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February 1, 2012This isn't the reason Bill Snyder got into coaching.
It awards him no thrill. There's no nervous anticipation. He makes no bold proclamations about the future, either. He'd rather not attempt to evaluate his recruiting haul at all, actually. Instead, he'd like to wait until the 26 players that comprise it -- you know -- play some college football games.
Snyder doesn't attempt to hide his feelings on National Signing Day activities. To him, the fact that Rivals.com ranked his 2012 class seventh out of nine Big 12 teams means nothing. To him, Wednesday was no holiday.
"I don't really understand why we can't do this by conference call," the Kansas State coach told a room full of reporters prior to his press conference.
But he was forced to sit behind a microphone anyway. He was also forced to spout off similar answers to the same questions he's asked every year. He still isn't comfortable with making early scholarship offers. He's still interested in "intrinsic values." He still believes in the power of redshirts and still thinks the spotlight shined on high school football players is 5,000 watts too bright.
There were some year-specific statements as well. Snyder hopes junior college defensive lineman Chaquil Reed (Butler County CC) and Wesley Hollingshed (Trinity Valley CC) can contribute immediately. He called incoming freshman quarterback Tavarius Bender a "knowledge sponge" and said that his staff's recruiting effort focused on the interior defensive line.
There was even a bit of grandstanding that sure seemed like a Signing Day-themed potshot at a highly touted ghost from K-State's recent past.
"If I'm 18 years old and showing up on ESPN every five minutes and on the ticker tape and all that goes along with it, am I mature and strong enough to maintain some humility or do I let everything, as they say, go to my head?" Snyder said. "I think all of us, whether we want to admit it or not, have seen it have a negative impact on young people, in terms of their value system and how hard they work. You can figure all that out."
The Big 12's elder statesman will stick to his way of doing things. His is a philosophy that includes less in-season recruiting visits and more attention paid to players already in the program. In the age of the quick-fire offer, it sounds archaic. Then again, telling a coach coming off a 10-3 season that he's out of touch with the modern game isn't really an option.
"If I'm a youngster that Kansas State wants to have in the program, I'd like to know that the night before a game I have my coaches diligently trying to help me prepare as well as I can prepare," Snyder said.
"We're not arm-twisters. I want you here because you want to be here."
Rightly or wrongly, the coach-'em-up way of doing things lives on in Manhattan, even in 2012. And at least for now, the results are pleasing.
"We had nine or 10 starters this year who came from last year's recruiting class," Snyder said. "Based on that, you'd have to say it was probably a pretty successful recruiting class. You don't know that (about this class) right now, though."
K-State's class of 2012 -- one highlighted by four-star junior college wide Marquez Clark -- is looked at internally through the same prism as each one before it. There's no excitement here. Not yet, anyway.
So as Snyder shrugged his shoulders and exited his press conference stage left still trying to define the reason for all the fuss, the status quo stood.
"Let's wait and see," he said.