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BOTC Focus Group: Week 5


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Well, with the bye week(s) behind us, it's time to get back to our regularly scheduled focus group.  This week, we're pleased to have our newest contributor (EMAW) joining the regular cast of characters: TB, Panjandrum, mystman995, and ksubailey.

This week, aside from the general malaise and anger that follows a disturbing loss, we postulate on a number of topics ranging from the distate of sports requiring judging to the bane of all football fans, the fall wedding.

As always, if you're interested in joining future focus group discussions, feel free to e-mail us at bringonthecats@gmail.com.

This week's questions:

1.  It just hasn't been a good week for K-State, by any measure.  What have you done to cope with the frustrations this week threw at us?
 
2.  Despite the despair, or at least mine anyway, it appears the football team will soldier on and encounter the U-La-La Ragin' Cajuns this weekend.  Is there anything to be excited about in this game?
 
3.  To make a partial list of areas where K-State is currently struggling, we appear to have a weak running game, poor tackling fundamentals, a bad defensive scheme, and coaches who are incapable of adjusting to what the other team is doing.  Which of these can be fixed with (relative) ease?
 
4.  What game(s) are you looking forward to watching this weekend?
 
5.  Finally, the players apparently were required to run 38 50-yard wind sprints at about 3 a.m. when they returned to Manhattan from Louisville.  Thoughts?

TB:

1.  I've tried to avoid it, honestly.  I didn't even read the story about Michael Beasley getting fined.  Didn't even read the newspaper article about Leon Patton getting busted.  Headlines were enough.  That was all I needed.  More despair was unnecessary.  Well, that and I've planned my trip to Austin, which starts tonight.  If you haven't gone to Austin, you really need to do so.  It's fun.

2.  I'll be sort of excited if we win.  But at this point, seeing how we played against a "real" team, I can't help but think it's going to be kind of hollow.  It's like that first time you heard about Santa Claus, if you were really young when you found out.  That next Christmas, you may have got some cool stuff, but it just wasn't quite the same. Maybe at some point I'll move on and get over that and be able to enjoy Christmas, err, K-State football, again.

3.  I think the tackling fundamentals could be at least shored up.  We could, like, probably do some drills that would help our guys realize that you need to get in front of who you're going to tackle, get low, and then wrap up after you make the hit.  Our guys seem to want to wrap up without making a hit (i.e., arm tackle).  Of course, I'd like to see this stupid 3-4 scrapped, but I'm not sure that's a good idea in the middle of the season.

Maybe not as easily fixable, but at least possibly so, is the run blocking.  It looks to me like a schematic problem right now, unless our very experienced linemen are just really bad football players.

4.  I probably won't get to see much because I'm playing softball for charity all day (don't be too impressed, I almost started a brawl last year).  But I should get to see Nebraska/Virginia Tech that evening, and some of Georgia/Alabama.  It will be every interesting to see NU play VT, because Nebraska is basically in the same position K-State was coming into last weekend.  They've beaten some pretty bad teams, have looked good and bad at times, and are now playing a semi-legitimate opponent from a BCS conference.  The difference is, they're playing at home.  Maybe they can get by Va. Tech and save some face for the Big 12.

5.  It's hard to make a definitive statement about this because I don't know the circumstances.  If the sprints were punishment for poor play, then I think they were a terrible idea.  I'd rather the coaches use the time to identify what went wrong -- although they'd need a lot more time than that -- and then work with the players on what they did wrong.  Conditioning doesn't appear to be the issue; schemes and fundamentals appear to be the issue.  That also brings up another point: I'm convinced that the coaches are as big a part of the problem as the players.  How are they being held accountable?  Did Prince make them run with the team like he allegedly did last year?  Did Prince himself run?

Now if the sprints were punishment for something else, like attitude or lack of focus, then they may well have been justified.  We can't have a team that simply doesn't care like we appeared to have at the end of last season.  Maybe something like this will snap them back to reality.

Panjandrum:

1. I didn't watch a lick of football all weekend.  For some unknown reason, I just wasn't in the mood to watch teams that were actually playing for something significant (i.e. conference title) this year.

