K-State looks to avoid complacency during bye
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) If any situation would breed complacency in an otherwise disciplined team, this might be it.
Kansas State is coming off a 24-19 victory over then-No. 6 Oklahoma on Saturday, winning in Norman for the first time since 1997 and moving up to No. 7 in the national ranking. It was just the second time coach Bill Snyder had triumphed over his former pupil, Bob Stoops, and represented a rare home loss for the Sooners.
Now, the Wildcats get a week off to rest and reflect on the victory - if they choose.
Doesn't sound like that's the case.
"We remember what 5-7 felt like, and it's not a good feeling," said quarterback Collin Klein said. "How vivid that memory is helps from the standpoint of realizing where we've come from and what it takes to have come where we are now and be able to continue that."
The Wildcats (4-0) met on Monday, but only planned to practice Tuesday through Thursday, before spending Friday in meetings. There will be a workout Saturday morning, and then Kansas State will turn its attention to the annual Sunflower Showdown against Kansas.
The two schools have met three times since Snyder's return from retirement in 2009, with the Wildcats winning all three by a combined score of 135-38.
So it makes sense that the bye week would present a time to perhaps take a short, mental vacation - but not to Snyder, and certainly not to the Wildcats.
"The motivation has to be to get better, become a better football team, become a better player," Snyder said. "Maybe there are other motivating aspects for each individual, you'd have to ask them, but I'd like primarily for it to be a better football team."
Snyder said the bye week will be spent examining every aspect imaginable: correcting shortcomings, preparing for the Jayhawks, maybe even squeezing in some film session - at least for the coaching staff - of teams still to come.
"There's a great deal of pressure on maintaining any success that you have," linebacker Arthur Brown said. "Coach Snyder, being as he is, he's definitely going to keep our minds where they need to be in order for us to not stay settled within a moment but to continue to just improve."
One thing that's clear is Kansas State won't overlook Kansas, which is also off this week.
Even as Snyder arrived for his 30-minute weekly press conference on Tuesday, steaming cup of coffee in hand, he paused to ask a staffer for play-by-plays from Kansas' games this year.
The Jayhawks have changed dramatically from last season, after all. Turner Gill has been fired as the coach, former Notre Dame coach and longtime NFL assistant Charlie Weis has taken over, and an overturned roster has resulted in ex-Fighting Irish quarterback Dayne Crist running the show.
Kansas still has just one win, but that's not a reason for Kansas State to take a break.
"The positive thing is we need time to continue the improvement, but by the same token, when you come off something very good, you like the momentum you have," Snyder said. "We've responded in a variety of different ways to open weeks."
Despite the extra week before that game, the process of preparation for Kansas State remains steady. Players get a few extra days away to rest, heal and improve different areas, and the coaches can hit the recruiting trail over the weekend, but mostly Snyder keeps the schedule the same.
"Consistency," Klein said. "He lives it. He doesn't just preach it."
Perhaps that's one of the reasons for all of the success - the top-10 national ranking, the Heisman Trophy candidacy of Klein, the publicity the Wildcats are receiving nationally.
"It was a very positive thing, but at the same time, it is just another step," Klein said of the win over the Sooners. "It was just another game, and we have to remember why we're doing what we're doing, why we've done what we've done, and where those decisions have led us to now, and then just to keep pressing on forward."