'Cats look for answers
By ARNE GREEN
Special to The HDN
As they began to pick up the pieces from Friday night's season-opening loss, the Kansas State Wildcats first looked within for answers.
At least that's what coach Bill Snyder asked of them.
"I think we have to be a more inspired football team than what we are, and that's an emotional aspect of it," Snyder said Monday during the weekly Big 12 coaches teleconference. "It all boils down to caring - how much you really care.
"We'll see how that plays out."
The Wildcats, who play host to Louisiana at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, gave up an 18-play, 80-yard scoring drive that ate up nearly the last nine minutes in their 24-21 loss to Football Championship Subdivision power North Dakota State.
Afterward, Snyder bemoaned the lack of visible anger in a locker room that appeared more stunned than anything.
The first order of business, he said, was reinvesting emotionally.
"I think it's the old adage about how you respond to adversity," he said. "We have to feel the pain, I think, that goes along with not having the success that you want.
"And then at some point in time there's the emotion of anger that sets in, and hopefully your youngsters follow that."
Then there were the on-field issues.
Thanks largely to the game-winning drive, North Dakota State controlled the ball for 36 minutes to 24 for the Wildcats, running 21 more plays and racking up 380 yards total offense to 321.
The Bison converted four third downs on the final drive and were 10 of 17 for the game to 2 of 10 for K-State.
"You've got to get some stops and you've got to hang onto the ball a little bit longer," Snyder said. "We had some third down and fourth down situations that we were not very adept at.
"We've always had some concerns about being physical up front. We weren't as physical as we needed to be on both sides of the ball up front."
And then there was the stunning lack of a rushing attack - 41 yards on 23 carries - given the fact that K-State returned all five offensive linemen and a 900-yard rushing in John Hubert.
"That has to improve," Snyder said. "It's been a long time since we've been limited to that."
The coaching staff can address the physical and mental mistakes, Snyder said, but put the emotional response on the players.
"They need to come together and it's not me doing it," he said. "It has to be done within.
"They're very capable. It's not as though they don't have the ability to do some of these things - they certainly do - but they still have to step up and do it."
K-State released its depth chart for the Louisiana game Monday and the only change from the opener was senior Keenan Taylor moving ahead of injured Boston Stiverson as the starting right guard.
Taylor started against North Dakota State and Stiverson did not suit up. Dorrian Roberts remains listed as a starting cornerback, though fellow senior Kip Daily started ahead of him last week. Both Daily and Roberts were on the field, with Randall Evans moving to nickel when the Wildcats went with five in the secondary.
Up next: Louisiana
Louisiana (0-1) opened its season Saturday with a 34-14 loss at Arkansas.