A few minutes with … Sean Snyder

Sean Snyder is coming off his first season as Kansas State’s special teams coordinator, and he can’t wait for year No. 2 to start. The son of Wildcats football coach Bill Snyder has been associated with the program for years, and he likes the direction it is going.

He thinks highly of both kicker Anthony Cantele and punter Ryan Doerr. With both coming back as veterans, he thinks K-State’s special teams unit is capable of big things.

While participating in Big 12 Media Days alongside his father, he discussed those topics and more on Monday. Here is the conversation:

How did you enjoy your first year as special teams coordinator?

I enjoyed it a great deal. The transitional part was interesting, because I had to just get my hands on a lot of different things. That was probably the most difficult part. But being able to get on the field and coach the kids and watch them develop was great.

One of the things that made it a lot easier is all our coaches are instrumental in special teams. We didn’t really have a major hiccup in the transition, because all of our coaches are involved in special teams and they have been for years. We all worked together and made the transition smooth. The players handled it very well.

K-State special teams appear to be in good shape with Anthony Cantele returning at kicker and Ryan Doerr coming back as punter. How much of an advantage is it to have two experienced guys at those positions?

It helps a lot. The more returners you have back the more comfort you have. What I like about those guys is they have the drive to get better. They want to get better and know how to get better. I think they have gotten better and I expect a strong year for them. That part of it is good. There is some stability and continuity there. The new guys who are coming on the unit can learn it fast.
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Sunday Rewind: K-State 53, Texas A&M 50


Overall Assessment:
Kansas State was without one of its top offensive playmakers, its quarterback was clearly in pain when the game began and several of its defensive players had to fight through injuries in the second half.

Not an ideal combination for a team trying to bounce back from disappointing losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

But, in typical K-State fashion, the Wildcats found a way to win. In four overtimes! Yes, I just used an exclamation mark.

Saturday’s game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium was one of the strangest and most exciting of the season. Combined with last week’s entertaining 52-45 loss at Oklahoma State, the Wildcats are delivering must-see TV to ABC/ESPN.

At 8-2 overall and 5-2 in Big 12 play, plenty of bowl games are starting to look at them. With a strong finish, they could end up in the Cotton Bowl.

K-State still has plenty to work on if it hopes to get an invitation to the Big 12’s top non BCS bowl. It continues to start games slowly, and was once again unable to sack the opposing quarterback. But as long as it continues to play with the resolve it has all season, K-State will have a shot at a 10-win season.

“With the exception of one ballgame, they’ve done it week in, week out,” Snyder said. “… It’s all about how we respond to things, and I think with the exception of kind of getting a little full of ourselves prior to the Oklahoma ballgame, I think we’ve responded quite well.”

Against Texas A&M, the Wildcats rallied from a 14-0 deficit, a 31-21 deficit and won in quadruple overtime. It was a fitting end to the series before the Aggies jump to the SEC. The only other overtime game K-State has played came against Texas A&M in the 1998 Big 12 championship game.

Collin Klein once again led K-State’s offense to the victory, and the defense came through with big plays when it had to behind Nigel Malone and Emmanuel Lamur. Here’s a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
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Sunday Rewind: K-State 37, Kent State 0

Overall Assessment: Kansas State looked like an all-around better football team than it did two weeks ago, but it still has room to grow. Up next is a very difficult road test against Miami, which beat Ohio State last night. The competition will be much harder in South Beach than it has been at home in front of sellout crowds, and we will probably learn more about the Wildcats in that game than we have so far.

Still, we know a few things about them today.

For starters, K-State’s defense continues to look like a legitimately strong unit. It has allowed a total of seven points in two games, and the one touchdown it allowed came only after Eastern Kentucky started a drive one yard away from the end zone. So it has essentially come up with two shutouts. Regardless of the competition, that is impressive.

Less is known on the offensive side of the ball, where Collin Klein made a nice pass late to beat Eastern Kentucky and led K-State to a solid first half against Kent State, but then sputtered in the second. Here’s a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:

Player Evaluations

Five that were good:

1. Arthur Brown. The junior linebacker is making a huge difference on K-State’s defense. On Saturday he made 12 tackles, two for losses, and closed on the ball faster than anyone else on the field. When Snyder hints that he is the best defensive player he has coached since coming out of retirement, he isn’t kidding. Here’s the scary thing: Both Brown and Snyder think he hasn’t reached his top form.

2. David Garrett. The interception he returned for a touchdown early in the first quarter set the tone for the game. K-State’s defense was ready to overwhelm Kent State in all phases, and the Wildcats used Garrett’s big play as a springboard to an excellent night. Garrett is one of the most underrated players in the conference, often getting overlooked because of size even though he led the Wildcats in tackles a year ago. But he had a highlight moment last night.
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Cantele, Cherry locked in kicker’s duel

Who will kick for Kansas State this week?

It is not a question of high priority for most Wildcats fans, but it is a question that is being asked all the same.

We have seen both Anthony Cantele and Josh Cherry kick the football this season, and there is no telling who will start against Iowa State this Saturday.

Cantele surprisingly won the Wildcats’ top kicking spot for the season opener against UCLA, and did well in his debut. Then last week he missed a short, 26-yard field goal and shanked an extra point.

That gave Cherry, who handled field goals for K-State last year, the chance to come on the field and boot four extra points. Coach Bill Snyder has said little about his kickers this season, but Cantele and Cherry say they are locked in an ongoing battle at the position.
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Postgame: K-State 31, UCLA 22

UCLA1

It was a big day for Daniel Thomas and a big win for Kansas State.

After rushing for 234 yards and two touchdowns, Thomas was singled out all over the place. A few writers threw the word “Heisman” around, and ESPN analysts awarded him a helmet sticker on their late night college football show. He deserved the recognition.

Thomas was an absolute workhorse Saturday, and lived up to all the hype he created for himself by leading the Big 12 in rushing a year ago. Only Oklahoma State’s Kendall Hunter did better on opening day.

And because of Thomas’ efforts, K-State is off to a 1-0 start. With other teams across the Big 12 struggling with opponents they were expected to easily defeat, the Wildcats’ win over UCLA carries some weight.
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