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October 18, 2012

Snyder turns KSU into college power — twice

MORGANTOWN — Kansas State coach Bill Snyder’s name is not up there in the public consciousness with Rockne, Bryant, Wilkinson, Parseghian, Hayes, Schembechler and Saban, but you can make a case that it should be.

If you take time to study the man, the coach, the job he has done and the influence he has had on college football, it is difficult to deny his place among the coaching deities.

You will get a chance to judge for yourself at 7 p.m. this Saturday when he brings his unbeaten, No. 4 Wildcats to Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium for the first time, coaching a huge game for his team while his opposite number, Dana Holgorsen, will be coaching a do-or-die game on his sideline.

The contrasts between the two coaches and their beliefs are striking. Holgorsen is the young turk at 40, Snyder a pre-World War II baby at 73. Holgorsen plays a wide-open, mile-a-minute passing game out of what’s known as the Air Raid attack, while Snyder is more conservative, coaching a spread option game that leans on ball control and defense.

Which is right? Maybe both.

“Do I think there are schemes out there that are better than others?” Holgorsen said, repeating a question. “Yes, because that is what we are doing. Does that mean in reality, our scheme is better than somebody else’s scheme? No.”

Holgorsen said it comes down to what fits you individually.

“You have to believe in something and commit to something and you have to do it,” he said. “The people who are not successful are the people that try to semi-commit to one scheme and semi-commit to another scheme and kind of mold everything together. That doesn’t typically work.”

That is not what Holgorsen has done, and it isn’t what Snyder has done, either. He is just a product of a different era than Holgorsen, has a different mindset on how he wants to play the game.

“When you believe in something, you just stick to it and do it, and you typically get pretty good at it,” Holgorsen said. “Then it is about getting players that fit it, getting players that understand it, getting players that get in position to make plays and they do. There is a whole bunch of stuff that goes into winning a football game other then what the scheme is.”

So it is that both could be right. Holgorsen, however, is still in a formative stage of his head coaching career, Snyder has proven his theories.


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