Sproles aims for improvement
Despite breaking records, Sproles aims for improvement
Not your average day
By Herbie Teope
A career-high 292 rushing yards would have your average running back basking in the glow of this magnificent achievement. However, this wasn't the case for Kansas State star running back Darren Sproles. Instead of enjoying a career-day, the senior's mind was elsewhere.
When asked how he felt after Saturday's game against Louisiana-Lafayette, Sproles said, "Good overall, but I can be better."
Despite rushing for a school record 292 yards, Sproles' was more concerned with the two lost fumbles in the red zone as the Wildcats were driving for scores. The first fumble came in the first quarter at the Ragin' Cajuns' 18-yard line with the Wildcats ahead 20-7. The second fumble occurred in the fourth quarter at the Ragin' Cajuns' 9-yard line with the Wildcats ahead 30-14.
Sproles walked to the sideline clearly upset with himself following the second turnover.
During the post-game press conference, Sproles explained that the ball was knocked loose on both occasions during cuts. However, he understands what needs to be done to rectify it from happening again.
"When I start cutting, I got to start keeping it [the ball] into my body instead of bringing it out," explained Sproles.
The Wildcats had it going on the ground Saturday accumulating 393 yards against an overmatched Ragin' Cajuns' run defense. The offensive line can be credited with controlling the line of scrimmage, which was a vast improvement from the Sep. 18 meeting against Fresno State when a penetrating Bulldogs defensive lineman or linebacker met Sproles on more than one occasion in the backfield.
"I was more mad than frustrated [against Fresno State]," said the senior, who was held to 37 yards on 11 carries. "It made me come back and work harder."
Head coach Bill Snyder took a consoling tone towards Sproles' fumbling issues during his Saturday post-game comments.
"You really have to understand Darren," Snyder told the assembled media when asked about the fumbles. "That hurts him immensely. He will not give a second thought to having the rushing record. He'll be upset with himself for a couple of days, three days, or whatever the case may be about putting the ball on the ground.
"I appreciate players that are willing to step up and say, ‘Hey, here's something I need to get better at and I'm going to do it.'"
Sproles, who has rushed for over 200 yards in five of the last eight games and is currently third in the nation with 550 yards through three games, called his record-breaking day "average" and went so far to grade himself a C because of the fumbles.
The star running back may have considered his day "average," but to give himself a better grade and to improve his overall game, Sproles mentioned that he needed to score more touchdowns. Moreover, he understands that he must fix the fumbling.
"Mainly putting the ball in the end zone," the senior said about improving his game. "I got to hold onto the ball."
His positive attitude and acceptance of responsibility will allow the humble senior to move forward and fix what was on his mind Saturday.
The Wildcats have the week off before traveling to Texas A&M on Oct. 2 to open conference play.
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