Bill Snyder noticed a pack of players in Kansas State’s video room Sunday evening and popped his head in for a quick chat. It had been nearly 24 hours since the Wildcats suffered a blowout loss at TCU, and the room was filled anger.
“I appreciated that,” Snyder said.
K-State’s football coach often talks about the emotional process all players have to work through after painful losses, and anger is the first step toward recovery.
“I shared that with them,” Snyder said. “You would like to think they are going through that process because they genuinely care. If, indeed, they are, that mindset and that anger will turn into a determination. And it is a determination to take it a day at a time, take it a step at a time, be the best I can be today and find a way to make myself better and work toward the next ballgame.”
The Wildcats rarely lose lopsided games the way they did against the Horned Frogs. The 41-20 loss was the program’s worst defeat since a 52-24 loss at Baylor in 2012.
The result left K-State players frustrated. TCU outplayed them in every way, and they knew it. But they tried to keep their heads high. If they win their final three games, they clinch at least a share of the Big 12 championship. There is plenty for them still to play for. They understood that, too.
“You want to be as positive as you can be, but you are also frustrated and hurt inside,” K-State linebacker Jonathan Truman said. “We were all just kind of like, ‘Hey, we have to move on. I know it is going to hurt now, but that is a normal emotion. Let’s use this to motivate us and get better and move on.’ I have seen it. Everybody for the most part on our team is pretty mature. They understand the fact that we can’t just dwell on the past. We have to control what we can control, and that’s right now and the next game.”
The next game isn’t until Nov. 20 at West Virginia, an up-and-down team that has beaten No. 6 Baylor and lost to a .500 Texas team. Before the Thursday clash comes an off week, K-State’s third of the season.
That could be an advantage for the Wildcats, though the Mountaineers are also off this week.
“It will be good to learn from our mistakes and light the fire again under our team,” defensive back Morgan Burns said. “You know, really get things rolling.”
The longer K-State has to turn anger into determination, the better.
“It will turn out favorably for us,” Truman said. “We always do a great job in our bye weeks with our preparation. A lot of us were pretty emotional after the game. We were hurt and angered by the TCU game and I think the maturity of this team has really evolved that emotion to motivation toward that next game at West Virginia. We are eager to get back on the practice field and correct our mistakes and move on and use that motivation to propel us forward.”