MANHATTAN — Once practice is over on Saturday morning, Kansas State’s players and coaches will disperse and go their separate ways.
But even with the rest of the day off, chances are they won’t stray too far from the Vanier Family Football Complex.
It just so happens that during the Wildcats’ bye week, their next two opponents — No. 9-ranked Oklahoma and Texas Christian — are squaring off at 11 a.m., so most of them will be huddled around a television somewhere nearby.
“It’s just good to sit down and watch the game on TV for once, and we’ll get to watch the TV copy this Saturday instead of in film,” junior defensive tackle Trey Dishon said. “I’ll probably be at home, in my apartment here in town, and some guys will come over and we’ll just watch the game.”
Even so, Dishon said, the football player in him will prevent him from looking at the game as an average fan.
“I’m really watching for my benefit,” he said. “The way I watch film, I’m watching the (Oklahoma) o-line.
“I’m looking at my position and I’m looking at how maybe those TCU D-tackles are playing against them. That’s the only way I can watch games anymore.”
Running back Alex Barnes might take a slightly more casual approach, at least as much as he can.
“I’ve been around football my whole life so I’ll kind of see schematic stuff,” he said. “I won’t necessarily watch it intently because I’ll be with friends and stuff.
“We’ll be able to watch the whole game in its entirety and kind of be able to pick little things up that you might not necessarily see on your film copy.”
Watching the OU-TCU game no doubt will be a highlight for the players, who otherwise don’t get much time off during a bye week. K-State coach Bill Snyder always has been a stickler for sticking to routines.
“We didn’t practice (Monday), which we normally do,” Snyder said Tuesday. “We’ll have a shorter practice today than what our Tuesday practices are.
“Yesterday’s meetings and today’s meetings and practice will be centered around Kansas State and trying to improve what we do better. It’s really about us.”
As the week goes on, the focus gradually will shift toward the Oct. 27 game at Oklahoma. Snyder and his staff will pay particular attention to the Sooners’ defense this week under new coordinator Ruffin McNeill.
McNeill was promoted after head coach Lincoln Riley fired defensive coordinator Mike Stoops following the Sooners’ loss to Texas two weeks ago.
“There could be some significant changes in what they do and how they do it,” Snyder said of the switch. “I don’t know that that will necessarily be the case — it remains to be seen.
“They’ve been a pretty good football team throughout the course of the season, and obviously to attempt to make dramatic changes would not kind of fit that program, I don’t think. But that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t happen.”
It was the first loss for Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1 big 12). TCU is 3-3 with a 1-2 league record.
For K-State, enthusiasm was high heading into the bye week after the Wildcats won their first conference game last week, beating Oklahoma State 31-12 to improve to 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the Big 12.
“I think it’s at a good time,” defensive tackle Jordan Mittie said of the break in the schedule. “We’re seven weeks in, so obviously it feels good going into the bye week on a win — a whole lot better than a loss.
“We’re just looking to get better this week.”
Center Adam Holtorf had mixed emotions.
“Selfishly, I always wish we’ve got a game going, but I think it’s a good halfway point in the season,” he said. “We’ve got seven games down, we’ve got five more to go, so I think this is a good chance to kind of take a step back and work on some little things.”
Mittie, son of Kansas State women’s basketball coach Jeff Mittie, has a special interest in this week’s Oklahoma-TCU game. Though he spent three years at Texas State before transferring to K-State, he grew up in Fort Worth, where his father coached the Horned Frogs before coming to Manhattan.
“I’ll be watching real close,” he said. “Obviously we play (Oklahoma) next week, so I’m going to be looking for stuff on that.
“But I have friends that play at TCU, too, so it will be cool to watch some guys I know play this weekend.”