Another spring of Snyderisms

25 Apr

Looking through the official transcript of the final spring football press conference on Tuesday, I imagined coach Bill Snyder intoning the words as I read them, and it was easy to envision, mainly because he has said exactly the same words an incalculable number of times before – and likely will again. To longtime K-Staters, I believe the following carefully measured phrases will sound exceedingly familiar.

“We have made some improvement. It has been inconsistent, and it has not been ongoing or day after day, which is really what my ultimate goal is.”

“It will not be decided until … ”

“The offense gets plays every once and a while, and the defense makes plays every once in a while. It is balanced out.”

“I think in all those cases, we have not gotten to where we need to be and want to be.”

“We are not there yet, but we are a little deeper than we were at the beginning of the spring.”

1. First of all, I admire Snyder, so my reaction to his repeated speeches for the half-hour Tuesday press conferences is amusement steeped in respect for him as a coach and as an individual. I find Snyder to be a great person, not to mention a much wittier one than is reflected by most of the quotes that make the papers. Obviously he does a great job coaching. I would wager most people have given up any attempts to second-guess him after last year’s unprecedented 10-win run to the Cotton Bowl. He knows what he is doing, quite clearly.

2. Secondly, I recognize that “coach speak” is commonplace. However, I would argue with anyone who tells me someone other than Snyder is the master of media non-communication. The man will talk you in circles until you forget your original question even as he frankly concludes, “I don’t know if that answers your question,” or eventually wraps up the rabbit trail with a final sentence or two that begins with, “To get back to your original question, yes, I think so.”

3. The man has been coaching football since 1966. The central tenets of football – and Snyder’s long-held philosophy of hard work, improvement and consistency – do not change, so I guess one can hardly expect too many surprises from one week to the next. Still, you might say it appears that Snyder works hard to steadily improve the consistency of his responses to the media.

4. I honestly do not know if I fault the coach for keeping what seems like any and all details close to the vest. From a coach’s perspective, putting a winning team on the field is the end goal, and depth or freshness of a story about the team really has no bearing on that measure, so why let more information go than is absolutely necessary?

This is how I will conclude: for all the yawn-inducing press conferences he conducts, the values Snyder endorses – the work ethic, the consistency, the improvement – are perhaps best embodied in him personally. He often jokes about how he rarely sees more of Manhattan than the football complex; he does not change from season to season – or even from decade to decade; and he legitimately is unsatisfied with a certain level of performance when he deems more achievement to be a possibility. Really, what more could you want in a coach?

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