Cactus Bowl: Kansas State vs UCLA - Fiesta Bowl | Fiesta Bowl

Bill Snyder, Kansas State Wildcats

Team Arrival Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by head coach Bill Snyder and the Kansas State Wildcats.

COACH SNYDER: On behalf of all of our program, our coaches, our players, our administration, the university, Manhattan community, state of Kansas and all K-Staters, as indicated here we’ve been here a number of times and there has not been a trip that we have made where we haven’t met with wonderful hospitality. Each of the Yellow Jackets and all the people involved have been absolutely wonderful for us.

We enjoy certainly the community. A lot of wonderful people here and the way the bowls are supported in this community is really outstanding. So thank you so very much, honored to be here as always. So I’ll take any questions you have except about how old I am and how many years I’m going to coach.

Q. You’re going up against a tough quarterback in Josh Rosen. Can you talk about the game prep that’s gone into preparing for that?
COACH SNYDER: We’ve still got four days of practice, including a few minutes from now. And we’ll need every bit of it, I assure you that. Josh is a very talented young guy.

We’ve been blessed — I say blessed, we’ve had the opportunity to compete against some very, very fine quarterbacks in our conference, and this is a young guy that stands right up there with them. Greatly appreciate the kind of player he is. I think he’s a quality leader. I think he understands the game very well. He obviously understands their schematics and their offense.

He’s a young guy that throws the ball with a good deal of velocity and has great accuracy and makes good decisions about where he’s going with the football and goes through progressions quite well. He’s a very, very complete player. So we’ll certainly have our hands full there.

Q. K-State program has quite the history here in Arizona, one of your leading bowl destinations. Can you talk about your experiences here in Arizona? And what have been your top and favorite memories of playing in the Cactus and/or Fiesta Bowl?
COACH SNYDER: All of them are fond memories. We haven’t won them all, but all of them were fond memories just because of the way the locale and the way people have treated us throughout the years. People just yourselves have been very, very gracious to the players in our program and our entire program. We appreciate that a great deal.

One of the first trips or the first trip to the desert was one of the bowls that you’ve entertained but it was played in Tucson at the time. And that was our very first bowl. And we fortunately won the ballgame and had an enormous turnout. I think we had 22,500 at the bowl, at that very first one.

And I think one of the bowls here, going back a decade or so that we played in one of the Fiesta Bowls, might have been when we played Syracuse, but we had somewhere in the vicinity of 45,000 Kansas State people in attendance at the ballgame. We’ve always — our people are very wonderful people. They love come to go the desert as well. I remember that very first one that we had, we had a pep rally, and I think what did they say, about 2,500 people had to stand outside because they couldn’t get them all in the arena that we held it in. So anyway I could ramble on. But a lot of fond memories, truly. And all centered around people.

Q. We saw the tweet from Nick Walsh, your punter, about giving up his Cactus Bowl gift for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Can you talk a little bit about Nick Walsh’s character and why that may not have surprised you?
COACH SNYDER: It truly doesn’t surprise me. Nick Walsh has been a punter for several years now. He’s a young guy that he, I think, represents what so many young people in our program truly aspire to do and that is to help others. We have a lot of programs in place to do community service, an awful lot of it is with younger people.

Nick has adopted a young man and actually several but one in particular. But our young guys just go out of their way to try to help others and I appreciate it a great deal. And it’s very sincere. We have programs in place but they’re volunteer programs and they step up, and they’re there for the youth of our community and a lot of other people in need as well.

Q. Can you tell me about Amy Renz? She’s in charge of the alumni association back home. How many alumni are coming back from Kansas out here for the game, do you have any idea?
COACH SNYDER: Well, I don’t really know. Amy has been there — she’s probably the only person that’s been at Kansas State as long as I have. She’s done an amazing job with our alumni association, has enhanced amazing support for, not just our program but for the university itself.

We have an awful lot of Kansas State people that reside here in the desert. And so many that makes this a winter home for themselves. So we’ll have a number that are built in as well.