Collin Klein might be the toughest guy in the Big 12 and he plays quarterback. He leads the league in carries (115) and has Kansas State at 5-0, complete with a muddy, bloody jersey after a hard-fought win at Miami.
If any quarterback could take the kind of punishment Klein has endured this year, it's the 6-foot-5, 226-pound junior. He sat down with ESPN this week, before the Wildcats travel to Lubbock to face Texas Tech.
Are you aware that you're the Big 12's leader in carries so far this year?
(Laughs) No, I wasn't aware of that until just now.
What have your Sunday mornings been like this season?
Pretty good. I've definitely been sore, but the feeling on the inside has more than compensated. (Laughs)
How does this year compare to others you've had growing up playing football? Have you dealt with this many touches and this many hits before?
You know what, I haven't actually. Even in high school, I wouldn't carry it probably more than 10-12 times a game, but it's definitely different. Even now, I don't know if I could have scripted it this way, but the bottom line is our defense is playing really well, we're playing really well as a team, and whatever we need to do to make that continue is what's important.
How many touches were you expecting coming into the season?
I think it's kind of just worked out like this. I don't think anyone -- I don't think our coaches probably could have known I was going to carry it this much, but like I said, it's one of those things were we just kind of rolled into it and we're just going to do whatever it takes to win.
I've seen all the photos of you bleeding all over your jersey at Miami and all of that. What are teammates telling you about the kind of effort you've put in this year?
They're very encouraging. Honestly, they're the reason why I play, other than just to honor God with the ability he's given me and secondly to play for my family. And my teammates are part of my family. I think they know that and they support me in that, and obviously, that's one of the main reasons why I'm doing it and why I want to do it and will continue to do it.
How much did you hear about those photos?
I heard about it a little bit. I actually haven't seen too many of them. I've been watching too much film. I try not to focus on all the side stuff, but really just all of our wins have been such team wins. Each unit contributed and Miami was no different and again, that was the most important thing.
What's it been like to see this team have the kind of success it's had so far?
It's one of those deals where we're still learning. Coach Snyder preached from Day 1, we'll come out, and especially for me, have a subpar performance in our first game. That's not erased from my mind. Just the realization that we had a lot of room to grow and we still have a lot of room to grow, and just being part of it with a great group of guys and a great group of coaches is pretty special. But like I said, there's still a lot more in the tank and a lot more that we need to get corrected that we're working on. It's an exciting process.
There's a lot of people who think this year has been one of Coach Snyder's best jobs. From what you've seen, what makes him such a good coach?
I'd probably have to go with two things that stick out the most. I could probably elaborate for quite some time, but basically, No. 1 is how much he cares. He cares so much about the people around him. You'll see. His coaches. Us as players and then you couple that with how hard he works and his competitiveness and how bad he wants to win, nobody works harder than coach and nobody helps prepare us better than coach and it's one of those things that, if you combine those two elements, you've got something really special. I'm just very honored that I have the opportunity to play for him.