Cats say they have renewed confidence

By Joshua Kinder

Perhaps Daniel Sams said it best this week.

Then again, maybe it was Bill Snyder and what he said first.

Kansas State’s coach publically scolded his team following the Wildcats’ 24-21 loss to North Dakota State last Friday night.

Snyder said he wanted to see “a whole bunch of mad guys,” but he “didn’t see any.”

The message was loud and clear.

“It surprised me he said it to the media because Coach Snyder always keeps everything in-house,” Sams said this week. “The way I took it, it was motivation… Coach knows what he’s doing — he’s been doing it a long time.”

All Snyder apparently had to do was wait until Monday’s practice to see if his words of wisdom had any effect on his beaten team.

“Everybody hurt, whether it’s disappointment or embarrassment or emotional pain,” Snyder said Tuesday. “At some point in time, that turns into anger about the situation that took place and the next emotion is determination to rectify whatever the mistakes happen to be.

“I think I’ve seen all of those emotions. Based on our practice (Monday) night, I thought in some segments of our game we probably practiced better than any time since we started on Aug.2. That’s a positive thing, and that determination aspect seemed to be on the field. I appreciate that from our young guys.”

K-State’s junior center and a team captain B.J. Finney insisted the Wildcats were plenty angry though — but may have looked to be more stunned.

“We were pretty angry about the outcome Friday, and it definitely showed up (Monday) that we want to change,” Finney said. “It was a high level of intensity, execution and tempo. It showed how fast things can go if we get into it.”

For K-State to avoid its first 0-2 start since 1989, the Wildcats better be into it Saturday night when they host the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns at 5:30 — televised on Fox Sports 1.

Finney said the loss served as a wakeup call, helping to provide that extra step and better focus this week at practice.

“It was the same monotonous routine day-in and day-out, and you fall into a rut and go through the motions because you’ve done it a thousand times before, and you don’t put anything into it,” he said. “We’re working hard, no doubt about it, but as our coaches say, it’s not about working hard, it’s about working smarter. We have to get into it and push ourselves.”

There was plenty to work on after Friday night’s loss. The Wildcats couldn’t get anything going on the ground, the offensive line looked slow and a play behind most of the night, and that hasn’t even addressed the defensive breakdowns that allowed the Bison to stampede for 215 rushing yards — all against the defending Big 12 champions at home.

If anything, Saturday’s game could go a long way in restoring order to a proud football program coming off an embarrassing start to the season.

“One reason practice went so well Monday is because (Snyder) said what he said,” Sams said. “A lot of us were like, ‘If that’s how you feel, we’re going to show you.’ That’s why we’re coming closer together as a team. I’m glad coach said that.”

Despite the sour start to the season, Finney and Sams said this team’s confidence hasn’t wavered — it’s become stronger.

“We still have an opportunity to have something special,” Finney said. “We all know that (Monday) was a reflection of that, guys coming out with spirit and enthusiasm and practicing like we did. My confidence hasn’t wavered.”

“Nobody likes losing, but maybe that loss is what we needed for us to grow as a team,” Sams said.

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