2. I'd like to see how the team bounces back.  U-La-La is a good rushing team with, apparently, the greatest dual-threat quarterback in the history of quarterbacks (per Ron Prince).  If we can hold them to a respectable amount of yards, I may have some faith restored.  However, if they rush for 250+, I'm probably going to let apathy fully set in and not try to fight it any more.

3. Well, you can't really replace coaches until the end of the seasons, so in the short term, that's not doable.  I'd have to say the easiest item to fix is poor fundamentals (because how hard is it to put a hat on someone?), but I doubt they take the time in practice to go over such things because they're too busy not perfecting blitz schemes that everyone in the stands and on TV can predict before the ball is even snapped.

4. Oklahoma vs. TCU.  I'd like to see OU get tested.  TCU is always a staunch defensive unit.  If Sam Bradford picks them apart, and if OU wins going away, God help the Big 12.

5. I thought Ron was concerned with academics?  If so, why was he making them run at 3 AM on a school night?  Why not make them run at 5 AM on Saturday morning?  That way, you punish them by not allowing them to go out on Friday night, and if they do, they will be hurting all day Saturday.

EMAW:

1.  I've just tried to keep busy and not let it get to me too much. I understand there are peaks and valleys during the sports season, so I just hold out hope something good is on the horizon.

2.  There actually is a few things to get excited about, although the excitement could turn to rage (pun intended) if we go out and throw a turd in the punch bowl. For one, we'll get an opportunity to see how this team and its coaches bounces back and makes adjustments. This is our last tune up before a brutal Big 12 schedule, so our guys should be amped up to make a statement. Not only that, I'm sick of sitting around the past two Saturdays watching other teams play.

3.  The running game is something that, with a few adjustments, can be improved on a weekly basis. While we don't have explosive running backs to turn 6 yards into 12, our line should be able to open up a few more holes and get us at least a chance of 4-5 yards per play. You can't fix poor tackling overnight, so we'll just have to live with that or find some guys who want to get their nose dirty. The coaching staff should look at the tape of Louisville game and see where they failed to make adjustments. There's no excuse for that from a BCS conference coaching staff.

4.  USC @ Oregon St. tomorrow night intrigues me a little bit. Could be a repeat of a couple years ago, or a complete shelacking. I also am hoping I can catch some of the UT/Arky game, just because I haven't watched UT yet this season. All of this is probably moot as I'm traveling to and attending a wedding this weekend.

5.   Did the coaches calling the plays and setting up the schemes have to run to? If not, then the punishment was not spread fairly to what mostly made us look stupid on national TV.

TB:  I saw Texas in person last weekend.  They're good but not overwhelming.  Colt McCoy is actually a running threat this year, which I know is hard to believe for most K-State fans.  But he's running the zone read pretty well, and they have good receivers in Quan Cosby and Jordan Shipley.  Their defense was a little flat to start the game against Rice, but the results speak for themselves.  In short, a good team, but I'm highly doubtful they're good enough to challenge OU for the South.

Panjandrum:  So, TB, in summation, Texas is headed for another Holiday Bowl right?

Man, I'd kill for another holiday bowl.

TB:  Yeah, that's probably a pretty good guess.  I'll go along with the crowd right now and assume the OU/MU winner goes to the MNC game, while the loser goes to Glendale.  That probably leaves Texas in the Holiday Bowl, unless the Cotton Bowl wants them.

Panjandrum:  Yeah, I guess I didn't think much about that.  MU may very well be 12-0 when they play OU in the championship game.

Honestly, I'm looking forward to that game more than any other this year.  It's going to be awesome.

Texas can play in the Cotton.  That leaves the Holiday up for, well, somebody.

ksubailey:  Who schedules a wedding on a Saturday in football season???  I feel sorry for you, EMAW.

Panjandrum:  My wife and I were married on October 14, 2006.  The game that night?  KSU vs. Nebraska in Manhattan.

I assume my wife knows about this, but folks were slipping me the score throughout the reception.  My dad had a small-bud earphone (coming from a tiny radio he had in his tuxedo jacket) in his ear up until the point where he had to walk down the aisle with the rest of the family members.

Granted, I didn't care about the game that night, but other folks (who silently hated me) were representin'.

However, and I'm speaking from experience, when the woman you love says she wants a fall wedding, she will get said fall wedding.  It's the first of many things you will 'compromise' on.

