November 14, 2007

Five Keys for Fixing K-State Football

Kansas State limped out of Lincoln, Neb., with a 73-31 loss last Saturday to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, an astonishing defeat that will stick with most anyone associated with K-State football. In the wake of the Wildcats' second straight road loss in games many expected them to win, K-State's season, and possibly the brief two-year tenure of Ron Prince as K-State head coach, has been redefined.

Gone are the hopes for a nine- or eight-win season, and the respectable bowl that would go with it. Now the 5-5 Wildcats will try to regroup to find another win with two games to go, a home contest with Missouri this Saturday and a road trip to Fresno State on Nov. 24.

My, oh my, how quickly the fortunes of this team changed. The Wildcats' upset of Texas in Austin on Sept. 29 seems like a distant memory. The Wildcats are 2-4 since and winless on the road. It could well be a promising season squandered, but it also may have knocked the legs out from under Prince's fledging program.

"We've had games on the road that I thought were excellent opportunities for us to go in and win the game and do it in a fashion we could be proud of and build upon, and we dropped them both," Prince said. "… We've got to do this. We've got to get past this."

All is not lost, but it tends to feel that way after such a humbling defeat. Prince said sharing that message might be the most important duty of his job as head coach.

"I think we have a lot of players who are very responsible, but you have to be able to empower your players to understand what is happening," Prince said. "Everybody, including our fans, need encouragement right now. You've got to get your people to understand they can win again. Mack Brown has told me many times that head coaches are purveyors of hope. You've got to be able to get your people to understand that they can win again."

Hope is hard for many to grasp at this time, but in the spirit of GoPowercat.com's "Five Keys to Victory" analysis previewing each K-State football game, it seems appropriate at this time to share a "Five Keys to Fixing K-State Football."

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