for 127 yards.  

Up to this point, Waters has been the No. 1 guy while Sams has been the backup. However, with the way Texas has handled the run, many expect to see a whole lot more of Sams than in past weeks.

No one knows how Kansas State will use them this weekend, not even their head coach.

“There are certain things that you would like to be able to do, and you have a plan in place, but that will be dictated by the University of Texas as much as anything,” Bill Snyder said. “Any opponent has the ability to take away what they want to take away and force you to do some other things. So how we utilize each of the two quarterbacks is dependent on what the University of Texas does.”

JUCO Transfer – Jake Waters

The Texas defense couldn’t stop a junior college transfer last week. But it can redeem themselves this week.

Just like Ole Miss’ Bo Wallace, Kansas State’s Jake Waters took the JUCO route, won NJCAA Player of the Year and led his team to an undefeated, championship season.

While at Iowa Western Community College, Waters threw for 39 touchdowns with just three interceptions while breaking Cam Newton’s NJCAA record for completion percentage his sophomore year, so like Wallace and Newton, he moved up to FBS.

But in his first year playing against better competition, it hasn’t been smooth sailing, as he has thrown five picks in three games.

“The defenses are just a lot better from top to bottom,” Waters said. “You have got your pick of who you want to throw to in JUCO but here you cannot force stuff and make a play every single time.”

Waters’ problem with forcing things has been his only real problem thus far, though.

“I think he has played well with the exception of five interceptions,” Snyder said. “Those things were very, very costly.”

Excluding those five interceptions, he has been extremely productive, completing 68.6 percent of his passes. While Waters is mainly a passing quarterback, he is a sneaky runner.

“Waters is an underrated runner,” Snyder said after Waters ran for 74 yards against UMass last week. But most importantly for Kansas State, Waters has accepted and embraced the two-quarterback system.

“[Snyder] has been pushing all of the right buttons so far with us,” Waters said. “We are ready every play whether he is calling my number or Daniel [Sams]’ number. Coach Snyder knows what it takes to win and we are all for it. I am cheering for Daniel when he is out there and he is cheering for me, so it is good and it is working so far.”

 

Fast QB – Daniel Sams

Sophomore Daniel Sams is exactly what Texas doesn’t want to see – a running quarterback.

In the two-quarterback system Snyder is using, Sams has only attempted four passes, mostly serving as the backup to Jake Waters.

But he does have 21 rushing attempts and, with the trouble Texas has had stopping the run, Sams will certainly get his fair share of touches.

“Daniels will certainly play, that’s quite obvious,” Snyder said.

Even Mack Brown knows that they will have to stop Sams and the running game that he brings.

“Kansas State will run the option,” Brown said. “I told our defense this morning, if they didn’t run it, they’ll put it in.  My gosh, we got to stop it.  It’s just obvious.”

And the Slidell, La. native is excited for the opportunity, one he didn’t have last year sitting behind Heisman finalist Collin Klein.

“In front of 100,000-plus,” Sams tweeted Monday. “It don’t get no better than that. #life at its finest.”

But when he steps on the field Saturday night, Sams knows that the defense will be focused on him.

“I get excited, but at the same time, Texas knows what we do as a team,” Sams. “They know we are running the quarterback run game.”

Kansas State beat Texas for the fifth straight time last year. The Longhorns, 5-8 against the Wildcats all-time and 2-7 against them under Mack Brown, have not beaten K-State since 2003.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Since 2004, the Texas Longhorns have won a BCS national championship, appeared in another one, won two Big 12 titles, seven bowl games and 92 games.

But in that span, they haven’t beaten the K-State Wildcats.

You have to go back to the 2003 season to find a time when the Texas Longhorns upended the Wildcats. In that game, then-Texas quarterback Vince Young led the Longhorns to a 24-20 win in Austin. Ell Roberson was still the quarterback for K-State and Darren Sproles, who had 128 yards in the game, was still carrying the load.

