Thursday, November 3, 2011
Kansas State's best defense is its offense
By David Ubben
Kansas State knew the kind of task coming to Manhattan last week.
It didn't check a win off the list.
Oklahoma scored the game's final 44 points and beat the Wildcats, 58-17. Cry poor defense if you must, and coach Bill Snyder knows that was a factor.
"We played reasonably well during the first half of the ballgame, considering the quality of offense we were playing against, but the pieces fell apart in the second half," Snyder said. "Quite obviously we did not defend the pass very well. That was the story."
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said "the pieces fell apart in the second half" during a 58-17 loss to Oklahoma.
And it was a big one, but it wasn't the only one. Kansas State's offense is predicated upon keeping the defense off the field, and leading the Big 12 in time of possession helped them rank among the league's leaders in total defense.
Against the Sooners, the Wildcats gave up 505 yards passing and 35 second-half points.
"We have to play better against the pass. We have to defend better against pass," Snyder said.
So, why won't the same thing happen against Oklahoma State on Saturday?
Perhaps it will, but the onus isn't entirely on the defense.
"It wasn’t all about our defense. It really was a team loss. We were able to move the ball on offense the first half of the ballgame against Oklahoma and we kept the ballgame within reach," Snyder said. "In the second half, we were unable to do it, and consequently put Oklahoma in some good field position and put our defense on the field longer and more often than we needed to."
The fact is this: Oklahoma State moves the ball on everyone and hasn't been held at fewer than 30 points with Justin Blackmon in the lineup for 20 games.
"In our conference, the way the ball is thrown around, not with every team, but with those that throw it around a lot, it’s pretty difficult not to break," Snyder said. "When you look at the number of 20-plus yard gains that each team accumulates during the course of a ballgame, they’re substantial. It’s pretty hard to maintain against many of those teams. It’s pretty hard to maintain a bend don’t break philosophy, because it does break somewhere along the line."
Kansas State's defense won't change that.
It's offense can help, though.
"We’ve got to be able to be more effective on both sides of the ball. It wasn’t all about defense," Snyder said.
The point's been driven home. Kansas State's best defense is Collin Klein and John Hubert chewing up a handful of yards and 40 seconds at a time against a defense that ranks in the middle of the Big 12 in rushing defense.
The Oklahoma game tape revealed plenty of problems when the defense was on the field, though. Just about everything.
"We have to cover better. We have to be assignment correct and be in the right spots. We’ve got to apply a little bit more pressure than what we did," Snyder said. "It’s not just one individual or one thing. It’s collective."
For Kansas State, that responsibility bleeds over to the offense, too.