Since Chris Klieman became Kansas State’s head football coach prior to the 2019 season, the Wildcats have settled into a familiar weekly routine leading into games.
Sunday is an off day, followed by practices Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Friday is a walk-through day, and also a travel day, if it’s a Saturday road game.
Things are different this week.
In September, the NCAA’s Division I Council approved a rule prohibiting Division I athletics programs from holding practices or competitions on Nov. 3 and giving student-athletes an opportunity to exercise their right to vote. The rule will remain in place in future years, with Election Day now an annual day off for all Division I student-athletes.
It “drastically” changed K-State’s schedule this week, Klieman said, as the team prepares for Saturday’s home game against No. 14 Oklahoma State.
“But I think everybody in the country is going through the same thing,” Klieman said during his time on the Big 12 coaches teleconference Monday. “This is the hand we’re dealt, so we’re going to make the most of it. The fact that Tuesday is off for all student-athletes, I think that’s a great idea. Most of them have voted, but if they haven’t, they can get out and vote.”
In a sense, everything moved up a day.
The Wildcats, fresh off a loss at West Virginia, hit the practice field Sunday and held what would be a “normal Monday” practice, Klieman said. The “normal Tuesday” session was slated for Monday.
“Guys are sore and beat up a little bit, so it may not be quite as physical and polished as what it would typically be on a Tuesday,” Klieman said, “so we’re going to get as much out of this today as we can with a padded practice.”
From there, Klieman said players will have to take ownership.
“Even though tomorrow is an off day, (they need) to get into the training room and take care of their bodies,” Klieman said. “Maybe they have to go into the weight room and just get on some foam rollers and stuff so that they get their body as fresh as they can come Wednesday.”
While it’s out of the norm to practice the day after a game, Klieman said Sunday’s session, which took nearly an hour, went well.
“The guys had good focus,” he said. “We didn’t have a ton of things in game-plan wise (for Oklahoma State), just because we had three hours to prep it instead of about 20 hours to prep. We obviously did a lot of our corrections from West Virginia and things, but the guys had good focus. They knew, going into the week, that we were going to practice on Sunday. I thought the guys did a nice job.”