K-State’s D.J. Reed works on ball security after fumbling two kick returns

MANHATTAN — Not once, but twice Kansas State’s D.J. Reed fumbled kick returns last Saturday against Baylor.

 

The first, on a punt return, was recovered by Baylor on the K-State 14-yard line but Reed was bailed out by the defense and a blocked field goal attempt. The second fumble, on a kickoff return, rolled out of bounds and the Wildcats retained possession.

The miscues would normally result in banishment to the sideline, but K-State coach Bill Snyder has complete faith in Reed.

“For D.J., that hasn’t happened for him,” Snyder said. “It doesn’t happen in practice, and we put him in situations when you think if it’s going to happen it will happen then when we put some pressure on him.

“The effort was great in both occasions but, nevertheless, he put the ball on the ground so you have to manage the ball better. He’ll straighten himself out and work hard enough to be able to handle the ball well enough. He’s a good return guy.”

That he is, averaging 19.6 yards on five punt returns with one touchdown, and another touchdown called back by penalty. He averages 36.8 yards on five kickoff returns with a 96-yarder that came up four yards short of the end zone.

The big-play potential got the best of Reed against Baylor.

“On the two fumbles I had, I was just trying to make too much happen,” Reed said. “That was the grace of God that neither of the fumbles cost us.

“I should not have taken the first one out and taken the touchback. On the other one, I just didn’t have good ball security. Those are things I can definitely change, and I will change.”

Reed and return mate Byron Pringle may not get too many chances when K-State (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) plays at Texas (2-2, 1-0) at 6 p.m. Saturday. The Longhorns have the conference’s top punter in Michael Dickson, who averages 45.7 yards with eight punts of 50-plus yards and a net average of 42.6 yards. The Horns, however, rank last in kickoff coverage, allowing 37.1 yards on 23 returns.

Reed’s first fumble against Baylor came early in the second quarter, an ill-advised return when Reed caught the ball at the 3-yard line and advanced 11 yards before he was hit and lost the ball.

“I thought I was at the 10 but I was at the 2,” he said. “I have to know where I’m at and be smarter.”

That was a bang-bang play, but the second fumble seemed to play out in slow motion as the ball rolled sideways across the field with neither team able to recover before it went out of bounds. That came on the kickoff after the Bears scored to pull within 27-20 with 13:07 left in the fourth quarter.

“I was saying, ‘Go out, go out, go out!’ ” said Reed, who had 27 yards on the return before fumbling. “It went out, but hopefully that never happens again.”

The junior cornerback will work in practice toward that goal.

“I wouldn’t say it’s tougher,” Reed said of the practice drills Snyder mentioned. “We’re still doing the same things, having people come at me, but I just need to be smart. I was getting a little greedy trying to force things to happen and I just have to let plays happen naturally and not force it.

“It was my fault. It was discipline and not having ball security. I’m definitely emphasizing that now, and I have to do a better job of choosing when and when not to take it out.”


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


12Days
 

More

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 23:16

Highland Park sweeps past Topeka West

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 22:19

Washburn Rural’s White powers, ices signature victory over...

If there ever was a time to test Washburn Rural boys basketball coach Kevin Muff’s theory about Jordan White, well, this was... Read more