It’s truly sad when your favorite legendary heroes finish their careers.
Bill Snyder’s football tenure at Kansas State University goes beyond legendary status into sainthood.
Snyder’s Miracle in Manhattan wasn’t about moving mountains or rivers.
No, actually Snyder accomplished much more than that.
He’s transformed a football program and a university by inspiring Manhattan into believing that “impossible,” was possible. Yes, Kansas State could compete in the Big Eight. Yes, the Wildcats could beat rival Kansas. Yes, the Wildcats could feature a better football program than Nebraska.
Snyder’s second chapter after “retirement” is a better story than his initial success. He’s reinvigorated the Wildcat football program for the second time. Fundraising and private donations have rebuilt the Kansas State campus.
All because of Snyder.
That’s why it’s so sad that the 78-year-old Snyder has been unable to create a smidgen of magic in 2017. There is no more football magic left in Manhattan.
The Wildcats have consistently played to lose rather than play to win. They found a way to lose to a mediocre Vanderbilt team that lost 59-0 to Alabama.
Kansas State’s offense should apply for the witness protection program becausee it owns no identity.
They try to play quarterback-run football with a finesse-style look that features a bunch of wide receivers. It’s failed miserably since quarterback Jesse Ertz was injured.
The Wildcats throw the ball downfield, but the receivers generally catch a cold easier than they catch a pass. Wide receiver Dalton Schoen is the exception to that rule.
When they do throw the ball downfield, it’s on the edge of the field — a low percentage option. They’ve forgotten about the screen pass or short yardage throws. The Wildcats avoid the middle of the field for passing likes it’s an invisible force field.
They’ve forgotten about using a fullback or any of the backs. Fullback Winston Dimel was one of the Wildcats’ brightest stars last year along with tailback Alex Barnes. I can barely remember the last time either one scored a touchdown. No, all the Wildcats feature is the quarterback run game with Ertz and backup Alex Delton. That’s the creative offense where the offense matches up 11-on-11 against the defense. It’s called the extra blocker theory.
I knew the Wildcats’ season was cooked when they lost to Vanderbilt. They owed that loss to an SEC replay official who stole a game-changing touchdown from the Wildcats.
The Wildcats’ defense transformed a passing quarterback at Texas into a run-oriented nightmare in a heartbreaking loss. Texas-sized penalties cost the Wildcats.
TCU football coach Gary Patterson is a defensive genius, much like Snyder is on the offensive side. Patterson designed a formula that strangled the Wildcats’ quarterback run game. Sadly, there was no Plan B.
Guess what play K-State (down 20-6) called after a 90-minute weather delay? A quarterback run (for a loss).
I’m convinced that Snyder has delegated way too much responsibility. He should take charge rather than sharing offensive play calling. Quarterback Skylar Thompson also deserves a look.
However, it’s too late in 2017. K-State is looking at the hard reality of a 4-8 football season, maybe 5-7.
If you believe the current script, the Wildcats won’t compete against nationally ranked Oklahoma or Oklahoma State.
Have you seen Iowa State play football? The Cyclones should be favored in Manhattan.
Playing at Texas Tech will be a scary Halloween-type nightmare. But West Virginia features a coach with crazy hair, so maybe’s there’s a chance there.
That leaves rival Kansas. That might be it, and Snyder may well ride into the sunset.
The Miracle in Manhattan Part 2 will be replacing Snyder. There’s no plan in place to replace Snyder, who I believe is coaching his final season.
Snyder guided the 1998 Kansas State Wildcats within one play of playing for the national football championship when Oklahoma coach Bob Stops helped ruin that dream.
Kansas State was one yard away from likely playing for the national college football championship in 1998 when coach Snyder elected to play it safe rather than go for the win.
Texas A&M rallied to beat Kansas State 36-33 for the Big 12 championship on a phantom touchdown scored by Sirr Parker, who should’ve been ruled down at the 1-yard line. Parker also illegally grabbed the facemask of tackler Lamar Chapman on the decisive play.
Wildcat quarterback Michael Bishop rolled up 442 yards of total offense and was virtually unstoppable that memorable Dec. 5, 1998 day against Texas A&M in St. Louis, Mo.
Jim Misunas is the Sports Editor for the Great Bend Tribune. He can be reached at email@example.com.