Big 12 Media Days appears like an oasis in the desert, a chance to talk football and learn more about our favorite teams as well as their league opponents before the season begins. Then we hear all the non-answers to mostly predictable and ridiculous questions, and it all starts looking more like a mirage.
However, here at Bring on the Cats, through years of dedicated research we’ve been able to decode the coachspeak from one of the best when it comes to giving away as little information as possible, Bill Snyder. He’s perhaps become a little more open in his advanced age, but the wizard still keeps most of his secrets hidden. Unless you have the key.
As always, what follows is an abbreviated version of real questions and answers from the press conference, along with our translation of what HCBS really meant. You can find the full transcript here and the video here. Don’t forget to read Jon’s recap, where he was all serious and stuff.
BILL SNYDER: ...Secondly, to extend my thoughts in regards to -- you know, I read so much about the Big 12 conference, maybe not being as prolific or as strong, et cetera, et cetera, and I can assure you under Bob's leadership and the wonderful people at the Big 12 office who have been amazing, excellent universities, I think all of you would share that feeling as well. I don't think the Big 12 conference is in any jeopardy whatsoever and not nearly as weak as some might want to portray in some of the media outlets.
That being said, it’s open to questions.
TRANSLATION: A lot of you so-called reporters like to write about how the Big 12 is weaker than the other conferences and in a lot of trouble, but frankly, I think that’s a lot of malarkey. This conference is in fine shape, at least as long as I’m here, and Bob Bowlsby is a far better leader than Dan Beebe ever was so let’s keep the focus on football instead of that nonsense.
Consider that your warning. Now let’s see if we can get through this without me having to scold any of you uppity youngsters.
JENNI CARLSON, THE OKLAHOMAN: Obviously, the news last week about Scott Frantz and him telling the rest of your team about being gay and really the ripples, I guess, that didn't make on your team, I'm wondering just how that played out for you behind the scenes. It sort of has echoes of Michael Sam a couple years ago apparently telling his teammates at Missouri about him and then that really wasn't a big deal either. Does it say something about where things are as it relates to college football and those sorts of things, how they're accepted now?
BILL SNYDER: Well, Scott made -- wanted to make it public knowledge this year. He shared that information with his teammates over a year ago. I appreciated our players' response, the response of our coaches, and Scott's response as well to his teammates. Their thought was, okay, fine, let's move on. So what? So to speak.
They cared about him. He cared about his teammates. The coaches cared about him. He cared about the coaches. So it wasn't a major issue.
This year Scott had come to me and asked about being able to make that public statement. Yes, I had some uncertainty about it at that particular point in time and the impact. And he and I had several discussions and we talked about the impact that it might have on, not his teammates in regards to how they felt, but the response from outside, social media response, the response of the fan base, the response of faculty and administration, and the world, so to speak. And cautioning him that there could be some issues because of that.
We talked about it for an extensive period of time, and what impressed me so much and allowed me to contact Holly about it was the fact that he wanted to do it for the right reasons, number one, and it wasn't about exposing him to the media as such or making himself a national figure. What he wanted to do was help others, number one. That was important to me.
Number two, he wanted the opportunity to feel free to live his life as he would like to do so, and he felt hindered prior to that being able to do so.
I appreciated those things because I thought they were meaningful. I thought the idea that he could help others really hit home with me at the time. So we decided to allow it to happen, and I think the response has been excellent to this point in time. So I'm proud of him. I'm proud of our players and how they handled it.
TRANSLATION: Didn’t I just say I wanted to keep this conversation about football? For our team, all that matters is he’s Family, he’s good at football, and he’s a good person. As long as that’s true, nothing else will cause any problems.
But yes, I realized these questions would be asked and that potential for distraction or unwanted attention was really my biggest concern when Scott came to be about coming out publicly. Well, that and the small minority of idiots in our fanbase or on campus who are incapable of overcoming their prejudices and accepting him for who he is.
Anyway, Scott made a pretty strong case for why he wanted to do this, and I’m certainly not one to stop another person from helping others. In fact, I encouraged him to write a few handwritten letters. He said maybe later. Also, it’s going to help him be more comfortable, so that helps not only him but our team as well. Overall, I’m really happy with how we’ve handled this as a team and wish we didn’t have to talk about it anymore, but at the same time we all understand the value of sharing this experience to help others who might be in the same situation.
SCOTT FRITCHEN, GOPOWERCAT.COM: Coach Snyder (Snyder interjects to say “Scott”), 2015's team was picked seventh in the Big 12 conference, 2016 picked eighth. This season you guys are picked third in the Big 12 preseason poll. I was just curious about the momentum that this program has, carries right now heading into the season. Do you guys talk about that preseason pick at all?
BILL SNYDER: Well, I'm not naive to the fact that the players certainly are going to pay attention to that. I mean, they read everything that's put out. If you can get it on any type of social media outlet, they're going to see it, I guarantee you that.
We flew down here in the plane for an hour and 20 minutes or so, and all five of them -- we brought five tremendous young people with us, and all five of them are buried in their phones....
We've never approached a season any differently, one any differently than another, whether that be right or wrong. And the idea that, if you do have a certain number of people returning -- which we have a reasonably large number returning, players, starters in the program -- it's not about who you have back or how many you have back, it's really about how you prepare yourself game by game. That's the important thing for us.
