Snyder hopeful Zimmerman will play in bowl
By ARNE GREEN
Special to The Hays Daily News
Two weeks of studying Oregon's high-powered offense has done nothing to ease Bill Snyder's mind.
Having Ty Zimmerman back on the practice field no doubt has.
Snyder said Wednesday that he is hopeful that Zimmerman, Kansas State's all-Big 12 safety, will be available on Jan. 3 when the No. 7-ranked Wildcats face No. 4 Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.
"Ty has been on the practice field, and he has done quite a bit of work," Snyder said of Zimmerman, who also was a third-team All-America pick by The Associated Press. "He hasn't invested fully in any practice -- he hasn't gone from beginning to end -- but has been out there and done some things with us."
Zimmerman, a junior from Junction City, suffered a leg injury in the Wildcats' victory at TCU and missed the last two games of the regular season. He still leads the Big 12 and ranks sixth nationally in interceptions with five. He was a first-team all-conference choice both by the league coaches and AP.
Snyder wouldn't speculate on the probability of Zimmerman's availability for the bowl game but sounded optimistic.
"I don't know about probables and doubtfuls and all those kinds of things," he said. "We'd like to think that he'll be on the field."
Even with Zimmerman, who also had 45 tackles in his 10 games, the Wildcats must contend with a diverse Oregon offense that leads the nation in scoring with 53.4 points per game, ranks third in total yards with 565.2 and second in rushing 339.5.
"They can go as fast or faster than anybody when they choose to do so, and a good portion of the time they do that," Snyder said of the speed of the Ducks' attack. "As far as the style of offense is concerned, people would get the perception kind of run-and-gun.
"It's kind of run-and-run, and they have balance in their system that I always have felt is extremely important. The numbers would indicate that."
Whether K-State's success on the field over the past two seasons -- 11-1 this year and 10-3 in 2011 -- has made a difference in recruiting is in the eye of the beholder, according to Snyder.
"In some cases, yes, in others, who knows," he said. "Young people make decisions for a plethora of reasons.
"Sometimes it has to do with the success of a program, sometimes it has to do with strictly opportunities to play and sometimes with how much you interact and how favorably you interact with people within the program. In some cases, it's the academic opportunities that exist and sometimes it's the combination of one, two, three, four -- all of the above."
The Wildcats lost a key junior college recruit Wednesday when All-America linebacker Martrell Spaight of Coffeyville switched to Arkansas and new Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema.
But on Sunday they added another linebacker, Dakorey Johnson of Trinity Valley, Texas.
All five of their junior college commitments signed Wednesday and should be on campus for spring practice.