Monthly Archives: August 2013

Saturday Rewind: Analyzing how North Dakota State upset Kansas State 24-21


Now will you believe me when I say we’re not very good?

Those were the first words that came out of Bill Snyder’s mouth following a disappointing 24-21 loss to North Dakota State on Friday night. He was upset. He was angry. He said the K-State football team let its fans down.

They were all understandable thoughts and emotions considering the Wildcats blew a 21-7 lead and opened their season with a loss to a (very good) Football Championship Subdivision team. They are the defending Big 12 champions and they were playing their first game in front of a huge crowd in a renovated stadium. This will go down as a memorable defeat the same way losses to Fresno State and Marshall did years ago.

How did it happen? A look at all that and more in this week’s Saturday Rewind:
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Football Friday: How K-State might use Daniel Sams, D-line expectations, potential breakout players and the Arrowhead rumor

Well, here we go. As promised on Twitter, here is the debut of our new weekly mailbag. Hope it is worth the $50 and case of beer I promised Sam Mellinger for copying Twitter Tuesday.

At the moment, the mailbag is called Football Friday. Lame name, I know, but the questions are all about K-State football and it is Friday, so at least it’s accurate. We might change the name later on. We’ll see.

For now, let’s focus on tonight’s game between Kansas State and North Dakota State at Bill Snyder Family Stadium and get to your questions. Just a reminder, if you have a question that is too long for Twitter you can also ask questions via e-mail: krobinett@wichitaeagle.com. Here we go.


Bill Snyder said Daniel Sams could see as few as five snaps or as many as 50. That’s a huge gap, so the final number will almost certainly end up in the middle. My guess: About 15. It really depends on how well he moves the ball. If Snyder puts him in and he goes three-and-out each time his snap count won’t get very high. If he guides the offense into the end zone, his snaps will rise. I think Jake Waters will end up getting roughly 75 percent of the snaps if he plays well. He was the clear winner of the quarterback competition, and his strong arm might take K-State’s offense in a new direction. He deserves lots of playing time. That being said, Sams is too gifted an athlete to keep him on the bench all night. They will both get meaningful snaps.
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A few minutes with … Joey Harrington

Former Oregon/Detroit quarterback Joey Harrington will help call K-State’s upcoming game against North Dakota State for Fox Sports 1.

He was a Heisman Trophy finalist at Oregon. Then he was a starting quarterback in the NFL. Now Joey Harrington is a college football analyst for Fox Sports 1.

Harrington is making his first trip to Manhattan to help call Kansas State’s season-opener against North Dakota State on Friday.

He is looking forward to the game, which pits the defending Big 12 champion against the defending Championship Subdivision champion and marks the debut of Jake Waters as K-State’s starting quarterback.

With that in mind, Harrington was kind enough to talk about the game while he drove from KCI to Manhattan on Wednesday.

Here are the highlights of that conversation (edited for clarity and length):

Q: As a former quarterback, what advice would you give Jake Waters heading into his first start? Also, what are you expecting from Waters on Friday?

A: What advice would I give him? Be yourself, don’t try and be somebody you’re not and do more than you need to. He is walking into a good position for a lot of reasons. He has a great tailback behind him. He has some very good wide receivers, he has an offensive line that is very experienced, he has got a head coach who will make sure he is put in the right position … I would tell him to be yourself and go play.

On the second part of your question, I’m not sure what to expect. There is not a whole lot of film on him. We are still trying to find some good game film of him. I am going to try to get in there and see if I can watch some practice footage of him and get a better look. From the highlight tapes, I’ve seen he throws a nice ball and he runs well. From the stats I can tell you 39 touchdowns compared to three interceptions is about as good a ratio as I’ve ever seen.
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Glenn Gronkowski is K-State’s new fullback, and he couldn’t be more excited about it

Glenn Gronkowski is an intriguing football player. Everyone recognizes his last name, he has a famous family and he is now Kansas State’s starting fullback as a redshirt freshman.

He is also refreshingly honest.

Case in point: his answer to a question about how much he has learned since arriving in Manhattan and spending a year on the sidelines.

