After completely shutting down Texas A&M’s potent offense over the weekend, the Kansas State defense earned all kinds of praise.
On top of allowing zero meaningful points throughout the game, the Wildcats’ defensive line came up with six sacks and their secondary made two interceptions.
Sophomore safety Tysyn Hartman grabbed one of those picks (his fourth of the season) and was fired up after the win. On Tuesday, he talked about that defensive effort and what it’s like to be on top in the Big 12 North.
A lot of players said they were keeping an eye on the Colorado/Kansas game as it ended. Were you?
Guys were giving each other updates. Right as I was walking out of the complex is when I heard the score.
Who were you pulling for?
Ummmmmm … (long pause) … As a K-State guy I wanted KU to lose, personally. But all our fans who support K-State don’t want KU to do well.
It was good that it moved you into first place, too.
What does it mean to be in first place?
It doesn’t mean much. Yeah, it’s great to be on top and it’s great to be doing well. But we gotta put all things aside in our preparation every week. Can’t say ‘OK we’re where we want to be.’ That’s when people start relaxing and getting content instead of pushing forward and getting better.
What would it mean to start 4-0 at home this year?
We take pride in accomplishing anything in that regard, especially with the return of Bill Snyder and the buzz that’s been going around our program. The way our fans have been every home game, we’re making it hard for teams to come in here and win.
You are one of the leaders of K-State’s defense, but you’re only a sophomore. Do you offer much advice to your teammates?
Anytime we can give each other pointers, it’s going to help out the team. Anytime I see somebody doing something that they could be doing better with a little tweak in practice, I give them those pointers and I expect them to do the same thing for me, which they do. It helps. It helps out the whole defense.
The defense struggled two weeks ago, but was brilliant against Texas A&M. Where do you think you stand right now?
I can say, yeah, we’re getting better each week. We have gotten better each week, but we still didn’t get all of our defensive goals (against A&M), and that just goes to show there is still room for improvement. We didn’t’ get all 14 of our goals and that just right there tells you we can do better.
Fourteen goals for one game? Is that just for the defense?
Yes, it is. Just throughout we have listed goals that we want to accomplish every week. We feel like if we win the majority of the goals on offense, defense or special teams, any of the three, that we’re going to come out with a win.
How are you, as a team, approaching the rest of the season now that you are a contender in the Big 12 North race?
Coach Snyder said a few times when we won our first conference game, he said ‘We’re on top of the north. It’s our decision whether we want to stay there or not.’ After the loss two weeks ago and the win this week we’re in the same position — we’re on top of the north. It’s really up to us.
Do you think you will respond to that speech better this time?
I hope we learn from our mistakes and don’t get complacent or content from being there and say ‘We’re where we need to be,’ when obviously we weren’t. We just need to keep pushing forward and getting better.