Kansas State University

Chris Klieman shifts focus to Bowling Green after ‘circus’ K-State coaching debut

Kansas State football coach Chris Klieman described the week leading up to his first game with the Wildcats as “a circus.”

He’s glad it left town.

Introducing K-State players to a new weekly routine was more tedious than he expected. They had lots of questions about how to practice on Thursday, where to go on Friday and what to wear on Saturday. That stuff was ingrained during his final year at North Dakota State. But it will take some getting used to here.

There were also distractions about K-State’s new pregame routine and team entrance. Fans were curious about everything from stadium music to uniforms. It all added up. Klieman sensed the Wildcats starting to get anxious 48 hours before kickoff.

“Had it been an 11 a.m. game I think it would have been a little easier on all of us, players and coaches,” Klieman said Monday on the Big 12 teleconference. “Hey, there were unknowns. What was I going to say before the game? How was I going to react? How were the other coaches going to react? How were the players going to respond?

“Just the newness. Everybody has different gameday things they do and different pregame. We were just trying to make sure everybody was on the same page. This week they will know the routine.”

That should make things run more smoothly as K-State prepares for its second game of the season against the Bowling Green Falcons.

All the distractions that came along with Klieman’s coaching debut should fade into the background in Week 2. The game will start at 11 a.m., players will know what to expect at practice on Thursday and what to wear on the way to the stadium come Saturday.

Coaches will be able to devote more time to preparation.

“The routine will help us now,” Klieman said. “The guys know it now ... We are locked in. That’s football. The more successful you are you at getting into a routine, the more guys feel good about it.”

K-State hopes that a sense of familiarity will make up for the metaphorical shot of adrenaline the Wildcats played with during a 49-14 victory over Nicholls last weekend. K-State is not expecting a sellout crowd for Bowling Green.

Klieman’s coaching debut might have come with some odd distractions, but they seemed worth with the hassle when K-State played a nearly flawless game.

The Wildcats took the field in front of a packed house and raced to a 28-0 halftime lead.

They finished the night with 573 yards while limiting the Colonels to 276. K-State players smiled and danced after every big play.

“I haven’t felt like that walking off the field here before,” junior quarterback Skylar Thompson said. “I was having fun and I haven’t felt like that. I’m not saying I have never had fun here, but it was just special.”

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