Jake Waters returns home to play Iowa State this weekend as the Kansas State quarterback leads the Wildcats against the Cyclones in the first Big 12 game of the 2014 season. Waters, a native of Council Bluffs, Iowa, took time this week to chat with ESPN.com about his homecoming, his comfort in K-State’s offense and playing a conference game in early September.
How much more comfortable are you now as the main quarterback at K-State?
Waters: I feel a lot better, a lot more comfortable with everything. I know the offense a lot better and what we’re trying to do against certain defenses and certain schemes. Not everything is brand new to me; it’s my second time, second season.
How different has it been to prepare for a conference game this early?
Waters: It definitely is different. It’s a challenge for both team. You want to start off right, especially in a conference game. It’s definitely an important game. We know Iowa State will be ready and that place will be rocking. We just have to prepare like we know how. It’s a little weird preparing for a conference game, but there’s nothing we can do about it.
How much more comfortable are you with the level you have to compete at to have success in the Big 12?
Waters: I’m still working on it, I’m getting better. Last season was a roller coaster, knowing every single game in this conference you have to come prepared. One mistake, one bad read, one bad throw, it’s going the other way. You have to pay attention and prepare the best you can because anyone can beat anyone in this conference.
Being an Iowa guy, does this game carry any more significance for you?
Waters: It’s definitely going to be an emotional game, but every game is, so I’m not going to make this out to be special. Every game is the most important game to me, but being from Iowa, I definitely want to get a win. It will be pretty cool to play in my home state.
Were the Cyclones in the equation during the recruiting process, or did you ever dream of playing at Iowa State?
Waters: They talked to me, but I think they were pretty set at quarterback. I don’t know what went into it. They have a great coaching staff that does a great job, but it would have been cool to play for Iowa State, but that didn’t work out and I’m here now and I wouldn’t change it.
Is this your first time playing in Iowa in a while?
Waters: Yes. Iowa State came here last year, so this will be my first time playing in Iowa at the Division I level.
Have you been dealing with trying to get tickets or is everyone on their own?
Waters: I’ve probably asked almost everyone on the team for tickets. I have a lot of family and friends that want to be able to go to the game and I want them to be able to go. I’ve been asking around.
Sounds like you’ve been busy.
Waters: It’s not too bad; it’s been easy. We have a great bunch of guys who want to have my family be able to come. If we go to Texas, I don’t have anyone coming. I want a guy from Texas to have the chance to have his family to come. So we understand that and we’re good about it.