Up next - Kansas State for this week's Blogger Q&A. This week we're joining TB who runs the Kansas State blog Bring on the Cats.
Instead of asking a series of questions, I threw a series of phrases at TB and asked him to respond. Questions can sometimes lead the interviewee in a direction and I didn't want that to happen here. Kansas State is obviously in a state of flux..... maybe a state of depression much like we were last year.
I could say more about the state of Kansas State football, but let's just move on to the Q&A, shall we?
Ron Prince -- Fired:
It was time. Everybody is talking about how he didn't get enough time to turn the program around. The problem with that is, "turning a program around" implies that you are steadily making improvements. He was not. We were steadily getting worse in just about every way. The defense is not even competent. Recruiting is falling apart. Josh Freeman has hit a ceiling that isn't anywhere near the ceiling his physical abilities should permit.
But, all that said, I was watching the game against Mizzou last weekend, watching Prince walk around on the sidelines, and I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. Not because I think firing him was the wrong move; this is a business, and I think our administration made the move it had to make. But this has to be utterly frustrating and humiliating for him. I know he wanted to succeed. He wasn't trying to fail. And from the very beginning, I was hoping he would succeed because he was our coach and I was a fan. I hope he does well in the future.
Josh Freeman -- NFL Prospect:
When I hear people laughing about this, I generally hope they realize that it's not Freeman who has declared himself an NFL prospect. Actual NFL scouts are talking about him. Obviously, his numbers are nowhere near the best even in his own conference, but look at the ridiculous level of play in this conference. He's big, he's strong, he can make every throw. He's being hampered by poor coaching -- which includes play calling and player development -- and only having moderately talented players around him. Alas, I'm not sure he'd be any better off had he gone to Nebraska and played under Bill Callahan. He really needed better choices coming out of high school.
Gary Patterson -- New Coach:
He's the one I have wanted from the beginning. A Kansas native, a former K-State football player, and an alum of the University. On top of that, one helluva football coach at TCU. Couldn't ask for more, could we? No, we really couldn't. While I love Manhattan, I realize not everyone does. We are going to have to find coaches who have a background at K-State, because those looking for the bright lights aren't going to like it. I have no idea what Patterson is thinking after last week's fiasco, but I do believe strongly that he was very interested in the job.
As far as others, I'm not sure who else is really out there. I have heard chatter about Jim Leavitt, but he turned us down last time. Bret Bielema from Wisconsin has been mentioned because he used to coach at K-State under Snyder, but that would require him to be fired by Wiscy. Brent Venables' name always comes up, but there's some alleged history surrounding Venables' exit from Manhattan that may prevent that. At this point, I believe it's either Patterson or Snyder.
Bill Snyder -- A Savior Returns:
Sounds like it will either be Gary Patterson or Bill Snyder at this point. As long as Snyder could get a solid group of assistant coaches, including somebody that would be designated head-coach-in-waiting, I would be OK with this. The only thing holding me back isn't Snyder's abilities, because he's long since proven he is a magician on the sidelines.
My concern would be that, overall, if things didn't get much better there would be some sort of lessening of the man's image. Given what he did, there shouldn't be, but experience tells me it would be seen that way.
Eric Crouch -- Facemask:
Gruesome, should have been called, can't believe the referee missed it. Couldn't have been more obvious; in the replay, you can even see that Travis Ochs pulls up afterward like "Oh crap, there's 15 yards."
But remember, the ball was snapped on Nebraska's own 32 yard line on that play, and the penalty occurred at the 21. Even after the penalty, Nebraska would have had first down just shy of midfield with about 2:30 to play. Better odds of scoring than what they had, but hardly a guarantee against that K-State defense and with a passer of Crouch's skills.
K-State's best assets:
A supportive environment for a team that shows it is working hard and is progressing. Sports are huge at K-State. Manhattan's fairly isolated location and the fact that it's a true college town mean there really isn't anything that's going to distract from sports. I go to school at the University of Houston now, and there's so much to do here that nobody cares about UH sports. They average just shy of 23,000 fans per home football game. This year, even in a down year, we're averaging more than 45,000 for home games, and that's in a town of 50,000 people, whereas there are 5 million in the Houston metro area.
I made the above comparison not because I want UH to be our measuring stick, but to make a point that our true fans are pretty loyal. Bill Snyder had support from the beginning, because his team showed progress every year. Even in years that weren't so great, the fans always looked forward to what next year might hold.
Other than that, mostly I would talk about the traits that make the Midwest/Great Plains great in general. The people are friendly. For recruits from troubled backgrounds, Manhattan is a fairly safe place where they could escape that trouble. In the past, I would have noted how much the administration supports sports, but the way things are going right now, I'm not sure I can say much good about our administration. Unless we get Patterson. Then they're awesome.
Ugh, not many. Brandon Banks is a joy to watch because it makes me think what it would be like for someone about my size to play Big 12 football. Josh Freeman, despite his struggles, is still enjoyable to watch on a football field. Every time he drops back, there's a chance to see something amazing, like the 65-yard strike he threw to Ernie Pierce in the OU game. There's hope that, with some experienced players coming back next year, a good new coach may be able to have a decent first season, although my hopes for the immediate future are very, very guarded.
I don't even have a clue what to expect from this team right now. With Nebraska's thinness at linebacker, we could put up some points if Josh Freeman rediscovers himself. I'm kind of guessing that isn't going to happen, and Nebraska will control the ball and gash our defense with the run game. Hooskers 34, Cats 20