If you hear Collin Klein say it, there’s a good chance Bill Snyder has said it — and vice versa.
The bond shared between quarterback and coach is clearly strong, which is normally the case. But there seems to be something different with Snyder and Klein — like they were meant for each other, in a special football kind of way.
Somewhere in Vanier, I can imagine the two finishing each other’s sentences, maybe reaching for the same Styrofoam cup of coffee on accident, or perhaps even showing up to work wearing the same shirt.
None of that would surprise me in the least bit. These guys are just two peas in a pod.
When Snyder finishes with his weekly 30-minute session with the media, Klein enters the room and then proceeds to spit out the very same thing we just heard from his ball coach.
Stuff like, “improvement, one step at a time, a game at a time, we need to get better and consistency” is echoed throughout Vanier on these days.
“Coach Snyder and Collin spend a lot of time together, watching film together, so I can image how their responses are very similar, but when it comes to football, (Collin) is very consistent,” K-State punter Ryan Doerr said Tuesday.
It’s that consistency the two have that has the Wildcats on the same page right now. What Snyder says in daily meetings with his team isn’t just regurgitated to the media. It’s the message the team hears in the huddle from Klein as well.
The two believe every word of it — to their bones — and therefore everyone else follows suit and buys in too.
Why wouldn’t they?
After all, Kansas State is 4-0, coming off an upset road win at Oklahoma and ranked No. 7 in the country.
It’s working. This bond is one of biggest reasons the Wildcats are thinking big this season. It’s because of this bond that K-State is in the driver’s seat in the Big 12 so far.
Klein acknowledges the similarities in their speak patterns. He knows they do it and he’s totally OK with it.
Though Klein speaks Snyder’s language, he isn’t the only one buying into the value system.
It’s the common goal of daily improvement, Klein says allows him and his youngster teammates to relate to the soon-to-be 73-year-old football coach.
“It’s the common ground of the commitment we’ve all made to be part of this team in whatever capacity — player or coach,” Klein said. “The biggest unifying factor is we all want the same thing, and Coach wants us to be the best we can possibly be individually and the best we can possibly be collectively as a team. We all want that, too.
“Consistency… he lives it, he doesn’t just preach it.”
There’s no doubt Snyder has rubbed off on Klein, maybe even more so with his senior quarterback than with any other player before.
“I don’t hear Collin talk often, but I can image Collin being repetitious in the way Coach Snyder is and definitely emphasizing a lot of the things Coach emphasizes,” KSU linebacker Arthur Brown said. “He’s a great leader and I know he’s learned a lot from Coach.”
But there’s more to Klein than just being impressionable. That’s too easy.
Klein had these beliefs, these values and this work ethic before he arrived in Manhattan. He’s the leader he is — on and off the field — because that’s who he is.
The impact of the consistency Klein shows in his words and leadership of this team can’t be understated, especially considering where this program was just four and five years ago.
Though K-State has other leaders too — on both sides of the ball — there just seems to be something different with Snyder’s prized quarterback. It’s something that perhaps isn’t found all that often in today’s young people.
“I think society has changed a great deal and our children are a product of society, so consequently they have changed,” Snyder said. “A Collin Klein might be considered a throwback. His value system has not changed, and that’s the value system that was in place 20 years ago.”
That shared value system might be exactly what puts the Wildcats over the top this season and gives fans something to talk about for the next 20 years.
You can e-mail Joshua at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter, @Joshua_Kinder.