Cats preparing for nation’s best offense

By Joel Jellison

The production Baylor’s offense has put forth this season has been pretty hard to ignore.

As Kansas State coach Bill Snyder focused on his team’s game against the Bears this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on FOX, he pointed to what might be the biggest challenge of all.

“Well, keep them from scoring less than 100 points, I guess,” Snyder joked during Monday’s Big 12 coaches teleconference. “It’s a very, very prolific offense.”

The Bears have been doing very surreal, video game-like things on offense this season. Baylor has scored 70 or more in its last three games, and its first game of the year featured a 69-point scoring performance.

But backing the nation’s best offense is a pretty good defense too. The Bears rank 14th in scoring defense with less than 17 points allowed per game, and Snyder’s taken notice of that unit too.

“What gets unnoticed probably a great deal is the fact that all the attention is focused on their offense and yet they’re playing quite well defensively,” he said. “They were a vastly-improved defensive football team at the end of the year and they played so well against us. They’ve continued that throughout with six returning starters and five other guys who’ve logged an awful lot of playing time.”

One particularly difficult aspect about the Bears this season has been their quick-strike approach. Just last week against West Virginia, Baylor piled up a 28-7 lead after the first quarter, and led 56-14 by halftime.

Snyder had a few jokes about avoiding the Bears fast paced attack, but said it will be vital to control the clock as much as possible.

“We’re going to take the first snap and run into the locker room and stay there until halftime,” Snyder joked. “You just have to go out and play hard and play with discipline and responsibility and it’s got to be a three-prong game.

“Certainly, it’s obvious you’ve got to play well on defense, and not give up the big plays. Offensively, you’ve got to be able to not get caught in those big three-and-out situations, which happened to us last year on numerous occasions early in the ball game, and the kicking game has to help you and create some field position for you as well. It can’t be one or the other. We proved that this past weekend.”

The Baylor offense has been led by quarterback Bryce Petty and running back Lache Seastrunk, while a number of wide receivers have made an impact at times throughout the year.

Snyder said the offense Baylor runs is very adept at processing new players through it, including at quarterback, which is why the Bears have handled the changing of the guard from Robert Griffin to Nick Florence to Petty, so well.

And having a back like Seastrunk, is icing on the cake.

“It doesn’t hurt to have somebody like Lache Seastrunk back there as a running back, who really keeps you very, very focused on the running game, and they can raise up and throw those short passes out there,” he said. “The big thing in their offense I see is they’ve been so productive in regards to long-yardage plays. Some of those big plays come from just handing the ball off to Seastrunk, and he went for 90 yards against us last year.”

The Wildcats seemed to have a changing of the guard at quarterback against Oklahoma State, in terms of shifting towards more playing time for backup Daniel Sams, versus Jake Waters taking the majority of the snaps in the first four games.

But Snyder said that might not be the case, as he desires to keep the job competitive going forward.

“Each one of them has their own strengths, both of them have their weaknesses as well that they need to build upon, so we’ll continue to let the two of them compete during the week of practice, and most importantly, improve upon some of the mistakes that we’re making,” he said. “Then we’ll kind of define who it’s going to be based on what kind of improvement they make.”

Snyder also addressed a likely question from K-State fans about the statuses of wide receivers Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson. Thompson didn’t play against Oklahoma State, while Lockett suffered an unspecified injury against the Cowboys.

“Well, I have updates,” he said. “Whether or not they’ll be unable to go is an uncertainty at this point in time. It’ll be through the course of the week that we’ll be able to determine that.”

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