|ESPN.com: Big 12||[Print without images]|
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
It's always been hard for Kansas State wide receiver Brandon Banks to put on weight.
The 5-foot-7, 151-pound Banks is one of the skinniest players in the Big 12. But he's never let his lack of bulk stop him as he's developed into one of the most explosive multi-dimensional players in the conference.
Banks ranked 20th nationally with an average of 87.4 yards receiving per game. In 2008, he produced four 100-yard receiving games and notched six touchdown grabs in his first four games en route to team-leading totals of 67 receptions, 1,049 yards and nine TD grabs.
With the Wildcats' spring game approaching on Saturday, we talked to Banks about the changes brought about by new coach Bill Snyder, the Wildcats' group of new quarterbacks and why he doesn't like vegetables, meat and pasta.
|Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images|
|Brandon Banks recorded four 100-yard receiving games in 2008.|
How have things changed in your program with coach Snyder's arrival?
Brandon Banks: Things have changed a lot, just because of who he is. Coach Snyder is a legend. It's pretty exciting playing under him. Our attitude as a team has changed because of him. We're coming together as a team and being a part of a special group. Coach Snyder is getting us together as one.
There's been some talk that your role offensively will be changing this season. Can you tell us about the changes?
BB: I can't really comment on that now. Hopefully, I'll be a big part of the offense, but truthfully, I really don't know what I will be doing. I know I'll touch the ball more than last year. But I would like to be the Jeremy Maclin or Percy Harvin of this team. I want to get the ball in the open field a lot and hopefully have the chance to outrun people.
What role of the game do you think you are the best at -- receiving, running or returning kicks?
BB: Personally, I think I'm a better return guy than as a receiver. I've had a chance to prove myself doing it over the years. But I'd like to evolve and get better at all of the different facets of the game. I think I'm at my best when I have the ball in the open field. My best aspect is getting the ball in the open field and making other people miss.
After the way the season finished up for you after your fast start, do you think you'll be more of a marked man this season by opposing defenses?
BB: If they want to do that, we have some other guys who can step up. I can't do it by myself, and if somebody keys on me, those other guys will be able to take advantage. They can do the job, too.
There's been a pretty tight battle at quarterback this spring between Carson Coffman and redshirt freshmen Collin Klein and Joseph Kassanavoid. How is it playing out from your vantage point?
BB: We've got a pretty competitive situation with Carson, Collin and Joseph. Hopefully, one of them can step in and do what they need to do to lead us with the job. And it's always better for the team when you have the competition for playing time like we've had this spring.
How do you think your offense will evolve without Josh Freeman playing quarterback this season?
BB: It's pretty much the same as before with key returning linemen coming back. We won't have our big, strong quarterback like Josh, but I'm pretty sure that Carson will fill that role. But it will be different for us.
How did things change for you after your quick, early start?
BB: Once we got into the Big 12 (conference play), it got more difficult. The other teams started disguising their defenses in what they were trying to do. But it's part of the game. We've got 10 other players and I'm cool with that.
Coach Snyder has always had an affinity for using small players who have had big impacts for his team. Guys like Darren Sproles and Aaron Lockett have been very important parts of previous teams for him. Has there been some talk about you having a similar role with this team?
BB: There has been a little buzz, but we'll see if it turns out. There are a lot of comparisons between me and those guys and I feel like I can fill their shoes. I guess you could say that I'd like to keep the "little-man syndrome" going around here again this season.
How have you tried to get bigger and stronger since you've been at KSU?
BB: I've put on about 10 pounds since I've gotten here. And it's pretty hard because I'm a very picky guy about what I eat. It's been a tough process keeping that weight on.
What do you mean, you're picky?
BB: I just don't like vegetables and a lot of meat. I'm more of a chicken fan. I'm not so good on vegetables and a lot of pasta.
Do you feel comfortable with the added weight?
BB: Yeah, I'm always working on my speed. And each day of practice I'm working on my speed. I'm not losing any of it at all with the additional weight.
After last season's disappointment, how intent is your team to get back into contention for the North Division title?
BB: We're very hungry. Myself, I'm a senior. There's been a change in our coaching staff and a lot of excitement when Bill Snyder came in. We're definitely more hungry.
It was frustrating during the offseason. But fortunately, we get another shot this year. Hopefully, we'll learn and get better at finishing games and competing. We just need to do what we can to strive and get better."