Friday, December 13, 2002
Player Q&A - Kansas State TE Shad Meier
Kansas State boasts the highest scoring offense in the country, averaging 51.3 points per game, and senior tight end Shad Meier has made a valuable contribution. At 6-4, 250 pounds, Meier is both a solid receiver and blocker, provides a big target for quarterback Jonathan Beasley, as well as opening holes for running back Chris Claybon. The Pittsburg, Kan. native spoke with BCSfootball.com prior to Saturday's Big XII matchup with No. 8 Oklahoma (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET).
Is this year the year for Kansas State?
Shad Meier: I hope this is the year, since it's my last one. As far as the season's progress goes, we've made tremendous strides. I hate to make comparisons to past years, but I think we're pretty far advanced from last year or the year before that. We have a lot of seniors on this team, great leaders, people who have stepped forward.
Speaking for offense, we've jelled together. It seems like we come out from the start in every game and we're in control. We're not too nervous. Everything just seems to flow real well this year.
K-State's offense gets a lot of the press. What are your impressions of the defense?
Shad Meier: They're a great group. We face them every day. I think a great defense carries over to a great offense. Our offense makes them better, and because they're so talented, they make us better as well.
What is it that makes this team so powerful on both sides of the ball?
Shad Meier: Remembering back to the North Texas game, before we went to Colorado, Coach Snyder said, "People look at this team and they think we're on a mission." When he said that, I got chills. I've been thinking about this year and this team, and that sums it up. It seems like we're going out there and we have something bigger to prove. That's the main drive. We are on a mission.
Many people have said your team is overrated and you play a weak schedule. What are your thoughts on that?
Shad Meier: Coach Snyder puts it best, that the only team that can beat us, is us. Any team can beat any team on any given day. Now you see all these ranked teams going down. As long as you prepare and you play to the best of your ability, I don't think it matters who you play.
This weekend features the top two offenses in the country. Do you see this game being a shootout?
Shad Meier: I hope it is, on one side of the ball. We both have high-powered offenses. Theirs comes from the air attack. I hope our defense handles them, but you never know.
All your games have been laughers so far. Does the team fell it needs to be tested?
Shad Meier: It would definitely be good for us to be tested. The more situations we can be put into, we're better off. We haven't really been tested thus far, just look at the scores of the games. The more opportunities you get into, the better you'll be down the road.
What has impressed you the most about Oklahoma's team?
Shad Meier: They have a quick defense. They have two very good linebackers who we've seen (Rocky Calmus and Roger Steffen). They get around the ball quickly, and they hit real hard. They're going to present a lot of challenges.
Mike Stoops, OU's defensive coordinator, used to be an assistant at K-State. Do you think his knowledge of your team's offense will play a factor?
Shad Meier: In one sense you'd think it would, since he knows what we run. We've changed many things since he's left. We have more of a diverse offense. Some of it is still the same, but I don't know if he'll be able to anticipate what we're going to do. We'll come out attacking.
We get a ton of letters to the site from K-State fans. Talk about them and how they help the team.
Shad Meier: Our fans are the best. There's nothing better than going out in front of K-State fans. They are loyal fans. They travel great distances to see us play. There's nothing better than putting on a show for them.
I spoke to some of the Cat Backers over the summer, and it's fun to listen to them give their input.
Who, when you came to the program, who took you aside and helped you the most?
Shad Meier: One of the biggest names that sticks out in my mind is Joe Gordon, who played cornerback. I had surgery on my left knee when I first got here. I tore my ACL, and I was lying in a hospital bed. Gordon came into the room, he was a senior, I was a freshman, and he said, "Keep your head up. I've been through the same thing." He broke one of his lower leg bones and had a long recovery. I'll always remember that.
As far as playing goes, Justin Swift, who's now a tight end with the 49ers, really took me under his wing, showed me the way here and gave me great direction.
What saying or motto do you follow?
Shad Meier: There isn't really a saying or quote that I follow. The thing that keeps me going is the fear of failure. That's what drives me the most.
Did anyone on the team ever pull a prank on you?
Shad Meier: This is a great story.
Before last season, before two-a-days, players get to talk in front of the team, say what's on their mind and in their heart. I'm good at speaking on the phone, but not in front of people or in front of a camera. So I get in front of the team, I try to think of something that gets to people from a different approach.
I had seen The Blair Witch Project about a week before practice, and I figured I'd relate what I'd say back to the movie. I saw it before all the articles came out saying it was fake -- I believed all of it. I was shaken up in the theater. I start talking about the movie and how, if you believe in something, your success will be that much greater. I said how I believed in the guys, and if we pulled together, we'd be great.
During two-a-days, we stayed in the dorms. I had fallen asleep, and when I got up the next morning, there was a pile of rocks and sticks outside my door, like there was outside their tent in Blair Witch. It was pretty funny. I'm getting up, can barely see. My eyes are fuzzy and there's this pile of sticks.
Who is the biggest prankster on the K-State team?
Shad Meier: It's probably between Jarrod Cooper and Chris Claybon. I'd have to give it to those two. Claybon thinks he's pretty funny.
What's your pregame meal?
Shad Meier: The whole team eats the same thing. If it's a morning game, we'll eat eggs, sausage links. Every time, I'll get a bagel, put cream cheese on it, throw the eggs on it, and eat it just like that, with some orange juice. I'll eat one banana also, that's about it.
Other than that, if we have a pregame meal, it's two pieces of grilled chicken, some rice and some green beans.
Shad Meier: It's pretty bland. I guess it's supposed to give you the most fuel or energy -- carbohydrates to help you perform. I don't know. I hope it works.
What part of your game do you take the most pride in?
Shad Meier: Blocking. They always say a good rushing offense sets up a good passing offense, so if you break that down to its simplest form, if you can block well everything else falls into place.
I had a problem catching the ball last year, so I spoke to coach Snyder. He said, "I know you can catch and I know you can run with the ball, but right now I need you to be more of a blocker, so let's work with that."
I came from a high school that ran a wishbone offense, and I blocked a lot. I think it's an art form. I get personal satisfaction out of it. You don't get the media pub from blocking, but I don't like that too much anyway.
Catching balls is the most fun part of playing tight end, but I take the most pride in blocking.
What outside interests do you have that help with football?
Shad Meier: Attending concerts. A couple of summers ago, I was in Denver, and I went to see Widespread Panic at Red Rocks in Denver. I see them a lot. If I ever want to get away, I just return there, listen to the music and it takes me back to where I was that summer and it helps.
Too much football will get to you.
|Shad Meier has seven catches for 105 yards this season.|