TB:  I agree with ksubailey.  When you get married, you have to go through all kinds of counseling.  Or at least, that's what I hear.  Shouldn't part of it be "don't schedule your wedding on a day when at least half your guests will be sitting in the church with headphones on, listening to a football game?

mystman995:

1. I've been doing crunches. You should see me now - I'm up to a 1 ½ pack.....

2. Excitement? No. This game will determine if the Cat's can bounce back to the pre-Louisville form against inferior competition. This game will hopefully calm a few nerves, but shouldn't get anyone to the point where they need their inhaler.

3. I would like to think that the running game could be fixed, you know by running the ball more than 12 times.  Once we get the run game going the time of possession battle won't be as lopsided as the 41-19 minute massacre last game. That'll also get the defense off the field....

4. Well since I could care less about my neighbors in the east (Alabama and Georgia), the most intriguing game would have to be the Fresno State-UCLA game. I would love for the home team to pull the upset since FS is a bunch of...... And also having FS start off 2-2.

5. This is just another case of RP being RP (God I hate that expression). Not that this is that cruel and unusual, but  this isn't the first run-themed punishment Prince has dished out. I say they should rather have each player go out and try to tackle 38 greased-up deaf guys instead.

mystman995:  Headphones? That's just rude. Besides you can always use the internet on your phone - or find somebody else who does.

TB:  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I've never seen headphones in a church.  I think most people in this part of the country have to much respect for this Jesus dude to do that.  But I have seen headphones at school plays before.  I am from Nebraska, after all.

Panjandrum:

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mystman995:  Ah yes, the picture I should have included. Nice.

TB:  That's really, really creepy, for a lot of reasons.  Is that a drawing of the average male in Lawrence, Kan.?

Panjandrum:  No, this is more like it...

Soccer Referee Ballet (via kleinheero)

TB:  I'm really hoping that the reason our defense looks like that right now is because a lot of them are JuCo guys who aren't used to the speed and size of BCS players yet.

Please, please let it be that.  And please let them adjust to it by October 4th.

Panjandrum:  I can see into the future, and this is what comes to me for 10/4/2008...

 

Nuclear Bomb (via dico87)

ksubailey:

1.  Luckily, I've been pretty swamped at work lately.  Usually, I'd complain about that because it cuts into my "reading time" but this week it's been a blessing.  I've also been dog, cat, and house sitting this week - which has left me with a few additional responsibilities.  Talk about high maintenance!  I have to cook these dogs chicken, broccoli, squash and carrots for dinner!  I don't even eat that well.

2.  I'll be pleased if we win.  We know they gave Illinois a good game.  I too, am excited to see if we are able to recover from such an embarrassing loss.  If that has improved - we're strides ahead of where we were last year.

3.  Tackling might not be the easiest fix, but it's certainly the most alarming of our deficiencies.  I feel like some tackling drills would have done us more good than wind sprints, but more on that during #5.

4.  Cowboys and Redskins, live and in person from Texas Stadium!  I'm a much bigger college football fan than I am pro, but I had so much fun in Dallas last year.  Sorry, K-State - I'll make it up to you at an away game.

5.  See... this has been my problem with Prince since he first season.  He is all about making it look like he knows what he's doing.  He wants everyone to know that he understands how bad we sucked.  But he doesn't know what to do with that information because he's not qualified to be a head coach.  You can't just yell at college players and say, "do better."  They come to college to develop as players.  If they make it to the NFL - do better, is a little more acceptable.  Making people run isn't coaching.  It's not going to make them be able to tackle better, it's not going to improve blocking for the running game, and it's not creating a more efficient defensive scheme.  Mostly, it's probably just making players more frustrated with themselves, and with the coaching staff.  How much respect would you have for a coach who treated you that way?  Could this be why we saw the team giving up towards the end of last season?  Okay, but back to where I started with all of this.  Prince wanted the world to know that he made the team run at three in the morning.  That's just the way he is.  He loves that kind of attention.  That's annoying to me.  Can you ever imagine Snyder doing that?  I didn't think so.

mystman995:  But if Synder would do that, I would either bet he would make them do it at 3 AM or have the entire rest of the team hold up towels for 50 yards and have the players run back and forth the 38 times.

