THE MORNING AFTER – Louisville

I used the word “exposed” repeatedly last night to characterize what happened to Kansas State, but I’m not certain that’s correct.

This is who the Wildcats have always been, even during those two lopsided victories against feeble competition to open the season. Maybe exposed to a national audience, but this was hardly a surprise. Don’t believe me? Ron Prince said as much afterwards. He’d been saying for weeks how concerned he was about pass protection and the play of both lines.

Now, I believe pass protection can be shored up. And it’s simple – protect Josh, and he’s as good as anyone around with time to throw. Allow him to get hit and he’s a shell of himself. It is what it is. Just protect the man – he’s your best offensive weapon. What’s troubling, in my estimation, is the defensive line. Shocking, right? Hardly any push on Hunter Cantwell. Stopping the run? The next open-field tackle will be the first. And this is where I disagree with Prince, who said all of the problem areas could be fixed – I’m not sure there is an answer already on this roster. The defensive scheme – multiple, 3-4, or whatever other mumbo-jumbo Tim Tibesar and Co. have concocted – is in place, and abandoning it now would be a disaster. But the playmakers up front? Where are they?

Last night was the first true example of the type of physical football K-State can expect at least half of the time in the Big 12 slate – Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Colorado and Nebraska – and the Wildcats, as Prince so eloquently stated last night, “failed miserably.”

For the third season in a row, it appears K-State has almost no margin for error in games. And by now, you’d think that wouldn’t be the case, especially when Prince has brought in many of his own guys – guys who would “row with us or get out of the boat,” I believe is how Ian Campbell termed it during Big 12 Media Days. Now, this isn’t the time to panic, because this team is the same team it was a month ago. Actually, maybe that’s reason enough to panic – there hasn’t much improvement in the last four weeks.

But things can only get better, right?