Since then, K-State is 5-0 against Texas. Guys like Colt McCoy, Brian Orakpo, Jamaal Charles, Jermichael Finley and David Ash have been unable to overcome Bill Snyder’s Wildcats. Mack Brown, the head coach at Texas who is squarely on the hot seat after a 1-2 start this season, is just 2-7 against K-State since taking the job with the Longhorns in 1998.

What’s eye-popping about the Wildcats’ five-game win streak against Texas though is that three of the five games have been blowouts. In the three games played since 2010, K-State is averaging 32.7 points per game against the Longhorns while Texas is averaging just 17 against the Wildcats.

In 2007, 2010 and 2012, the Wildcats bested the Longhorns by scores of 41-21, 39-14 and 42-24,
respectively. Arguably the best of those three wins came last year, when K-State sealed up a Big 12 championship with a home win over the Longhorns that sent the fans onto the field.

The streak got started in 2006 when Ron Prince, then in his first year as head coach at K-State, beat then-No. 3 Texas, 45-42. In that game, quarterback Josh Freeman had three touchdown passes on 269 yards passing. Two of those touchdowns and 123 of those yards went to wideout Yamon Figurs.

That win, along with the 2007 win over the Longhorns, in which Jordy Nelson had 116 yards receiving and two total touchdowns, ended up being far and away the best wins of Prince’s three-year tenure in Manhattan.

Overall, the Longhorns have struggled against K-State more than almost any other team in college football. Among teams that have faced the Longhorns at least 10 times, the Wildcats are one of just three teams to have a winning percentage above .600 against the Longhorns. Vanderbilt and Notre Dame are the only other two teams to accomplish that feat.

Simply put, the Longhorns have historically struggled against K-State. Bill Snyder knows that discipline and quality coaching beats five-star talent, and he’s found a way to do it time and time again for the Wildcats. Now, as Texas is reeling from a 1-2 start this season, the Wildcats will start its Big 12 title defense against a team that is pretty used to leaving the field as the losers after facing K-State.

After winning Big 12 title, Kansas State picked to finish sixth in conference again

DALLAS – Two years ago, Kansas State was picked to finish eighth in the Big 12. The Wildcats finished second. Last season, they were picked to finish sixth and ended up winning the conference.

This year, Kansas State checked in at No. 6 in the Big 12 preseason poll. The Wildcats are looking to prove their doubters wrong again this season.

“To win a conference championship and people still pick you down in the rankings, that puts a little fire in your system,” Kansas State linebacker Tre Walker said. “It doesn’t matter where you’re ranked or how you recruit, it matters what you do on Saturday.”

Collin Klein became the program’s second-ever Heisman Trophy finalist last year while helping Kansas State win their first 10 games of the season. He accounted for nearly 70 percent of the Wildcats’ total offense over the last two years but must be replaced, either by junior college transfer Jake Waters or sophomore Daniel Sams.

“If I were given the opportunity, I would have picked us 99th,” head coach Bill Snyder said. “I know it has to be done, but it’s an awfully difficult task to make those kinds of decisions. I certainly couldn’t do it.”

Snyder has turned overachieving into an art form during his tenure at Kansas State. He consistently brings in overlooked high school prospects and utilizes junior college transfers arguably better than anyone in the business. The Wildcats have won 21 games over the past two seasons. 

“The people that predict it aren’t in our locker room, they’re not behind our doors, they’re not at our practices,” center B.J. Finney, one of five returning starters on the Wildcats’ offensive line, said. “We don’t pull in the four- or five-star recruits like Texas and Oklahoma do. We have guys that don’t have the opportunity, the two- and three-star guys that fit Coach Snyder’s mold. We work hard to improve our game every day. It’s just one thing that’s demanded of us in Coach Snyder’s program and that’s why he’s successful as a coach.”

Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder walks onto the field during warm-ups before a game against Baylor on Saturday, Nov. 17, in Waco, Texas.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Bill Snyder has been a thorn in the side of the Longhorns during his career as head coach at Kansas State, both during his current tenure (2009-) and his previous era (1989-2005) in Manhattan.