Panjandrum:  Bill Snyder would have used his icy cold stare to reach the deepest, darkest, and most tortured part of your soul.  He would have manipulated those inner demons, like a puppeteer slowly motioning a marionette across a tiny wooden stage, until you cried for mercy and pleaded for death.

Then you would have rushed for 150 yards the following Saturday.

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TB:  Well said, PJ, except Snyder's teams probably would have gained 150 rushing yards in the first quarter.

ksubailey:  I am always so slow about this.  TB, you should send me the questions 12 hours earlier than everyone else.  : )

I understand that little girls grow up dreaming of their wedding day - including the season.  I know I should be more compassionate about it.  However, I was the little girl who said my wedding could only be April-August.  You've gotta respect football and basketball seasons!  What really cracks me up is when K-Staters schedule their weddings on football games and then they have purple wedding colors because they're such dedicated fans.  Oh the irony!  A good fan would always consider the football schedule first and foremost!

ksubailey:  By the time I've written one sentence - there are 5 more up and I don't make sense!  Not that I ever did.

TB:  Eh, it's OK, ksubailey.  You're a girl, so you're allowed to be late.  Or at least that's what Brad Paisley tells me.

Panjandrum:  I was just talking about one player.  The team would have accumulated somewhere around 800 rushing yards by the end of the third quarter.

The man was an evil genius.

TB:  Evil genius indeed.  And with that, I'm off to Austin.  See ya Friday.

ksubailey:  Good song!

Panjandrum:  My wife doesn't like sports.  I took her to a K-State game once, and she sat there complaining that it was too cold.

God love her; she's the best thing that's ever happened to me.  However, she still doesn't understand the concept of down and distance, and she thinks extra points are field goals.  I've given up all hope unless we have sons that play football.

We once went to a Royals game, and when the right fielder caught a fly ball, she cheered and yelled, "Interception!" 

I can't make that stuff up.

mystman995:  Have you had to buy her a pink jersey yet?

Panjandrum:  She's already told me point blank that she doesn't want a jersey.  Hell, she doesn't even want a t-shirt.  Mainly because, "Sports are stupid," and, "You're way too obsessed with that K-State stuff."

She may kill me if she reads this.

ksubailey:  Wow, it's one thing to not pay attention to sports... it's another to say they're stupid.  How could she dislike such a wonderful thing?  That's sad.  You're right, you'd better hope you have kids that get into sports and maybe she'll open up.

Panjandrum:  She's growing to like basketball.  But it's slow going.  She knows who Michael Beasley is, but that's about it.

She did say that she'd go with me to a K-State game some time this winter, so I'm pretty stoked about that.

mystman995:  Certain sports are stupid. Soccer, boxing, "nascar," tennis, and anything that you get "judged" for.

Panjandrum:  Hey, take it easy on tennis.  There is no judging there.  The only thing that can be judged is a line call, and that's no different than someone making sure a receiver came down inbounds with the ball.

Yes, I played tennis, and I loved it.

mystman995:  Tennis is ok, I've just never played it. But I won't take it easy on Soccer. I've seen better acting on One Life to Live than on a soccer field.

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Panjandrum:  I like soccer.  Never really played it that much past the sixth grade, but I wholeheartedly agree; those guys are the biggest bunch of flopping pansies this side of Russell Robinson.

Russel Robinson: Disgusting Human Being (via fatty4ksu)

EMAW:  Luckily, my wife understood completely. Besides, she knew that if we did the wedding in fall, my mind would be elsewhere and we would probably get half the people there that we did. Why else is June the most popular month for weddings?

My goal for this weekend is to drive down on Saturday about 3 pm, so I'll still get Wyatt Vision for the whole time I'm in the car which will put me down about the same time as the end of the game. As for the other games I'll be missing, well, that is covered by two of the most beautiful words in the English language....open bar.

ksubailey:  Gymnastics is awesome.  Those people can do amazing things with their bodies and they really are true athletes.  You can't hate on gymnastics.

mystman995:  The only problem I have with gymnastics is that it is judged. Those are damn fine athletes. I just can't take something serious when the whole thing is interpretted by a judge. Damn Russians.....

ksubailey:  Yeah, that does suck about the judging.  But I don't know how else they'd do it.

I just got home only to find the cutest picture of Jon Wefald in my mail.  How adorable is he?