Yesterday we looked at the remaining schedule facing K-State, and where the Wildcats should look for securing its final four wins to guarantee bowl eligibility. This morning we take a gander at the adjustments that will secure, at minimum, a trip to The Bronx and the Pinstripe Bowl, and hopefully something greater.
Quarterback utilization is the easy one to point to, but until there’s a satisfactory answer here, adjusting quarterback utilization must happen. Jake Waters was deadly and efficient in the second half against Texas, but that’s the first time he really looked good this year. If Waters stays the starter, is effective, and plays on third and three, then that’s fine. But if Daniel Sams continues being brought in on third and short situations, the team must exhibit the threat to pass when he’s in the game. And play long enough to establish some semblance of continuity.
The next offensive adjustment: the offensive line. I’m not sure if there are any simple answers here, but rest assured, there are answers out there. This unit was the best in the Big 12 by the end of the year. All five starters returned, bigger, faster, stronger, and more experienced in 2013. Yet the line seems to be struggling. Getting back Boston Stiverson is the first piece – he was scheduled to start but injuries have prevented him from playing. Snyder has been secretive about the extent of his injuries, but hopefully he’ll be back against Oklahoma State. That should allow Keenan Taylor to be a reserve, subbing in whenever it’s needed. With the difficulty K-State has had running the ball, that could be among the most important adjustments this year.
Enthusiasm first. The same could be said for the offense, but I feel like it’s more important here. I want to see an excessive celebration penalty the first time J.W. Walsh gets sacked or throws an interception. Seriously. Until this team starts feeding off each other more (and simultaneously destroying the morale of opponents), nothing else matters. As USC, Texas, and countless others have no, there is no substitute for team play.
Speaking of team play, there needs to be more trust. Arthur Brown was an elite talent last year, but Justin Tuggle and Jarell Childs weren’t. The linebacking unit was elite overall because everyone fulfilled their role, no one tried to do too much, and all the pieces came together. Cornerback remains an issue, and Dorrian Roberts may need to be replaced. Because once safeties start cheating to provide him help, the linebackers follow suite, and everything comes crashing down. Bill Snyder teams are known as 11 players out on the field, each one doing exactly what their job description says to. This bye week should have been used to impress that over, and over, and over, and…
Give Jack Cantele the opportunity to kick a field goal. Other than that, if these boys just keep doing what they’re doing, everything will be fine. This remains the most dangerous kick and punt return team in the nation.
I’m not intentionally setting my bar low here. This team shouldn’t be scrapping for mere bowl eligibility. Then again, this team shouldn’t have lost to an FCS program and should have continued running over Texas in the same manner as Ole Miss and BYU. Didn’t happen. And if these adjustments don’t happen, there’s a possibility the team is sitting at 5-7 at the end of the year and watching someone else assume one of the Big 12′s bowl tie-ins. I don’t think that will happen, but something’s gotta change.