I was never fully comfortable with some of the conventional wisdom concerning Bill. During his first run, there was a sense that his teams didn't make mistakes and that he was likely to outcoach whoever he was facing.
I'm starting to think that this finally is the case.Look, there's no questioning what the guy has done. Taking Kansas State from the worst program ever in college football and making them a power for a solid decade is remarkable. His eye for under the radar talent is unrivaled and he manages to get as much out of the young men he has as any coach could.
But during the first run, his teams weren't particularly disciplined. I recall pulling my hair out at big returns negated by penalties, as well as the repeated delay of game penalties. And during Snyder I, how often did the team get to the 2nd or 4th quarter with more than one time out?
Meanwhile, I always felt that his game day coaching was his weakest quality. Note that I am not saying that he was a poor game strategist; he had to be good to win as often as he did. But Bill was beatable. His record against Top 20 teams was poor and against Top 10 teams it was awful. The "03 team should not have lost four games and, let's face it, the coaches (and he was the head coach, so it falls on him) coughed away that awful A & M game in "98. And especially during the Roberson years, there were two options--a blow out victory or a close loss. Winning close games was not usually the forte of the Snyder I teams.
It is but early in this second *true* season of Snyder II, (Bill did a noble job pulling a couple of .500 seasons out of what Prince left him, but it was his team only starting last year), and finally these are the Bill Snyder teams that always allegedly existed, but never quite did. These guys just don't mistakes. They don't turn the ball over. They seem to take advantage of what little other teams give them. The OU game aside--in which the Cats were overmatched and the game snowballed out of control--Bill was the winner of the coaching battle in each game and the team has been historically clutch with the game on the line. They don't commit penalties and times out are there when they're needed.
To what degree this is just a matter of a good fifteen game run with a few lucky bounces, or whether Snyder has actually hit another level as a coach in his second term, or whether perhaps he's finally found his dream quarterback, we can't know. (Collin isn't, perhaps, as talented as Michael or Ell. But he has enough of their dynamism while having little of their erraticism.)
All I know is that while Bill doesn't have the athletes of "98 or "03, this continues to be the best of times for watching K-State football. It's still hard for me to imagine that they will get through this season with fewer than three or four losses; the schedule is stacked and Kansas State doesn't have the same level and depth of athletes as some of the big boys they'll be playing. But Bill is in his prime and this team is doing everything right. This season could somehow manage to be as magical as last year and maybe even a little more.