SE: Snyder Warns Wildcats that It's Still Early

Bill Snyder has cautioned his team from getting ahead of itself before the start of Big 12 play.

Sept. 28, 2011

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• Gametracker (vs. Baylor)

By Mark Janssen

Bill Snyder held his weekly press conference Tuesday with the theme being this:

Yes, the team is improving, but it's only three games into the season.

Yes, the Miami win was significant, but ahead are nine straight Big 12 games.

Yes, it's great to be 3-0, but it's only three games into the season and nine Big 12 games are next.

But in the middle of those repeated warnings, one could tell that there were plenty of reasons that Snyder was pleased with what he saw in Saturday's 28-24 win over Miami that indeed left the Wildcats at 3-0 and now receiving votes in the national polls.

Starting on defense, Snyder said of the final goal-line stand, "Obviously, those last four snaps were played as well as you can play. We had 11 guys to the ball on every snap. It was not a stop and them carrying you forward for a yard, but there were some loss-yardage plays."

K-State has now played 21 defensive plays in the red zone through the first three games and allowed a total of 10 yards. While the united goal-line stand this past week was for a victory, Snyder also points to the previous week's stand against Kent State where the Golden Flashes had the ball first-and-goal at the K-State-9, but could not score in 10 plays. (There was a K-State penalty that created a first down.)

"I like the attitude of that sustained play," said Snyder.

K-State currently ranks No. 6 in the nation in total defense allowing 164 yards per game and its scoring defense of 10.3 points ranks No. 7. The Wildcats are allowing just 89 yards per game on the ground and another 157 through the air on a 51 percent completion rate, with five interceptions.

Among Big 12 teams, K-State ranks No. 1 in scoring defense, No. 1 in total defense and No. 3 in rushing defense.

Snyder says the overall numbers have come from playing "assignment responsible" football. When that doesn't happen, however, Snyder pointed to the last game where Miami's big-play on the ground came because of a player not being lined up correctly at the start of the play.

But overall, he said of the play of the line, in particular, "They did a very good job of playing responsibility football. They were assignment sound and maintained a presence on the line of scrimmage."

A lot was made of Miami's on-the-clock team speed advantage over K-State entering the game, which Snyder fueled with his own words.

But once the game started, the Wildcat coach said, "Nobody times you with a watch. It's all about playing hard and smart. (Playing) hard and smart, in our thinking, equals fast. Every team talks about playing fast, playing fast, playing fast, but when decisions have to be made, and there is some degree of uncertainty, then things don't happen as rapidly.

"I thought we played every bit as fast as Miami," Snyder continued. "We can't match up on the clock, but I thought we played hard and we played smart. We were assignment sound, which allowed us to play as fast as they played. The speed issue wasn't much of a factor."

The Wildcats played hard, they played fast, and they played tough.

Snyder said that was especially true with quarterback Collin Klein, who played with bloodied elbows and a dirt-covered, grass-stained uniform.

"What was evident to me was his degree of toughness. It's not that I thought it wasn't there, but he allowed everyone, including his teammates, to see a high degree of mental and physical toughness," Snyder said. "With his nature and dialogue, that doesn't always come across."

Looking forward, Snyder said of his 3-0 team, "We're looking at an uphill battle. It's going to be tougher and tougher week in and week out. Our deal is just to do all we can do to get better, and better, and better, which we have done to this point in time. We're trying to get ourselves a little better realizing it's going to get tougher."

Snyder on Griffin III: His name is Robert Griffin III, a 6-2, 220-pound junior quarterback for the Baylor Bears. His credentials are eye-popping: an 85 percent completion rate (70-of-82) with 13 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. He averages 320 passing yards per game, plus another 56 by the rush. Oh yes, he's also had a punt of 39 yards.

Snyder said of Griffin III, "He's for real. You can't say he's great because he does this, because he absolutely does it all. He has a good mind on his shoulders, makes good decisions, and gets the ball out of his hand faster than a hot coal. He has quickness, can change directions, has very good speed and punts the ball. He's Jim Thorpe all over again."

Other Notes:
Collin Klein received honorable mention honors for the Davey O'Brien Quarterback Award's Quarterback of the Week. Klein passed for 133 yards, rushed for 93 and accounted for three touchdowns.

• Snyder indicated that center Shaun Simon would likely be available for some duty this weekend. Simon was injured in the opener against Eastern Kentucky.

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