New No. 1, same focused Wildcats

By Joel Jellison

Kansas State was named the No. 1 team in the BCS for the first time in its history on Sunday.

But there didn’t seem to be a different feel around the program as players arrived on Monday. And K-State coach Bill Snyder said he hopes it stays that way.

“I’m honored and just pleased that we are (No. 1), but today hasn’t been any different, and yesterday wasn’t any different either,” Snyder said during Monday’s Big 12 teleconference. “Hopefully, nothing is changing. We like to be as consistent as we possibly can. Our Monday meetings, we have two, and a practice, and the meetings will be the same as always. We’ll talk about and watch tape of the TCU ballgame, and then they’ll have some dinner, then we’ll meet and practice in reference to Baylor University.

“It’s not going to change and I’m just going to encourage our guys to just not change the way we approach things and try to stay grounded. It’s just kind of the way we’ve been throughout our time here.”

Snyder said he knows the attention the team is receiving isn’t easily ignored in this day and age, especially when each player on the team has an iPad to study the playbook on.

Snyder said he has no desire to keep the players from seeing the news and their place in the polls, but he expects them to handle the attention correctly.

“You can’t keep it from them and it’s not my intent to keep it from them,” he said. “My intent, which it has been from day one, is to attempt to get our young guys to focus on the appropriate things and to have a mindset that the important thing today is about our meetings and our practice and our preparation for Baylor.

“It’s not as though it’s something where all the sudden we have to reinforce. That’s the way we’ve approached it from the very outset. We are remaining consistent in that respect because that’s what we always ask for, and our players have done, up to this point in time, a good job of being able to avoid the external distractions and have worked diligently just to try to get better on that given day.”

Before the Wildcats can focus forward, they have to focus on tomorrow, and everything else leading up to this Saturday’s game against Baylor in Waco, Texas.

Snyder said the Bears can really cause problems for teams with their explosive pass game.

“It’s good enough to be the number two total offense team in the nation and the number two pass offense team in the nation, and all the other numbers that they have are somewhat astronomical,” he said. “They’re every bit as good as the forecast, I think.”

Baylor coach Art Briles was equally as praising of the job Kansas State and its quarterback Collin Klein have done this season.

He said Klein is among the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, and the Wildcats have been as successful this season as he would’ve guessed.

“K-State is a really, really excellent football team,” he said. “I expect from them what they’ve done all year.”

Saturday’s game will also mark the much-awaited comeback game in Waco for K-State running back John Hubert.

Snyder said Hubert has had good, productive seasons for the Wildcats over the past two years.

“I like the idea that, for a small back, he’s a reasonably physical back,” he said. “He has good balance, he stays on his feet well, he’s got good core body strength and from time to time can move piles. He’s a perceptive runner, he can pick and choose open space reasonably well and he’s become an improved blocker, and has been adept in the passing game as well. He’s a reasonably complete player.”

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