Mac Stevenson
Late last season something happened to Kansas linebacker Joe Dineen (6-2, 235) that he will never forget. It occurred shortly after Kansas State defeated the Jayhawks (30-20) last November. And that “something” speaks well for the status of college football in the state of Kansas.
Senior-to-be Dineen is a superb LB for KU. Last year Dineen led the Big 12 with 137 total tackles, 25 tackles-for-loss, and 93 solo tackles; his 7.8 solo tackles per game led the FBS.
After the K-State game, Dineen found a letter in his locker before a midweek practice and, after opening it, this is what he read: “I was very impressed with how well you and your defense played against us Joe. You played so very hard. Please share with your teammates that they too were a great challenge for us. Wishing you good fortune throughout the remainder of the season. Bill Snyder”
Dineen posted the letter on Twitter and said, “I tweeted it and the tweet went pretty viral—it blew up!”
When his teammates learned of the letter, the razzing began. Dineen laughed and said, “They were like, ‘Oh, what are you transferring or something?’ I was like, ‘No.’ I was like, ‘Wow.’ Snyder is a class act. He really is.”
Joe Dineen was clearly moved by Snyder’s note and also said, “Getting one of those things is like getting one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets now . . . it means a lot, it really does. Coming from a guy like him and what he’s done—I mean, he’s still the coach . . . and he’s got the stadium named after him. You don’t see that a whole lot. So getting that letter was pretty incredible.
It’s not something I’ll ever get rid of. That’s a prized possession of mine, and I’ll keep it forever . . . it’s something I’ll brag to my kids about when Coach Snyder wraps up his career and goes down in the history books as one of the best ever.”
That note illustrates better than any speech what K-State coach Bill Snyder is all about. Showing his consideration for others, Coach Snyder added class to the KU-K-State rivalry.
The Kansas City Chiefs’ NFL training camp is in full swing at St. Joseph, MO. After the first full day of camp on July 26, KC’s injury update was encouraging. Center Mitch Morse is going slow with his foot injury suffered last season and Linebacker Reggie Ragland had a knee swell up on his flight to training camp. Neither injury is considered serious.
QB Patrick Mahomes (6-2, 230) has been, understandably, the focus of attention during the early going. Everything appears to be set for a big season except for the unproven status of Mahomes; going from college to sitting on the KC bench for a season to being a starting NFL QB is a road filled with speed bumps.
During training camp, Mahomes was asked if the team was already talking about the Super Bowl and he said, “Yeah, that is the expectation. When you win back-to-back AFC West championships that is the next step. For me, when you say those words, you have to know every single day you come in you have to grind. It’s a long process. Something that takes extra work, extra film study, and I believe the guys are doing that. We are going to carry that out throughout the season . . . hopefully win a lot of games and hopefully get to that point.”
Reporters also asked what the most-important fundamental was that Mahomes had to develop. He said, “You just want to be efficient. I think I say it all the time. In the NFL, the most efficient quarterbacks are the ones that win the most games. For me, that is about going and throwing the ball in the right place. Taking the right read. If it is a check down, take the check down. If it is a deep pass, throw the deep pass. I am learning as I am going and I am trying to learn from my mistakes as well as learn from the success I have on plays.”
Those are well-chosen and well–rehearsed words by KC’s QB, who is starting for the first time in the NFL. But the proof is in the pudding. Coach Andy Reid’s foremost challenge in training camp will be to keep Mahomes and the rest of his team healthy for the start of the regular season.
After one of the most-boring seasons in the history of MLB, KC fans are eager for the meaningless NFL exhibition games. The hope here is that Reid keeps his key players on the bench for at least three quarters of each preseason game.