By Mac Stevenson
Kansas State’s head-coaching debate concerning the football program has been as placid as a cloudless, calm summer day with a robin-egg blue sky; that changed suddenly, like a Kansas thunderstorm accompanied with a howling wind and thunder and lightning.
Coach Bill Snyder signed a new five-year contract as head coach that runs through the 2022 season. That, however, doesn’t determine what the future may hold when the head-coaching situation is examined closely.
Going into the 2018 season, Kansas State’s football coaching staff has changed significantly since 2017. This transformation has been so subtle that it has gone largely unnoticed by Wildcat fans. K-State has two rookies at the vital positions of offensive and defensive coordinators.
Andre Coleman is Snyder’s new offensive coordinator; Coleman played wide receiver for Snyder and has been an assistant coach at K-State for six years. Coleman will be 46 on September 19. And Blake Seiler—who also played at K-State under Snyder—is defensive coordinator; Seiler has coached under Snyder for 10 years and he’s 34 years old.
These head-coordinator coaching positions are almost as important as Bill Snyder’s leading role. Coach Snyder will be 79 on October 7; he’s the oldest active FBS college football coach in the nation. At that age, it’s physically challenging to stand on the sideline for three hours during a stress-filled game—let alone making all the game-altering decisions. That routine will change this season.
Coleman and Seiler are inexperienced as coordinators and they’ll need help in the decision making; Sean Snyder will be the one to provide that assistance.
It’s no secret that Bill Snyder wants his son to succeed him as K-State’s next head coach. That’s one of the reasons K-State has two rookies at the vital coordinator coaching slots. Bill Snyder will be on the sideline, but look for Sean Snyder to handle the majority of the head coaching duties.
Sean Snyder is not a rookie. The younger Snyder will be 49 years-old on September 21; he’s been an assistant coach at K-State for 25 years. And he’s in his eighth year as Associate Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator and Director of Football Operations. Sean Snyder has the deserved reputation of being on a very short list of the best special-teams coaches in the nation. And young Snyder is going to be making the majority of the major coaching decisions for K-State this fall.
Bill Snyder’s new contract has one main purpose: it stabilizes recruiting and alleviates controversy concerning Snyder’s advancing age. Snyder’s hiring of rookie coordinators was no mistake; it’s all part of his justified strategy to promote Sean Snyder as his successor by giving him more and more responsibilities.
As the new season rapidly approaches, Bill Snyder is pleased with his team’s progress and said, “I think they have kind of become a more spirited group of guys. We have had three practices and I have seen that spirit grow during that period of time—more so than in the spring. It seems to be a group that has a good level of commitment to the process. All of these are positive things I am pleased about; they are a group of guys not afraid to work at it . . . they do not seem to want to back away from anything.”
Anticipation is already building for the Mississippi State game at Snyder Family Stadium on September 8. This game will draw nationwide interest; it will be upper echelon teams from the SEC and the Big 12 playing for a high national ranking. What a season this promises to be for Kansas State football.
The highly anticipated opening NFL exhibition game for the Kansas City Chiefs turned out to be a typically lackluster 17-10 loss. These preseason games are totally meaningless as teams play their regulars sparingly or not at all.
Despite the rationalization about the loss, there is some cause for concern because of the play of the offensive and defensive lines. Houston dominated the line of scrimmage when they had the ball and also stuffed the Chiefs’ first-string offense.
QB Patrick Mahomes debut as KC’s starter turned out to be mediocre at best; Mahomes spent most of his limited playing time trying to avoid Houston’s pass rush because of the Chiefs’ ineffective offensive-line play.
NFL teams can have their regular season destroyed by injuries—before it even starts—during these ridiculous preseason games. Mahomes took a couple of vicious hits during last Thursday’s game that could have resulted in a serious injury.
The NFL should reduce the chance of preseason injuries by limiting exhibition games from four to two. NFL teams play a 16-game regular-season schedule and it’s hard enough to keep players healthy without four exhibition games.