Tuesday's at Vanier | A Look at Week 3
An exciting afternoon in the Vanier Football Complex, topics ranged from the No. 19/20 Wildcats' win over the Cyclones, quarterback Jake Waters' stellar performance in that game and the team's thoughts on the No. 5 Auburn Tigers - K-State's next opponent - coming to town.
With that being said, here's an in-depth look at what was discussed:
Snyder said he sat down with his team on Monday afternoon and told them to take out their "16 Goals for Success" notecards. As the team went over each and every goal - commitment, unselfishness, unity, responsibility and self-discipline, to name a few - Snyder noted how the goals could be related to K-State's win over Iowa State. It took guts and it took heart, but, using its intrinsic values so often addressed by Snyder, K-State came back from 28 unanswered points by the Cyclones and won the game.
"It does have a meaningful impact on the quality of the character of the young people in our program," said Snyder on the win. "To come back and win the ballgame, to stay in the ballgame, to overcome some of the issues and situations that occurred over the course of the ballgame, I thought that took a great deal of character. I thought they responded quite well, and I was pleased about that. I was pleased they didn't give in."
Last Saturday, the Wildcats were led on the field by Waters, who accumulated an impressive 377 total yards. Snyder said he was proud of the way Waters stepped up and took control of the game, and he hopes to see him hold that strong leadership position in every game. While many were surprised at Waters' ability to run the ball with, what seemed like ease, Waters' rushing performance was no surprise to Snyder.
"I don't think we ever felt that he couldn't run the ball. That's never been on our plate," explained Snyder. "We always knew that he could and I've known all along, all of us here in this program have known, that he has the capacity to do both, so that wasn't a surprise to us. It surprises me that it's a surprise to anyone else."
While K-State proved its ability to overcome adversity last weekend, the Wildcats will face, perhaps, their biggest challenge of the season when the Auburn Tigers come to Bill Snyder Family Stadium next Thursday.
Though Snyder said he treats every game the same, there is no doubt Auburn will present a unique set of challenges the Wildcats have yet to face this season.
"Take your pick," replied Snyder when asked about the biggest obstacle the Auburn offense will bring to the field. "They're a physical offensive line, they have speed in the backfield at the running back position and the quarterback position. They run the ball well, and they're deceptive in the way they run the ball. The wide receivers are big, fast, physical; I don't think I left out a position. In other words, they're very, very talented."
Different from most weeks during the season, the Wildcats have a bye week leading up to the game against Auburn. Though he has an extra few days to prepare, Snyder takes no time for granted.
"It'll be here in a heartbeat, there's no doubt about that, so you have to be awfully careful about not putting things off," he explained. "It's our intent to treat this week like it's game week as much as possible. As far as what I share with our players, my interest right now is correcting mistakes and making improvements by each individual in the program."
FROM THE PLAYERS
From the second Waters arrived at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa, last weekend, he was determined to win. That attitude never changed, and even when his team fell behind, the Council Bluffs, Iowa, native never backed down.
If you watched the game, it might have been the most excited and pumped up you have ever seen Waters. The quarterback was often caught on camera jumping, yelling, fist pumping and inspiring teammates to get back in the game.
But he didn't simply believe his team would win, he turned his belief into action and worked his heart out for it.
"Jake's a stud," senior linebacker Jonathan Truman said yesterday afternoon. "He went out there, and he just wanted it so bad. He can put up any numbers that he wants, and I think you guys will see that throughout this season. He's a competitor; he goes out there and wants to win."
When the game was over, Waters had recorded 377 total yards, including a career-best 138 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. One of the best games of his career, that kind of success from a Big 12 quarterback (throwing for 200-plus yards and rushing for 100-plus yards) has been unmatched in more than 300 Big 12 games dating back to 2011 to the Robert Griffin III (Baylor) era.
"Jake was a great leader on Saturday. He was hyped. He wanted that one," said junior offensive lineman Boston Stiverson. "He wants every game, but that one was very special to him. He was vocal. Obviously, the second quarter wasn't good for us and the third quarter wasn't very good either, but he did a good job of keeping us going. He played awesome. He played great. He executed well."
Waters' play at Iowa State earned him Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career, and he became the first Wildcat offensive player to earn the weekly nod since Collin Klein in 2012.
"It's rare, but Jake's a rare quarterback," said sophomore running back Charles Jones when asked his thoughts on Waters' stat line. "He's excellent in running and passing, and I saw that when he first came here. I saw how well he runs and just how good of a passer he is. To a lot of people it might be a surprise, but to us, we expect him to do stuff like that."
And according to Snyder, the fire and excitement that Waters' played with at Iowa State is expected in every game. Snyder said he pulled his quarterback aside early this week and talked to him about playing with that emotion more often.
"(It means) doing whatever it takes," explained Waters when asked about his conversation with Snyder. "I voiced my opinion and what I thought would work (at Iowa State). But it's just about having that fire and that passion and refusing to loose. That's what I think he was talking about. Just doing whatever it takes to help this team win."
Though he's ready now to continue with the season and to continue to lead his team, Waters can't help but reflect back on the locker room atmosphere after last weekend's Big 12 win.
"It was awesome being in there with the team after a win like that. We were so high on the win and with just how hard we fought back," concluded Waters. "We knew we had mistakes, we knew we could have played better, but we worried about that (later). To come back the way we did, everyone was so confident and relieved."
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