Return of the LYNCH MOB?

MANHATTAN, Kan. - It will take more time for sure, but Kansas State's defense is slowly returning to its aggressive, swarming style of play of a decade ago. Not "Lynch Mob" like quite let, but the defense has improved dramatically.

Bill Snyder accomplished so much during his first tenure ... a 17-year span from 1989 through 2005.

He did it with a quarterback run game on offense, he did it with so very special, special team play, and he did it with a defense ... a "Lynch Mob" defense.

While Kansas State scored enough points to win 8 to 10 games per year and reach fancy bowl games during the Ron Prince era, the defensive play was woefully poor with 40-point, 500-yard games being the norm for the team playing opposite the Wildcats.

Quite a difference from the glory years when the Wildcats allowed no more than a 270-yard-per-game average in seven out of eight seasons from 1995 through 2002, and more importantly, no more than 18 points per game from 1993 through 2002.

By comparison, the Wildcats have allowed over 30 points in each of the last two years, and at least 28 points in four of the last five.

Let's now compare last year to this season as the Wildcats head into Week 11 against the

Missouri Tigers on Saturday morning:

Rushing yards allowed:
211 in 2008; 103 in 2009

Passing yards allowed:
240 in 2008; 235 in 2009

Total defense:
451 in 2008; 338 in 2009

Scoring defense:
35.8 in 2008; 22.5 in 2009

Plays of 20-plus yards:
51 in 2008; 32 in 2009

Turnover margin:
-7 in 2008; +11 in 2009

"Turnovers are caused by hitting the ball, tipping the ball and getting pressure on the quarterback so he hurries throws," said co-defensive coordinator Chris Cosh of the dramatic change in turnover ratio.

"If you can make a hurried throw, the throw is often times higher, which can lead to an interception."

Overall it's been a dramatic improvement, but as co-defensive coordinator Vic Koenning says, "We have so far to go fundamentally. I'm talking body balance, knee bend, not stopping your feet. The dam is full of leaks and we don't have enough fingers to fill them all."

It's true that in Snyder's last two years with the program in 2004 and 2005, that once prideful defense began to fade during 4-7 and 5-6 seasons when K-State allowed 30.6 and 27.7 points per game, and 349 and 359 yards per game.

That happened just one and two years after the 2003 Big 12 championship season when the defense allowed 16.3 points on 283 yards during an 11-4 season.

With that being just one area of example, Snyder said, "You start taking things for granted even for some of those within the program. There's the assumption that it has always worked this way, so it will continue to work this way. We had always had success, so we will continue to have success.

"It doesn't work that way," Snyder said. "Our world doesn't work that way, our life doesn't work that way. If you want something to happen, you have to make it happen."

Again, using K-State's defense as an example, Snyder says not to even hint of throwing the "Lynch Mob" label out there until it has been earned.

"You have to earn the right to have that kind of recognition, or that kind of terminology," Snyder said. "To take identification from another group that earned it, is inappropriate.

"We want them to be aware of it, but we will talk about it only in the context of earning the right, but not accepting a tradition that has not been earned," Snyder said. "Hopefully, there will be a passion for that recognition, but it must be earned."


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