Snyder has a 4-2 record against the Longhorns with Kansas State holding a 7-5 overall series advantage. The Wildcats are the only conference foe who have a winning record against Texas.

Snyder, now 73, led the Wildcats to their only Big 12 Conference title, a 35-7 victory over Oklahoma, in 2003. He narrowly missed two other titles, one in 1998, a three-point loss in double overtime to Texas A&M, and one in 2000, another three point loss to top-ranked Oklahoma.

With a win over Texas, the Wildcats will clinch their second Big 12 title and Snyder will almost certainly win the Big 12 Coach of the Year award. Snyder already has three Big 12 COY awards, 1998, 2002 and 2011.

In addition, as a coach for the Wildcats when they were a member of the Big 8 conference, Snyder was Coach of the Year three times in 1990, 1991 and 1993. He was a Walter Camp Coach of the Year in 1998, a Woody Hayes Coach of the Year in 2011 and a Paul “Bear” Bryant Award winner in 1998.

When Snyder first arrived in Manhattan, Kan., in 1989, the football program was not in good shape. In its history, Kansas State had a 299-510 record, easily the worst record in Division 1 college football at the time. The school had only four winning seasons during the 45 years prior to Snyder’s hiring and were in the midst of a 27-game losing streak.

At his original retirement in 2005, Snyder had taken Sports Illustrated’s “Worst Program in the Country” and built an impressive program. As a parting gift, Kansas State University renamed its football stadium the Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium.

During his first tenure, Snyder went 136-68-1 with one Big 12 title. In 1998, the Wildcats went 11-0 in the regular season rising to their first ever No. 1 ranking. Snyder was considered to be the most prolific coach in college football at the time thanks to the impressive rebuilding he was able to do.

After a few down years, Snyder retired in 2005 and was replaced by Ron Prince, then the offensive coordinator at the University of Virginia.

Prince went 17-20 in three seasons — with two wins over Texas in the span — and in 2009 Snyder was back, becoming one of the only coaches to coach at the same institution for two separate terms and one of the only coaches to coach at a stadium bearing his namesake.

Printed on Friday, November 30, 2012 as: Bill Snyder revitalizes KSU, brings program into spotlight

Big 12 Notebook

Kansas State defeated Kansas 56-16 led by quarterback Collin Klein, who passed for 129 yards and two touchdowns while also running for 116 yards and two scores. Running back John Hubert added 101 yards and a career-high four touchdowns of his own.

The game was close in the first half until a fire was lit under the Wildcats, who scored four touchdowns in the third quarter, sealing the Jayhawks’ fate.

“I think they were angry as much as anything, which is probably the best mental approach and emotion they could have in that situation,” Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder said of the mood in the locker room at halftime.

Focus and determination are keys, and the Wildcats have exemplified this through five weeks of football, which has them sitting tied with West Virginia atop the Big 12 standings.

Oklahoma bounces back into contention

After a tough loss to Kansas State in its first Big 12 game of the season, Oklahoma was anxious to get back on the field against Texas Tech in Week 5.

Buoyed by Landry Jones’ 259 passing yards and two touchdowns, the Sooners took down a previously unbeaten Texas Tech team, 41-20, capturing their first conference win of the season. Jones hasn’t looked like his usual self so far this year, but this performance may have put him and Oklahoma back in business.

“You’ve just got to realize what kind of player you are and realize what you’re capable of and kind of silence the outside and not really listen to what’s going on around you,” Jones said. “Just realize who you are and go out there and play the way you think you’re capable of playing.”

The Sooners posted 380 total yards and 41 points on a Red Raider defense that had only allowed 43 points in its previous four games combined. With momentum now on their side, the Sooners are ready to enter the Cotton Bowl for their annual Red River Rivalry game with Texas.

Iowa State shakes up the Big 12

The Iowa State Cyclones lost their first conference game of the season to a surprising Texas Tech team. And entering their Week 5 matchup against No. 15 TCU, the Cyclones were expected to succumb to the same fate.

But they didn’t.

