If a certain young man wasn’t the happiest person in Kansas City last Sunday evening, he was on a very short list for that honor.
The president of the Kansas City Chiefs, Clark Hunt, had to feel vindicated after several dismal seasons as he watched the Chiefs crush the Oakland Raiders (24-7) in front of a roaring red throng at Arrowhead Stadium.
KC’s win moved their record to an astounding 6-0. The success of Hunt’s hiring of Andy Reid as head coach and John Dorsey as general manager has exceeded all expectations.
Kansas City’s defense is, without question, the most improved unit in the NFL. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton has done a magnificent job in all areas of the defense.
Despite the euphoria surrounding the Chiefs, the offense has performed with limited effectiveness.
However, KC’s offensive line played some of their best football of the season in the second half of the Oakland game. Donald Stephenson played for injured left tackle Branden Albert in the second half and acquitted himself well.
Quarterback Alex Smith and running back Jamaal Charles have been outstanding. The main thing for the Chiefs’ offense is to keep these two healthy. KC could ill afford to lose either Smith or Charles.
Kansas City’s biggest shortcoming on offense is the lack of big time receivers. Dwayne Bowe is their best pass catcher, but he’s been having trouble getting open.
It’s been a wonderful season so far for the Chiefs and their fans. The crowd against Oakland was beyond belief, supplying blasting noise from start to finish. A good time was had by all except those associated with the Raiders.
During the Bill Snyder era, Kansas State’s football teams have displayed two distinguishing characteristics: The first—and by far the most important—Snyder’s teams play their hearts out for him game after game.
The second trait is that Snyder and his coaching staff takes way too long to send in the offensive plays. The Wildcats waste timeouts and are called for several delay of game penalties almost every game.
Regardless, K-State’s offense came to life against nationally ranked Baylor in a losing (35-25) effort. The offensive line played their best game and consequently there’s hope for quality football for the rest of the season.
Kansas State has a bye week coming up before they resume Big 12 play with two home games against West Virginia and Iowa State. K-State has a chance to win both, although that will be far from easy.
The bye week will give a number of injured Wildcats a chance to heal—the most notable being wide receivers Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett. Both have been sorely missed.
Page 2 of 2 - Quarterback Daniel Sams displayed his remarkable running ability in the Baylor game. If Sams’ passing develops to the extent that he becomes a true run-pass threat, he will be a special player for K-State.
Kansas State’s record is 2-4 (0-3 in Big 12) and the Wildcats’ only realistic goal left for this season is winning six games and going to a bowl game. That’s a challenge, but it can happen.
After the Baylor game, Snyder said, “I was pleased with the effort of our football team . . . with one exception in the entirety of the ball game, I thought we played as hard as we have at any time this season."
The question of how much longer Bill Snyder is going to continue as K-State’s head coach is undoubtedly taking a toll on recruiting efforts.
Last season—after winning a Big 12 co-championship—would have been the perfect time for coach Snyder to step down. He chose not to.
No matter when Snyder decides to retire, no one will ever lift Kansas State to such a consistently lofty status over such a long period of time.
But the time for his final retirement is close. Snyder just turned 74 in a young man’s profession. Competitors in the recruiting battles are using the unsettled state of the coach’s continuity against K-State.
In an objective comparison to previous seasons, Big 12 football is mired in mediocrity. There are no contenders for the national championship. Contrary to the norm, almost every team has issues at quarterback.
Before he’s ever played a college basketball game, Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins is on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The headline reads “The Freshman” and the subtitle is “From Wilt . . . To Manning . . . To Wiggins.”
Regardless of whether or not such fanfare is deserved yet, it’s great publicity for the Big 12 and KU and the exposure will complement the Jayhawks’ recruiting efforts. Young Mr. Wiggins has a full load of pressure prior to the regular season.
-Mac Stevenson is a longtime columnist on collegiate and professional sports in Eastern Kansas.