It sounds like Kansas State’s receivers are in for a long two weeks of practice.
K-State football coach Bill Snyder had nothing positive to say about the position group after watching replays of the team’s 14-7 loss to Vanderbilt.
“It puts us back at square one, really,” Snyder said Monday during his time on the Big 12 teleconference. “I thought our receivers, both in the running game and the passing game, in Week 1 and Week 2 really had very fine performances. To move in the totally opposite direction Saturday was really quite a setback.”
Quarterback Jesse Ertz connected with his receivers seven times for 62 yards on 24 targets. Isaiah Zuber had 37 yards on four catches, and Byron Pringle had 25 yards on three catches. No other receiver made the stat sheet.
The biggest issue was drops. The Wildcats let passes bounce off their hands six times against the Commodores. Four were inexcusable.
The opening drive stalled when Isaiah Harris failed to reel in a well-thrown ball on a crossing route. Pringle got caught trying to run before properly securing a pass and later let a ball slip through his fingers on his way to the ground. And Dominique Heath couldn’t snag a pass that was thrown a little behind him on K-State’s final drive.
Harris also failed to make a diving catch in the first half that would have gone for a big gain, while Zuber narrowly missed out on a catch at the goal line in triple coverage.
K-State lacked explosive plays against Vanderbilt, and those mistakes were a key reason why.
After completing 70.3 percent of his passes against Central Arkansas and Charlotte, Ertz went 10 of 28 for 76 yards and two interceptions against Vanderbilt.
“Jesse wasn’t without his faults throwing the ball,” Snyder said. “There were some throws that weren’t as accurate as you would like for them to be. But, as I indicated, we had six drops in the ballgame and every one of them was a catch-able ball. It’s truly a matter of focus and discipline and basic fundamentals, of being able to utilize your eyes appropriately in the course of receiving a pass.”
Snyder used the word “discipline” a lot after the loss and continued to do so on Monday.
“(Our mistakes) had to do with discipline as much as anything,” Snyder said. “A lot of dropped passes, a lot of penalties, a lot of dropped passes that had a dramatic impact on the game and penalties that had a dramatic impact on the game. That is a matter of focus, which is in coaching terminology probably relevant to discipline.”
K-State receivers appeared to have both talent and depth in the Wildcats’ first two games. Dalton Schoen, Pringle, Harris and Zuber are delivered highlight-reel touchdowns and effortlessly caught most of the passes that were thrown their way.
Now they get an extra week to try and turn things around before K-State returns to the field against Baylor on Sept. 30.
But the process might not be pleasant.
“It’s something we have got to go back and start over again, and approach it with the appropriate attitude and commitment towards improvement,” Snyder said, “and correcting mistakes and being at the top of your game all the time. It’s not a sometime event.”
Snyder had little to say when asked about the questionable video review that took a K-State touchdown off the scoreboard Saturday and gave Vanderbilt the ball near midfield in the second quarter.
On the play, K-State defensive tackle Will Geary appeared to force Vandy quarterback Kyle Shurmur to fumble, which led to a scoop-and-score touchdown by defensive back Kendall Adams. But the officials overturned the call, saying Shurmur’s right knee was down before the ball came loose.
After watching replays, Snyder was asked if he agreed with that decision.
His answer: “No.”
Kickoff set for Baylor
Kansas State and Baylor will play an afternoon game on Sept. 30 at Snyder Family Stadium.
The Big 12 and its television partners announced Monday that the game will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. and be televised on either ABC or ESPN2.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett