To say that K-State coach Bill Snyder isn't impressed with Texas would be to say that the Wildcats didn't lose last week to Marshall. In fact, Snyder went so far as to say that Texas is one of the measuring sticks used by the Wildcats every year.
"Texas, obviously, is one of the finest football teams in our conference," he said. "It only makes sense that when it's all said and done, the season is over, you look back and judge how good of a team you were based on the teams you play in the conference."
One of those teams is Texas, who knocked off the Wildcats last season in Manhattan. The Horns were ranked No. 8 that day, and it took a Jared Brite blocked field goal to prevent the No. 17 Wildcats from taking them to overtime.
There are many differences between last year and this. K-State and Texas were both expected to contend for National Championships, yet both have fallen to then-unranked opponents. Gone are All-American candidates Chris Simms and Terence Newman, and the aerial battle that defined that game.
Much is similar, however, in that linebacker Josh Buhl is back to wreaking havoc. He led the Cats in tackles against Texas last season, much like he's been leading K-State game-in and game-out this season. Ell Roberson and Darren Sproles, who combined for 159 yards rushing, are both back for the Wildcats while Roy Williams, B.J. Johnson and Sloan Thomas, who combined for 155 yards receiving are back for the Horns. Indeed, even Cedrick Benson is back, and he continues to struggle running behind an offensive line that just can't seem to generate yardage on the ground.
While the Horns prepare to play Tulane on Saturday night, K-State will begin its preparations for Texas. According to Snyder, K-State didn't spend much of the week preparing for the Oct. 4 matchup, instead focusing on improving internally for the first time since fall drills.
"The first order of business," Snyder said, "is to define Kansas State. We have to go to work and quit doing lip service to trying to get better. It doesn't have anything to do with Texas or Oklahoma State."
Lip service, Snyder said, is what may have contributed the Wildcats' 27-20 upset loss to Marshall last Saturday. In fact, many players concurred. They were hearing the lessons, practicing the plays, yet not listening and not learning.
"You hear the same person week-in and week-out," Snyder said, "over and over again. You have to try to approach it in different ways. Some respond, some haven't."
Rest assured, however, everyone will have responded after the eye-opening loss, defensive end Andrew Shull said.
" We took for granted we could go out on the field and play and not have to work for it," Shull said. "We know we have some good teams coming up and we have to prepare."
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