(This post was my original rant that came right after the 2010 Colorado game. I posted it on BOTC and received enough feedback to make me think I might be able to keep a K-State blog moving. Enter Jug Of Snyder!)
After watching today’s game and becoming more frustrated with what’s going on with the Kansas State defensive unit, I decided to make my case for ridding ourselves of Chris Cosh. It’s clearly time for a change at the top of the defensive pyramid. This season the K-State defense has looked lost, confused, uninspired, unmotivated, lethargic… you fill in the blank.
Now I honestly wasn’t expecting a return to dominance on that side of the ball this year by any means. We have been spoiled by some incredible defenses in the past but I don’t think anyone who was reviewing our team logically thought that was going to be the outcome this season. However, we all want to see improvement. It’s preached weekly by HCBS and it is something we absolutely must have. That’s become the most frustrating aspect of our defense this year by far. It simply seems like there has been no real improvement from the beginning of the season to now. The questioning of Cosh’s abilities has been around since we gave up massive yards to a FCS team in our second game of the season. The calls for firing him have been around since not too long after that. I held out. I had faith. I was waiting for those adjustments and improvement. But tonight’s game made it obvious that those things are never coming. I decided to dig into the stats a little bit and look at more than just our overall defensive numbers and rankings. I think the results show that Cosh needs to go, and I think it needs to happen before we play in the bowl game. (More on that at the end) Here’s what I found. You decide…
Our defensive unit rankings coming into the Colorado game (BTW Colorado did better than the average in each major category)
Per Game: #119/120 @ 220 per game
Total Yards: #115/120 @2200
Yards Per Carry #120/120 @ 5.68 per carry
Per Game: #63/120 @ 216 per game
Total Yards: #64/120 @ 2161
Yards Per Attempt: #62/120 @ 6.2 per attempt
However our Yards Per Completion = 11.9
Yards Per Game: #105/120 @ 413.8
Punts: Tied @ #46/120 @ 47 total (4.7 per game avg)
1stDowns: #99/120 @ 22.1 per game
BIG PLAY AGAINST BREAKDOWN
Rush Plays Pass Plays
10YDS + 61 85
20YDS + 20 28
30YDS + 12 12
40YDS + 6 6
50YDS + 4 4
60YDS + 3 2
70YDS + 2 1
80YDS + 2 0
I understand that those stats are against every team in the nation and so some of our overall rankings might be skewed. That’s clearly the case with our pass defense numbers. Unfortunately, it means we aren’t as good at pass defense as the rankings say we are. Our rush defense speaks for itself. There’s no skewing going on there. But I also wanted to look deeper than the national rankings. I wanted to see how our defense has done against our own opponents relative to what they have each done each game during this season. Caution: this is where it gets really depressing.
K-State defense breakdown vs. opponents
UCLA: 193 yards rushing. 5th highest team rushing output
120 yard passing. 4th highest team passing output, missed 3rd by 7 yards.
MIZZ ST: 166 yards rushing. 7th highest team output
281 yards passing. 3rd highest team output, most games against FCS schools
ISU: 171 yards rushing. 4th highest team output
122 yards passing. 11th highest team output, maybe one of our best complete games
UCF: 252 yards rushing. 3rd highest team output
92 yards passing. 11th highest team output, 3rd lowest attempts in a game this season (18)
NEB: 451 yards rushing. 1st highest team output, by 68 yards
136 yards passing. 7th highest team output, 1st lowest attempts in a game this season (10)
KU: 103 yards rushing. 8th highest team output
228 yards passing. 3rd highest team output, lots of passing attempts (46), again one of our most complete games this year
BAYLOR: 279 yards rushing. 3rd highest team output
404 yards passing. 3rd highest team output,
OKST: 213 yards rushing. 4th highest team output.
298 yards passing. 8th highest team output, no Blackmon thankfully
TEXAS: 140 yards rushing. 6th highest team output
272 yards passing. 2nd highest team output, and that included 5 int.
MIZZ: 232 yards rushing. 3rd highest team output
208 yards passing. 8th highest team output
CU: 251 yards rushing. 2nd highest team output
225 yards passing. 5th highest team output, with a 2nd GAME head coach.
(stats from cfbstats.com, espn.com, and each teams individual football website)
What’s it all mean? Basically, in every game we have played this season, our opponent has had a top three season performance in either their rushing or passing offense. On top of that, two of our best pass defense efforts can be taken out of the picture (UCF & NU) because neither team had a need to throw the ball like they usually do. On average, Kansas State was each opponents 4th best rushing performance of the season, and 6th best passing performance of the season. Add Blackmon to the OSU game and some passing attempts in the NU game and I see us being the 4th/3rd best passing performance as well. When it comes down to it, Kansas State has made teams into rush attack juggernauts, very efficient passing attacks, and placed athletes on award watch lists. But stats aren’t all we need to look at. Any coach will say there’s much more to a game than the final numbers. I agree. So let’s examine that part of our defense.
As I said earlier, we’ve been spoiled by some of the best college defensive units roaming our field. And that’s been too recent to forget easily. So what did those units have that this unit is missing. Is it all about talent? I don’t think so. While we don’t have any Terrance Newmans or Josh Buhl’s headhunting at BSFS yet, we have a solid foundation. We’ve seen flashes of great plays both individually and as a unit. I believe our problem is in the overall leadership of our defense. We are missing that killer instinct. We seem to lack the ability to keep momentum. I personally think it is due to our scheme. Not a 3-4, 4-3, 3-3-5, or a cover 2 defense, but our bend-don’t-break mentality. In the open game post I said that the way we play defense promotes happiness with mediocre play. We’ve spent our entire season being pleased with only giving up 4 yards on that play, or only giving up 15 on that pass. Each time we hope in vain for the big interception or fumble that will bail us out. Instead we heard the loud snap of breaking time and time again. I don’t believe that Cosh is the guy to return our defensive mind set to the purple people eaters who waited for the times they got to attack the offense. I hate to dig into the Ron Prince era for an example, but that’s what you see Raheem Morris doing at Tampa Bay with the aid of Josh Freeman. (hey, they both were K-State guys so let’s give them love) Morris is clearly one of those attitude guys. He walked into a situation where he didn’t have the greatest talent and has given that team a swagger. If you’ve watched them play at all, you can tell the have a never stop attitude. They fly to the ball on the defensive side and if they don’t win they are going to die trying. They went from a 2 win team, to a real playoff contender with a couple talented guys and a ton of attitude change. That’s what we need in our Defensive Coordinator. And that’s why Cosh needs to be gone before the bowl game. We know we’re a school that doesn’t get to go and choose any recruit we want. We have to fight to bring in the top prospects. That’s why any opportunity we have that brings national exposure has to be used to a maximum. I think we’ve already done plenty of damage with the NU Thursday night game in October. We need a fresh face to lead our defense in a bowl game. We need someone who is going to show players that Kansas State is coming back and that being a part of the Lynch Mob is where it’s going to be. I’ve played a ton of football at all levels and one of the best memories I have is playing football in third grade in Haysville, KS. Our coach was a giant of a man who wore his biker gear to each practice. Before every game we would get together and chant, “Blood makes the grass grow… kill, kill, kill!” I figure if a bunch of 9 year olds can have a killer mentality, we can expect that out of our next DC.