Kansas State’s Head Coach Bill Snyder On Home Field Advantage

    Wildcats' head coach Bill Snyder speaks to Campus Insiders' Bonnie Bernstein at the 2015 Big 12 Media Days about his team's great home field advantage in Manhattan

    July 21, 2015

    What did Snyder do? He and his coaching staff tweaked things to adapt to the personnel. 

    And it almost worked. 

    If all is right with the Kansas State world, the offense has the ball for five days, the defense is forcing turnovers, the special teams dominate, and it’s all about control, control, control. Don’t make mistakes, win the time of possession battle, and grind opponents into submission. 

    The problem with that was in 2013, when the running game sort of worked, but the offense wasn’t able to take hold of games against most of the big boys. When the defense had problems, the offense couldn’t keep up – the Wildcats lost five games on the year, going 1-5 when allowing 31 points or more. 

    Last season, with a good passer in Jake Waters and a dangerous receiving corps, the coaching staff changed up the style a bit and the offense started bombing away – successfully. The result? 

    Kansas State went 0-3 when the defense gave up 31 points or more. 

    However, the Wildcats showed more firepower, showed more pop, and while they lost four games, they were to Auburn – which would’ve been a win with better kicking – TCU, Baylor, and then in the bowl game against a UCLA team that decided to finally start playing. 

    More than that, they had the puck on their stick with a chance to win a share of the Big 12 title on the final regular season weekend. They were right in the thick of things, and it had everything to do with the improved passing attack to go along with all the other key things that make Kansas State, Kansas State. 

    This year, as always, there’s a ton of turnover, a ton of coaching to do, and a ton of new pieces needing to fit into various spaces. However, the defense has the strength and the talent to be even better – after finishing third in the Big 12 in total defense – with a pass rush and an active front seven that has the potential to dominate. 

    Will the offense be more Josh Freeman or Ell Roberson? The quarterback situation is the biggest question mark, along with a Tyler Lockett-less receiving corps, meaning there should be a wee step back overall in an improved league with so much firepower returning, but again, it’s Bill Snyder and it’s Kansas State. They’ll figure it out. 

    Don’t expect miracles. Don’t look for a Big 12 championship season, and don’t look for a spot in the second go-round of the College Football Playoff. 

    But look for Kansas State to be right in the mix for all of those things right up until the very end. 

    What You Need To Know About The Offense: What’s the offense going to be this year? Last season it was outstanding at getting the passing game going cranking up 287 yards per game, but with Jake Waters gone, who will the quarterback be throughout the season? Where are the receiving playmakers to make up for the loss of Tyler Lockett? Even with the loss of C B.J. Finney, the line should be a strength, but the skill stars have to rise up. The ground attack has to be far more effective, and again, the passing game components have to come together in a hurry. 

    What You Need To Know About The Defense: It’s a no-name defense that might turn out to be the best in the Big 12. The secondary is the star with SS Dante Barnett and CB Danzel McDaniel two terrific tacklers who should earn all-star honors. With Elijah Lee looking like a keeper on the outside, the linebacking corps should be very active and very productive. The pass rush will come from several spots with Ryan Mueller gone, but Jordan Willis outside and Travis Britz inside form a nice tandem to work around. 

    The schedule: There’s no excuse for Kansas State to not have an amazing season. The road games are at UTSA, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech and Kansas. That’s not that bad. 
    – Louisiana Tech will be good enough to win the American Athletic, but with the game at home, Kansas State should go 3-0 to start the season without a problem. The tune-up time will be great before getting a week off. 
    – Kansas State catches the Big 12 break by only playing four road games in conference and gets Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma in Manhattan. 
    – The week off before Baylor should be a big plus. Getting the Halloween off-week is perfect before the finishing kick. 
    – WATCH OUT FOR … the road trip to UTSA. The Roadrunners aren’t going to be all that great, and they need a lot of work, but they gave Arizona a nightmare of a time last year and could catch the Wildcats napping. 

    Key game: Oct. 3 at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys should be much, much better and more dangerous this season. Kansas State won last year, but it lost the last four times it went to Stillwater going back to 1999. With TCU and Oklahoma up next, being 0-1 in conference play could put the pressure on to not screw up at home. Beat OSU, and everything sets up nicely. 

    2014 Fun Stats: 
    – Fourth Down Conversions: Kansas State 11-of-16 (69%) – Opponents 6-of-14 (43%) 
    – Time of Possession: Kansas State 32:44 – Opponents 27:16
    – Penalties: Opponents 87 for 783 yards – Kansas State 57 for 511


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