My caution to our players and to anybody that would listen would be not take anything for granted. You still have to do it. The old adage you still have to play the game. You still have to practice every single day. If you're not doing anything to get yourself better, then you're putting yourself and your teammates in jeopardy.
TRANSLATION: Scott, buddy, you know I don’t really care at all about what you or anyone else thinks about my football team. Unfortunately, they tell me I can’t prevent the players from using social media or reading articles, even when it comes to that garbage on Bring On the Cats. So yeah, they’re going to use those stupid preseason picks as fuel sometimes. I just hope they don’t get cocky.
As for this season, though, we have a lot of talent coming back and should be pretty good, so if you guys didn’t pick us to finish near the top of the league I’d wonder more about your football acumen than I already do. We know where we stand, and we also know we always want to be better and hold ourselves to higher expectations than anyone else.
BARRY TRAMEL, THE OKLAHOMAN: We'd just like an update on how you're doing. You had a little bit of a health scare in the summer. Just tell us how you're feeling and how you've recovered.
BILL SNYDER: Well, I'm doing fine. I mean, the recovery is ongoing, quite obviously, but I'm doing fine, getting around fine. Don't have any issues right now other than trying to prepare for the season. That's always an ongoing issue. That's 365 a year. But, no, I'm doing fine, Barry. Appreciate you asking.
TRANSLATION: That’s nice of you to act like we’re friends, Barry, but again, let’s keep the focus on football.
HARRISON GRAHAM, ESPN RADIO DALLAS: Bill, I was curious, Jesse came in as the starter last year, did some good things. Just where his progress is going into this season.
BILL SNYDER: You know, I'm awful pleased with Jesse in a lot of different ways. First and foremost, Jesse is a tremendous young man. He's another one of those young guys that possesses a great core value system. He's a hard worker. He's disciplined. He's dedicated. He cares. He's a great teammate with his teammates. He's here because he's a captain in our program.
From a physical standpoint, I saw him throw in the spring, and I thought he came back and threw well. Since that time, he's gotten stronger and stronger and stronger, and I think he readily admits right now that he's throwing the ball better than he ever has. The players tell me in their workouts that he's throwing the ball as hard and accurately as he has at any time in his career that they can remember. They're going to tell me the truth, and I trust that. So that's a good thing. And he feels good. He's totally recovered.
TRANSLATION: Well, it feels great to have a returning starter at quarterback heading into his senior season, that’s for sure. Jesse’s going to get every chance to lead this team and he’s probably going to run more quarterback draws than anyone else thinks he should, because that’s what we do here and it works, mostly. He’s earned that opportunity.
For now at least, he’s completely healthy and you’re going to be amazed at what a difference that makes. If only we could figure out how to keep a quarterback healthy all season. Seriously, he looks incredible and is throwing the ball better than ever before. At least that’s what the players tell me, since like all college football coaches I definitely follow the offseason rules and don’t do any coaching or observing of the youngsters during their workouts on the field.
BEN BABY, DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Kansas State beat every Power Five Texas program last season. Is that something that y’all can move going forward and why were y’all able to have so much success against Texas schools?
BILL SNYDER: I'm not sure I understood the totality of the question. Stop me at any time if I'm going in the wrong direction.
I don't pay an awful lot of attention to the dialogue about and Power Fives and what that means. We -- and I said this a moment ago. We take every season virtually the same. There's slight changes here and there, and we take every single day, you know, virtually the same way and every season the same way and every game the same way. We try to remain consistent. We try to base everything we do on a minute-to-minute environment, and the basis of the program really is to find ways to get better every single minute that we possibly can.
And when I say get better, I mean, I don't want the youngsters in our program spending 24 hours a day on football, but I'd like to instill a value within them that creates their desire to become better every single day in all facets of their life -- their faith, their family, being a better person, being a better student, as well as being a better football athlete every single day, and that's kind of the way we approach it virtually every single day.
And not -- I can't tell you that the players aren't -- they're attuned to the responses in regards to Power Five schools. They know all that terminology and all that exists out there. That's not something I get invested in. I'm invested in the young people in our program and all that that stands for and the rest of it, I'll let somebody else deal with.
TRANSLATION: Was that English? I could use a translator for you folks with the funny southern accents and fake words, but I’ll try my best to answer.
I mean, beating Texas is just kind of a thing we do, so if we can pretend every team is Texas, that would be great for our program. Really, we just want to treat every opponent the same, even if they should have significant advantages from playing in a much-bigger state with many more recruits where football often draws a lot more attention.
You're not roping me into acknowledging that stupid Texas State Champions nonsense Jon Morse likes to crow about, even if we do have a current winning streak against every FBS program in Texas that we've actually played. Come to think of it, now that Tom Herman's not at Houston we should probably get them and SMU on the schedule.
Perhaps the players notice we own Texas and enjoy some of those things. I can’t stop them from doing that. So long as they stay focused on what they need to do, it’s fine. Well, they don’t need to be focused on football 24 hours a day. 20 is generally good enough.
Honestly, I’m not even sure what Power Five means. All that terminology has changed so much when I started it’s just not worth it to me to pay attention anymore. We’re just going to play football, beat Texas teams, and I’ll leave the arguments about which conferences and schools should be the best up to you journalists. It’s not like you’re going to give us the respect we deserve no matter what I do.