“To be truthful, I wasn’t really paying attention that first year, because I knew I was going to redshirt,” Gronkowski said. “But this last year I have been in and out of this place a lot, watching film, meeting with the coaches as much as I could, learning the playbook and getting it down.”

It shows. Gronkowski began improving the moment he switched gears and realized he could take over for former fullback Braden Wilson in K-State’s backfield. Coaches had nothing but good things to say about him during Fiesta Bowl practices, and Gronkowski had a big spring game.
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The Week Ahead: Football season is here


For nearly two years, computer renderings (like the one posted above) have been used to help illustrate what game days will look and feel like at the newly renovated Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

On Friday evening, they will no longer be necessary. That’s right, we are five days away from the start of Kansas State’s football season. If you prefer to count in hours, we are about 100 hours away from the parking lots opening for tailgaters.

It’s an exciting time for K-State fans. They aren’t far away from watching a new team in a renovated stadium.

With that in mind, here is a look at everything you need to know about the week ahead.

The Game
K-State will open the 2013 season against North Dakota State at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1. Craig Bolerjack will handle play-by-play, Joey Harringotn will be the analyst and Ryan Nece will be the sideline reporter.

The Opponent
North Dakota State isn’t your average team from the Football Championship Subdivision. It has won the past two FCS national championships and won its past three games against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents — Kansas, Colorado State and Minnesota. The Bison once again top the FCS rankings. They have a large and confident fan base and an experienced quarterback. There is no reason for anyone to overlook North Dakota State.

Snyder Owns Openers
How good is Snyder in season-openers? Well, he has won 20 straight … So, he is pretty good in season-openers. The Wildcats have not dropped their opening game under Snyder since his first season in 1989. Snyder has had some close calls recently, beating Massachusetts, UCLA and Eastern Kentucky by single digits in his first three years back, but K-State clobbered Missouri State a year ago.
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Kansas State hardly alone in waiting to announce a starting quarterback


Whenever Kansas State has a preseason quarterback competition, Bill Snyder prefers to wait until the opening game is a few days away to announce a starter.

That is once again the plan leading up to this season. Snyder will likely announce a winner between Jake Waters and Daniel Sams at the beginning of next week. Traditionally, he waits until Tuesday.

The routine isn’t new. How it compares to other quarterback announcements across the Big 12 is. This year, Snyder may reveal his starting quarterback before a handful of his fellow Big 12 coaches.

As of Wednesday morning, only four Big 12 teams (Texas, Baylor, Kansas and Iowa State) know who their starting quarterback will be for Week 1. Six quarterback battles remain ongoing. Most of them will likely end in the next few days, but at least two will continue up until opening kickoff. Both TCU’s Gary Patterson and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy have said they won’t announce a starter before gameday.

The way Patterson talks, he might not release an official depth chart until his team takes the field for warm-ups against LSU.
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A few minutes with … New Kansas State assistants Blake Seiler and Andre Coleman

Kansas State welcomed two new assistant coaches in the offseason. They are both former K-State players who are entering their first seasons as full-time assistants at the BCS level.

Blake Seiler is the new defensive ends coach. Andre Coleman is the new wide receivers coach.

They were both hired several months ago, but were off-limits to the media until just recently at the team’s annual media day. Both coaches took some time to talk about their new jobs with K-Stated. Here are the highlights of those conversations:

Blake Seiler
This is your first year as full-time assistant, but you have been a member of Kansas State’s coaching staff for four years, both as a quality control assistant and graduate assistant. After all that waiting, what was it like to get promoted?

It was an unbelievable feeling, my time as a GA was almost up. I was looking for a job and to end up with a job here, at my alma mater … What more could you ask for? It’s the perfect job. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity. I am willing to give it whatever I can to make it work.

How did Bill Snyder break the news to you that you were being promoted?

He just came in my office, looked me in the eye and said, “Are you ready to move up.” I said, “Yes sir.” He said, “All right, I’m confident that’s the direction we are going to go.” We went from there.

You inherit a talented group of defensive ends, but none of them have much on-field experience. What is it like working with players that are going to be starting for the first time this season?

