No college football season is easy.
Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder will tell that to anyone who will listen. Even when a team is winning, players and coaches are working 16 hours a day, seven days a week. But Snyder admits winning at least takes a bit of the edge off. Losing only adds more pressure.
“’Taxing' is the right word,” Snyder said. “It would be considered to be more taxing if you were not having the success that you felt that you were capable of. For me, that’s not about the wins and the losses, it’s about our youngsters doing as well as they’re capable of doing. Preparing as well as they can, playing as well as they can.”
As long as players give their best every time they hit the field — be it during the week in practice or during the battles of a Saturday gameday — Snyder said he could “live with the results” that follow.
“That’s part of life’s lessons: trying to do the dead level best as you can then,” he said. “If you do that, you live another day.”
Entering Saturday’s game at TCU — which kicks off at 2:30 p.m. at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas, and airs nationally on FS1 — K-State is in precarious territory in terms of the postseason. At 3-5 overall, and 1-4 in the Big 12, the Wildcats must win three of their final four regular-season games to ensure bowl eligibility for the ninth time in as many years.
Snyder said he knows his players “want to succeed.” But playing in a bowl game isn’t the lone motivating factor. His players, Snyder said, are “embarrassed by the outcome” of their last outing, with Oklahoma dominating all phases of the game in a 51-14 victory last week.
They don’t want to feel those emotions again.
“None of them have ever been without a bowl game on their resume in any given year, so it would be a unique experience for them,” Snyder said. “Above and beyond that, they want to be a competitive football team. ... I think there would be a passion to improve themselves to the point where they won’t get embarrassed like that.”
Still, Snyder said him and his coaching staff are part of the problem as well.
“It’s so easy to say execution (is the issue), but if you’re continually making the same mistakes, that falls in the laps of the coaches,” he said. “If we can’t get the message across or instruct a young person to do something that is of necessity over the course of the ballgame, and if they are incapable of doing it, then it is something that we have to consider: Why are you doing it if your players can’t do it?
“Everybody’s schemes are good, but sometimes if your players can’t do it, why put it on the field? You have to get into things that your players can do, which is the most important thing.”