Bill Snyder doesn’t have time to worry about the future.
Not when his Kansas State Wildcats have more pressing issues that require his immediate attention.
So when asked Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference whether he plans to coach the Wildcats next season, he resorted to his stock answer.
“I don’t think about those things until the season is concluded,” Snyder responded. “I’ve answered that question a thousand times, same way.”
What’s of greater concern is finding some answers after the Wildcats’ deflating 51-14 loss at Oklahoma on Saturday. The loss dropped them into a three-way tie with Kansas and TCU for last in the conference at 3-5 overall, 1-4 in the Big 12.
“You’ve got to take what’s most important first, and what is most important, as I’ve said so many times, it’s us,” Snyder said. “It’s not about other teams, it’s about us.
“If we’ve got things that have to be corrected, that’s where we need to focus our attention. We spent a good deal of time in the last 48 hours in that respect.”
Snyder and the Wildcats knew they would have their hands full with a No. 8-ranked Oklahoma team that’s still entertaining national playoff hopes and could ill afford a second loss. But they also thought a bye week, on the heels of an impressive 31-12 victory over Oklahoma State, put them in a favorable position going into Norman.
“I’d like to say it’s all about how you prepare and how you play, and that was half true this past week,” Snyder said. “I thought we had prepared reasonably well.
“That was the only off week that we had encountered or will encounter this season. Obviously we didn’t respond to it very well.”
Snyder also came away from the game questioning his team’s effort, something that did not change after he reviewed the tape.
“It wouldn’t be 100 percent, I can assure you of that,” he said. “We didn’t compete certainly as well as we’re capable of, as well as I would like.
“That’s not just me saying that; I think our players understand that as well. They were embarrassed by it, as everyone was.”
Oklahoma rolled up 702 yards total offense and seemingly scored at will against an injury-depleted K-State defense. And the Sooner defense appeared rejuvenated in its first two games since Ruffin McNeill replaced the fired Mike Stoops as defensive coordinator.
“You can’t take away the fact that Oklahoma is an extremely talented, well-coached, fine football team,” Snyder said. “That, I think, goes without saying.
“But we’re capable of being a far better football team than we were.”
K-State faces an opponent this week in TCU that has had its own struggles of late, dropping three straight, including a 27-26 loss last week at Kansas. But Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson refused to characterize this Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. matchup in Fort Worth as a must-win for either team.
“You’re benefiting (from a victory) not because you lost three or four game, (but) just because it’s the next ballgame and that’s what you’re trying to do,” Patterson said, noting that both the K-State and TCU programs have proud traditions. “What people don’t really understand is what kids go through, what players go through, what coaches go through, when you’re used to it not being the way it (currently) is.
“And what you have to do is you’ve got to find a way to pull up your pants and cinch it up and find a way to get ready to play. I see both programs this Saturday doing the same.”
In order to do that, Snyder said, the Wildcats must confront their problems head on.
“We have looked at what we think the issues are,” he said. “We’ve looked at what has created those and what we might do to solve the problems where they exist.
“That’s what we’re in the process of doing right now.”
Despite the program’s unprecedented success in both of Snyder’s tenures at K-State, he has faced similar challenges, where the Wildcats have failed to meet preseason expectations.
“It’s something I’m sure that players and coaches alike understand their role in it and a key element, can we do something about it?” Snyder said. “Just because we have come out of it before doesn’t mean it will happen again automatically.
“It’s just a lot of things that have to get repaired. It starts with me to begin with, to make sure that I have a good understanding of everything and have an answer for the issues that we have.”
The Big 12 announced Monday that the Sunflower Showdown between Kansas State and Kansas at will be a morning affair.
The game, in Manhattan this year, will kick off at 11 a.m. at Snyder Family Stadium and be televised on FSN.