Fine Line between Rest and Rust

Coach Prince and the Wildcats had an entire week to rest nagging injuries and prepare for Big 12 Conference play. With nine weeks of consecutive conference opponents lined up, Coach Prince talks about the fine line between Rest and Rust and what this team looks to achieve....

Ron Prince played a game last week. It's been defining that fine line between rest and rust.

He wanted to back off a bit during the Wildcats bye week, but not to the point of getting rusty.

Kansas State practiced for four weeks in August, and has now played for three Saturdays in September. Looming ahead are nine consecutive weeks of games to complete the 12-game 2007 season.

"What we'll try to do is limit the amount of time on the field," Prince said during last week's press conference. "We want to go out with a real purpose. We will be very direct with what we're doing." The result was positive.

"I was very pleased with the week," Prince said. "We rested, but also worked on some things that have been troublesome. We polished up on some things, and now we're going forward."

With the players, Prince called it "IEP" time. That's implementing an "individual education plan" for each Wildcat.

"Some need more work on fundamentals and some need more versatility," Prince said. The Wildcat coach added, "Some might think it's a little early for an open date, but I think it's a good time to take stock in who we are and what we do."

Kansas State's initial schedule started with Missouri State, followed by San Jose State and Fresno State. When the Auburn opportunity came along on Sept 1, games were juggled at the beginning, and wanting an open date prior to the start of Big 12 play, the Fresno State game was moved to the finale Saturday of the year on Nov. 24.

Last season, K-State played 12 consecutive Saturdays of football. In 2005, the open date was in Week 3, and in 2004 in Week 4.

In 2005, K-State came off a narrow 21-19 win at Marshall, and then blasted North Texas, 54-7, following the off week. In 2004, the Wildcats lost at Texas A&M, 42-30, in the Big 12 opener following a bye week.

Since 1991, K-State has had a bye week 15 times and won 11 of those games after off weeks. The four losses were to A&M in 2004, Texas in 2003, Colorado in 2002 and Nebraska in 1996.

A streak the Wildcats will be trying to break next week is one of six straight 0-1 starts to Big 12 play. This will mark the ninth consecutive season that K-State has opened on the road.

As for possibly losing momentum with a bye week, safety Marcus Watts said it's not a concern at all.

"Our next game will keep guys motivated. If you can't get motivated for that game, I don't know what else to say," Watts said of the upcoming Texas game. BACK TO THE LINEUP:

Prince indicated Monday that cornerbacks Bryan Baldwin and Ray Cheatham would be available for Saturday's game, but that linebacker Chris Patterson was questionable. Prince also said that the suspensions of Joshua Moore and tight end Rashaad Norwood were still being enforced. ON THE TUBE:

While this week's 2:30 p.m. start at Texas will be televised by ABC, next week's Sunflower Classic with the University of Kansas will be played at 11 a.m. and televised by the Fox Sports Net.

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