When Jake Waters was asked to explain the main reason why he has improved as a passer since joining Kansas State from Iowa Western Community College last year, the senior quarterback didn’t hesitate.
“Confidence level,” Waters said. “That has really helped me improve my leadership skills. Last year coming in, and even going through the year, I was kind of that new guy, so I was a little reserved. Now it’s my offense. I’m the guy that is going to lead us. If I don’t like something or how a workout is going, I’m going to say something about it. I’m not afraid to do that, as opposed to last year when I was hesitant.”
Coach Bill Snyder echoed those statements.
“Jake … finished the season extremely well. His level of confidence I think has grown immensely. I think that experience from last year has benefited him greatly, as it should, with any young guy. And he's embraced it.”
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No early exit for Lockett
After a successful junior season in which he caught 81 passes for 1,262 yards and 11 touchdowns, Tyler Lockett considered turning pro.
But the decision to return to K-State was an easy one.
“I thought about it, and we sent in our cards for evaluations,” Lockett said. “But I already knew I was going to stay. I felt like there was more for me to give and get done. I would rather graduate before I leave.”
When a reporter reminded Snyder that his 22-year tenure at K-State was by far the longest in the Big 12, he said staying at K-State for so long has helped him become a better coach. As a young assistant coach, he said his focus was always on the next job and climbing up the coaching ladder.
“When I was a high school assistant, I wanted to be a head coach,” Snyder said. “When I was a head coach, I wanted to be a college assistant. When I was a college assistant, I wanted to be a head coach. So that went on for a considerable period of time. I was half in-half out, so to speak.
“Consequently, I was not a very good football coach at all, probably not a very good person. I learned some time ago, probably 30-some odd years ago, that I needed to do it a little differently. My decision was, simply put: Be where you are. I chose to do that, and that allowed me, I think, to become better at things I was doing and never looked to move on.”