Prince Looking to Improve before Texas Game

Coach Prince and staff are using the off-week to look at areas of concern and possible phases that the Cats need to correct. Pleased with the progress the Wildcats have shown on the field, Coach Prince looks to improve as a showdown with highly rated Texas looms.

Ron Prince has spent the last few days dissecting each phase of Kansas State's play. Like he would, he said, "... as if it were the end of the season looking forward to a bowl period."

The attempt is to define positive areas, and those of concern.

On offense, Prince said he was happy with the rushing average of 5.0 yards per carry, which includes a 6.3 average of James Johnson. And, he's pleased with KSU's third-down efficiency in the Red Zone.

But he said, "Turnovers and penalties, and our yards per passing attempt are not where they should be considering how many times we've thrown the ball."

K-State has a negative-1.0 turnover ratio, plus its 399 yards in penalties is highest in the league by 77 yards. The team is averaging just 6.5 yards per pass attempt, which is only seventh best in the league.

"A really good passing offense should always be over seven yards per passing attempt," Prince said.

On defense, the Wildcat coach said he was pleased with the way K-State was stopping the run (68 yards per game, 2nd in the Big 12 and 11th in the nation), and happy with the team's third-down defensive play (28 percent, fourth in the league), and pleased with the league-high of 13 sacks.

On the flip side, Prince said he wants to see more turnovers forced and penalties reduced. And then there's special teams play, which is the area of biggest concern.

Prince finds no fault in Tim Reyer's league-leading punting average of 44.6 yards, pleased with Brooks Rossman's 6-of-6 accuracy on field goals and happy with the return men -- Leon Patton's 25.9-yard average on kickoffs and Deon Murphy's 20.1 average on 10 punt returns.

But, "Our kickoff returns are the same as what is being returned against us," Prince said of team's averaging 19.0 yards per return. "That's not a situation that we've had since we've been here."

A year ago, K-State held a 9-yard advantage - 27.1 yards per return and allowing 18.1 yards - in the kickoff return game.

Also concerning is the fact that K-State has not blocked a field goal.

Through a 2-1 start, Prince said, "Most of our concerns are in the kicking game." Kansas State's Big 12 opener on Sept. 29 at the University of Texas will be televised by ABC with a 2:30 p.m. start.

A year ago, the Wildcats upset the No. 4 Longhorns, 45-42, at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.


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