Sunday was a rather light news day for K-State sports, all things considered. So, after the Previously section, we're going to dispense with our usual format for today's Slate, as all three stories we do have to share with you are individually worthy of commentary. Also, your Benevolent Despot has polls to unbox.
Tyler Lockett once again Did A Thing, scoring a touchdown on his very first punt return of the 2015 NFL regular season. And K-State is being DISRESPECTED in the polls, coming in 31st (AP)/27th (coaches), despite blowing out a team in their own stadium which gave 19/20 Arizona all it could handle on the road.
Item the first: The Star's Kellis Robinett, after a day to mull things over, offers three thoughts on Saturday's win. First, we'll note that Kellis is pretty much in agreement with our post-game takeaways, and since we're also pretty much certain he's not cribbing from us we'll take that to mean that said observations are probably pretty accurate. But the important part of Robinett's piece is the third thought, and it's the start of a campaign we can all get behind:
Free Justin Silmon.
Robinett offers a telling snippet from Snyder regarding a "technical issue" keeping Silmon from seeing more action, and under Bill Snyder that sort of thing is absolutely believable. But given Silmon's production when we've seen him, that issue has to be one that's going to cost K-State nearly every drive -- because Charles Jones running for 1.6 yards per carry is just as damaging. The bottom line is that Jones -- who is a good back, don't get us wrong -- doesn't seem to mesh with K-State's offensive line in terms of his running style. Silmon does. Silmon is able to hit the holes Jones isn't hitting.
It really pains us to embark on a crusade like this, because it inherently involves the implication that a player just isn't good enough within the Wildcat system. We dislike running down players for any reason; they're not professionals, they're young men representing the university. But one can represent the university proudly and honorably while not being the starting tailback, and that's where we are now.
Free Justin Silmon.
Item the second: Ken Corbitt on the return and redemption of Jack Cantele. It's funny how time changes narratives. Twelve months ago, Cantele was on the Lou Groza watch list before his horrific case of the yips against Auburn. Matt McCrane took over, and now McCrane is on the Lou Groza watch list.
You getting this? K-State has two kickers who have been under consideration for the premier kicking award in college football. Two.
And yet Saturday, on the television broadcast, you'd think Cantele was a true freshman grudgingly forced into action due to McCrane's injury. We have to understand, at a basic level, that no national outlet will know more about this team than we do. The broadcast team on a national network has no earthly idea who half of K-State's players actually are, whereas we can tell you just how close they are to being starters. Even someone like ESPN.com's Max Olson has to divide his attention between ten teams. That's simply the nature of the beast when it comes to media coverage of sports, and it's a valuable lesson for everyone to learn: the more teams a journalist is required to cover, the less in-depth their knowledge of each of those teams is. It's unavoidable.
Conversely, one should not expect media whose primary task is to cover one team and one team only to dissect any other team with the level of expertise their own media does. It's why we do Q&As with opposing team writers; no matter how hard we try to pay attention to our opponents, they are still more familiar with them than we are.
The drawback for the local writer is that the focus on their subject can sometimes create tunnel vision. Last week, our friend Jared Kalmus said some things about UTSA's receiving corps which in retrospect seem a little naive and homerish, but they were valid statements based on what he's been seeing. Likewise, K-State fans are up in arms because the national media didn't seem impressed with K-State's performance Saturday. The reader may take issue with this statement, but that's perfectly reasonable from a high-angle perspective.
Why? Because the reason we were impressed Saturday is because we were expecting a lot worse (and to be fair, in the first 20 minutes of the game we got exactly what we were expecting). The national media isn't going to be impressed that Kansas State is playing competent football, because that is precisely what the national media expects. The Wildcats, under Bill Snyder, are a team which will win six or seven games simply by being competent, and until they show that they can also be spectacular when needed, that narrative won't change -- nor should it.
But none of this changes the fact that a national broadcast crew should be prepared enough for a telecast to understand that they're announcing a game in which the backup kicker was a Lou Groza Award nominee two years ago. That's just absurd. Do better.
Item the third: From the Associated Press, via the Star, another kicker story: this one on Kent State kicker April Goss, who slotted an extra point attempt Saturday during the Golden Flashes' win over Delaware State. Unlike the only other woman to score a point in a Division I FBS football game -- former Colorado and New Mexico placekicker Katie Hnida, whose torturous experience in Boulder has been well-documented -- there seem to be no issues with Goss being a part of the team, and indeed the fact that this isn't even a particularly big story is important in and of itself.
The physical nature of football virtually guarantees we'll never see a woman lining up at middle linebacker or anything. But what opportunities are available for women should be, based entirely on their own merit and with no more hullabaloo than is necessary. That's when you know that it's simply a matter of fact rather than another barrier being broken down, and it seems like we're getting close to that being the case. The inclusion of the first female NFL referee and coach have received news, but not overwhelming, suffocating coverage. You probably didn't even realize April Goss was on Kent State's roster.
It seems strange to say it, but the relative mundanity of the story in 2015? That's progress.