Slow and steady is just fine for Kansas State
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP)
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder hears when fans count down the play clock before every snap. He and his offense are in no hurry, and they have no plans to pick up the pace this year.
''We're a team that's usually going to use the clock in that fashion - huddle, come to the line of scrimmage, let the clock run down, snap the football,'' Snyder said at media day on Friday. ''We can go as fast as we want. We don't have to huddle. We can do it like every other team does. It's just kind of what suits our needs.''
With up-tempo offense all the rage these days, Kansas State used a slow-and-steady approach last season to win 10 games.
The purple-clad masses at Snyder Family Stadium this year will still get the chance to count down, ''Three . two . one .'' as quarterback Collin Klein waits for the snap from center B.J. Finney.
The strategy is to control the clock and the ball, and avoid unforced errors.
The Wildcats utilized that system last season to go 10-2 in the regular season before losing the Cotton Bowl to Arkansas.
The Wildcats return 17 starters, the most since 2006, and coaches project a more versatile offense than they had in 2011, when Kansas State passed 290 times and ran 606.
Balance is nice, but productive is better. Anything to keep the opponent's offense off the field.
''If we can get more first downs . now they're going to have the ball even less, so that's one of our emphases,'' offensive coordinator Dana Dimel said, ''and we're going to try to do that by being more diverse with what we do on offense, try to expound on our passing game, basically.''
That more versatile offense starts with more passing by Klein, but it also includes fullback Braden Wilson, who Dimel says is a lock for the NFL because of the matchups and angles he allows his team to create, and wide receiver Tyler Lockett, whom many expect to be one of the best in the Big 12 coming back from injury.
''It's a huge boost,'' Dimel said. ''Our last time that we had Tyler and Chris (Harper) was the Oklahoma State game, and we showed our diversity there when we had both those guys at full cylinder, so we're feeling like if we get both those guys back healthy, we can kind of be that balanced of a team where we ran the ball well and threw the ball well.''
Dimel anticipates using John Hubert - who rushed for 970 yards in 2011 - about the same amount while using other backs to provide different looks.
All of this will take some of the load off Klein, who rushed for 1,141 yards last season.
''Last year people really just started tightening down their defense, giving us some very unusual looks because they weren't as concerned about our passing,'' Dimel said. ''Now we're hoping that with the way he's improved his passing it will create a lot more problems for people defensively.''
Kansas State's strategy for keeping the ball out of the hands of the opposing offense is much appreciated by defensive coordinator Tom Hayes, who was promoted to the position this year after coaching the secondary last season.
''(Our offense) is going down to the last three or four seconds before we snap the ball, and our defense is parked on the sideline, and that's when you play your best, is when you're not playing,'' Hayes said. ''The less exposure we have, the better our stats and the better our production is going to be.''