I don’t have much on-field experience. Ryan Mueller has the most playing experience. I do have a lot of guys who have been in the program and in our defense. Marquel Bryant has two years. Laton Dowling has three. Devon Nash has been here going through spring ball. At least they have been in the meeting room and they know how we practice and know what to expect. It should be as smooth a transition as we could ask for considering the circumstances.
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College football study: Bill Snyder got more out of Kansas State’s talent last season than any other coach since 2006


SB Nation published a study today that takes an in-depth look at the relationship between recruiting and coaching.

The study analyzed Scout.com recruiting data and wins/losses of every BCS team going back to 2006 to see which coaches got the most out of their “apparent talent” and which coaches got the least out of their “apparent talent.” The result was a mammoth performance chart that has had college football fans and media talking all morning.

The best coaching job on the chart: Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder last season. The Wildcats, with an average recruiting ranking of 2.02, won 11 games and a Big 12 championship. The study’s author declared it was the “best season relative to apparent talent by a wide margin.”

Other familiar faces on the high side of the chart: Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy in 2011, Nick Saban twice with Alabama, Mark Mangino with Kansas in 2007 and Gary Pinkel with Missouri in 2007.

On the bottom end of the chart you will find: Turner Gill, Paul Wulff, Rick Neuheisel, Mack Brown and Charlie Weis.

The study is interesting, and you should definitely give it a look.

But it raises an interesting question, at least to me. Does the study show where coaches have under/over achieved? Or does it show where recruiting services got things incredibly wrong?
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Kansas State football will benefit from a home-heavy, travel-friendly schedule

If you have access to a car, you can easily attend all 12 of Kansas State’s football games this season.

Perhaps that’s the best way to describe just how travel-friendly the Wildcats’ schedule will be this year.

It features eight home games and only three trips across state lines. And it is one of the main reasons many believe K-State will exceed preseason expectations, which have the Wildcats qualifying for a middle-tier bowl and finishing sixth in the Big 12 standings.

Let’s take a closer look at the schedule perks: K-State will benefit from five conference home games, as opposed to four last year, and play all three of its nonconference games at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

K-State hasn’t played eight home games since 2006, when Ron Prince had his lone winning season and the Wildcats reached the Texas Bowl. The last time it happened during the Snyder era was 2002, when the Wildcats won 11 games and beat Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl.

This is the type of schedule Snyder prefers. He has been building toward it since he returned to the sidelines in 2009 and only played six home games in his first two seasons back.
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The Royal Sampler: All major TV providers will carry Fox Sports 1, former K-State hoops commit in trouble, Braden Wilson pumped about Arrowhead debut

It’s been a while since our last Royal Sampler, but now that the football season is 15 days away there is a lot more K-State news out there link to. So we will try to make this a more consistent part of the blog again.

Let’s jump right in.

Good news for college football fans, particularly at K-State and across the Big 12, the new cable sports network Fox Sports 1 will be carried by all major television providers when it launches on Saturday. The Wildcats’ first two football games, against North Dakota State and Louisiana-Lafayette, will be televised on Fox Sports 1.

The new all-sports network will replace Speed Channel. A list of where you can find Fox Sports 1 is included in my story today. For a while, it appeared Fox Sports 1 might not be carried on DirecTV, Dish Network and Time Warner Cable. But that is no longer a concern.

– Anyone remember Robert Upshaw? The one-time Wildcats hoops commit has been kicked off the basketball team at Fresno State for violations of athletic department policy. When Upshaw committed to former K-State basketball coach Frank Martin, he was highly rated by the recruiting services and was seen as a can’t-miss-prospect. But the 7-footer ended up at Fresno State when Martin left for South Carolina. He started five games as a freshman and is now off the team. Interesting how things work out sometimes.

– Former K-State fullback Braden Wilson is pumped to play his first preseason NFL game at Arrowhead Stadium with the Kansas City Chiefs. Wilson told the Great Bend Tribune: “My parents have purchased several tickets for the game. Nothing outrageous. It’s my first NFL game at home in front of my family and friends. It’s going to be a big deal.”

– Not exactly K-State sports related, but I think this is interesting news, anyway. Varney’s, the king of K-State memorabilia, has purchased Jayhawk Bookstore.