The Kansas State wide receivers hauled in glowing reviews through the first two games, not only for their pass-catching ability but for their blocking in the running game.
The cheers turned to jeers last Saturday with numerous dropped balls — six, according to K-State coach Bill Snyder – in a 14-7 loss at Vanderbilt. Byron Pringle had half of the drops, with Dominique Heath dropping a third-down throw that would have set up first-and-goal on the Wildcats’ next-to-last play when they were driving for a game-tying touchdown.
“I think it puts us back at square one, really,” Snyder said Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference. “I thought our receivers, both in the running game and the passing game, in week one and week two really had very fine performances, and to move in the totally opposite direction Saturday was really quite a setback.
“We have to go back and start over again and approach it with the appropriate attitude and commitment toward improvement and correcting mistakes and being at the top of your game all the time. It’s not a sometime event.”
The passing game was simply off track. Quarterback Jesse Ertz missed open receivers at times, finishing 10 of 28 for 76 yards with two interceptions.
“Jesse wasn’t without his faults throwing the ball,” Snyder said. “There were some throws that weren’t as accurate as you’d like for them to be, but we had six drops in the ballgame and every one of them was a catchable ball. It truly is a matter of focus and discipline and the basic fundamentals of being able to utilize your eyes appropriately in the course of receiving a pass.”
Throw in penalties — including an illegal block in the back that negated D.J. Reed’s punt return for a touchdown plus a personal foul and false start on the final possession — and it was a night to forget for the Wildcats in Nashville.
“Vanderbilt is a very fine defensive football team and we were not without ample mistakes,” Snyder said. “From our standpoint, it had to do with discipline as much as anything. A lot of dropped passes that had a dramatic impact on the game and penalties that had a dramatic impact on the game. That’s a matter of focus, which in coaching terminology is probably relevant to discipline.”
REVIEW RULING — A video review went against the Wildcats in the second quarter, wiping out a fumble and touchdown return.
Will Geary sacked quarterback Kyle Shurmur and forced a fumble that Kendall Adams returned 35 yards for a touchdown. The review ruled Shurmur’s knee was down before the fumble.
Snyder was asked Monday if he saw on film how the call on the field could have been reversed.
“No,” Snyder said.
Did he receive an explanation on the field or afterward?
“No,” he said.
TIME TO REFLECT — When K-State scheduled the game against Charlotte it was set for this week but later changed to Sept. 9. Rather than have a bye Week 2, it gave the Wildcats three games then a bye this week.
The downside is playing nine straight weeks, beginning with Baylor on Sept. 30 — which the Big 12 announced will have a 2:30 p.m. kickoff on ABC or ESPN2 — and now make the Wildcats simmer for two weeks about the Vanderbilt loss.
“As we would always do bye week or otherwise, we have to take care of what our issues are and correct all the problems and mistakes,” Snyder said. “Areas of concern have to be addressed in a very diligent manner. To a certain degree you’re fortunate to have a little more time to do that, but by the same token it’s 14 days living with Saturday night’s ballgame that you want to get behind us.
“It’s going to be an attitudinal approach in how well our guys are able to move on and understand the reality of all of it and be committed to making the improvement and not letting this past week’s performance affect what we do today and tomorrow and throughout the course of the next two weeks.”
Contact Ken Corbitt at (785) 295-1123 or @KenCorbitt on Twitter.