"The past month has been very long," Watts said. "Long days. And this week is going slow. It's not going fast, and it's not going to get any faster. especially Friday. Friday is going to be slow."
Looking to avenge a season that saw the Wildcats drop out of the top 25 and bowl contention, and record the least amount of wins since 1989's single victory season, many players said that they are ready to take the first step towards becoming a force in the Big 12 again.
"I'm just excited to go out there and perform for our first game," said junior quarterback Allen Webb, "and let everybody know that we're really going to step it up this season."
One area sure to be heavily analyzed on Saturday is the defense, which went from being ranked in the top 10 in the nation in total defense the previous seven years, to being ranked no. 6 in the Big 12, just behind KU.
"We want to be back to dominance. We want to be back to the Lynch Mob that everybody knows," said Watts. "I think that in the practices, we've shown signs of that. Our defense is a lot faster. We pursue the ball a lot better than we did last year. We're a better tackling team. So I think that our team is going to come out on Saturday and show that the Lynch Mob is back."
"Our attitude is just to go out there and beat whoever is in front of us, no matter who it is," said junior linebacker Maurice Mack. "We're just all about building that attitude back."
Watts and Mack both have extra factors affecting their anticipation levels. Both are in position to start for the first time, and both are at different positions than they were last season.
"Probably a 7 or an 8 (out of 10)," Watts said, in response to a question about his current knowledge of the free safety spot. "I know there's a lot of things I still have to learn. The free safety is kind of like the director out there. He gets to tell people where to go if they're not in the right position. I'm still learning other people's positions. But, other than that, I think I've got a good grasp of the free safety spot."
Mack also rated his own knowledge of the weakside linebacker spot as a 7 or 10. "As long as I keep learning, and as long as I keep getting better at knowing what I'm doing, and just doing it better each and every day, hopefully by three games I can be a ten," Mack said.
By now, the hours are counting down, and K-State fans everywhere are ready to see a bounce back from a disappointing year. The quest begins Saturday, with the first objective being a dismantling of the Golden Panthers of Florida International. Jeromey Clary spoke not only for himself and his team, but also many Wildcat faithful on Tuesday. "I can't wait until Saturday, and I don't think the rest of the team can either."
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