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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Stevenson: Head ball coach is K-State's living legend

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  •  Kansas State will field a veteran football team this fall that has been chosen to finish third in the Big 12 race by media members who cover the conference.
    Head coach Bill Snyder will be in his 23rd season this fall as the Wildcats’ leader. His achievements have been so remarkable for so long that many Kansas State fans take him for granted. It can’t go on forever.
    Snyder turns 75 in October; that’s an abnormal age for a college football coach. What’s most amazing about K-State’s living legend is that his success has been so consistent during his 23 years at the Wildcats’ helm.
    K-State’s players understand the end is near.
    Senior center and team leader B.J. Finney recently said, “If this was Coach's last season, we'd be doing everything in our power to make sure it's a great one — something to embody his work, something to embody who he is as a coach and as a person, and the work that he puts in. … We’d want the season to reflect his work and his success.”
    It’s August and the 2014 season looks promising indeed for Kansas State, and Coach Snyder has the players and coaching staff he needs to put another formidable team on the field.
    By contrast, Kansas University’s football team is set to begin its third season under head coach Charlie Weis. The first two seasons with Weis have been a disaster: KU had an overall record of 4-20 and 1-17 in the Big 12.
    To cut right to the chase, Kansas has one chance to have a competitive team this fall: Sophomore quarterback Montell Cozart (6-2, 195) has to have a terrific season — both running and passing the football.
    Cozart’s statistics as a freshman are not encouraging. In seven games, he completed 23 of 63 passes (36.5 percent) for 227 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions.
    Cozart is a talented and quick runner; he gained 214 yards on 66 carries last season.
    Is Cozart capable of being an effective passing quarterback this fall?  That will depend to a large extent on the pass blocking of the offensive line and the pass receiving corps.
    Down through the years KU has been short of depth and talent on the offensive and defensive lines and the upcoming season doesn’t appear to be an exception.
    Coach Weis fired himself as offensive coordinator and hired John Reagan from Rice to coach the offense and offensive line.
    Weis made it clear what the chain of command would be: “My involvement in the offense will take place during the week; it won't take place on game day. I will not be involved on game day other than in critical situations. I want the offensive staff to run the offense. I'm more of an advisor right now. My involvement will take place during the week and I'll stay out of the way on game days.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Big 12 media members put Kansas dead last in their preseason predictions and who can blame them. The Jayhawks have established a long history of inept football because of weak hiring and management by past administrations.
    KU should have a winning football program. The facilities are first-class and the location — just a short drive from Kansas City — is an asset. K-State has proved that it’s possible to have an outstanding football program year after year and there’s no reason KU shouldn’t be able to do the same.
    Turning to Major League Baseball …
    It doesn’t look like the Kansas City Royals are going to win either of the two wild card playoff berths in the American League. The Los Angeles Angels are a cinch for one slot with a 65-43 win-loss record.  And, Toronto has a comfortable lead for the second wild card with a 60-51 record. Kansas City is three games behind Toronto with a 56-53 record.
    KC hasn’t been playing their normal superb defense; the Royals just haven’t been as sharp as they were early in the season. But, the main issue remains hitting.
    Since April, KC’s hitters have been consistently swinging at a great many pitches that are well out of the strike zone.
    Without a doubt, the hitters have been told to quit taking good pitches and then swinging at those out of the strike zone. Ned Yost is the manager; he has to quit being Mr. Nice Guy and let his hitters know that he isn’t going to tolerate their lack of focus at the plate any longer.  Yost needs to get nasty. But, he should have done that early in the season and he didn’t.
    Two months remain in the season and KC could still make the playoffs. However, that preseason goal is becoming more daunting with every passing day.

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