Fiesta Bowl Countdown: Kyle Klein impressing coaches during bowl practices

Throughout his time at Kansas State, Kyle Klein has been known best as Collin’s younger brother.

That may always be the case, but Klein will be able to make a name for himself starting next year. Older brother will be gone, pursuing a career in the NFL. Klein will be a sophomore receiver, pursuing a starting spot.

With only Chris Harper and Zach McFall leaving the program, he will face strong competition. But he will be in the mix for playing time behind Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson along with Curry Sexton, Torell Miller, and Deante Burton.

Klein saw playing time this season, but didn’t receive many targets. He didn’t catch a single pass.

At the least, that will change next season. Klein was still adjusting to the position this season. Since joining the K-State program, he has spent time at defensive end, tight end and receiver. He played practically every position, including quarterback, for his high school football team and prides himself on being versatile. Still, he needed time to fully grasp K-State’s offense as a receiver.

Now that he feels more comfortable, his coaches are expecting big things.

“He is having a great bowl prep,” co-offensive coordinator Dana Dimel said. “He is really starting to make some strides. I’m paying a lot of attention to what the young guys are doing. Kyle has made a lot of nice plays. He’s just like Collin. He is learning how to play his position. He is getting a lot better. He brings length to that position. We want to throw the ball downfield and he allows us to do that.”
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Fiesta Bowl Countdown: Dana Dimel Q&A

Dana Dimel has one of the most interesting backgrounds of anyone on Kansas State’s coaching staff. The co-offensive coordinator, who also oversees running backs and tight ends, is just about to finish his fourth straight season at the helm of K-State’s offense.

Before that, though, he was a head coach at Wyoming and Houston and the associate head coach at Arizona. He is a K-State grad and got his coaching start with the Wildcats, originally serving as a graduate assistant and becoming offensive coordinator in 1995. He was with Bill Snyder at the start of his first successful run at K-State and came back for his second.

He has coached a Heisman Trophy finalist (Collin Klein), he has helped K-State reach two Cotton Bowls (1997 and 2012), he is about to coach in the Fiesta Bowl and he recruited Rob Gronkowski. He went 22-13 in three years at Wyoming. He went 0-11 in his second year at Houston and only lasted three seasons with the Cougars.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, interesting.

On Sunday, at a Fiesta Bowl news conference, he talked about his background, his dream of following Snyder as K-State’s head coach, the Wildcats’ 11-win season and the upcoming game against Oregon.

What does it mean to you, personally, to be part of K-State’s recent success?

It’s been very nice. Nice personally to be back with my family, back at Kansas State, where I went to school. To be around the community, where I know so many people, to see them as they raise their families, it’s home for me. I’ve spent 16 years of my life in Manhattan, Kansas. More than any place else.

Do you want to be a head coach again?

Sure, yeah, absolutely. That is always important for people to want to do that. I have been there and done it a couple times. I enjoyed it and want the challenge again. I always learned to be a good head coach you have to be good at what you are doing right now. So I don’t think about that. I just try to be the best running backs, tight end, fullback coach and offensive coordinator that I can be.

Do people around campus ever talk to you about the possibility of being the head coach at Kansas State?

Sure, absolutely. But it’s just something you don’t talk about that much. Obviously that would be a goal of mine. That is something I would want to happen, and hopefully someday it does happen. But right now let’s just do the best at what we are doing right now. To answer your question very candidly, though, yes — of course.

So that’s a dream of yours?

Sure.

You want to take over the program when Snyder steps down?

Sure. Absolutely. I think it would be a challenge, but obviously I understand the inner workings of this program. I saw coach come in when we weren’t very successful. So I’ve seen what can make K-State not successful. I’ve been around for the losing years. I’ve also been around here during the transition and around for the positive years. I have seen the whole gambit of what K-State football is about. I have a great understanding of what it takes to win here, but also what not to do here.
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