Mondays at The Salute

Mondays at The Salute

The first weekend of 2015 was not one that Wildcat Nation will look to emulate throughout the rest of the year. The Wildcats’ return to the Alamo Bowl brought with it one of the most frustrating halves of football that I’ve experienced as a fan. A day later, the Bruceketball Cats’ Big 12 opener raised even more questions about a disappointing squad, while only providing answers that begin with, “Well, we’re doomed…” It seems that seasonal depression has hit Wildcat Land.

The symptoms – angst, headaches, the desire to pound one’s head against the wall – struck early Friday evening, when the Cats on the gridiron approached blocking as if it was a foreign concept and put forth a first-half defensive effort that was downright offensive. Trailing 31-6 at the half, the Wildcats appeared to be arguing – as they argued in 1998 – that the Alamo Bowl is the worst event ever organized. A second-half comeback made things interesting, but a loss is a loss. Remember the Alamo? Please, don’t ever request that again.

K-State football now heads into an off-season where unanswered questions will be everywhere. Who steps in at quarterback? Who fills the shoes of the most productive wide receiver duo in program history? Who steps up on both lines, at linebacker, and in the defensive backfield? How much time does Bill Snyder have left on the Wildcat sideline? And how many absurdly depressing Ron Prince jokes will be made once the Wildcats are looking to fill the head coaching position again?

On the hardwood, the Wildcats entered conference play needing to establish consistency on offense and show some semblance of heart and desire on the floor. By the end of the 61-47 loss to Oklahoma State, they had accomplished neither goal, instead moving toward some combination of a meltdown and an implosion. Would you call it a meltplosion? I have no idea. I just know that pondering that question is more enjoyable than watching K-State on the court recently.

Last week i wrote that fans are growing impatient. This week, they’re downright angry. The results have been as disappointing as any squad I can remember, and action outside the program (particularly to the southeast) is not helping the case of this Bruceketball squad.

Frank Martin’s South Carolina Gamecocks just upset No. 9 Iowa State and has opened the season 9-3. That Oklahoma State team that just topped K-State? South Carolina beat them 75-49 one month ago.

While K-State’s point guards have turned ball-handling into a game of hot potato, former Wildcat Angel Rodriguez has led the Miami Hurricanes to a 10-4 start. He’s posting 14.4 points and 4.4 assists per game, while knocking down 37-percent of his attempts from beyond the 3-point arc.

Elsewhere in the land of former Wildcats, Adrian Diaz is averaging 13.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per game for Floridan International. At 6-10, Diaz would provide K-State with some much-needed size down low (not to mention a return of his tunnel dance that for some reason always involved stirring an imaginary bowl). He’s scored at least 27 points three times this season. K-State’s leading scorer, Marcus Foster, has yet to score at least 27 points in a game this season.

I suppose I’d be remiss if i didn’t mention Foster’s performance on Saturday. Benched for the first time in his collegiate career, Foster played just 14 minutes and scored exactly as many points in the game as you did. It’s assumed that Bruce Weber was attempting to send some sort of message to Foster with the benching. Unless that message was “hey, care less,” it seems as if that message landed far from its mark. ESPNU cameras did not shy away from showing Foster riding the pine during the contest and his body language was reminiscent of the boyfriend dragged to a rom-com. This Wildcat team needs Foster at his best to compete at its highest level. With Foster depressed? Well, I’d say things could get ugly, but we’re well beyond that.

At this rate, K-State won’t win a single football or men’s basketball game in 2015. Luckily, absurd projections based on small sample sizes don’t typically pan out. Was the weekend a depressing one in Wildcat Nation? Of course. But things will get better. It might be next week. It might be next season. Whatever the case, they will… And if they don’t, well, you’ll get awful tired of me attempt to be optimistic at the end of these columns.

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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