Bill Snyder: Confidence isn’t issue for struggling K-State receivers

Dalton Risner expected to play Saturday at Texas

Isaiah Zuber and the Kansas State receivers must develop consistency, coach Bill Snyder says. K-State (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) will play Texas (2-2, 1-0) at 6 p.m. Saturday in Austin. (September 2017 file photograph/The Capital-Journal)

MANHATTAN — Whether it’s mental or mechanical, the Kansas State wide receivers have had a case of the drops the past two games.


There were six dropped passes in the seven-point loss at Vanderbilt and in last week’s 33-20 victory over Baylor the Wildcats dropped between four and eight passes, with the count depending on viewpoint and interpretation.

“We have to do some soul searching,” Isaiah Zuber said after the Baylor game when he caught a 16-yard touchdown but also dropped one in the end zone. “We are the weak link on the team right now. The first two games we played good and now we are slacking.”

Coach Bill Snyder wants the problem corrected, but he’s also trying to reinforce positive thoughts and believes the receivers’ confidence remains intact.

“They are 19 years old. You don’t shake the confidence of a 19-year-old,” Snyder said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. “They understand, ‘Here’s what I have to do’ and they’re working to do it. They are confident that they can.

“Number one, you’ve got to get them thinking about the things to do right as opposed to what they didn’t necessarily do right,” Snyder said Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference. “You have to be careful that you don’t become fearful of the ball being thrown to you. Focus on doing the little things right.”

In the first two games K-State had 27 completed passes for 522 yards and four touchdowns but the past two games only 17 completions for 195 yards and one touchdown.

“Obviously, it’s something we still need to work on,” said receiver Dalton Schoen. “We have to focus on looking the ball all the way in before trying to do something with it. We have a lot of receivers who can do some great things after the catch but we have to focus on securing the catch first.”

The drops have been widespread among the receiving corps including Byron Pringle, Zuber, Isaiah Harris and Dominique Heath. Quarterback Jesse Ertz has had his share of inaccurate passes, adding to the breakdowns.

“It’s definitely hard to get it out of your head,” Schoen said. “Once you get one drop it keeps building, but what we need to do is forget about it and focus on the ball all the way in and know that we can. It’s something we’ve been doing our whole lives and we can catch the ball so we just have to go out and do it.”

Wildcat cornerback D.J. Reed said the receivers make plays every day in practice and must take that confidence into games as the Wildcats (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) next travel to Texas (2-2, 1-0) for a 6 p.m. kickoff Saturday.

“We compete with them every day in practice,” Reed said. “They just have to play and not think about all the external forces and just focus on what they can do because we obviously have good receivers.”

During the bye week between Vanderbilt and Baylor, Snyder said the issues were addressed, but a repeat performance ensued.

“A lot of those throws and dropped balls would have been excellent catches — diving catches if they were to have been made,” Snyder said. “What we’ll do once again is allow them to understand that they practiced for two weeks going into that ballgame and made a great deal of improvement and didn’t put the ball on the ground and all of a sudden it pops up, so we’ll go back and address more repetitions and the actual catching of the ball, and catching it in a variety situations. By that, I mean body positions, the ball thrown on the back side shoulder, thrown over your head, thrown on your toenails etc.

“It’s not always standing around catching balls thrown perfectly. It’s doing more drill work and keeping the mental approach positive.”

RISNER READY — Offensive tackle Dalton Risner briefly left the Baylor game after apparently aggravating an ankle injury but was able to return to the game.

“He’ll be ready to go,” Snyder said of Risner’s status for the Texas game.

Contact Ken Corbitt at (785) 295-1123 or @KenCorbitt on Twitter.



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