Bill Snyder will not be pleased with this victory. That’s my educated guess, anyway. Were there positives? Absolutely. But there’s plenty of room for improvement, and Snyder will make sure that everyone – players, coaches, media, fans, mascots, inanimate objects, Taco Bell drive-thru attendants – knows it. I’m posting this before the post-game press conference, so instead of using an actual quote, I’m giving you the opportunity to build your own Snyder quote to include right here. Just include a handful of the following terms, and you should be set:

  • by and large
  • young people
  • penalties
  • need to get better
  • I’ll have to look at the film, but…
  • turnovers
  • have to improve
  • keep chopping wood
  • keep rowing the boat

Now that you have built your own Snyder quote, let’s move on to the game. As most season openers do, tonight’s showed areas of promise and areas of concern. Overall, I like what I saw.

Things I liked:

  • A shutout. This defense has a chance to be a force in the Big 12, and a shutout will provide a strong foundation to build on. The Wildcats allowed just 61 rushing yards on 36 attempts. That’s 1.69 yards per carry for those of you scoring at home.
  • The season-premiere version of the “Proud of the House We Built” video. The goosebumps were prevalent up here in Lincoln, Neb.
  • The rebirth of the Vanier Football Complex. Wow. Just… wow.
  • Opening the game with a special teams touchdown. That’s not too shabby. It’s sacrilegious to say “Tyler Lockett, who?” but Morgan Burns will do all he can to make sure the return game does not miss a beat.
  • Joe Hubener’s passing early. For a guy that wasn’t supposed to start, he came out of the gate on target. The strike to Kody Cook for 35 yards was a thing of beauty.
  • Offensive diversification: In the first quarter alone, ten different Wildcats touched the football on offense or special teams: Morgan Burns, Jesse Ertz, Joe Hubener, Charles Jones, Kyle Klein, Kody Cook, Deante Burton, Glenn Gronkowski, Winston Dimel, Dominique Heath. And I’m guessing Snyder would have gotten the ball to Michael Bishop, Darren Sproles, and Jordy Nelson if eligibility allowed. Why so strict, NCAA?
  • Justin Silmon. I missed the Spring Game, so all I knew of the redshirt frosh were the stats I read and the picture my imagination had generated. (He’s taller in real life.) One game in, he seems to have good agility and showed some patience waiting for holes to develop.
  • Fullback U. The trend across football is to spread things out; some teams don’t even have fullbacks. Meanwhile, Snyderball comes at you with Gronkowski and Dimel. It’s a change of pace that could cause trouble for defenses across the Big 12. It’s early, but Dimel reminds me of former Wildcat Travis Wilson. If he was running in the open field, I think he’d turn looking for someone to hit.
  • Special teams. It’s awfully punny and I hate myself a bit for typing it, but the way Snyder consistently gets guys who may not see a ton of playing time at other positions to be standouts on special teams (see: Weber, Stanton) is a special thing.
  • Deante Burton flat out beating a corner for a touchdown reception. Tyler Lockett was the best route-runner I have seen at K-State. In his absence, the whole “getting open” thing will be somewhat important. Can Burton be a guy the Wildcats can depend on this year?
  • Kaleb Prewett’s closing speed.
  • Marquel Bryant hates helmets. I assume that’s why he knocked the South Dakota quarterback’s off. A stunt gave him a wide open lane to get to the quarterback, and the senior DE took advantage.
  • Pressure: Travis Britz supplies it, and the rest of the defensive line pitched in, as well. Ryan Saeger was often lucky to find time to pass. When he did, he was often congratulated with a hit from someone in purple.
  • Elijah Lee’s closing speed. The move to linebacker will be a good thing for Mr. Lee.
  • Dominique Heath. This kid is going to make some plays.

 

Things I didn’t like:

  • Technology. My first attempt to get the K-State.HD.tv broadcast to play on our television resulted in one frozen iPad, one missed drive, and one million four-letter words. Not my finest moment.
  • Ertz only rhymes with hurt in societies with loose interpretations of poetry. That said. It’s depressing that he went down early. Here’s hoping for a quick recovery.
  • Danzel McDaniel: MIA.
  • Fumbles. Ball security, especially near the goal line, is vital. No matter how well Hubener throws, he won’t last long under center if he doesn’t hold on to the football.
  • Stalling offense. Field goals are great. I love field goals. I’d just rather see the Wildcats push the ball into the end zone against South Dakota.
  • Penalties. Item number 887 in the list of “Things Bill won’t stand for.” The Cats were penalized eight times for 66 yards.
  • White Sox home runs… Sorry. Multitasking. Go Royals!
  • Pain. We have no room for it. Dante Barnett, get well soon.
  • Drops. Klein dropped a gimme early. Cook had a gift-wrapped touchdown in the third quarter. Burton had a drop at the goal line.
  • The running game. The numbers don’t look bad, but outside of Silmon, I didn’t feel like those running the ball provided much of a threat to break a play wide open. Jones may steadily lose carries to Silmon as the season moves on.
  • Three points in the third quarter. Yikes.
  • Punts. Nothing against Nick Walsh. I just don’t like seeing him on the field.
  • Sixteen first downs allowed. Yes, the shutout was good, but bend-but-don’t-break won’t always work.

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m encouraged after game one. Sure, this team HAS to be better in certain areas, but you can always count on a Snyder-coached squad being much better in week 10 than they were in week one. Wood will be chopped. Boats will be rowed. These young people will get things worked out.

Next up: UTSA… Is it next Saturday yet?

Go Cats!

About The Author

Hi, I’m Derek Larson. You might remember me from such autobiographical blurbs as “Yo Soy Derek” and “Paste Blurb Here.” I was born and raised in the Manhattan area and I graduated from Kansas State University in 2005. Now I’m now adjusting to life in the land of husking corn. My groom’s cake was a Powercat and I was once convinced that the future of Wildcat basketball was a seven-foot volleyball player. I’ve written about K-State sports in different capacities, often without people asking me to. My hobbies include bringing more purple to Lincoln, Neb., and making vague (and not-so-vague) references to The Simpsons. Follow me on Twitter at @dereklarson.

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