BOTC Focus Group: Apparently We're Playing OU Edition

Greetings, we're back again with the weekly Focus Group.  No ksubailey this week, but Panjandrum, EMAW, mystman995 and of course yours truly are here to examine the most pressing questions in the K-State universe.  Feel free to participate in the comments, and email me at bringonthecats @ gmail.com if you want to participate in future Focus Groups.

Discussion after the jump!

1.  Statistically, the Colorado game was our best defensive effort since we played Montana State.  Was it due to improvement by our defense, or was it Colorado's general offensive ineptitude?
 
2.  Josh Freeman played terrible for the second time against a middling conference opponent.  What is at the root of his struggles right now?
 
3.  The Big 12 schedule for this weekend is here.  Which game(s) are you most interested in watching?
 
4.  From the viewpoint of some outside observers, Ron Prince's seat either isn't very warm, or it shouldn't be.  Thoughts?
 
5.  Oh, and by the way, we're playing Oklahoma this weekend.  If you feel like saying something about that, go for it.

mystman995:

1.  I'd say it is an improvement. A&M's offense was just as bad as Colorado when we played them and A&M went to town on us with an unproven quarterback. There are some similarities between Tyler Hansen and Jerrod Johnson, except for the fact that Johnson tore us up in both phases of the game. Overall we played better on defense against CU creating more stops, 3 and outs, and hell we even got one interception. Now if we can hold OU's offense to under 500 total yards it will still be considered an improvement.

2.  The whole offense just isn't clicking, or hitting on all cylinders as one may say. And it starts with Freeman's ability to make plays. Against CU, he was just flat. There were many incomplete passes, lack of designed running plays, and an inconsistent passing attack. I think the root of his struggles have been in the coaching decisions with the play calling. I have a feeling that Prince is trying to protect Freeman's NFL draft rankings by focusing on not throwing a bunch of interceptions. We've been bold and daring on special teams, but the offense is as predictable as Jimmy Fallon just not being funny.

3.  I'll be anticipating a KU loss. I want them to go down hard. I want their expectations to be realized that they had a lucky season and that they will never be able to challenge for a North championship.

4.  Well from the outside we sit at 4-3 and a strong possibility that we could end up in a bowl since we still face Nebraska and Iowa State. Not too bad considering K-State hasn't been relevant since 2003 right? This whole coaching hot seat thing is purely internal and I'd have to agree. We're meeting outside expectations and when you do that it makes the need for a changing change unlikely. Now from the inside, we the fans, know what this team is capable of and see the coaching strategy on a week to week basis. And nobody's happy about the results.

5.  I'll be watching as always, just not in a public place….

TB:

1.  I actually saw slightly better tackling fundamentals in the CU game.  Fewer arm tackles, fewer missed tackles, and some actual hitting on occasion.  Still, the scheme was average at best, and CU's misdirection constantly befuddled our defenders in the second quarter.  Credit for the haltime adjustments, as CU didn't do a whole lot after halftime, but let's remember this wasn't exactly the Texas offense we were up against.
 
2.  Some of Freeman's throws in this game were baffling.  He missed a couple wide-open receivers in situations where he really wasn't under much pressure.  Our stubborn insistence on throwing the ball 40 times per game, whether it's working or not, makes us one-dimensional and puts a lot of pressure on Freeman.  He's a good quarterback, but he can't shoulder the load all by himself.  The coaches really need to dedicate themselves to establishing a running game and mixing up the playcalling.
 
3.  While the Big 12 game of the day is undoubtedly Texas/Oklahoma State, I will be keeping a keen eye on KU/Texas Tech.  While this probably isn't truly a make-or-break game for that school down the river with regard to winning the Big 12 North, it would really help them to win one of their games against their South foes.  Texas Tech looks a little vulnerable after last week's uninspired effort at Texas A&M, but I'm not sold that KU is explosive enough to keep up if Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree are on.
 
4.  At this point, with the season hanging in the balance the next five weeks, no one can really say what will happen.  We may "pull a Texas" one of the next three weekends with a huge upset of OU, KU or Mizzou.  Or we may get destroyed and the season will be lost.  If K-State doesn't make a bowl this season, his seat is highly flammable. 
 
5.  Umm, it's probably going to be ugly.  Really ugly.

EMAW:

1. I saw very minimal improvement in our defense. Maybe I'm just being too hard on that unit, but I'm getting sick and tired of seeing simple mis-direction plays wind up for 8 and 10 yard gains. I don't know if that should be attributed to the coaching staff or the players, but someone needs to step up and say "Hey, I think it would work much better if our outside linebackers tried to force everything inside." While the points were respectable, I still see areas that we need to improve if we want a chance to ever compete in the Big 12.
 
2. I think Josh's struggles are a combination of a poor game plan, dropped passes, and a little bit of Josh just not feeling comfortable. It's hard to have good stats when the defense knows you're just going to chuck it 40 times a game, and when you do make a good pass, Brandon Banks or Deon Murphy let it slip through their  fingers. BTW, I don't think Banks should be running short crossing patterns due to it making a difficult throw for Josh, as well as a tough catch for Banks because of his body type.
 
