Daniel Sams has only seen action in five games as Kansas State’s backup quarterback this season, but he has made the most of his time on the field.
The 6-foot-4 redshirt freshman from Slidell, La. has rushed for 198 yards and three touchdowns, and he has successfully used his speed to help maintain big leads in the fourth quarter. Last week, he finally got to pass for the first time and went 1-for-2 for 10 yards.
Sams is already a fan favorite in Manhattan, and will get the chance to compete for the starting spot next season when Collin Klein runs out of eligibility. Earlier this week, he talked about life as a backup quarterback.
What is your day-to-day routine as you prepare for each game?
It’s just basically preparing like I’m the starter. It’s the same thing Collin does. I watch film, take notes. You never know when an ankle is going to get hurt.
So you go into each game expecting to take the first snap?
If I don’t, I would feel like I wouldn’t be ready if something did happen. It’s the hardest thing in the world to do, prepare like you’re going to be the starter and end up not playing, but I just try to keep focused and prepare as if I’m going to play.
Have you learned a lot from Collin?
Sometimes I sit with him more than I do coach (Del) Miller, our quarterbacks coach. He breaks it down into simpler terms. Coming from high school, where I ran a spread offense, to now, being in a pro-style offense, it takes more time to break it down and he helps me with that.
How have you improved since arriving at K-State?
I’ve always been an athlete. I’ve always made plays, but I feel like I’ve improved more as a leader and being that guy in the huddle who can get people to listen to me. In high school I didn’t even have that. Being around Collin has turned me into more of a leader. I’m more poised now.
Louisiana and Kansas are very different. What was the hardest thing about the transition?
Seafood probably. I miss gumbo sometimes. It’s more of a family atmosphere out here. Back home you don’t get people openly trying to have a conversation with you. Everything is slower. It was a culture shock when I first got here, but I know I chose the best place.
What is your favorite place to eat seafood?
Any Po-Boy spot.
Back to football, were you surprised the coaching staff finally let you throw last week?
Yes. I was shocked coach even called a pass play. I started laughing in the huddle. I said, ‘Guys, we’ve got a pass play.’ They all started clapping. It felt good to actually throw the ball.
How well can you throw the ball?
I have faith in my arm. I can make plays with my arm. It just felt good to finally be able to show the fans that I could throw the ball. We were going on seven weeks with people wondering if Daniel Sams could throw.
The starting quarterback spot will be up for grabs next season. Do you expect to win the job?
Of course. That’s my ultimate goal. I used to tell Collin during last year’s spring ball that I’m coming in to be the starter. I just wanted to push him to be the best he can be and not get complacent. Of course, it was just words. We all knew he was our guy. But just for him to hear it and think, OK, this guy is trying to take my spot probably helped. I wouldn’t say he’s having this season because of me, but you never know.