It wasn’t pretty, but Iowa State defeated the Horned Frogs, 37-23, creating chaos in the Big 12 standings. Although TCU was without starting quarterback Casey Pachall because of a highly publicized suspension, a win is a win.

The Iowa State defense stole the spotlight in the game, bullying the Horned Frogs into committing five turnovers, including three interceptions from their backup quarterback, Trevone Boykin. On the offensive side of the ball, wide receiver Josh Lenz hauled in five catches for an impressive 147 yards and all three of quarterback Jared Barnett’s touchdown passes, while also throwing for a 15-yard touchdown of his own.

Iowa State slides into a five-way tie for second place in the Big 12 at 1-1 in conference play with this victory.

Kansas State defensive back Emmanuel Lamur (23) is helped off the field by head coach Bill Snyder after being hurt. The long-time coach has earned the respect of his team and coaches around the country. (Photo Courtesy of Charlie Riedel)

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Bill Snyder knows football.

He was the coach at Kansas State for 16 years from 1989-2005, and he totally transformed the program from one of the most inept in college football, to a Big 12 championship winner.

Snyder did it with an incredible work ethic and appetite for the game, which is more of an appetite than he had for actual meals. According to an article in Sports Illustrated in 1998, Snyder would only eat one meal a day, working right through lunch, which he liked so much that he worked through dinner as well.

However, in 2005 Snyder decided he was done with that kind of effort. He was coming off two consecutive losing seasons, and at 66 years old he decided it was time to hang his hat.

Right after his retirement Kansas State quickly renamed their stadium, Bill Snyder Family Stadium. This is a little ironic considering how much time football has taken away from Snyder’s family time, (18 hour work days in your office will do that.) Snyder enjoyed retirement to, well as much as someone can whose whole life has centered in and around the gridiron can.

“I learned that life after football really can be pretty good,” Snyder said

But, three years later when Wildcat officials approached Snyder, about a return to the sideline, he jumped at the chance.

Now in 2011, Snyder is still striding the sideline, and coaching up young players, while leading Kansas State to their best season in years, as the No. 13 team in the country at 8-2 overall.

When Snyder is asked why he left the comfy confines of retirement to go back into the stressful profession that is a being a division-one coach, his answer was simple. He missed working with his players. Especially guys from teams like this year’s where there is no one great player, just a bunch of hardworking teammates.

“It’s just a bunch of young guys, no real standout individuals,” Snyder said, “guys that play together, care about each other, work pretty hard and try to do the right things. I think they play with discipline -- most of the time, not always. They’re pretty good about not beating themselves.”

It not just this team that has those hard working values on the field, every single one of Snyder’s teams has worked together like that. That kind of effort and togetherness is one of the core principals of Snyder’s hard-nosed teaching style.

“That’s what our program has really always been about,” Snyder said, “just the intrinsic values -- responsibility and accountability and discipline and toughness and hard work and caring about each other and appropriate attitudes -- all those things that we would teach our children.”

Snyder has an old school approach on the game, he looks to push his players further and further every day, making them better at their trade and better people at the same time. His demeanor can be a bit tough to deal with, and he is serious on game day. But his players understand and appreciate the values he teaches, and his drive to make them raise their level of play on a day to day basis.

“It’s all there in his message,” said defensive end Jordan Voelker . “It’s a great message. I think some people have trouble interpreting it, because it is somewhat monotonous. His big thing is improving every week.

“But it makes total sense. He doesn’t want you to look at the next opponent. He wants you to focus on getting better. He wants you to do what it takes to win, and let the games take care of themselves. That’s what we’ve done, and that’s why we’re here.”

Snyder has been around the college game for a while, and has experienced a lot. He has been a mentor, a winner, and a looser as well; he has had a son play for him, and even has a grandson playing under him right now. With all of that experience on the sideline the Kansas State program is in good hands, and his players know how lucky they are to have him on their side of the field.

“We have one of the best coaches in college football,” Currie said. “Everyone realizes what a tremendous leader we have in Bill Snyder.”