3. I will enjoy seeing if Tech can light up KU for 60+, and of course I still have yet to watch much of Okie Lite (couldn't watch Mizzou/OSU game).
 
4. Hirepatterson.com! Just kidding. I think we can all agree, Ron better pull a giant f-ing rabbit from his 10 gallon hat at some point in these next four games. If we do not see inspired effort and we are on the back end of a couple more 30 point massacres, thus 4-7 going into ISU, he will need an ice bucket to sit on to cool the flames.
 
5. We better show up ready to make a statement, and our hope should be that OU is looking past us a little bit. On another note, I am officially casting my vote for Boomer Sooner to be the most annoying fight song in the history of the world.

TB: EMAW, that's just way too easy.  The only contest among bad fight songs is for second worst.  Boomer Sooner is simply awful.

mystman995: I'd rather watch/listen to the Florida State's war chant for three hours......

TB: I'd rather listen to a three-hour speech about temperance than listen to OU's fight song.

mystman995: I'd rather watch three hours of Julia Louis-Dreyfus sitcoms not named Seinfeld.

TB: I'd rather spend three hours driving around Lawrence.  And I hate driving in that town.

mystman995: Woah woah woah, let's not get carried away. Boomber Sooner isn't as BAD as the home of the chickenhawks. You can always put your hands over your ears to block out that crappy fight song, but you can never wash away the stink that is KU.

TB: Actually, I think driving in Nebraska is worse.  Sooooo, slooooooow.

mystman995: I have to say that it's probably a huge improvement that our defense didn't give up any points in the second half considering CU had the ball for 22 minutes. They were able to start their drives on us, but they could finish. I don't mind watching a few misdirections go for a first down or two when the end result is a punt or a missed long field goal. Oh course everyone at anytime of the year/season/decade has room to improve. That's the nature of the game. I saw a good defensive game in Boulder last weekend even though there were areas we still need to improve upon. Reasons like that give me hope that we could still beat teams like Nebraska and Iowa State. So yeah, I'd say it was an improvement.

Panjandrum: I hate being late to the party.  But work calls...

Anyway, here's what I got:

1. I think it's a bit of both.  I think KSU has done a better job of tackling the last couple of weeks, and I think they're doing a better job of containing.  However, I'm not going to look at the Colorado game and say, "Oh, yeah, there's improvement," because neither Hawkins or Hansen have Big 12 caliber arms, and the fact that they don't limits what they can do offensively.  I thought CU ran a pretty vanilla dual-threat QB gameplan on KSU, and the Cats still got gashed for over four yards a carry and 200+ rushing yards given up. 

If KSU holds OU to under 500, I think we've made some improvement.  However, another 500+ yard day means more of the same.

2. Josh struggles when we don't try to run the ball.  Any game where we rush the ball 40+ times, it gives him the ability to spread the ball out and work with play action.  When we only run the ball 23 times, and we become purposefully one-dimensional, he's going to struggle.  Why we only ran him seven times when he averaged 6.0 yards per carry is damn near criminal.

3. Texas/OSU.  I want to see of Okie State is for real.

4. From the outside, it probably isn't very warm.  He just signed a new extension (which was mostly asthetic), and it's not like he took over a program with Nebraska-like expectations.  Why not give him four, five, or six year.  Hell, KSU gave Jim Wooldridge six years, and he royally sucked.  Why not let Ron do the same here?

5. Take from this metaphor what you will...

Road Trip Clip Tom Green as Barry (via bsil85)


Panjandrum: Also, I'd rather spend three hours watching a VH1 marathon of the Surreal Life than listen to Boomer Sooner.

mystman995: Hey as bad as the Surreal Life is, it gave us such a classic clip like this:
 

Vern Troyer (Mini Me) Naked @ Surreal Life (via Sjoeters)



 
All Boomer Sooner gave people are countless migranes and brain aneurisms.

[Update]: ksubailey has joined the discussion.  Better late than never.

1.  Yes, I think it was an improvement.  CU was in position to score
multiple times and the defense made some big hits and got us the ball
back.  I was actually proud of them... not exactly ready to throw up
the Lynch Mob sign, but proud.

2.  Josh Freeman reads way too many of his own headlines.  He is a
head case.  If he lived in a bubble and he never heard anyone say
anything about his play - he'd be a much better quarterback.  I know
he has a lot of responsibility, but a true competitor wants to take
that responsibility.  He had some very bad passes this weekend, more
so than he had passes that hit people in the numbers and were dropped.

3.  As always... I will be hoping my other favorite team (whoever KU's
opponent is) breaks a lot of their bones.  We need them good and
depressed when we play them.  Go Texas Tech!

4.  Unfortunately, I don't think RP is going anywhere just yet.  I'm
sure he'll get a least another year.  People on the outside don't have
the expectations for K-State that they once did.  The fans aren't
ready to give up and let Prince run a mediocre to poor football
program for the next decade.

5.  35-7... oh wait, that was already 5 years ago?  Dang, I don't have
anything to say then.  Bill, forgive me if I leave early... my church
is having a chili feed that I'd rather be at if it gets ugly... and it
will.

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