It will be a silver anniversary season this year for the K-State football team. The 2016 season will mark Bill Snyder’s 25th year as head coach.
K-State had one of the worst college football programs in the country when coach Snyder took over in 1989. The now 76-year-old coach turned the program into what it is today, a team that annually competes for a league title and plays in a bowl game.
Snyder met with the media this weekend, as the team prepares for its September 2nd season opener at Stanford.
Snyder said that he already senses that this year’s team might be a little different than last year’s squad which struggled to become bow eligible, and lost to Arkansas 45 -23 in the Liberty Bowl. The team has bonded over the summer, doing things like playing paintball together and gathering for video game tournaments.
Will the unity help the team win games on the field? Snyder said “That remains to be seen; last year we took some things for granted and I hope that doesn’t take place with this group. I sense that it’s moving in the right direction. Last year we were not a good finishing football team for the most part and I sense this team wants to be a team focused on finishing. I think that’s on their mind to be a team that will finish ball games.”
Snyder said that competition at camp has been spirited so far, and that starters and backups in several positions have not yet been determined.
A couple of players with connections to Salina are among those competing for playing time, and could be contributors to the effort this year. Former Salina South Cougar Dalton Harman is competing to be the team’s long-snapper, and former Salina Central Mustang Kade True is competing to be the team’s backup fullback.
Harman, a redshirt sophomore, tells KSAL News that he always dreamed of playing at K-State. “It’s really cool to have the opportunity to play out my dreams,” he said. He is among four players competing to be the team’s long-snapper. “All of us are out here competing against one another everyday,” he continued. Harman, who still has three years of eligibility, concluded that no matter what happens “someday my day will come, and only God knows when that is.”
True, a redshirt junior, is competing to be the team’s backup fullback. He is making the switch from defense. In high school, and up to this point at K-State, he has been a linebacker. He tells KSAL News that there are things he likes about both positions. “There is nothing like smacking someone and tackling them, but at fullback you have a chance to catch passes and maybe get the ball a couple of times a game.” True says that he is happy to play anywhere that he can help the team.
A former southeast of Saline Trojan is also on the squad. Aidan Murray is redshirted as a freshman this year on the team.
K-State has a tough test to start the season. The wildcats begin on the road, on Friday September 2nd, at 7th ranked Stanford.