Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, who was widely criticized for singling out one player in the Wildcats’ 14-13 loss at TCU last Saturday, walked his comments back Monday during the Big 12 coaches teleconference.
Snyder appeared to target wide receiver Isaiah Zuber, whose muffed punt return helped set up TCU’s first touchdown. The Wildcats also botched the snap and hold on a short field goal attempt before halftime and missed a potential tying extra point in the fourth quarter.
“Well, it wasn’t special teams as much as it was an individual, and you take away the turnover that gave them the winning touchdown, you’re talking about a different thing right now,” Snyder said during his postgame news conference.
Two days later, Snyder insisted that he hadn’t intended to single anyone out, instead pointing the finger at himself.
“Nobody makes mistakes on purpose; that’s not the intent of anybody,” he said. “If I were going to single someone out, I’d start with myself. There’s a number of situations that took place in the ballgame that could have dramatically changed the ballgame. As I said with our players before the game and certainly after the game, that we’re all in it together.
“It’s not about one individual. It’s about all of us collectively, and we win games collectively and we lose them collectively. I’m not trying to single any single individual out.”
Asked later on the teleconference whether he had spoken with Zuber since Saturday’s comments, he said, “I have not.”
Special teams, so often a key ingredient in K-State’s success over the years under Snyder, have not performed to their usual standards this season. Snyder blamed a lack of depth, exacerbated by injuries, for the struggles in the kicking and return games.
“We’ve got a number of young guys that are in positions offensively or defensively where they have to play virtually the entirety of the ballgame, and consequently that precludes them from being overly effective or being consistently on the field with special teams, as well,” he said. “It’s just a conditioning factor as much as anything.
“It’s just not having as many people as we’d like.”
QB a question mark
Kansas State heads into Saturday’s 11 a.m. Sunflower Showdown with Kansas at Bill Snyder Family Stadium facing uncertainty at the quarterback position.
Starter Skylar Thompson went down with an injury in the first quarter at TCU and was replaced by Alex Delton, who threw one touchdown pass and ran for another while playing the rest of the game.
“I couldn’t answer the question today,” Snyder said Monday of Thompson’s availability for the KU game. “Right now we are in a wait-and-see mode. When we’ll know for sure remains to be seen. There’s uncertainty right now.”
Delton completed 15 of 25 passes for 155 yards and rushed 23 times for 36 yards in his first action since suffering an injury in the first half of the Texas game on Sept. 29. Thompson was 1 of 2 passing for 7 yards and left following a 1-yard gain on his lone rushing attempt.
Knowles’ redshirt status
The availability of true freshman receiver Malik Knowles could determine whether or not he redshirts this year, Snyder said Monday. Knowles has appeared in three games for the Wildcats, one short of the number allowed for redshirts under a new NCAA rule.
“The decision hasn’t been made with Malik,” Snyder said of Knowles, who caught a pair of passes, including a 21-yard touchdown, in the TCU game. “It will be dependent on his health more than anything else.
“He’s in a position right now where he is in a starting role, and if he’s able to play throughout, he’ll play throughout the year.”
Knowles has five catches for 44 yards total so far. His touchdown reception was the first by a K-State true freshman since Tyler Lockett had three in 2011.