Kansas State receivers have dropped 10 passes in their past two games. It’s a problem that is beginning to feel less like a fluke and more like than the norm.
Fixing those mistakes ranks near the top of Bill Snyder’s to-do list as he prepares K-State for its next game against Texas.
His remedy: positivity.
“You’ve got to get them thinking about the things they do right, as opposed to what they didn’t necessarily do right,” Snyder said Monday during his time on the Big 12 teleconference. “You’ve got to be careful that you don’t become fearful of the football being thrown to you or worry about dropping it. It’s just being focused on doing the little things right.”
That was a different approach than Snyder hinted at following a 33-20 victory over Baylor on Saturday when he suggested K-State coaches would consider replacing drop-prone receivers if they continued to struggle.
Perhaps he decided on a gentler approach after watching replays of the game. Though Isaiah Zuber, Byron Pringle and Isaiah Harris all dropped passes, Snyder thought they ran quality routes and exerted good effort.
Still, they need to improve. Quarterback Jesse Ertz completed 26 of 35 passes for 511 yards and four touchdowns in K-State’s first two games. In his last two, those passing numbers dipped to 17 of 45 for 195 yards a touchdown and two interceptions.
Pringle’s catch rate has fallen to 37.5 percent on 16 targets. Harris has only caught five of his 11 looks. Dominique Heath hasn’t been a factor. That needs to change, especially against an improving Texas defense that has allowed an average of 11.3 points in its past three games.
“I want them to be 100 percent,” Snyder said. “What we’ll do is allow them to understand that they practiced for two weeks going into that ballgame and made a great deal of improvement and didn’t put the ball on the ground, and then all of the sudden it pops up. So we’ll go back and address just more repetitions of the actual catching of the ball, but catching it in a variety of different situations.”
Snyder wants K-State receivers to practice catching poorly thrown balls up high and down low. Anything to get them back on track.
“I’s not always just standing around catching balls thrown perfectly, because that enters into it time to time,” Snyder said. “So it’s just going back and doing what you do and trying to put, from our standpoint, a little bit more drill work than what we do and keeping the mental approach to it positive.”
Highlights from the K-State v. Baylor game in Manhattan on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017.
Big 12 honors Matthew McCrane
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K-State kicker Matthew McCrane was named Big 12 special teams player of the week on Monday following his strong effort against Baylor. The Lou Groza award also recognized him as one of the nation’s top three kickers of the week.
McCrane connected on field goals from 21, 23, 37 and 49 yards on Saturday, helping the Wildcats pull away in a close game. He has now made 8 of 10 attempts this season.
Snyder thinks Texas is an improving football team, particular on defense. The Longhorns got off to a rocky start this season, losing their opener to Maryland. But they have since pushed No. 14 Southern California on the road and beaten San Jose State and Iowa State to level their record (2-2, 1-0 Big 12).
He expected that type of progress under new coach Tom Herman.
“The talent is there,” Snyder said. “It’s just getting acclimated to the system.”
Morning kick for K-State/TCU
K-State’s home game against No. 8 TCU on Oct. 14 will start at 11 a.m. Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the action.
Kansas at Iowa State and Texas Tech at West Virginia will also begin at 11 a.m. that day, with Baylor at Oklahoma State and Oklahoma vs. Texas to follow at 2:30 p.m.
It will be the second morning kick of the season for the Wildcats. They also hosted Charlotte at 11 a.m.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett