Kansas State lost it’s first game this season lat Saturday and it was ugly. The game was close at half but the final 30 minutes showed that while Oklahoma made adjustments, Kansas State was just praying what they had done would keep working. Everyone saw what took place as Oklahoma rattled off score after score and by the end it was a 58-17 beat down and one of the worst losses in recent Wildcat history. Hopefully the team’s memory is short because In just a few more days, they’ll be facing quite possibly their toughest opponent of the season as they go invade the home turf of the Olahoma State Cowboys. Continue reading to see what has to change from last week and how the good guys could come home with another Wildcat victory.
Offense – The Wildcat offense had their worst game of the season against Oklahoma and there’s no lack of places to point the finger. The most obvious starting point is the offensive line. The hogs up front were porous at best as the Sooners got 7 sacks and disrupted a huge amount of the running plays. Dominance at the line of scrimmage was a big part of what won the first 7 games and that has to return if there’s going to be any chance against Oklahoma State. If that can happen, the Wildcats could easily take advantage of Oklahoma State’s 85th ranked rush defense that allows 185 yards per game on the ground. The other thing that has to change is the playbook. Against Oklahoma, the play calling was way too conservative. It seemed much more like Kansas State was playing not to lose than they were to win which might have been a effect of being unexpectedly undefeated this late in the season. There’s absolutely nothing to lose now and the offense needs to reflect that. K-State still needs to rely heavily on the read option but it’s time to unleash all those plays that are deep in the mind of Bill Snyder and the Wildcat formation. Open it up a bit, get some plays that put Oklahoma State on their heels early, and take it to the Cowboys.
Defense – After the thrashing of last Saturday the real question is what doesn’t need to be done differently? There’s been alot of chatter out there about how horrible defensive coordinator Chris Cosh’s schemes are but don’t forget thats the same defense that won the first 7 games and kept the last game easily within reach going into the half. Against Oklahoma the problem wasn’t the zone, it was an unwillingness to make changes when it became apparent that the front four weren’t getting any pressure at all. Any FBS quarterback is going to be able to put up insane numbers when they don’t have to worry about getting hit and that’s exactly what took place. Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden and wide receiver Justin Blackmon are going to break records if Cosh doesn’t bring blitzes more thablue has this season. The defensive front four are good enough to get some push and that’s why bringing that extra LB could be the difference. Specifically, let’s see Arthur Brown make his living terrorizing a quarterback for 60 minutes. Everyone knows that Oklahoma State is going to air out the ball and the best way to stop it is to not allow Weeden time to find his primary targets. The principle of the defense can remain the same: take away the big pass and make the Cowboys check down to the quick routes. The more times the ball is thrown, the more opportunities to get turnovers which gives the ball back to the offense and let’s them eat the clock. Put some pressure on the quarterback and watch the difference be made.
Special Teams – As always, the goal for this unit is to just not make mistakes. The kick and kick return teams are doing great, punter Ryan Doerr is consistently hammering the ball and giving the opponent a long field, but the field goal team remains the scariest moment of any game. Last week against Oklahoma, Cantele missed yet another chip shot and while that was in no way the difference maker, it’s extremely frustrating to have happen. Instead of tying it up at 20, K-State stayed down by three and eventually wound up down by 6 after a costly turnover. Is it really too much to ask for just one mistake free game from this unit?
Prediction – Even before the debacle of last weekend I figured this was going to be a loss. Going on the road to the number 3 team in the nation is tough enough on its own. When you combine that with Oklahoma State’s strength being passing and Kansas State’s weakness being pass defense it’s just not going to go well. I expect a better showing from the Wildcats this weekend but that won’t change the ultimate outcome.