MANHATTAN — When Kansas State plays UCLA in the Cactus Bowl on Tuesday, it will be the final game for offensive coordinator Dana Dimel, who will move on to his new position as head coach at Texas-El Paso. It likely will be the final game as a Wildcat for fullback Winston Dimel, who could follow his father to UTEP as a graduate transfer or declare for the NFL Draft.
As for K-State coach Bill Snyder, it could be the final game in his legendary career or just the final game of his 26th season.
Snyder met with the local media Wednesday for the first time since the Wildcats beat Iowa State on Nov. 25. There is strong speculation the 78-year-old College Football Hall of Fame member will return next year, but he is sticking to his long-held stance of not making a final decision until the season is complete.
“I’m in the process of it, but it will be a little bit yet because of the bowl preparations,” said Snyder, who underwent treatment for throat cancer prior to the 2017 season. “I’ve had some dialogue, and I need to have more dialogue with my family. I’ve had dialogue with our administration, and I need a little more dialogue with them.
“As far as the program and our players, I have to assess the impact, positively and negatively, that I’ve had with them.”
Gene Taylor, hired in April as K-State director of athletics, is preparing for either direction Snyder decides.
“We talk quite a bit,” Taylor said. “Until he walks in and tells me what he’s thinking, I’m planning on him being here next year.”
Dana Dimel was hired as UTEP head coach two weeks ago but has remained on the K-State staff and will call plays when the Wildcats (7-5) play UCLA (6-6) in Phoenix.
“It’s a team effort, but, yes, he will,” Snyder said. “It will be exactly as it has been.
“He wanted to be a part of it. We had some talks about it, whether it was the best thing for our program and for him and his program down there. We came to that conclusion.”
Snyder hasn’t named a new offensive coordinator and doesn’t expect other staff changes, “but there’s always a surprise in the closet.”
Dimel announced Wednesday he hired former K-State linebackers coach Mike Cox as defensive coordinator and as offensive coordinator he hired Mike Canales, who was quarterbacks coach at Tennessee this past season and previously was offensive coordinator at North Texas.
Winston Dimel hasn’t announced his plans, but the three-time All-Big 12 selection has options of returning for his senior year, transferring to another school or entering the NFL Draft.
“I would imagine he would want to go with his father,” Snyder said. “He and I haven’t had that conversation. We will.”
Winston Dimel posted the following on his Twitter account Monday: “My only focus right now is winning this bowl game against UCLA and balling with my brothers. I have made no decisions on what I am doing next year, the rumors of me going to UTEP are not accurate.”
INJURY UPDATES — Snyder said All-Big 12 cornerback D.J. Reed and quarterback Alex Delton have recovered from injuries and will be available for the Cactus Bowl but that All-Big 12 offensive tackle Dalton Risner “probably will not play.” Risner posted on social media from graduation ceremonies a photo in which his left arm was in a sling.
Delton was out with a concussion, and redshirt freshman Skylar Thompson started the final three games and will start the bowl game.
“Skylar should be our starter,” Snyder said. “Alex is getting along fine. If the opportunity arises, he’ll be in the ballgame. How much and to what degree remains to be seen.”
TICKET SALES DOWN — Taylor said K-State has sold approximately 3,000 tickets to the Cactus Bowl, half of the school’s allotment.
“I think it’s just the date,” Taylor said. “It’s Arizona and our families are excited to be there and the (players) are excited to be there, but it’s hard coming the day after Christmas. Give credit to those who are coming, and I think we’ll have a good turnout for our (bowl-related) events, but I think that date is a little challenging.”