THE MORNING AFTER – North Texas

So, maybe it’s afternoon. Work with me…

I don’t see how you can criticize what Kansas State did last night. The Wildcats did what was expected, and they were very efficient in doing so. Would you have preferred 20 more points? A shutout? Neither of those things is going to help K-State get to where it wants to be, and after a relatively smooth opener, Ron Prince and his staff have a base, a foundation from which they can teach and move forward.

If you’re not impressed with Josh Freeman, well, just wait. That’s all I’ll say on that subject.

Bob Lutz has developed a man-crush on little Brandon Banks, who was beaming in Aggieville late Saturday night after the game. He’s a good kid with some considerable skills. I’ll be curious to see what he does against top-flight competition.

Defensively, I was most impressed with Blair Irvin and Josh Moore. Man, K-State is in great shape at cornerback. At linebacker, too. But I shudder at the thought of what teams like Oklahoma, Nebraska and Colorado – teams who have that physical offensive persona – might do the Wildcats upfront. The depth is thin, and, while I’ll probably get killed for this, I’m not sure how good most of those guys are, either.

After some thought, I don’t understand using Deon Murphy on punt returns, but not on offense. If he’s injured, he’s injured, right? But I’m also not a football coach, and since I’m a reporter, that’s my bad for not asking Prince in the post-game news conference. It makes me wonder if he’s not back in Prince’s doghouse, or maybe it’s a simple case of wanting to spread the ball around to Ernie Pierce, Lamark Brown and the newcomers.

I’m not as concerned about the running game as most. Prince used dual tight ends for most of the night, and on some occasions. The extra blocker, and that’s all it is, makes a difference. Inside the red zone, there were always six people on the line of scrimmage. And you can see how much of a priority scoring in the red zone is – Freeman is using that 6-6, 250-pound frame to ram the ball into the end zone.

I think the offensive line is developing a little nastiness. Did anyone see Nick Stringer finish the block yesterday in the first half, driving the North Texas defensive lineman into the K-State sideline? Good stuff.

Do the Wildcats need to improve? In every area. But was there any cause for alarm from the season opener? Not really.